Accelerating Change 2005. September 16-18, Stanford University. Artificial Intelligence and Intelligence Amplification. Transforming Technology, Empowering Humanity
 
 

All 350 Accelerating Change attendees are asked to submit an optional brief participant statement of Passions and Futures (topics of special interest), current Projects and Problems (for potential feedback or collaboration), and Resources to Recommend (for personal or professional development). Participant statements are not required, but they help greatly to maximize the quality of networking during our annual event.

Those we received by Sept. 12th noon are listed here. Thank you to everyone who contributed their insight this year!

Interested in forming your own interest or discussion groups at AC2005? Want to do your own presentations? Use our Open Space/Birds of a Feather times on Saturday and Sunday to meet others with like interests.

 
 

Stephen Aguilar-Millan, Director of Research, European Futures Observatory (stephena{at}eufo{dot}org)

Passions And Futures
My interest is in societal futures rather than technological futures, although I have to admit that recent technological changes are reshaping society. We have an interest in the rate at which technology is changing in relation to the rate at which society - with its legal and ethical framework - changes in response to changes in technology. This has given us an interest in the sustainable - as opposed to the disposable - development of technology.

Projects And Problems
We are currently working on a project examining the social boundaries to technological development. This is examining those emerging technologies, whilst being feasible scientifically, are unacceptable socially. We operate through a global network of Interns, and would welcome any proposals to contribute to this initiative from any interested parties.

Resources To Recommend
The Association of Professional Futurists (www.profuturists.com) is always a good place to start. A general enquiry is often distributed across their Listserv for comment and assistance. I also generally attend the World Future Society conference (www.wfs.org), as this does contain some very useful nuggets at times. The content from both of these sources tends to be a bit "American".

For a "European" perspective, a good source for me is the Economist (www.economist.com) and Prospect magazine (www.prospect-magazine.co.uk). For a very different view, I take Le Monde Diplomatique (www.mondediplo.com), just to remind myself that most of the world doesn't speak English. Finally, for me, the upper reaches of human endeavour are reached through the BBC web site (www.bbc.co.uk), which provides both informative and unbiased news and reviews.

Jef Allbright (jef{at}jefallbright{dot}net)

Passions and Futures
I'm passionate about the impact of accelerating technology on our quality of life near and long-term. I see the double-edged sword of knowledge enabling tremendous new capabilities for self-expression and growth--and with great freedom comes great responsibility to manage wisely. Interestingly, an expanding environment of increasingly diverse challenges contains the seeds of increasingly creative opportunities for growth in directions of our choosing.

Projects and Problems
Promoting awareness of ourselves and our environment, developing increasingly effective systems of interaction, leading to actions that achieve desired results over increasing scope and are thus considered increasingly moral. I see Intelligence Amplification technologies, working through individuals to provide wiser choices at the group level, as essential to our success. I find great value in networking for collaboration, inspiration, and refinement of understanding.

I run a blog (on the web) and virtual 3D museum (in Second Life) dedicated to Empathy--Understanding ourselves and others, Energy--What drives us and provides a sense of purpose and direction, Efficiency--Tools and techniques for getting things done, and Extropy--Expanding our understanding and capabilities.

Resources to Recommend
Visit my weblog at http://www.jefallbright.net and the Futurist Museum (under construction) in Second Life at the following coordinates: Scafell(172,108). (Picture above is my Second Life "avatar", Jef Ambassador). For general future-related news and discussion I recommend the extropian list and the wta-talk list though the signal to noise ratio varies widely. For stimulating conversation and making friends with like-minded people, the LA Future Salon is well worth the monthly travel from Santa Barbara.

Natalie Ambrose, Director, Emerging Issues and Strategic Planning, The Council on Foundations, Washington, DC

Passions And Futures
I am fascinated by all topics and issues having to do with the future and explore as much as I can into what is being said, written, and forecasted. I am particularly interested in and concerned about the singularity -- how our advances in science and technology are being used and managed and how people and our institutions will have to adjust and adapt. Particularly the ethical considerations behind and the implications of various trends and new developments. I hope that in 30 years the vast majority of mankind will be more collectively conscious about their actions and impact as well as the possibilities to make this world cleaner, safer, more humane, and sustainable.

Projects And Problems
Through my work I monitor what is happening in and what is being said about the future of “philanthropy”. Its an interesting sector, with a lot of potential for change and betterment on a big scale. More than that, I am interested in the concept of “altruism” – how it comes about, how it is expressed, and whether it’s inherent or learned.

Resources To Recommend
I recently launched an "Emerging Issues" blog to inform our member foundations about some of the critical issues and emerging trends being discussed by the policymaking, academic and think tank communities in Washington, DC. You can access the blog at: http://blogs.cof.org/emergingissues/. And please send ideas and feedback! Also useful starts for any budding “futurist” are the World Future Society (www.wfs.org), the Association of Professional Futurists, (www.profuturists.com), and the Shaping Tomorrow website (www.shapingtomorrow.com).

Miguel F. Aznar, Executive Director of KnowledgeContext (aznar {at} knowledgecontext{dot}org)

Passions and Futures
How do we understand technology? How do we evaluate it? Since the first stone tools, we have used technology to transform our world...and technology has transformed us. Did anyone anticipate how the spear, written language, or global travel would create the environment in which our surviving ancestors were fittest? Will we select and guide 21st century technology to create a future we want? Amplifying our intelligence and creating artificial intelligence may be the two most catalytic ways we create that future.

Projects and Problems
I direct an educational nonprofit corporation that teaches young people, through a classroom curriculum, how to understand and evaluate technology...any technology. KnowledgeContext's book, Technology Challenged, takes this strategy to a deeper level for the parents, teachers, and others who want our society to be able to think critically about technology, and not just learn which buttons to push. In a complementary role, I am also the Director of Education for the Foresight Nanotech Institute. In that capacity, I identify, evaluate, and promote education on nanotechnology. The context of understanding and evaluating nanotechnology is found in my efforts at KnowledgeContext.

Resources to Recommend
Our classroom curriculum on understanding and evaluating technology is available for download at http://knowledgecontext.org/. My book, Technology Challenged, is described at http://knowledgecontext.org/Reading/Technology_Challenged.htm and can be acquired from Amazon or the Accelerating Change Conference Bookstore. I am always interested in discussing the patterns underlying technology, in particular, those that explain how it changes, how it changes us, what its costs and benefits are, and how we evaluate it. If you care about education, talk to me about how we can promote technological literacy.

Paul Baclace (peb{dot}acc{at}baclace{dot}net)

Passions and Futures
Understanding how the human brain creates a mind is the ultimate, interesting area of study since it can impact metaphysics, philosophy, psychology, social endeavors, economics, education, entertainment, health care, politics, etc. Artificial Intelligence is an in vitro experimental approach to studying intelligence that synergizes with the neurosciences. Along the way, Intelligence Amplification can speed up the efforts. In a broad sense, any tool (including natural languages) that helps cognitive processes go deeper, faster or wider can be considered an intelligence amplifier.

Projects and Problems
I would like to find or create a simple visualization tool that helps people understand how to make difficult but important decisions involving tradeoffs. The inspiration for this comes from various efforts to illustrate Bayes Theorem. I am interested brainstorming about the creation of something like a Bayes Theorem calculator that can be used by anyone to make a decision in the face of false positive/negative detection combined with probabilities and costs. If made easy enough to use, such a tool would amplify intelligence.

Resources to Recommend
http://www.buddybuzz.net
http://www.baclace.net

Matt Bamberger (contactmatt{at}mattbamberger{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I believe that within the next 30 years, barring a major biotech catastrophe, we will experience a technological singularity driven by the development of strong AI.

The technologies underlying both AI and bio-engineering are too useful and too widespread for us to be able to cancel or delay the singularity. Instead, our best course of action is to work to maximize the likelihood of a good outcome. I believe that the best way to do this is to develop an AI for that purpose. This is important—we need to get it right.

Projects and Problems
I’m interested in creating the strong AI that will drive the singularity. A number of distributed computer systems (including one that I run), now have collective computational power that approaches that of a human brain, and the next decade will make brain-level computational capacity readily available to medium-sized organizations. Clearly, the only thing standing between us and super-human AI is the problem of developing the necessary software. While that’s a hard problem, I don’t believe it’s unsolvable. I’ve worked on successful projects who object code was roughly comparable to the portion of the human genome devoted to intelligence.

I’ve previously worked in the past on desktop applications and on games, and am currently working on a massive online service. Within the next few years, I’m planning on switching to working full-time on AI.

Resources to Recommend
Jeff Hawkins at the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience and Eliezer Yudkowsy at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence are both doing very interesting work.

Robert J. Berger (rberger {at} ibd{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
The area I have been most involved is solving the last mile problem for broadband Internet Access. The last few years has been making 802.11 wireless suitable for that application. My belief is that making Internet access an alternative to the oligopoly of mass communications is key to opening the future to many more possibilities. Renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure is another area of interest. We need to be converting our brittle and wasteful ways of sustaining ourselves and our technology to ways that can last thousands of years. The flip side of that is the expectation that we will be seeing breakthrus in anti-aging and life extension within the next decade. How can we prepare for that and also help accelerate its dispersement in society.

Projects and Problems
As I mentioned, routing around the oligopolies of mass communication and creating new content and ways to transport that content are my main focus. I would also be interested in working with folks on ways to accelerate the development and introduction of anti-aging and life extension drugs and techniques. And of course the development of sustainable and renewable energy and technologies.

Resources to Recommend
Personal website (which of course will someday be updated): http://www.ibd.com
Some favorite websites:
http://boingboing.net/, http://joi.ito.com/, http://www.metafilter.com/
Sustainable Tech:
http://www.worldchanging.com/, http://macroscopic.org/php/html/
Life Extension / Anti-Aging:
http://www.betterhumans.com/

Enrico Bertini and Riccardo Melonaro, Chairman and Co-Chairman, Rick Geniale Enterprises Inc.

Passions and Futures
What fascinates us is to launch or to accept challenges, especially those that seem impossible to overcome. More generally, we think that life is a challenge. We are entrepreneurs. One of our passions is to create companies in the most innovative fields. Rick Geniale Enterprises is our new company: we are working on AI. We have multidisciplinary knowledge in computer science, biology and evolutionary biology, cognitive and evolutionary psychology, neurophysiology and neural science, linguistics, philosophy of mind. We have personally managed a broad range of technologies and applications in many areas: telecommunications, networking, search engines, expert systems, object-oriented technologies, relational databases and computer graphics, software engineering, hypertexts, manufacturing systems, medical systems, real-time systems, security systems, etc. We expect a continual acceleration of all technologies that will be able to enhance the individual acquisition of knowledge, the individual health, the individual creative spirit and the individual will to compete in everything.

Projects and Problems
The opportunities and challenges we see are in the field of AI. We firmly believe that the advent of the "Real AI" will represents the epochal event that will bring to the birth of a true "Technological Renaissance"; we also believe that this represents a "New Human Era" (not Transhuman, neither Posthuman). In that new era, in which humans will be finally able to get rid of the chains of the current "technological syndrome", they will be able to express their "creative spirit" in all the fields of human activity (Creative Society). We think the development priorities of a "Technological Renaissance" (personal, cultural, national, global) needs a radical change in venture capitalism and investment mechanisms, with a totally new concept of "economic value".

Resources to Recommend
PIBOT & PIBOOLE. We have recently launched a new challenge: We expect PIBOT to pass the Turing Test by 2007.

Niti Bhan

Passions and Futures
From the Greek limnos, meaning "threshold," liminality describes an in-between time when what was, is no longer, and what will be, is not yet. It is a time rich with ambiguity, uncertainty, and the possibility of creative fomentation. And what particular advantages does living in liminality offer?

I think that if we take business, technology and society (people) as three interdependent spheres, they, too, are in such a state of "knife-edge equilibrium" or precarious balance. At any given time, one changes - new products emerge, new technology is invented, new ways of relating/communicating evolve - they usher in changes in the other spheres by their very inter - relatedness. That is, it could be said, that the interstitial spaces between these three areas are always in limnos. I also believe that it is in these liminal spaces that innovation occurs, naturally, as limnos, is always the threshold or the in between and to innovate, means to create something new. There is much more in this early thought to be developed further, but I'm trying to capture it as it forms right now, while it is liminal :)

Projects and Problems
I'm working on a paper combining the characteristics of liminal space and it's value as the engine or root cause of innovation. Can these characteristics translate into communicable practices or frameworks to reproduce the "eureka moment", if any? Add a global flavor, and it could become a philosophy for living in the now while managing to prepare adequately for an unpredictable future.

I’d like it one step further into the abstraction layer, of looking closely at this magic moment of eureka. I wonder if the conditions that produce the Aha! ideas are reproducible or at least recognizable? Can they be catalogued and identified? Can we posit the concept that brilliant insights could be produced with some amount of predictable regularity? The end result sought is a diagram of the elements that support and enhance the process. So that one can at least recreate the optimum team and environment with regularity and hope for the best. These theories could be the root of a viable corporate strategy to differentiate based on a process of continuous innovation.

Resources to Recommend
Personal URL: Perspective - pattern recognition plus experience. http://nitibhan.typepad.com
Some selected writing to support my project/passions
Living in Liminality. http://nitibhan.typepad.com/perspective/2005/09/living_in_limin.html
"Conversation on Innovation." http://connecta.typepad.com/cph127/2005/09/conversation_on.html
Websites and Writings
CPH127 Design and Innovation blog from Denmark. http://connecta.typepad.com/cph127/
Core77. http://www.core77.com
Does Size Matter? A conversation on the business of design. http://sizematter.blogspot.com
Yale Global. http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/index.jsp
The Flat World is wrong, Jagdish Bhagwati on "kaleidoscopic comparative advantage" - WSJ
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6109
Intel Labs, Role of Ethnographic Research In Driving Tech Innovation - Lessons from Inside Asia
http://www.intel.com/research/exploratory/papr/inside_asia_lessons.htm
Crestone Inst., Designing Environments for Innovation. http://transition-dynamics.com/crestone/home.html

Phil Bowermaster, Webmaster, Speculist.com (bowermaster{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I believe that the future is a growth area, not only because we are moving into it more rapidly than we ever have before, but also because there's more of it every day. Intuitively, we might expect that -- as time marches forward -- the past would get bigger, the present would stay the same, and the future would get smaller and smaller. Finally we would reach some "end" point and there would be nothing left but the past. But that doesn't seem to be the case. It's true that every day there are more things past than there were the day before. The past is growing. But paradoxically, the future is growing, too. Each new development spawns not one, but many possible futures. A time of accelerating change is a time of accelerating possibility.

Projects and Problems
If possibility is expanding exponentially, the greatest challenge we face in shaping the future (or being shaped by or into the future) depends ultimately on two -- initially -- human capabilities:

1. Our ability to imagine.
2. Our ability to discern and work towards the best possible outcomes.

Ancient philosophers were on the right track when they set out to try to define the meaning of beauty and the nature of the good. Today we grapple with the same basic questions. Someday soon, humanity's progeny will do likewise. We need to teach them well. But first, maybe we need to brush up on these things ourselves.

Resources to Recommend
If the past is smaller than the future, then we must strive to create, or to be, that little piece of an age now lost that encodes what mattered most -- then or now. I recommend this poem.

Alvis Brigis (alvisbrigis{at}hotmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Like the majority of attendees at AC2005, my brain also strives at the broadest possible systems simulation/quantification. So, I’m somewhat obsessed with how the spectrum of hard and soft technology interacts with biology and universal laws to result in our present dynamic of convergence and an increasingly fluid global economy.

I’m fascinated by the idea that as the time required for one generation of technology decreases and Flynn’s Effect (in direct correlation) propels human system IQs at an exponential rate, we can expect a splintering of human generations because children of slightly different ages encounter a drastically different technological environment during their very short critical learning periods. Is there a Generational Compression going on?

I also have a good amount of fun contemplating what new social and business structures will emerge in the near-term from a perspective rooted in entertainment. As the lines between classical and economic gaming blur, I see social/comm/tech structures as central to the autocatalytic evolution.

Projects and Problems
Reality Civil War Show: Imagine a reality TV show, edited by international observers, in which robotic probes continually broadcast a civil war currently ongoing in some geographic area with low infrastructure. This transparency-increasing approach to an age-old problem is sure to have unexpected results (positive and negative), and is just one of many complex new educational-entertainment projects that will be available for execution in just a few years. Think about the baby steps the TV and video-game industries need to take in order to reach that level of complexity. What emerges is a developmental trajectory for programming, gaming and new business autocatalytically linked to the evolution of the broader world system.

I am currently working in the entertainment industry, making pitches for some of the shows, games and media products possible in this “in-between” era.

Resources to Recommend
Science Daily: Features archives of the most important scientific discoveries in recent history. It’s particularly interesting to search specific fields and see the developments listed by date. You can see accelerating change and convergence at work over the past few years.
Lulu.com: On-demand publishing. Print one book at a time and make more than you would by going through a publisher. This is perfect for budding authors. Plus, imagine what this will mean for infra-structural development around the world.

David Clemens, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA

Passions and Futures
My passion is teaching and positively affecting students’ lives. I devised a literature/film class that engages some of the issues of human destiny (and human definition) in terms of the way Hollywood has depicted them (such as Blade Runner, 2001, Gattaca). The next 30 years are filled with conflicting potential—I would like to see the human race focused on exploring the universe but I realize we could also become omphaloskeptics, cowed by indifference of cosmic nature. The greatest risk is continuing erosion of human dignity from further redefinition of when and what a human being is—that is, technology proceeds blindly providing expanding opportunities for control and supposed perfectability. I would not want to live in the world of Gattaca, and I hope that sensitizing students to such a possible future will cause them to seek humanizing avenues for change rather than “inhumanizing” ones. Finally, I think that to be human involves encountering and coming to terms with mortality. In 30 years I expect to be dead, but, as Robert A. Heinlein’s character says when going into battle, “C’mon you apes! What do you want to do, live forever?”

Projects and Problems
Primarily educational—I’m trying to put my “robot class” online even though I find online education a shadow of real education. As Martin Pawley once said, all technology acts as insulation against human contact. Futurist issues need to be more infused into the schools so that students have some sort of mental construct about the potentials inherent in the developments around them. Most students have no image of the future at all, or the past either, for that matter; they are ahistorical and cocooned. What sort of government eventuates from the ahistorical and cocooned?

Resources to Recommend

Class website: (http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/singularity) I am affiliated with the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, the National Association of Scholars, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Maren Connary (mconnary {at} gmail {dot} com)

Passions and Futures
I have always had a passion for biology and design, but recently this has evolved into an all-encompassing interest in the technology that is shaping both. The term Biotechnology is no longer specific enough to describe a singe technology but rather a collection with the potential to provide alternative energy sources, super-strong construction materials, environmental clean up, highly-effective therapies, vaccines, food sources and a host of other solutions. My goal is to find the bridges between these emerging technologies, become their advocate and encourage their ethical, sustainable and global application.

Projects and Problems
I believe biotechnology will continue to reshape the pharmaceutical industry by providing diagnostics and then therapies with much higher specificities and thus fewer side effects than our current pharmacopoeia. Coupled with this transition is the potential for many far-reaching ethical conflicts, economic ramifications and class discrimination.

One of my areas of particular interest is neuropsych and the pharmacological, biotech and device advances that could lead to exponential human computing power. How would society change as technology unlocks the other 90% of our brain we purportedly don't currently use? What are the ethical ramifications? Will this be a
profit- driven cause? Will the military have access to the technology first, and if so how will that play into our current state of global affairs?

Resources to Recommend
I am based in NYC and work for a small specialty pharmaceutical firm. If you have similar interests, information to share and/or would like to have a lively conversation, please feel free to contact me.
Some sites worth looking at:
http://techforum.org.uk. The Forum for Technology, Citizens and the Market was set up by the RSA to tackle some of the problems associated with the introduction of new technologies into society.
www.cordis.lu. The European Commission's info service on European Research and Innovation activities.
www.acunu.org. The American Council for the United Nations University is a U.S. NGO that provides a point of contact between Americans and the primary research organ of the UN - the United Nations University (UNU) - which focuses intellectual resources from all nations on world problems.
http://gyre.org/. Tracks the breakthroughs and implications of the next military and technological revolutions.

Tom Esensten (commandcollege{at}verizon{dot}net)

Passions and Futures
My biggest passion is government's ability to anticipate and proactively address the future. The history of lag between problem recognition and response results in non-responsive government, bureaucratic systems and costly programs. I am also concerned about a loss of human spirit in the continuing rush toward technology. There is value in hard work, frustration, adversity and struggle. There is value in two cultures recognizing and accommodating differences. I am concerned that technology, as it has been presented, will erode opportunities for learning through doing and learning through failing.

Projects and Problems
As a consultant committed to serving the public sector, I work with clients to affect positive futures oriented change. I an under contract to run Command College, an executive training program for law enforcement managers, focusing on futures, leadership and strategic change. We constantly talk about the future and its implications for communities and public safety. Debates are energizing and, at times, controversial. Awareness is high - resources to creatively respond are limited.

Resources to Recommend
Visit CommandCollege.com and view the extensive collection of futures files posted by our participants. This section of the site should have open public access very soon.

Jonathan Finn-Gamino (j{underscore}finngamino{at}hotmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Technology is in a constant state of evolution, and I am interested in several fields, particularly nanotechnology. Because of the many technological advances that will be achieved, our present environment will seem simplistic and underdeveloped to the next generation. Great strides will be made in prolonging life, eradicating diseases, and altering innumerable aspects of everyday life. However, with the exponential growth of technology, its use/abuse, and the dependency it creates, many problems may also appear, i.e. depletion of the Earth’s resources, overpopulation, etc.

Projects and Problems
I’d like to see and work towards nanotechnology growing and expanding; a recently developed interest has allowed me to understand and anticipate its many possibilities and applications. I’d also like to see robotics, AI, and bioengineering develop and progress to assist in fields ranging from medicine and environmental science, to education and adaptation for individuals with disabilities. Finally, I believe it is important to promote and encourage technology in our society if we wish to successfully and more easily attain our goals.

Resources to Recommend
Newly found mental_floss (the magazine) has proved to be quite interesting.

Ronald B. Freshman (freshman{at}earthlink{dot}net)

Passions and Futures
My passion is to add meaning to each individual life by establishing massive small group conversations whose goal it is to create real human scale communities that are safe, sane and sustainable. By promoting Goal Oriented Open Dialogue (GOOD) Discussions, together we can build a better society. See http://www.goodD.org for my initial attempts at defining this project. The future depends on our spending sufficient time together to understand one another's point of view. Better understanding is critical if we are to have a true Democracy where our lives and our ideas can be fully explored.

My own future foresees work on the implementation a solar powered mag-lev transcontinental/world train project to connect our human scale communities and transport truck cargo via packets much like how data packets move on the Internet, only larger.

Projects and Problems
The following help is needed with the GOOD Discussion project:
1) Steering Committee to refine concepts
2) Task leaders to frame Topics Of Interest to assist participants in goal fulfillment
3) Support with technical issues of maintaining and promoting blog/web resources to record and share the open university knowledge base that small groups need to pave the path to real communities.

Resources to Recommend
1) Christopher Alexander's seminal trilogy on architecture: A Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Language and The Oregon Experiment. http://www.patternlanguage.com/index.htm
2) Fredrick C. Thayer's An End To Hierarchy, An End To Competition!
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-031599-173954/unrestricted/etd4.pdf
3) Doreen Nelson's The Center for City Building
http://www.csupomona.edu/~dnelson/doreen.html
4) David Haward Bain's Empire Express
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation_train

Jason Gao (jasongao{dot}root{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
What’s the next melding of society and technology? How will we achieve it? I fervently hope that, in the future, we will see a global collaboration on technology without any regard to borders or boundaries that ensures we have the best people working together on solving problems; the open source movement of today may very well be a precursor.

There’s always going to be continual acceleration of technologies that enable us to solve real problems that confront and boggle us today. While longer lasting batteries aren’t as head-turning as a space elevator, there is no doubt that those problems we tend to forget about will continue to be researched.

Projects and Problems
I’m currently designing and constructing an inexpensive, autonomous robot for exploring environments hazardous to humans. My goal is to make it inexpensive enough to allow widespread use by police departments and communities.

Resources to Recommend
Some of my favorites:
Slashdot: always great for keeping up on tech news.
SourceForge: arguably the best collection of open source software.
A Make Magazine subscription provides endless hours of fun.

Garry Golden, Futurist, The Futures Lab (Austin, TX) (garrygolden{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
For some time now, a fascination has been the future uses of parking lots and other untapped edge urban spaces (i.e. alleys, under bridges). These might evolve into temporary creative places in our cities, for retail, entertainment, shelter, private telephone/media booths, ecosystem restoration, etc. The other thing that fascinates me most nowadays is youth culture- and creative/authoring tools for teaching kids how to think, create, experiment, share, et al.

For affluent America I think confronting our mental health problems is our greatest challenge—I welcome the pop culture shift from Soccer Mom to Yoga Mom and hope it yields a more mellow, balanced (yet trendy and fun) way of living. In thirty years I think happiness will be a hot topic—and the western world will be looking to India’s chaotic but sustainable (and happy) approach of living in a highly diverse, tech saturated, bifurcated society full of opportunity and suffering/dissatisfaction. Having spent nearly two years in Nepal/India I think South Asian culture might show us a way to live in a world of constant (accelerating change) and uncertainty – but linked to a greater cosmos.

Priorities I see today are reducing the levels of poverty around the world; developing advanced urban mobility solutions; accelerating nanoscale science/research; unifying our existing energy systems around the universal standard of hydrogen (hydricity).


Projects and Problems
1) Exploring the future of human/technology interfaces through the eyes of progressive culture folk, musicians, artists, designers, etc.
2) I’ve been working with the Art Institute of Houston and the Wisconsin Union (UW-Madison) helping their staff understand recent shifts in parenting and millennial students: http://www.futures-lab.com/golden/millennial_generation.ppt

I would love to partner with folks involved in conversations on a range of subjects: design; energy (even fossil fuels!); biomimicry; synthetic biology; geoweb (digital mapmaking); emotive/affective computing; Spiral Dynamics; social software; display technologies; advanced body imaging systems (I am fascinated by the social change potential of color 3D images of babies in the womb and of our own bodies). I am also interested in people talking about the future of social roles and family archetypes- i.e. Grandmothers (what might we expect from Boomer grandmothers who do Pilates?); changing notion of childhood; new perspectives on love/arranged marriages, et al.)

Resources to Recommend
We Make Money Not Art; Worldchanging; TRN (Technology Research News) Magazine; ITConversations (Peter Schwartz- "Age of Participation"); and of course Amanda Congdon's RocketBoom (Check out: “Hummer or Hybrid” (9/9/05) “Bush Bush Revolution” 8/25/05)
Recent Book: Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter's Guide, Brian Fugere et. al., 2005
Designer: Francesca Rosella (w/ CuteCircuit; Interaction Ivrea (Italy))
My Work: The Futures Lab (Austin, TX) www.futures-lab.com
Graduate School: Studies of the Future (M.S.) – University of Houston
Affiliated Orgs: Association of Professional Futurists (APF)

Brenda Grimaldi (email c/o: JohnLobell{at}aol{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I am an opera and classical singer and voice teacher living near Sacramento. I will soon be relocating to New York.

 

 

W. Thomas Grové (lion {at} lotek{dot}org)

Passions and Futures
I am interested in ways to employ both entertainment and technology for the purposes of raising the level of consciousness in individuals and in societies.

Projects and Problems
As change accelerates, will the governing bodies of the world be able to keep up with the world around them? Will they be able to effectively cultivate those changes?

Resources to Recommend
http://www.lotek.org/ This page has links to my personal homepage and to many pages and organizations that are directly related to progressive world change.

Rodney Hill, Eppright Professorship, Institute for Applied Creativity, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (rhill{at}archone{dot}tamu{dot}edu)

Passions and Futures
I have been infatuated with the study of the future since I was in graduate school in Berkeley and another graduate student and myself taught the first independent study course on future studies there. I expect nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence, and biotechnologies to be the global engines of our economy for the next 50 years. Aging, health and retirement issues will cause chaos in many countries. The degradation of the environment will result in a global consortium of governments to enforce standards.

Projects and Problems
Education is a major problem. It is basically age-based and content-driven. We should be looking to develop open source options to education and global consortiums of universities. Most universities are producing knowledge workers and the need for now and the future is to develop knowledge creators. Since two-thirds of the jobs that will be available in the world in 20 years have not been invented yet, universities should be creating hybrid curriculums, the ability to correlate knowledge and create knowledge. Most students’ domains may not even exist in 20 years or will be morphed beyond recognition.

Resources to Recommend
World Future Society
American Creativity Association

Paul King

Passions and Futures
Neuroscience and the elucidation of the mechanisms of intelligence and complex adaptive systems. The world is decentralizing. The biggest global trend is the shift of intellectual capital and knowledge worker labor to India and China. After that is the interlinking of the world into more and more real-time communication systems that are layered to support greater self-expression, greater relevance, and greater accuracy.

Projects and Problems
Complex adaptive systems and mechanisms for machine learning, adaptive behavior. One day perhaps, machine consciousness.

Resources to Recommend
Personal webpage: www.pking.org
Communities to recommend:
Planetwork (www.planetwork.org)
Global Business Network (www.gbn.bom)
Long Now Foundation (www.longnow.org)
Tucson Conference on the Science of Consciousness (www.consciousness.arizona.edu)

Mark Lenhart (singularity {at }lenharts{dot}com)

Passions and Futures

Most fascinating subjects: Interface of mind to machine allowing the transmission of thought into/out of the brain, altering/reprogramming long term human memory at will, super-enhanced human cognition by machine/chemical/genetic enhancement, and silicon/quantum/optical computer (self) awareness/consciousness/morality. 30 Year World Projection: If pre-Singularity - exactly the same with a few more elegant technological solutions, and a few more deeply troubling problems. If post Singularity, fallen off the bell curve - either nonexistent or on the utopic or dystopic extreme.

On Continual Acceleration: Technological advancement will be an "S" curve, but what will be lying on the
other plateau is beyond comprehension. Which technologies plateau first won't matter once Science is Singularity-controlled - most technologies will be rapidly developed to their physical/logical maximum, and will be largely indistinguishable from each other, and/or incomprehensible to us.

Personal to Global Developmental Priorities: There is no difference - they are fractal-scale mirrors of each other. Ultimately we must use morally enlightened technological means to guide or reprogram our collective primate neuropsychological development to achieve personal (and thereby global) ethical/moral mastery. Failure to do so in an age of super-technological empowerment will lead to techno-tyrannical dystopias and/or self/global annihilation.

Projects and Problems
Projects - Intellectual: Revisiting J.D. Bernal's Devil (The third element of Bernal's 1929 book: The World, the Flesh & the Devil: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul, the 'Devil' signifying our self/other destructive impulse and how it will interfere with our post-human quest for virtual immortality.) Writing a thesis on the possibility of the ethical use of technology to enhance our collective individual moral compass and ethical self empowerment. And hopefully thereby avoiding global self-destruction in the transition to post-humanity and/or Singularity.

Projects - Business: Presently working on Neurapeutics, a biomedical technology startup. Personal Issues of Accelerating Change: What becomes of our ego, identity, and humanity with the exponential increase in intelligence, awareness, and knowledge. I.e., are you still you at IQ point 500? 1000? What happens to society if everyone's IQ is doubled or tripled?

Resources to Recommend
Bay Area Future Salon, SciTech Daily Review, The Internet Archive, Bug Me Not

Bud Levin (levinb{at}brcc{dot}edu)

Passions and Futures
Futures of criminal justice systems are my primary professional interest.
Where will the world, and you, ideally be in 30 years? I expect to be dead; with luck, the world will not be.

Projects and Problems
I am Department Head/Social Sciences, Blue Ridge Community College (http://www1.brcc.edu/levin) and
Commander, Policy and Planning Bureau at the Waynesboro Police Department
(http://www.waynesboro.va.us/policeindex.html).

Resources to Recommend
I am a member of the FBI Futures Working Group (http://www.fbi.gov/hq/td/fwg/workhome.htm), and recommend this community to others interested in the future of law enforcement.

Harold Linstone Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Systems Science PhD Program, Portland State University, and Editor-in-Chief (1969-present) of the international journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Passions and Futures
a. What subjects fascinate you most? (1) Technological forecasting, (2) the use of multiple perspectives to bridge the gap between analysis and the real world, (3) how to reduce the popular tendency to discount past and future, ie., ignore long term trends.
b. Do you expect continual acceleration of certain technologies?
Nanotechnology and biotechnology (but see #2b).
c. What are some opportunities and challenges you see? What do you see as personal, cultural, national, or global development priorities? The U.S. should halt its imperial overreach and live within its means, avoid burdening the next generations with an enormous debt and environmental degradation.

Projects and Problems
a. Existing or potential projects or unsolved problems you'd like to work on or are working on. The likelihood of continuation of the Kondratieff long wave cycle in the 21st century.
b. Business, social, and personal issues of accelerating change and technological development you find challenging, and want to discuss in the group. The resurgent political power of religions (Christianity, Islam) and their potential impact on the pace of technological change, particularly biotechnology.

Resources to Recommend
I recommend the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change which is published by Elsevier and which I edit. It deals with the methodology and practice of technology forecasting and assessment. A recent issue focused on Roadmapping and the upcoming October issue (72/8) will feature articles on the Internet future and the pace of change of technology (including comments by Advisory Board member John Smart).

John Lobell (JohnLobell{at}aol{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I received my architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and am currently a professor at Pratt Institute. Besides architecture, my interests include cultural theory, consciousness, art, Buddhism, mythology, information theory, post-humanism, quantum reality and quantum architecture. My focus is on the relationship of structures of consciousness to technology and the arts.

Projects and Problems
Timeship, a $300 million complex for the storage of 50,000 cryogenically preserved people traveling to the future. Consultant, Timeship.org
AlgoRhythms. Higher dimensional fabrication and information manipulation created by architect/ morphologist Haresh Lalvani. Consultant, morpho-genomics.com
Journal of Architecture and Computation. Coeditor with Michael Silver. CompArch.org
CinemaDiscourse. Movies as mythologically informed literature. Coeditor with John Ebert. CinemaDiscourse.com
Book in progress on architect Louis Kahn. http://johnlobell.com/Books/KahnBldgsBk.htm
Book in progress on Architecture and Structures of Consciousness.
http://johnlobell.com/publications/ArchStCnPrtJr.htm

Resources to Recommend
My web site: JohnLobell.com
Favorite sites: ArtsAndLettersDaily.com, KurzweilAI.net, Edge.org, Quantum-mind.org (Stuart Hameroff), qubit.org/people/david/ (David Deutsch)

Peter C. McCluskey

Passions and Futures
Idea futures markets will improve on democracy (see http://hanson.gmu.edu/futarchy.html); AI creates big risks (described by Eliezer Yudkowsky); molecular assemblers will increase productivity dramatically but risk setting off arms races. Mind uploading will allow us to increase our mental capacity and to make frequent backup copies of ourselves to protect against accidents. And once we've solved these problems, it may be time to relax and head off towards the Far Edge Party.

Projects and Problems
I have a small investment in a nano-scale imaging startup called Angstrovision, which is looking for a larger investor. Coaststead (http://seastead.org/coast/) looks like it might be an interesting project to effectively build more land, and as a first step towards creating better governments by homesteading new societies in the sea.

Resources to Recommend
Personal web page: http://www.bayesianinvestor.com
Organizations I support:
The Singularity Institute, Foresight Institute, EFF, The Methuselah Mouse Prize, Alcor

Cheryl Morris

Passions and Futures
In one year, Mars Rovers, Mars Express, Cassini-Huygens, and the Genesis Project have extended knowledge of our solar system-and raised more questions. At the smallest scale, new findings and developments at the quantum level and in nanotechnology are propelling technological advances.

Most important to me is what we do with knowledge gained from that science and technology.

Projects and Problems
As a doctoral student in Information Science, my current concerns are twofold: the erosion of privacy with the offshoring of personal data and how to effect enforcement of national laws in an interconnected world and still permit citizens their freedom.

Michael Olson

Passions and Futures
My general interest is in systems thinking related to the evolution of man as influenced by his use of tools. The tools of course are our technological skills that continue to evolve at an accelerating pace - as discussed by Ray Kurzweil and numerous others. The key technologies to watch in my mind are the usual suspects, 1) computing/ storage/ graphics/ power, 2) biotechnology and 3) nanotechnology. The latter drives both of the former going forward.

The most influential book that I often recall is The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski as an indicator of our species' imperative to continue to evolve. The biggest challenge will be to allow the fecundity of Man to be expressed in useful ways that may well see the divergence of the species into various philosophies depending upon how various like-minded individuals see the "future of man". Some will see the convergence of man and machine as indicated by the embedding of electromechanical technology to both restore lost biological function as well as to improve our abilities such as adding exoskeletons and vision augmentation. Some will see the genetic perfection as perhaps the most "natural evolution" that follows from man's long history of husbandry - in this case, upon ourselves. And some will see any tampering as "against nature" that has through the eons created the variability in our species to generate a robust gene pool to help aid survivability. In the next 30 years these trends will begin to seriously emerge, I believe, and the result is likely to create a competition of values.

Steve Omohundro (om{at}selfawaresystems{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I believe that this is a critical time in the history of humanity and the universe. We are fast approaching a dramatic change in the nature of life based on nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Actions we take today will determine whether our human values and dreams will flourish or wither in this transition. A new and deeper understanding of the underlying technologies, societal structures, and human values is critically needed. We are only just beginning to understand the evolutionary game theory behind stable cooperative systems. If the future we are creating is to be one that we wish to live in, we must work toward deeper understanding now.

Projects and Problems
My company, Self-Aware Systems, is developing a new kind of intelligent technology that learns from its own behavior and improves itself. Most of my effort is devoted to developing the underlying software and mathematical principles. Lately, though, I've been devoting more time to better understanding and designing social contexts that will ensure that this kind of software enhances human values rather than diminishing them.

Resources To Recommend
Webpage: http://www.selfawaresystems.com

Frank Paynter

Passions and Futures
I have a passion for truth. For three hundred years, euro-culture advanced an understanding of the universe in a quest for foundational truth. Then about thirty years ago, there was a retreat from the commitment to shaping a universal understanding in favor of a darker solipsistic postmodernism. While this cultural cul de sac provides fuel for its own immolation, it has also encouraged the growth of bizarre belief structures and fundamentalisms. Ideally, the next thirty years will be spent recovering lost ground and committing to reinvestment in science, knowledge and the growth of respect for universal education. I look for an emerging global culture with broad advances in international law, health and wellness, food and shelter for the billions, and equal opportunities for creativity and interpersonal cultural enrichment.

Projects and Problems
The problem of combustion-based energy haunts us. Discarding substitutes like coal gasification, ethanol, and bio-diesel in favor of bio-electric, wind and solar will be necessary if we want to halt global warming in time. Unfortunately, combustion alternatives are the low-hanging fruit economically as we shift from the petroleum culture. Democracy is necessary to enforce the mandate world-wide against the destruction of combustion based energy. Chemical based agriculture seems to harm as much as it provides sustenance. Closed system organic approaches that recycle bio-wastes will be needed on a broad scale to restore soil that has been sterilized by herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. The internet promises communication and cultural integration for all. Protecting it as a commons and developing it according to standards that will prevent it from collapsing under its own weight is a challenge constantly before us.

Resources to Recommend
http://sandhill.typepad.com/, http://www.rageboy.com/blogger.html
http://idcommons.net/principles.html, http://www.eff.org/

Richard Probst (rprobst{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Why do people organize themselves into groups? I believe super-organisms are real, not metaphorical. Confusingly, unlike individual organisms, super-organisms do not properly nest, they overlap (my country is one kind of super-organism, my company is another, and my family is yet another, but none of them contains the others). I also believe memes are real. The view of memes as “viruses of the mind” is terribly near-sighted. With vision correction, memes can be seen as the inheritable information that creates super-organisms. Confusingly, memes are inherited horizontally, but so were genes in earlier phases of life. If the singularity occurs, it won’t be a single machine suddenly becoming smarter than any human, it will instead be groups of super-smart machines and people, organized by sets of memes, becoming dramatically superior super-organisms and out-competing the rest. This is not necessarily a more comforting thought if you were worried about the place of humanity in a post-singularity future, since many memes are very bad for individual organisms – just ask a suicide bomber, or less dramatically, an exploited worker. I prefer memes consistent with the meme about the inherent worth of every person. Will those memes survive the singularity? Any reason why not?

Projects and Problems
My vocation is working to make a large company more nimble and thus more successful, thereby increasing the Gross World Product. My avocation is reading, thinking, and talking to people about where this train we’re on is headed. An interesting project would be to articulate convincingly the view of social entities not as collections of creatures, but instead as creatures themselves. This is clearly not an idea whose time has come; in fact, it’s probably enough ahead of its time to still sound somewhat crazy.

Resources to Recommend
Anything by Daniel Dennett, but especially Consciousness Explained and Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness. Consider how Dennett's Multiple Drafts Model can be generalized to cover creating drafts in other brains. Electric Meme by Robert Aunger. Darwin Among the Machines by George Dyson. Metaman by Gregory Stock. Bionomics by Michael Rothschild. Seven Clues to the Origin of Life by A.G Cairns-Smith – did replicators jump substrates once before? For scary insight into the memes that drive us to war, read Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War, by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Ryan Rawson (ryanobjc{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Going in to our third year of ACC (Accelerating Change Conference), long term trends start to appear, and fads come and go. Here are my current passions and concerns:
- Long Term Energy Security - Still a major concern. The industrial and post-industrial world requires large amounts of energy. What technology can solve this for us?
- Environmental issues - Why isn't this a given in policy circles?
- Social Justice & World Peace - Still not solved. The future should be for everyone.
- Globalization - How do you make yourself relevant in the global marketplace? How do you keep your society competitive?
- Personal Issues - How do you stay flexible in the face of change? How do you manage multiple competing commitments?
- Software - Most places can barely complete projects, let alone on time, on budget and to specs with a minimum of bugs. How do we take software programming from the art it is to an engineering discipline? What computer science tools can leap us forward, how can we approach the problem in a fundamentally new way?

Projects and Problems
I have two areas of projects. First is in the personal space - how do I stay on top of everything??How do I plan for the future, while being mindful of the present? Information load is both essential and important, but also overwhelming without the ability to process and handle it. Secondly I am working on large scale supply chain optimization projects at work. How do you update, construct and solve large optimization problems as quickly as possible? Techniques include distributed computing, database technology, math optimization and related algorithms. Touching on software engineering again, what kinds of alternate computer science techniques and technology can I use to give myself a critical competitive advantage???

Resources to Recommend
Books: Getting Things Done by David Allen. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff.
Software: Mac OS X, Entourage 2004, Safari 2.0 RSS Feed integration.
Other: Paper and pen - still extremely powerful, freeform note and graphics technology that is portable, requires no power, and works everywhere for all time. With a good acid-free notebook, the results last virtually forever.

Herwig Rollett, Head of Research Cooperation, Know-Center (wig{at}acm{dot}org)

Passions and Futures
The topics most dear to my heart concern fundamental changes in the way we work, think, and create the future (e.g. better integration of personal, organizational, and regional knowledge management; of thinking support tools, decision making processes, and transdisciplinarity; of futures studies, knowledge management, and strategic management). We need better ways to cope with complexity, both for the long-term survival of humanity and for short-term business reasons. In particular, instead of always just reducing complexity when feeling overwhelmed, we have to increase our capacity for dealing with (ever more) complexity. I strongly believe in the value of different perspectives, and in the value of integrating these perspectives without losing important distinctions in the process.

Projects and Problems
My core activity is connecting the dots (needs, ideas, people, resources) - integrating strands of research/ business trends generally perceived as unconnected, and then launching projects to capitalize on that. As Head of Research Cooperation at the Know-Center (http://www.know-center.at/), I am responsible for research-oriented business development, establishing international strategic partnerships, aligning projects with overall business strategy, project planning and financing. I am in a position to initiate joint research projects and am always happy to discuss ideas and funding strategies. I am also co-founder of Knowledge Region Styria, a non-profit initiative fostering regional development. Further opportunities for collaboration? You tell me!

Resources to Recommend
Abstracting services, e.g. Future Survey (http://www.wfs.org/fsurv.htm).
Visualization services, e.g. Newsmap (http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/index.cfm).
Tools for personal knowledge management, e.g. PersonalBrain (http://www.thebrain.com/products/personalbrain/default.html).
RSS aggregators, e.g. Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/).
And every day something a little out of your comfort zone.

Lee Shupp, VP Business Strategy, Cheskin (lshupp{at}cheskin{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
What subjects fascinate you most? Technology and culture.
Where will the world, and you, ideally be in 30 years? Healthy, harmonious, hopeful, collaborative, turning dreams into reality (both the world and myself).
Do you expect continual acceleration of certain technologies? Yes. Which? All that continue to attract development attention.
What do you see as personal, cultural, national, or global development priorities?
Personal - learning, growing, reaching, attaining, adventuring, becoming
Cultural - learning how to better collaborate with the rest of the world
National - return of reason and responsibility as core tenets of policy and thinking
Global - environmental, economic, political

Projects and Problems
1. Many technologies offer both huge hope and deep peril. How do we balance these?
2. Technology changes much faster than culture. How do we absorb rapid technological change?

Resources to Recommend
APF - Association of Professional Futurists

Chris Smith, Project Manager, Artificial Development (chris{dot}smith {at} ad{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Some of my favorite subjects include interactivity, cognitive systems, augmentation, and emerging technologies. I would like to see the creative and responsible development of molecular nanotechnologies, and the application of these and other new technologies towards increasing our collective knowledge.

Projects and Problems
My primary project is working on CCortex, a biologically realistic simulation of the human brain, at Artificial Development (http://ad.com). Another project I'm involved with is Kidz Magazine (http://kidzmagazine.com), an international children's publication written entirely by K-8 students.

Resources to Recommend
My personal site is Accelerating Technology (http://acceleratingtechnology.com), which includes news and resources on accelerating change, nanotech, cognitive systems, and many related subjects.

Keith Spencer, Astrophysics Student, UC Santa Cruz (keith.spencer{at}gmail{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I am excited to see the fusion of nanotechnology, bioengineering and miniaturization that will take place in the next hundred years. As technology accelerates, I think we will start to see human culture grow more diverse socially, theologically and politically. Americans in particular have an apathy or phobia towards some emerging technologies such as government-funded spaceflight, nuclear power, stem cell research and other bio- and nano- tech ventures, and unless we are able to overcome these biases we will see the United States begin to fall behind technologically. I believe fission research and nuclear power, in particular, must become more societally acceptable if humanity wishes to make it through the end of the petroleum era without an energy-spurred technological depression.

Projects and Problems
As a child, I remember thinking it incomprehensible that we would not be conversing with computers by the year 2000. Why has true AI not yet emerged? Computer processing power and storage space continue to increase exponentially, but we have yet to see much development towards artifical intelligence. Is this really an issue of computer power? I am inclined to believe that the human race has the ability to create true AI, yet it has changed from a hardware problem to a programming problem. Considering the global benefits AI would reap upon humanity (including the possibility of technological singularity), I think it's about time we saw computer scientists, engineers and cognitive scientists from across the globe band together to work towards this common goal.

Resources to Recommend
I am a sharp advocate of the Human Cognome Project (http://www.brainatlas.org/) and keep updated regularly on the latest breakthroughs from Gravity Probe B (http://einstein.stanford.edu/). In addition, I am an amateur filmmaker, graphic artist, musician and freelance writer. I am also a Notepad-only elitist web designer. Keep updated on the exploits of my robot-pop band Ctrl+Alt+Die (www.ctrlaltdie.com) and my upcoming graphic novel at www.romanceorscience.com.

Sri Sridharan (sri{at}infinisri{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
In the last 100 years, much of technology has been spawned to serve the cause of war - aircraft, radar, laser, even the Internet. Now the tide is turning - initiatives like Google, Blogger, MeetUp, CraigsList, Freecycle and Friendster are serving to bring people together, to make information open and transparent. Open source projects have taken firm hold. Examples like Linux, Apache, Python, Firefox are changing not only how software is developed, the economics of software development and distribution, but even how governments and corporations are adopting such open source technologies. New technologies for promoting freedom, cooperation, human dignity, understanding and mutual trust are needed. Research in Information Technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology needs the guiding hand of humanity striving for peace and harmony. TIP plans to incubate a series of research initiatives that would spawn a new generation of technologies to serve our mutual cause. Eventually envision entrepreneurship and special investment funds for a broad range of technology initiatives for peace.

Projects and Problems
When faced with rapid and seemingly insurmountable change – like a tidal wave hitting the shore – like industrialization thirty years ago or globalization two decades ago or technologically complex change that we are witnessing now with convergence - we typically fall into three types of responses. Despair – its consequence is inability to change – letting the world around us change without us changing. Eager adaptation – be the ones to change rapidly, striving to gain technical mastery so we may not only survive but thrive with the change. Finally, we can guide the change – this thrusts us into leadership. But no one can turn a tidal wave, I hear a wail. I am speaking of a guiding force to the change – to rouse the collective to comprehend potential scenarios and make some appropriate choices with the needs of humanity in mind. I am interested in a collective project to steer the course of technology to serve the needs of all mankind, thus paving the way for peace and prosperity everywhere, soon.

Resources to Recommend
Technology Initiatives for Peace: TIP webpage is at http://www.infinisri.com/TIP
Read Buckminster Fuller on Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science http://www.bfi.org/designsc.htm
Visit the DARPA website to see how they guide technology development with their roadmaps and funding http://www.darpa.mil/DARPAtech2004/baa.html
A recently made streaming video by Italian Telecomm won the Epica award for creative achievement. http://www.epica-awards.com/assets/epica/2004/winners/film/flv/11071.htm

Phil Steele, Perfect Content, San Diego, CA

Passions and Futures
My interests include: life extension, smart drugs; philosophy, particularly objectivism; neurobiology (what is hard-wired in us, and what is not?); the arts; the singularity theory; and human evolution (past and future). In the technological realm I ponder the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence: What will be the legal status and responsibilities of AI's as they emerge, and how do we demarcate their passage from "childhood" to "adult" legal status? How do we motivate and enforce responsible behavior in AI's?

Projects and Problems
When I’m not earning my daily bread doing website optimization or technical writing, I’m plotting a science fiction novel involving AI and neurochemistry, and working on a book documenting people’s experiences at the Burning Man festival. I enjoy participating socially with ASF members and local futurist groups. I’m wondering how to apply my professional skills (predominantly website usability and writing/editing/copywriting) to futurist projects. I would welcome opportunities to consult in these areas.

Resources to Recommend
My business web site: (http://www.perfect-content.com/).

Lisa Tansey (lisaware {at} aol{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I'm fascinated by politics, social sciences, biotechnology, biology, chemistry. How people interact with each other. Also languages, current events, and my friends. In thirty years I'd hope to see a stable, healthy, adequately fed, entertained, happy, fulfilled world population working together as a thoughtful long-term-oriented community - & me as one of those members maybe playing some music & doing a bit of database design. With regard to acceleration, I expect the ubiquitousness of computing and networking to accelerate, eventually making us all like one giant brain of neurons spanning the surface of the planet. :) If only we all spoke the same language! Well, so, probably there will be acceleration of quality/capability of language translation software - spoken and written. Probably acceleration of quality/capability of spoken word interfaces and maybe hand gesture as well - we can all speak sign language with our computers so it's not too noisy, but also no one has to type.

The biggest challenge today seems to be how to overcome or eliminate the Lucifer Principle with the Muslim extremists needing to hate the West and other factional hatreds among humans. (My brother's favorite remedy is liberal application of amnesia gas to troubled areas.) Then there's the whole population control challenge. And the energy shortage challenge. Priorities I see are getting people to find common ground & building on it. Time for the next step up the ladder of civilization - whatever that step is! Personal priority - making sure I'm not eating cat food to survive when I'm an old lady!

Projects and Problems
Promoting the concepts in The Bell Curve - we are not all created equal, but need some kind of level-ish playing field. How much wealth should parents be able to leave their children versus putting it back into the commons for everyone to try to win/use? What processes can we agree on for determining in context, for example, the economic value of a human life when we need to do so? How can we get to better processes and formulas for tough choices that a great majority of us can agree on? How to and how much to strive to even out economic disparities among nations? We need to figure out how to fairly pay for new drug development. How to calculate, then educate juries as to what are reasonable award amounts for damages. How to make government more accountable. How to break government up into pieces that can be realistically managed well - our government seems to be too big to be run well. How to make elections more fair - money should have some influence, but not undue influence.

Resources to Recommend
Still too busy with other things to set up a web page - pretty sad, eh? I belong to two drum groups - SuperSonicSambaSchool (http://sssamba.org/index.php) and Diaspora (http://members.cox.net/goro/diaspora01.htm) and still dance sometimes with Moreton Bay Fig Morris (http://www.moretonbayfig.org/), second VP for the International Dance Association of San Diego County (http://www.idasdc.org). I also belong to the San Diego World Affairs Council (http://www.sdwac.com/) (Good for following international politics), Sister Cities International (http://www.sister-cities.org/) a really great organization helping build a global community one city at a time, Sifter (http://www.sifter.org/) (athiests club), San Diego Future Salon (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sdfuturists/), Project Management Institute (http://www.pmi.org) San Diego Chapter.

Allen G. Taylor, Editor, IEEE BEEEP

Passions and Futures
Subjects that fascinate me include: evolutionary computation, life extension, space travel, preserving Earth's environment, biologically-based nanotechnology, the opportunities that change brings, and life itself. Ideally in 30 years I will be in a place I can't even imagine now. I expect certain technologies to continue accelerating for at least another decade.

Projects and Problems
I am working on the design of communication networks that are resistent to intelligent and deliberate attack. I am open to collaboration.

Resources to Recommend
Personal Web pages: www.DatabaseCentral.Info, www.ComputerPower.Biz, www.TaylorTwinPictures.com
Groups: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Oregon Section;
National Space Society; Oregon L5 Society
Web Resources: www.KurzweilAI.net, www.longevitymeme.com

Hans van Rietschote (hvrietsc {at} myrealbox{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
What fascinates me is the ability to be connected all the time, everywhere, to everyone and everything I want to be connected to at any given time. My cell phone gives me the opportunity to talk to anyone. My ultra-portable lap/palm/button-top gives me access to everything digital: all my pictures, movies, emails, files and the whole internet. The challenge will be to filter all this stuff so I can find what I want to look at it immediately, so I don't get bombarded with spam, and I don't get contacted by people or bots that I don't want to be contacted by. The challenge will be flexible privacy in a digital world and at the same time the ability "record" everything I do digitally.

Projects and Problems
Given my job in the CTO organization of Veritas I am interested in working on topics such as: can I have immediate access to all my data by carrying around something the size of a matchbook or smaller. Another topic of interest how do I find something I am looking for. I was going to write "how to organize everything" but I think we will not be able to organize all the bits we generate, so there has to be a better way...

Peter Voss, Founder, Adaptive AI Inc., Marina Del Rey, CA (peter{at}optimal{dot}org)

Passions and Futures
My interests include: Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), philosophy, ethics, futurism, technology, psychology, as well as radical life-extension including calorie restriction (CRON) and cryonics. Indications are that in less than 10 years we'll hit the singularity, and who knows what things will be like... AGI is the key: It will happen before full-blown nanotech, bioengineering, and before we figure out how to stop ageing – AGI will make these other advances possible.

Projects and Problems
Adaptive AI (a2i2) is building an AGI system: http://adaptiveai.com/ . We are always looking for additional team members & collaborators. Our AGI engine is based on a specific theoretical model of high-level intelligence developed over the past decade. Our immediate goal is the creation of a fully functional, proof-of-concept prototype of all the foundational elements of General Intelligence. We currently have seven full-time members on our team, who in a short period of time have created a significant framework of core functionality and tools for our AGI engine. For more information about our project, see our Research and Company page.

Resources to Recommend
Peter Voss: http://www.optimal.org/peter/peter.htm
Longevity: CRON - Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition

Kennita Watson, Software QA Engineer

Passions and Futures
What subjects fascinate you most? Space travel and colonization. The meeting of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and psychology (for example, as they could be applied for rehabilitation of criminals or for reacclimatization of reanimated cryonics patients). Biomedical technology (neural regeneration and repair).
Where will the world, and you, be in the next 30 years? Most of the world, particularly the third world, may be held to approximately its present state by political inertia and the slow diffusion of ideas across linguistic, cultural, and ideological boundaries. For those in developed countries, death from aging and disease will be greatly reduced, as will unplanned procreation. Other than that, I really don't know, which is part of the point.

Do you expect continual acceleration of technology? Yes, although I don't know what that will look like.
What are the risks and opportunities? Risks include that technology will be used for violence and destruction, or that it will push humans out of their accustomed niches without giving them time to adapt to new ones. Opportunities include that it will be used to free up the creative energy of billions who are currently unable to use it effectively due to poverty and disease. What should be our development priorities? A general priority, not connected to any particular technology, should be safety. Many technologies are in the works or on the horizon that have the potential to get out of control, or to be purposely developed and used, to the detriment of millions or even billions.

Projects and Problems
I'm interested in AI-assisted psychology and education. Think The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. I have long thought that grades (in both senses) should be done away with in schools; now I think that schools themselves (as we have come to know them) should be done away with. I'd like to hear others' views of how those brought up in the 20th century will deal with an economy turned topsy-turvy by coming developments, and how our social structure will integrate people who live much longer and healthier life spans. Will people retire much later? Much earlier? Not at all? Will they even have to (or be able to) work as we know it?

Resources to Recommend
Personal web page: http://www.kennita.com. Groups you are affiliated with or promote: Foresight Institute, Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Extropy Institute, Libertarian Party. Other info sources you use and recommend: The only one that comes immediately to mind at 5 AM is http://www.feelinggood.com, particularly the Tutorials section.

Timothy Wilken, MD, Synergic Scientist (Timothy.Wilken{at}SynEARTH{dot}net)

Passions and Futures
I believe that we must work together. This means we must become synergic humans. Synergy literally means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation— laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately. I am committed to a world where I win, you win, others win and the Earth wins. Win-Win-Win-Win.

I believe there are three types of humans to be found in our present world. Which type you are depends on what you believe about how the world works. Adversaries believe there is not enough for everyone and only the physically strong will survive. They believe humans are coercively dependent on others, and they best understand the language of force. Neutralists believe there is enough for everyone, if only you work hard enough and take care of yourself. They believe humans are financially in-dependent and should be self-sufficient unless they are too lazy or defective. They best understand the language of money. And, finally a new type of human is emerging. Synergists believe there is enough for everyone, but only if we work together and act responsibly. They believe humans are inter-dependent and can only obtain sufficiency by working together as community. Synergists best understand the language of love.

To be successful in our present world, the synergist must understand all three languages and know when to use them. This is the essential challenge for synergists: Can we work together and act responsibly in time to save ourselves on this planet? ... My answer is: "Only by helping each other."

Projects and Problems
Currently, my primary focus is on understanding human intelligence. I know that the search to understand and accurately model human intelligence may represent the critical knowing for our species. With this knowing, every human has the potential to elevate their thinking to the level of genius. With this knowing, the majority of mental illnesses can be better understood and controlled. With this knowing, we can create thinking machines in short order, and set them to helping us solve our most pressing problems. And, with this knowing, we can put away anger, fear and conflict, and begin building a world filled with love, trust and co-Operation.

Human intelligence research reveals that whenever humans experience conflict they lose access to their full intelligence. When humans are confronted with conflict, their mind-brains shift to a very primitive and highly reactive way of thinking called the survive mode. The survive mode evolved in the jungle to insure physical survival. Its primary skills are fighting and fleeing. Its extremes are rage and terror. All humans thinking in the survive mode will find their intelligence to be severely limited. Since human efficiency and productivity are derivatives of human intelligence, conflict is to organizations as friction is to machinery.

I know it is possible to build a "system of human organization that creates a conflict-free environment for decision making and action implementation". I am seeking a co-Laborative opportunity where I can work with like minded individuals to install such an environment in a leading edge organization.

Resources to Recommend
1. Synergic Websites: SynEARTH, CommUnity of Minds, Future Positive, and The Time-Binding Trust
2. Applied Synergic Science: ORTEGRITY, GIFTegrity, and BIAS systems
3. My synergic works: UnCommon Sense, UnCommon Science, Order, A Synergic Future, Crisis: Danger & Opportunity, and The Unified Stress Concept
4. Classic Synergic Science: N. Arthur Coulter's Human Synergetics, 1976/2002; Edward Haskell's Full Circle: The Moral Force of Unified Science, 1972; Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, 1975; and Peter Corning's Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind, 2003

William Wiser(william{at}wiserlife{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
I am most interested in health and long life. I am also interested in technology and politics that influence length and quality of life. Ideally in 30 years the world will be a stable and peaceful place where people can pursue whatever dreams move them. Ideally I will be young and retired and off on some new fun adventure. I expect technology in general to continue to accelerate chronologically but subjectively change slowly. Particular technologies I expect to ebb and flow in ways I can’t predict 30 years out. The main opportunities and challenges I see are paying attention, trying to be involved in interesting projects and enjoying the ride. The priorities I see are taking care of people, wasting less time and avoiding major catastrophes.

Projects and Problems
Right now I am working on finding good doctors, health testing, insurances, etc. After that perhaps supplements, organizing anti-aging ideas and methods, etc. After two decades of exploring life extension I want to focus on basics, understanding and making changes to my body, building good scientific and social models, etc. I want to collaborate a lot while organizing and applying information about health and longevity. I would like to find more people to collaborate with in studying health. For this conference I will probably focus on AI, since it is the theme of the conference and the potentially dramatic technology I know least about.

Resources to Recommend
I like Immortality Institute (http://imminst.org) and Foresight Institute (http://foresight.org) especially. Aubrey de Gray’s work interests me. There are many great groups but I think there will be many other pointers to them so I will not repeat them here.

Janet Staker Woerner, Principal and Founder, Converging Communications, LLC; Adjunct Professor , Illinois Institute of Technology, Dept of Social Sciences; Adjunct Professor, New York Institute of Technology, MBA Distance Program (jswoener{at}convergingcomm{dot}com)

Passions and Futures
Subject areas that intrigue me are systems thinking, life-long learning, multi-disciplinary approach to education, reengineering of business education, emerging technologies and societal implications, role of the public engagement in emerging technologies.

Projects and Problems
Currently I am teaching at Illinois Institute of Technology the following two courses: a multi disciplinary course that deals with Emerging Technologies - Perception and Reality and a sociology course that deals with Emerging Technologies and Societal Implications. Other areas of interest are virtual education, virtual team organization & development, and emerging technologies used in organization development & psychology.

Resources to Recommend
Books: Collapse by Jared Diamond, University Inc., by Jennifer Washburn; No Place to Hide, by Robert O'Harrow

Thanks to everyone who shared their insights with the community.

 

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