DEATH and TAXES are said to be the only things we can be certain of in life. Not anymore. Come and find out why.
• How can you prepare for the future workplace?
• Does living for hundreds of years excite you or frighten you?
• Do you want to influence the rapid changes to our world?
• How can you prepare your children for a rapidly evolving society?
• Change in education, healthcare and work is upon us, are you ready?
• Can you discern the difference between fashionable trends and real change?
Dr. Aubrey de Greyis a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively.
Natasha Vita-More is a media designer and futurist, and a prominent proponent of ethical means for achieving human enhancement. She has spoken worldwide on futurism and art for two decades. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Technology, University of Plymouth where she is working on the radical transformations of human life that may come from the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science (NBIC).
Stelarc is a performance artist who has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body. He has made three films of the inside of his body. Between 1976-1988 he completed 25 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body.
Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation will be speaking at the next Humanity+ Summit @Melbourne (to be held on 4-6 May 2012). http://sens.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey_de_Grey De Grey’s research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can thwart the aging process. He works on the development of what he calls “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS), a tissue-repair strategy intended to rejuvenate the human body and allow an indefinite lifespan. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.
Prof. Dr. Hugo de Garis
Abstract – Nanotech and Femtotech
Everyone has heard of nanotech. Nano means a billionth. Nanotech is short for nanometer scale technology, i.e. molecular scale engineering, or mechanical chemistry, where molecular sized robots could pick up a single atom and put it anywhere to build molecular machines, e.g. nanosized computers that could be programmed to detect viruses or cancer cells and kill them, hence ridding humanity of disease, or to repair aging cells, hence creating immortality. Progress is being made monthly in nanotech. This leads to the question, “what’s next?” Nature provides no substance at the picometer scale, so the next step must be femtotech (i.e. femtometer scale technology). A femtometer is a million times smaller than a nanometer, i.e. the scale of quarks and nuclei. I am now researching the possibility of using elementary particle physics, nuclear physics, topological quantum field theory, etc to try to find phenomena in physics that might serve as the basis for a femtotech, which if successful would outperform nanotech by a factor or a trillion trillion. Artilects (artificial intellects, i.e. massively intelligent machines) based on femtotech would be truly godlike, making the notion of a universe designing and building deity much more scientifically respectable.
See my article “Fermitech : Searching for Phenomena in Physics That May Serve as Bases for a Femtometer Scale Technology”
Quantum computers are 2expN times more powerful than classical computers (where N is the number of (qu)bits in the quantum register.) Once they become scalable and robust, our century’s science and technology will never be the same, because quantum computers will be able to simulate nature, which is quantum based. Today’s quantum computers, have N = 8 or so, which is useless. The biggest problem is the enormous fragility of the qubits. For example, if you store a bit of information on the spin of an electron, then the slightest interaction of that electron with a local particle or field will disturb it and destroy the information. Topological quantum computing introduces a new idea by suggesting that qubits can be stored using topological states of matter, which is a hot research topic in “condensed matter physics” nowadays. There is a phenomenon called the “fractional quantum Hall effect”, which is explained theoretically using topological quantum fields which allow information to be stored topologically, and hence robustly, allowing quantum computers to scale up. A race is on to find so called “anyons” which have these properties. Anyon chips have been proposed that would compute quantum mechanically using anyons. Nobel Prizes would then be won.
The teaching of TQC in computer science departments will mean that CS will become much more math and physics based, revolutionizing the subject, e.g. see my article “Topological Quantum Computing ” The “TQC Shock Wave”, and Its Impact on University Computer Science Teaching”
There are many AI projects going on all over the world. Which ones should we pay attention to? It depends on what we’re looking for. In my case, I’m looking for AI projects that have the potential for open-ended adaptation, as well as human-like behaviour and knowledge.
I believe that the world should not have to be the way that it is and that we have to do better. I envision a world where robots can do the jobs that people should not have to do, that are ready to provide a helping hand, and that are able to work in areas we often dare not even consider.
In this regard, I look for AI projects that have non-narrow, evolutionary and human-like embodiment characteristics. I will discuss these characteristics and how they relate to well known projects such as Blue Brain, China Brain, OpenCog, Cyc, and NELL, as well as my own work.
DNA sequencing has been one of the major advances in science over the last 30 years. It has increased our knowledge and understanding about the behaviour of the building blocks of life and why some people develop certain diseases and other do not. This has given medical researchers and the medical profession the ability to treat diseases. The Human Genome Project to sequence the human genome cost $3 billion. High throughput sequencing has reduced this cost substantially. However, the cost to sequence the genome to change healthcare practice on a large scale remains high. One technique that is being developed, the DNA transistor, offers the real prospect of reducing the cost of sequencing to $1,000 for an individual. Dr Stefan Harrer, of IBM’s Systems Biology and Functional Genomics Group, will discuss his research in the development of a DNA transistor. The DNA nanopore sequencing technique has the advantage of being a real-time single molecule DNA sequencing method with little to no sample preparation and inherently low cost. Hear Dr Harrer describe how he and his team are addressing the challenges of developing this next-generation sequencing technology.
Stefan Harrer recieved the B.Sc., Diploma, and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science with special focus on medical engineering, nanotechnology and nanoelectronics from the Technical University of Munich.
At first reading, these concepts sound far-fetched and somewhat ‘out of this world’. But as rationalists, we have an obligation to keep an open mind to new ideas and to evaluate them on their merits. Are these ideas just wacky or are they the extrapolation of a particular line of scientific research? And if the latter, what moral implications are there?
The Rationalist Society is in favour of science and evidence, as opposed to superstition and bigotry. When Transhumanism hits the general public, what sort of moral support and moral opposition might be encountered? If it looks as though the Singularity is really about to happen, what sort of public mood is likely to be encountered?
This discussion will raise issues of rational evaluation of Transhumanism and the Technological Singularity, and the implications for those in the H+ and Singularity ‘communities of interest’ if these ideas really hit the public consciousness.