- AGI, obviously … creating robots and virtual-world robots that move toward human-level general intelligence
- Growing brains in a vat … we can think of this as a different approach to AGI, using a wet medium … extend the recent work on micro-brains by adding scaffolding and sensors, etc. etc.
- I’m sure you won’t use this one, but hey — Finding the biological roots of psychic phenomena via invasive animal studies on precogitive animals. The data strongly suggests such phenomena are real, but the classic “parapsychology” research paradigms aren’t gonna get to the heart of the matter…
- Cold fusion. It seems to almost surely work, but it’s finicky. Way more $ should be going into figuring out what’s going on
- Build a massive graph database of all known info regarding all organisms, focused on longevity and associated issues, and set an AI to work mining patterns from it… I.e. what I originally wanted to do with my Biomind initiative, but didn’t have the $ for…
- Automated language learning — use Google’s or Microsoft’s databases of text to automatically infer a model of human natural languages, to make a search engine that really understands stuff. This has overlap with AGI but isn’t quite the same thing…
- I want to say femtotech as I’m thinking about that a fair bit lately but it probably won’t yield fruit in the next few years…
- Someone should invent a way better method of brain scanning, so we can finally do mind uploading. I think this needs some revolutionary innovation, but all approaches with a prayer of delivering such innovation should be funded.
- Nanotech-using-molecular-bio-tools and synthetic biology seem to be going interesting places, but I don’t follow those fields that closely, so I hope you’re pinging someone else who knows more about them…
Is there a concept of “meta-enlightenment” – when you’re so enlightened that you no longer care about being enlightened?
After all, what difference does it make if one particular human being is enlightened or not? Isn’t this an insignificant fact in the light of the huge size and massive complexity and diversity of the cosmos?
Do the nine-dimensional machine-elves care whether Jack is enlightened and Jill isn’t, or Jill is enlightened and Jack isn’t?
Isn’t striving to make one particular human mind/body enlightened, a form of ego-attachment, an overestimate of the importance of that one mind-body?
Is Crunchkin enlightened or meta-enlightened?
So many mysteries to understand !!
I’ll be giving 6 talks at the upcoming AGI-13 conference in Beijing; preprints of the corresponding papers for 5 of them are here (the 6th talk on cognitive robotics has no corresponding paper):
- Probability Theory Ensues from Assumptions of Approximate Consistency: A Simple Derivation and its Implications for AGI (for the workshop on “Probability Theory or Not”)
- Integrating Deep Learning Based Perception with Probabilistic Logic via Frequent Pattern Mining (full paper for the main conference)
- Integrating Feature Selection Into Program Learning (full paper for the main conference)
- Lojban++: An Interlingua for Communication Between Humans and AGIs (full paper for the main conference)
- The Role of Specialized Intelligent Body-System Networks in Guiding General-Purpose Cognition (brief position statement for the main conference)
There has been a minor kerfuffle recently regarding the TED franchise’s decision to remove from their main video site, TEDx conference talks given by scientists promoting psi research and the exploration of non-reductionistic approaches to consciousness.
Due to my role in the recently-formed Society for Consciousness Studies, I was asked to contribute a statement to a Huffington Post article on the topic, and I did so; but for some reason (perhaps a simple oversight or clerical mishap) my statement was not included in the article…. So, I am posting the statement I wrote for that article here, in case anyone is interested.
I have spoken on my AI and bioinformatics work at multiple TEDx events, and up till now I’ve had nothing but praise for the wonderful work of the TED organization.
For this reason, I was rather disappointed to observe the recent actions on the part of the TED administration, removing TEDx conference talk videos by Rupert Sheldrake, Russell Targ and others, due to criticisms by certain self-appointed “skeptics” and accusations of “pseudoscience.” Apparently the issue is that their work touches on psi phenomena, commonly known as the “paranormal.”
In my own view, as a scientist with 25 years professional experience in multiple scientific disciplines, the work of these individuals is absolutely not pseudoscience, and would be better characterized as “frontier science.” Yes, their work is controversial and in some respects speculative. But it is based on carefully gathered experimental data, analyzed thoroughly by thoughtful and educated people. It might prove wrong in the end, but it’s not pseudoscience.
It is noteworthy that the “skeptics” who have prevailed upon the TED administration to call these scientists’ work pseudoscience, consistently refuse to engage in any detail with the actual data gathered by these scientists, or others working on psi and other frontier aspects of mind-matter interaction.
I wonder if the TED administration is aware that there is a substantial community of serious scientists — including many, like myself, who have contributed to TED events — who
1) disagree with the evaluation of the work of Sheldrake, Targ etc. as pseudoscience, and believe the removal of their videos was a suboptimal decision
2) believe it would be to the benefit of TED and the world at large, if wide-ranging scientific explorations into the nature of consciousness and its relation to the world, were among the permitted topics at TED conferences
My respectful request to the TED administration is that they rescind their decision, and open their minds and their conferences to scientists exploring the relationship between mind and matter. The scientific data regarding psi is complex and, confusing — I know, because I have looked at it thoroughly myself. But I believe there is very likely something valuable there, amidst all the confusion. And I submit that providing an arena for the discussion and debate of controversial, tricky issues with potentially dramatic impact, is very much in the spirit of TED.
As part of my role as Vice Chairman of futurist advocacy organization Humanity+, I’ve been devoting a few spare thought-cycles recently to the issue of building community among the futurist/transhumanist/Singularitarian/whatever community….
I thought of the idea of creating some kind of social-networky thing for transhumanists specifically. Humanity+ Board member Amy Li suggested that “Connect” was a better name than “Network”, and I decided I liked the ring of “H+ Connect.”
So for now at least, H+ Connect it is…
I’ll now briefly describe the “H+ Connect” vision in my mind…. These thoughts are currently QUITE PRELIMINARY and definitely fall into the estimable category of “brainstorming” …
H+ Connect would be a dynamic network of information about transhumanist people and groups thereof. Initially it would be represented by a website, but the same network of information could take some different practical form in future…
Some concrete ideas are:
- let people join as H+ Connect as members for free
- to join, an individual must input some basic information about themselves
- members can form and join groups…. These groups may represent general interest groups, or specific projects
- a project group should have some shared workspace, like a wiki page (with subpages) or similar. For instance, the organization of a Humanity+ conference would correspond to a project group. Or, there could just be a group of people interested in sharing information about some specific book or technology. Etc.
- a general interest group focused on business networking, would be in essence an “H+ Business Network”, an idea I have put forth before. Folks in the H+ Business network, when on business travel, could look up others in the network and get together to discuss possible collaboration
- a general interest group comprised of practicing scientists, would be an “H+ Science Network”, another idea I floated once before
- members should be able to submit articles to H+ Magazine via the H+ Connect site, and have other members vote on the article’s relevance and quality…. POSSIBLY: Any article with votes above a certain threshold gets into the magazine…. In this way the members themselves take on a lot of the editorial role….
There is likely some existing software that could be customized to serve the above functions. Or maybe some scripting must be done to combine existing software together into an overall site….
I don’t currently think this should be done within some existing social network site like Facebook or LinkedIn. Those sites are valuable (though I admit I don’t really like them or use them often), but they would nudge the community in a different direction than would be the case if we had our own site and owned our own experience and information. On the other hand, we definitely don’t want to reinvent the wheel software-wise.
There is a lot more to be thought through here in terms of branding, user experience design, implementation and everything else…. I’m just tossing out the idea now to get some feedback…
Beyond AGI: Imagining the Unimaginable