Guest post: This weekend I am at the Singularity Summit 2007 in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts. About 800 people showed up to hear about the issues related to a future in which humans won't be the driving force in delivering scientific and technological innovations, eclipsed cognitively by "posthumans" or machine intelligences. I talked to four of the speakers prior to the event--the podcasts are here.
I am joined by Chris Matyszczyk, who will be offering his views of the Summit. Chris has spent most of his career as an award- winning creative director in the advertising industry. He is perhaps most well known for his advertising campaign against domestic violence in Poland, which had a major impact on cultural behavior. He has also been a journalist, covering the Olympics, SuperBowl and other sporting events. He brings a refreshingly, non-techie, and humorous, perspective to the Singularity Summit. Check out his "Pond Culture" blog.
It is almost frightening seeing so many intelligent faces in one place.
And the first thought that crossed my mind (well, second, after grande extra-hot non-fat latte, butter croissant and a lemon scone) was “are any of these people artificial?”
Have the organizers slipped in one of their experimental robots into our group just to see our reaction?
That blonde lady with the stern face and excessively perfect nose. Could she be something created by the professors assembled here to test their progress and our credulity?
I had a lot of time to stare into their faces because the vastly intelligent folks who have organized this two-day summit have slipped a few imperfections into the morning. Again, I think this might have been deliberate.
There was only one door for the attendees to squeeze into. And there were already a couple of hundred people outside waiting to squeeze through that one door.
Could this be a deliberately-created metaphor for the issues that face us over the next two days (and 100 years, of course)? How can we squeeze so much brain power into the traditionally narrow gap that is progress?
As we stood in line, one of the organizing group came out and encouraged those who already had tickets to use the express line. This was clearly one of the mental agility tests used by Google and others to sort the wheat from the ethanol. For there was only one line.
As the Summit started, there was another little test.
A man with microphone clipped Britney-like to the side of his face announced that the Wi-Fi was down. I am not sure whether San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was quickly informed, because we were told that it would “ hopefully be up shortly.”
I think this may be the organizers asking us to think deeply about the word ‘shortly.’
This post is therefore being sent by a new system called Blowing In the Wind, which I hope are not the words that revolve around my head at the end of these two days.