Today I attended the Singularity Summit in San Francisco. The opportunity to hear Temple Grandin, Stephen Pinker, and Daniel Kahneman was irrestible. We’re halfway through and I am disappointed.
Temple Grandin was great but I had read and heard a much of her message before. Traditional learning styles are bunk except for autistic people who do have their own style. They are totally visual. I told Temple I had read Animals Make Us Human and that my dog thanks her for it.
Four Thiele fellows were clearly overachievers but unbelievably young. A young woman who entered MIT at age 14 was investigating ways to eradicate death as if it were just another disease. I didn’t understand what the others were talking about.
An advocate for the Center for Applied Rationality bemoaned humans’ overreliance on the emotional brain. Her colleagues claim I misunderstood her, that she’s calling for balance; that’s not what I heard. I am advocating the return of emotion to the workplace and this woman was calling for stamping is out.
An advocate for superhuman AI told us it is the future but never explained what it was.
The co-founder of 23 and Me described a little of her new venture Personal Genomics, but since the product is in development, she didn’t tell us much.
Stephen Pinker read pages from Angels of our Better Nature for half an hour. Pity I already read the book.
Ray Kurzweil, recipient of 19 honorary doctorates, told the old Singularity story. In case you missed it, growth of communications technology, deflation of Moore’s Law. These lead to the Law of Accelerating Change. Eventually machines will outsmart us.
- New book: How to Create a Mind
- You could read Wikipedia, it would take about three years, and Wikipedia would have doubled.
- Kurzweil has been thinking about how the brain works. Pattern recognition.
- Be careful who you hang out with. You are what you think.
- Life extension is a funny field, for it assumes nothing is going to change. You can overcome most diseases.
- Plan A is to live forever. Also Plan B. And C. Plan D is cryonics.
This is a lackluster event. Scant vision of the future.