Think you are a cutting edge techie? Think again. Thomas McCabe is the Director and Program Coordinator of Humanity+, a nonprofit dedicated to the ethical use of technology to extend human capabilities. The organization is holding a conference this weekend at Caltech in Los Angeles. (Regretfully, I'm unable to attend). He sent me this introduction about the event to share: Over the next fifty years, mankind is likely to develop a wide range of amazing new technologies. Experts and scientists say that some of these technologies could make computers conscious, allow people to live inside silicon chips, increase life expectancy to a thousand years, help us re-design the human body, and solve America's economic problems. What are these technologies? When will they be developed? And what impact will they have on us and our lives?
At the Humanity+ @ Caltech conference, we hope to answer some of these questions. We've brought together some of the technology community's leading scientists and engineers to explain what their technologies are, what they can do, what effects they might have on us, and what the risks might be. With more than twenty speakers, it would be difficult to give the conference a fair summary here, but here are a few of the highlights:
- AI expert and professor Ben Goertzel believes that, with a focused research effort, AIs could be smarter than humans by 2020. Ben will discuss how we can get there from here, and what the architecture of such an AI would look like.
- Gerontologist Aubrey de Grey leads a non-profit organization, the SENS Foundation, dedicated to researching ways to end aging. With biotechnologies already in development, we could slow, stop or even reverse the damage associated with old age, helping to prevent age-related diseases such as stroke, heart attacks, cancer and Alzheimer's.
- Seasteading Institute president Patri Friedman will discuss how we can use present-day technology to "lifehack", or find tricks that will make us healthier, happier and smarter.
- Roboticist David Hanson is looking at ways to make robots increasingly humanlike. Eventually, with enough technological progress, robots will be indistinguishable from flesh-and-blood humans.
You can join us at Caltech on December 4th and 5th by registering at http://humanityplus10.eventbrite.com/?discount=discount10-494. Readers of ZDNet get a 10% discount, so save your seat by registering today.