Re: Foresight Recon?

From: Durant Schoon (
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 18:57:04 MDT

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> Subject: Foresight Recon?
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> Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 14:23:47 -0400
> Eliezer, anyone? Anything particularly notable or exciting emerge from the
> Foresight Conference?

For those who are keeping score: Last year Eliezer helped lead a
Special Interest Group last year on FAI or maybe it was AGI. Everyone
who was there I think would agree that it went badly, in the sense
that people who were interested but hadn't heard about these issues
left in deeper confusion than when they came in. Not one of them
probably ever followed up. It wasn't anyone's fault. There was little
time and it seemed as if Eliezer (and Ben Goertzel and Peter Voss)
had their hands tied behind their backs because they really had no
chance of saying anything meaningful about their work in such a limited
amount of time.

This year, however, after Eliezer presented to the entire group, it
seemed as if everyone applauded. I genuinely felt that he got his
messages across to many people at once. The talk was inspiring. I
really enjoyed it. I have to say it gave me some hope. After hearing
him speak and having the pleasure of meeting and talking with Emil
Gilliam I decided I should finally read LOGI. I'm almost done. It's
really great stuff. I can't believe I waited so long.

Other speakers of interest were: Lawrence Lessig, on how monopolies
will calculate exactly how much money they can spend to distort the
social process to maintain their positions (through a negative process
which economists call "rent-seeking"). Also, for those interested in
life extension, you might want to google: Aubrey De Gray. I don't know
biology enough to critique his ideas, but by naming and arguing that
there are just seven things keeping us from solving the "death" problem,
he has been able to focus the attention of many top researchers on
the idea and will be having a conference with many of them later this
year (in Cambridge, England) Sometimes getting everyone to look a the
same problem and talk about it is the first roadblock. All he needs is
$1 billon over ten years to show it works in mice and then positive
public opinion will cause a groundswell of funding to conduct the
research for humans :-)

As for this legendary after-party, I was sadly unable to attend.

Durant Schoon

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