How to think rationally about the future

Saturday 3rd July 2010, 2pm - 4pm

Speakers: Paul Crowley and Roko Mijic

About the talk:

Over the past forty years, science has built up a substantial body of experimental evidence that highlights dozens of alarming systematic failings in our capacity for reason. These errors are especially dangerous in an area as difficult to think about as the future of humanity, where deluding oneself is tempting and the "reality check" won't arrive until too late.

How can we form accurate beliefs about the future in the face of these considerable obstacles?

This talk will outline ways of identifying and correcting cognitive biases, in particular the use of probability theory to quantify and manipulate uncertainty, and then apply these improved methods to try to paint a more accurate picture of what we all have to look forward to in the 21st century.

About the speakers:

Paul Crowley is a cryptographer and computer programmer whose work includes breaks in ciphers designed by Cisco and by Bruce Schneier. His website is http://www.ciphergoth.org/

Roko Mijic graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Mathematics, and the Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics. He spent a year doing research into the foundations of knowledge representation at the University of Edinburgh and holds an MSc in informatics. He is currently an advisor for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Both speakers are contributors to the community website for refining the art of human rationality, http://LessWrong.com/

There's no charge to attend this meeting, and everyone is welcome.

There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and to make comments.

Discussion will continue after the event, in a nearby pub, for those who are able to stay.

Why not join some of the UKH+ regulars for a drink and/or light lunch beforehand, any time after 12.30pm, in The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ. To find us, look out for a table where there's a copy of the book "The Singularity Is Near" displayed.

About the venue:

Room 416, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX (map)

Room 416 is on the fourth floor (via the lift near reception) in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

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