8.9.08

Nine key questions about the coming Technological Singularity

The next ExtroBritannia event is scheduled for Saturday September the 20th 2008; 2:00pm - 4:00pm. Venue: Room 539, 5th floor (via main lift), Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX. The event is free and everyone’s welcome.

Vernor Vinge wrote the following words in 1993, introducing the concept of the Singularity:

"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended".

This UKTA meeting will be a group discussion, led by David Wood, on the following nine key questions:

1. Defining what we're talking about: What's the relation between the various different notions of the Singularity?

2. Are there arguments in principle against the Singularity?

3. What are the lessons we should learn from what's been called "the embarrassing history of AI"?

4. Is the Singularity a plausible occurrence within (say) the next 50 years?

5. What are the critical bottleneck determinants of development towards the Singularity?

6. What's the likeliest timescale for the Singularity?

7. Should we be doing everything in our power to prevent the Singularity from happening?

8. Can we influence the Singularity to make its outcome more likely to be good for humanity rather than disastrous?

9. What are the biggest uncertainties with the Singularity?

There is no charge to attend and everyone is welcome. Join the debate!

Venue:

Room 539, 5th floor (via main lift), Birkbeck College, Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations. MAP.

Discussion is likely to continue after the event at "The Friend at Hand", nearby. There's also the option of joining some of the UKTA regulars for drinks/lunch beforehand, starting c. 12.30, in "The Friend At Hand" pub which is situated behind Russell Square tube station on Herbrand Street. To find us, look out for a table where there's a copy of Aubrey de Grey's book "Ending Aging" displayed.