22 June 2010

Singularity Summit in San Francisco, 14-15August

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence is holding its annual Singularity Summit in San Francisco on 14-15 August, 2010. Here is the program of events and speakers. A satellite conference, Advancing Substrate-Independent Minds, will be held on 16-17 August at the same venue -- the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

August is a good month to visit San Francisco, and there is no better setting for the Singularity Summit.

What is the singularity?

 The best-known Singularity theorist/promoter, inventor Ray Kurzweil, defines the concept as follows:

Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.

Al Fin suspects that Mr. Kurzweil's time frame is a bit compressed. Any transformative technology must work within a larger framework, which will include political, economic, and cultural constraints.

Most optimistic prophets of a technological future failed to take into account the "Obama Effect" -- the subtle suppression of cutting edge thinking and developments as a result of a corrupt and inward-looking political regime of exponential debt combined with a pernicious deflationary / inflationary wealth destruction. The less wealth, the less support for visionary projects.

Several conferences in the late summer and early fall are worth going to, if only to exchange thoughts with other forward thinking persons who are trying to see their way through some significant logjams holding back societal progress. Besides the Singularity Summit, there is also the SENS Conference, the Seasteading Conference, a number of space conferences, and a a number of other conferences, seminars, workshops, and similar excuses to get away for a mind holiday and pick-me-up.

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