November 5th, 2008
On November 15th and 16th, a remarkable un-conference will take place. Convergence 08 is being hosted at The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event is sponsored by a group of long-term-philanthropy non-profits: The Foresight Institute, Humanity +, Imminst.org, The Singularity Institute, The Long Now Foundation, The Methuselah Foundation, and CyBeRev.
Paul Saffo keynotes, and three panels have been programmed. The rest of the scheduled two days is left to the attendees to collaborate on topics of relevance to the community. The three panels, posed as “debates”, are focused on synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and longevity intervention.
I have the distinct pleasure of moderating the artificial intelligence debate which brings together four leading thinkers in this area:
- Ben Goertzel, Novamente, Singularity Institute
- Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google
- Steve Omohundro, Self-Aware Systems
- Barney Pell, Founder of Powerset, Strategist at Microsoft
For one hour, we will a conduct a very different AI debate: not whether to create AI, or which technical path will work fastest, but “How can we use AI technology to build the world we want to live in?”
Some of the things I want to know:
- Technology policy and politics: What advice do you have to President-elect Obama on the future of technology enhanced humanity?
- Haves vs. have-nots: Is there a growing gap between haves and have-nots? If so, should we look towards AI to address it?
- Potential outcomes: Viewing the distribution of future outcomes (imagine a normal distribution), it seems that accelerating technology capability will push probabilities towards the tails: Exceedingly wonderful or terrible. How can we use AI technology to push towards a favorable outcome for humanity?
- Governance mechanisms: I heard a commentator say that this just past election will likely be the most important election of our lifetime. What about the election of 2048 that pits enhanced human vs. sentient machine? What kinds of governance systems should we put in place now to inform the world we want in 2048?
What kinds of questions would you like answered by the esteemed panel? I’d welcome your input.