Will supercomputing intelligences outsmart human-level intelligence? Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" is the world's most known advocacy of a technology breakthrough that will change the face of humanity and the entire world. Kurzweil claims that the accelerating, exponential growth of technology will result in such a Singularity. But not all technological luminaries agree with Kurzweil. In fact, some suggest nanotechnology as superseding artificial intelligence. Others argue for humanity's future as being located in biosynthetics and virtuality. Outside the technological sphere, a new culture of DIY citizen scientists could either speed up or halt the Singularity. With a finger on the pulse, ethicists and policy-makers are arguing for a new strategy for assessing our possible futures. This panel dissects the very core of the Singularity, if and when it will occur, and what we can expect to happen.
One of the pioneers of Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Lenat’s research while he was a Stanford professor ranged from natural language understanding to expert systems to machine learning. He came to Austin in 1984 to start a project called “Cyc”, to capture human common sense in a program, and he and his team have been working on that ever since (first at the research consortium MCC, and then at a spinoff company called Cycorp). He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and of the AAAS, and the recipient of the bi-annual IJCAI Computers and Thought award. Dr. Lenat is an editor of the Journal of Applied Ontology, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and the Machine Learning Journal. He was a founding member of both the Microsoft Scientific Advisory Board and the Apple Scientific Advisory Board, and is the only individual to have served on both. Cyc’s success could trigger the Singularity, so that’s a topic to which he’s given some serious thought, which he will share with us in this session.
Michael Vassar is SIAI's President, and provides overall leadership of the SIAI as it develops its research capabilities and its role as a forum for discussion of the challenges and potential of artificial general intelligence. He is also responsible for the organization of the Singularity Summit. Previously, he was a Founder and Chief Strategist at SirGroovy.com, an online music licensing firm. Prior to that, he held positions with Aon, the Peace Corps, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Michael has been writing and speaking on topics related to the safe development of disruptive technologies for a number of years: his papers include the Lifeboat Foundation analysis of the risks of advanced molecular manufacturing co-authored with Robert Freitas, and "Corporate Cornucopia", authored for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Task Force. He holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in biochemistry.
Natasha Vita-More – artist, theorist and activist, is PhD researcher on human enhancement media. She has been referred to as a “role model for superlongevity” (Wired) and a cross between Duchamp and Madonna” (Atlantic Monthly). Natasha's future human design "Primo Posthuman" has been featured in Wired, LAWeekly, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Net Business, Teleopolis, and The Village Voice. She has appeared in over twenty-four televised documentaries. Natasha is Vice Chair of Humanity+; Fellow at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies; and Advisor to the Policy, Law & Ethics track at the Singularity University.
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