12 October 2008

World's Most Dangerous Un-Conference 15 Nov 08

On the 15th and 16th of November, 2008, Convergence 08 will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. What is convergence? It is the coming together of a number of disruptive technologies in a synergistic re-working of the world as we know it.The list of featured speakers is impressive, and the potential for seminal interaction between participants should be very high. Here is more:
"A host of technologies that seemed like daring science fiction just a few years ago are racing toward practical application with breathtaking speed. Convergence08 is a unique opportunity to look into the coming NBIC future, examine its implications, and prepare for the vast surprises in store for us all."

Both days feature debates on controversial NBIC topics including Synthetic Biology, Longevity, and Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Barney Pell, founder of Powerset and search strategist and evangelist at Microsoft, stated, "At this event we aim to use the power of collective intelligence to see farther along the convergence trajectories; each of the NBIC technologies is transformative on its own, and there's a strong interplay among them."

Headliners include:

* Dr. Bruce Ames, biochemistry professor at UC Berkeley, founder of Juvenon
* Dr. Gregory Benford, physics professor at UC Irvine, founder of Genescient
* Denise Caruso, executive director of Hybrid Vigor Institute
* Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO and chair of Methuselah Foundation
* Dr. Ben Goertzel, CEO of Novamente, director of research at Singularity Institute
* Terry Grossman, MD, co-author, Fantastic Voyage
* Andrew Hessel, consulting biologist and author
* Dr. Chris Heward, president of Kronos Science Laboratories
* Dr. Peter Norvig, director of research at Google
* Dr. Steve Omohundro, founder and president of Self-Aware Systems
* Dr. Barney Pell, founder of Powerset, search strategist and evangelist at Microsoft _NantoechnologyNow
Here is a partial list of topics to be discussed:
* Neurotechnology
* Artificial general intelligence
* Synthetic biology
* Human enhancement
* Space tourism
* Social software
* Prediction markets
* Nanotechnology
* Smart drugs

* Bioethics
* Cleantech
* NBIC startup tips
* Reputation systems
* Life extension / anti-aging
* Accelerating change
* Biotechnology
* Open source everything
* Sousveillance / privacy _C08
It is important not to allow the economic downturn to jaundice your viewpoint of the future. Fewer resources will be devoted to many promising areas of science and technology, for a few years. But much vital work will continue. Even should the worst occur, and Obamanation be brought into existence, ways of routing around the corruption and mismanagement will be devised to allow the most important pivotal discoveries to be made.

While tens and hundreds of billions of dollars will be squandered on politically correct science such as faux climate catastrophe, and abundant resources diverted to political friends and cronies of elected officials, intelligent people are working behind the scenes to allow vital functions to survive. And while the minds of most children are twisted and warped in government schools and universities - cum - indoctrination centers, a large enough trickle of young minds bypass the waste mainstream to feed into the unseen competent core--the ones who get things done, fend off unmentionable catastrophes, and prod human development toward a better future.

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Blogger kurt9 said...

Development will actually accelerate if the economic downturn makes much of the government-funded stuff go away.

Sunday, 12 October, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

Overall there could well be some positives as businesses adapt. However, I would wager that an Obama presidency or even a McCain one in which he is under lots of pressure to spend in order to supposedly alleviate the effects of a post crisis recession would mean that spending could get much worse instead of better, for a while at least.

I also suspect that businesses will probably reduce any investments in productivity or energy sayings that are even slightly long-term but any similar investments which can yield quicker returns will not just be valuable but crucial to survival for some companies.

I also suspect that research into robot replacements for Congressmen will see funding increase dramatically. Wowie's Robosapien seems over-qualified but it is a step in the right direction.

Sunday, 12 October, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I have been noticing recently how the most influential technologies at the moment are not always the ones we think should be at the top of the list. We have been told how technologies like the Internet which are distributive and involve many people in the exchange of ideas are far more disruptive than older mass broadcast media like TV. But for some time now, it has been satellite TV which has been circumventing state media across north Africa and the Middle East. It has brought controversial ideas, images and information in the form of dramas, debates and entertainment.

While satellite TV does allow the dissemination of propaganda (from both religious extremists and states), antisemitism and religious dogma, that was plentiful across much of the developing world to begin with and now it has to compete for attention and approval with opposing information, facts and views. Even some state media have been allowed to become more independent to avoid being completely discredited in the market.

For the first time in history, many people in some of the worlds most repressive regimes can see pornography, criticism of religion, and information about their governments which their governments do not want known. They are seeing reality shows where viewers influence the outcome through something like a democratic procedure. They are seeing the myths and practices of other cultures and are able to compare and contrast them with their own. Even language patterns will be effected as speakers of large languages like Arabic, which contain several dialects, are exposed to each other and to more formalized Arabic. And it is worth noting that not only does English have more satellite channels in an absolute sense but it has more channels as a ratio to the number of speakers, meaning that people who want to learn English are being given a major advantage in the availability of content.

This is only one disruptive technology and it has only really taken off on a large scale in the developing world in the last 18 years or so (the first gulf war being one of the important catalyst, as people tried to get actual news about what was happening). It's effect is cumulative and accelerating as more channels are created constantly.

Monday, 13 October, 2008  

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