This year's Summit, which is hosted by the Singularity Institute, will focus on neuroscience, bioscience, cognitive enhancement, and other explorations of what Vernor Vinge called 'intelligence amplification' -- the other route to the technological Singularity.
Of particular interest to me will be the talk given by Irene Pepperberg, author of "Alex & Me," who has pushed the frontier of animal intelligence with her research on African Gray Parrots. She will be exploring the ethical and practical implications of non-human intelligence enhancement and of the creation of new intelligent life less powerful than ourselves.
A sampling of the speakers list includes:
- Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist, author of The Singularity is Near
- James Randi, skeptic-magician, founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation
- Dr. Anita Goel, a leader in the field of bionanotechnology, Founder & CEO, Nanobiosym, Inc.
- Dr. Irene Pepperberg, leading investigator of animal intelligence, trainer of the African Grey Parrot "Alex"
- Prof. Alan Snyder, Director, Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, researcher in brain-computer interfaces
- Prof. Steven Mann, augmented reality pioneer, professor at University of Toronto, "world's first cyborg"
- Dr. Gregory Stock, bioethicist and biotech entrepreneur, author of Engineering Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future
- Dr. Ellen Haber-Katz, a professor at the Wistar Institute who studies rapid-regenerating mice
- Joe Z. Tsien, scholar at the Medical College of Georgia, who created a strain of "Doogie Mouse" with twice the memory of average mice
- Eliezer Yudkowsky, research fellow with the Singularity Institute
- Michael Vassar, president of the Singularity Institute
- David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics, creator of the world's most realistic humanoid robots
- Demis Hassabis, research fellow at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at the University of London
Will it be one day become possible to boost human intelligence using brain implants, or create an artificial intelligence smarter than Einstein? In a 1993 paper presented to NASA, science fiction author and mathematician Vernor Vinge called such a hypothetical event a "Singularity", saying "From the human point of view this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye". Vinge pointed out that intelligence enhancement could lead to "closing the loop" between intelligence and technology, creating a positive feedback effect.
This August 14-15, hundreds of AI researchers, robotics experts, philosophers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and interested laypeople will converge in San Francisco to address the Singularity and related issues at the only conference on the topic, the Singularity Summit. Experts in fields including animal intelligence, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfacing, tissue regeneration, medical ethics, computational neurobiology, augmented reality, and more will share their latest research and explore its implications for the future of humanity.