03 October 2009

Singularity Summit In NYC Online from hPlus Blog

The editor's blog of futuristic magazine hPlus, is providing a liveblog of the Singularity Summit in NYC this weekend.
This year's Singularity Summit line-up features many familiar faces, but with some new twists on the usual AI, AGI, Longevity, Nanotech, Robotics and Biotech themes.

This year, we get two presentations by Ray Kurzweil. On Saturday, Ray will present updated versions of his now infamous exponential growth charts and graphs, while providing examples of real world technologies that are already beginning to demonstrate these information technology trends in action.

On Sunday, Ray's "Critics of the Singularity" talk will address some fo the arguments against the possibility of creating a superintelligence, such as "Moore’s Law will not go on forever," "the brain is too complicated to understand or replicate," and "software is not capable of thinking or of consciousness."

...Aubrey de Grey will be explaining the difference between the Singularity and what he calls "the Methuselarity," a threshold in the development of anti-aging technologies at which their rate of improvement reaches "longevity escape velocity", a rate of progress sufficeint to postpone age-related ill-health indefinitely... __hPlusEditor'sblog
Much more conference preview at the link above. H/T Instapundit

Michael Anissimov will also provide some online coverage of the Summit.

Humans need to find ways to help themselves to grow smarter, wiser, and to live longer, healthier lives. Technological discoveries will assist the reaching of those goals. But the focus should be on human enhancement and improvement.

Average population IQ in the developed world is 100. The average population IQ of Earth is just under 90. World average IQ is steadily decreasing, via demographic trends that appear unstoppable.

Nations with a population average IQ under 90 cannot maintain a modern university for training indigenous students for the professions, sciences, and technologies -- without immense outside help and imported professors. Nations whose population average IQ is under 85 cannot sustain modern technologies of electric power, transportation, health care, and modern finance, without an outside help and an intelligent minority capable of building and maintaining the technology.

The average population IQ of sub-saharan Africa is under 80. As long as that is true, SS Africa will always need outside help and/or an intelligent market dominant minority such as East Asians (Chinese in much of modern Africa), South Asians (in parts of East Africa and South Africa), and Europeans (driven out of Zimbabwe, but still helping keep South Africa barely above water).

Popular delusional beliefs such as the innate equality of intellect of all human populations, do immense harm to all the people of the world. Intelligence augmentation is a vital need for all humans -- not just those populations who lag the others. Absolute equality is impossible to achieve, although a rough equivalence may be achievable with advanced genetic tools.

Other delusional beliefs such as belief in imminent carbon climate catastrophe lead to the wasteful diversion of trillions of dollars of scarce resources toward corrupt and non-productive entities. These wasted resources are then no longer available for solving those human problems which are real, and desperately in need of work.

Longer lifespan for humans seems a worthy goal. Unfortunately, if humans continue to grow stupider (as they are), helping them live longer will eventually seem pointless.

Bad governance is one of the most critical problems of the human Earth. Since governments allocate most of the resources of the planet, bad governance means an immense waste of resources. And since the popular media and public education will often tend to toady up to bad government -- or be shackled and controlled by bad government as we see in Russia, China, the Muslim world, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea etc -- minds of most persons never truly learn to think or to understand.

The Singularity movement has much to recommend it. But as long as the focus is on technology development rather than human development, it risks becoming something of a religion of technology, or "rapture of the nerds."

I will be interested to see what comes of the Summit this weekend.

Update: Brian Wang provides a list of websites liveblogging the Summit here

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