Jose’ Cordeiro on the Technological Singularity @ Hong Kong Poly U

Acclaimed futurist Dr. Jose’ Cordeiro will be speaking at Hong Kong Poly U at 7PM on September 4, in room V1101, on the topic of the Technological Singularity.    His lecture is open to the public.

The Singularity: The Future of Technology and the Technology of the Future

Change is not constant. In fact, change is accelerating very fast. Some technologies are radically changing humanity, in general, and also changing human beings, in particular. Many experts now talk about the four sciences and technologies of the future, which they refer to as NBIC: Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno. Furthermore, the NBIC fields are rapidly converging at an accelerating rate and they will help to transcend many human limitations in order to improve human lives all around the world, and beyond our tiny planet. We are truly moving rapidly towards a new world led by scientific discoveries and technological innovations. Humanity is fast approaching what some people call the “Singularity,” the moment when artificial intelligence will reach human intelligence levels, and then quickly overtake it. Perhaps then some humans might become transhumans and posthumans, forever changing life on Earth and the universe.

Advances toward the Singularity are being made all around the world, including at Hong Kong Poly U where Professor Gino Yu’s lab is working on Artificial General Intelligence as part of the OpenCog project, in collaboration with Dr. Ben Goertzel and with David Hanson of Hanson Robotics.

Professor Jose Cordeiro from Singularity University will touch on all these themes and more, in his talk on The Singularity: The Future of Technology and the Technology of the Future.

About Dr. Jose’ Cordeiro

Dr. Cordeiro is chair of the Venezuela Node of The Millennium Project, founding faculty and energy advisor for Singularity University, founder of the World Future Society’s Venezuela Chapter, co-founder of the IberoAmerican Transhumanist Association, and former director of the Club of Rome (Venezuela Chapter), World Transhumanist Association (Humanity+) and the Extropy Institute.

For more information about Prof. Jose Cordeiro: www.cordeiro.org

At the End of the World…

… At the end of the world, there will be only two people left … me and some Hongkongese guy.  He will be walking very slowly, right in front of me, unaware of my existence, staring at his phone and desperately sending text messages to himself….

New book: Between Ape and Artilect

A book version of the various interviews I did for H+ Magazine over the last few years (with me mainly as the interviewer) …

http://www.amazon.com/Best-H-Magazine-Vol-1-2008-2010/dp/1496073312

For purchase in hardcopy, or free online as PDF … ;)

Lead guitarist of Devo bites the dust… ;o

Sadly, it seems the second-Mongoloid-in-command, Bob Casale, has left us…

http://eprotoeu.mtiny.com/article.ftl?id=512200&cc=ND

It will be imperative to resurrect him post-Singularity so he can do this again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2tZqXWa7no

Given that Devo foresaw the devo-lution of humanity well before “Idiocracy”, it will be ironic to see “Are we Not Men — We are Devo!” performed by robots containing the uploaded minds of the members of Devo ;) …  (Followed up perhaps by Post Post Modern Man ?)

Really though — It’s a weird feeling to see the musicians I enjoyed in my teen years, who seemed so young and robust, bite the dust one after the other….  Such a ridiculous loss of talent, knowledge, soul….

Fortunately, we are moving toward radical life extension now, in a serious way.   Unfortunately, we are moving in that direction far more slowly than we could be, due to our society prioritizing various things like warfare, lingerie, shiny cars, plastic Jesuses and chocolatier chocolate over working toward the end of the suffering that aging and death bring.

And so it goes at this time in this plane of being.

But of course, as my beloved comrade Gino says, “Right here, right now it’s good to be alive.”

Which unfortunately Bob Casale is no more.

And let us admire the poetry once again ;-)

MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
HAPPIER THAN YOU AND ME
MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
AND IT DETERMINED WHAT HE COULD SEE
MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
ONE CHROMOSOME TOO MANY
MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
AND IT DETERMINED WHAT HE COULD SEE
AND HE WORE A HAT
AND HE HAD A JOB
AND HE BROUGHT HOME THE BACON
SO THAT NO ONE KNEW
MONGOLOID, MONGOLOID
HIS FRIENDS WERE UNAWARE
MONGOLOID, MONGOLOID
NOBODY EVEN CARED
MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
ONE CHROMOSOME TOO MANY
MONGOLOID HE WAS A MONGOLOID
AND IT DETERMINED WHAT HE COULD SEE
AND HE WORE A HAT
AND HE HAD A JOB
AND HE BROUGHT HOME THE BACON
SO THAT NO ONE KNEW

And of course that classic of 20th century philosophy, Freedom of Choice:

In ancient Rome, there was a poem
About a dog, who found two bones
He licked the one, he licked the other,
He went in circles until he dropped dead

Freedom of choice is what you’ve got
Freedom from choice is what you want…

Important research avenues on my mind…

A friend emailed today and asked me


… could you tell me what you think are the 5 most important/promising avenues on your mind right now, for example in the space of technology development that has value within the next few years and certainly impacts a positive future? E.g. if you had lots of options, which 5 things would you chose to work on right now?


Apparently he’s putting together a summary report for someone…


I didn’t have time to write a careful answer, but here’s the quick list I tapped out.   This is totally off the cuff and not in any particular order and probably leaves important things out, but indicates some aspects of where my mind has been at lately..

  1. AGI, obviously … creating robots and virtual-world robots that move toward human-level general intelligence
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. Cold fusion.  It seems to almost surely work, but it’s finicky.   Way more $ should be going into figuring out what’s going on
  5. 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…
  6. 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…
  7. 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…
  8. 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.
  9. 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…

Singularity or Bust! — film now online for free

Raj Dye’s award-winning documentary film on my approach to AI and the future, and my 2009 AI/robotics work with Hugo de Garis, is now online for free; see http://singularityorbust.com

Meta-Enlightenment (?) ;)

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?

How does this relate to Bob Dobbs’ philosophy of Slack?? ;D

Is Crunchkin enlightened or meta-enlightened?

So many mysteries to understand !!

English and Mandarin Speaking AI Nannies !

Hmmm… Google’s automated ad-selection algorithm is clever but not quite clever enough!

Are Hongkong-based readers of my article on hypothetical future “AGI Nannies” truly especially interested in hiring English and Mandarin speaking nannies to care for their tykes? ;-D …

Preprints of my Artificial General Intelligence 2013 papers

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):


Statement on the Recent TED/Psi/Consciousness Controversy

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.

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