addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1linklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Singularity Saturday, with Jaan Tallinn and Robin Hanson

Singularity Saturday, with Jaan Tallinn and Robin Hanson

In this extended (3 hour) session, Robin Hanson and Jaan Tallinn will revisit and expand the material from their ground-breaking presentations from the Singularity Summit 2012 - presentations that Vernor Vinge, commenting shortly afterwards, described as refutations of the saying that "there is nothing new under the sun".

2.00pm: Em Econ 101: An Economic Analysis of Brain Emulation - Robin Hanson

3.25pm: Short break

3.35pm: The Technological Singularity: Why now? - Jaan Tallinn

5.00pm: Close of meeting

About the first talk:

An Economic Analysis of Brain Emulation

Em Econ 101

The two most disruptive transitions in human history were the introduction of farming and industry. If another similar transition lies ahead, a good guess for its source is artificial intelligence in the form of whole brain emulations, or “ems,” sometime in the next hundred years.

After a review of the forthcoming feasibility of whole brain emulation, this talk applies standard social science to this unusual situation, to identify a relatively-likely reference scenario set modestly far into a post-em-transition world. It considers families, reproduction, life plans, daily activities, inequality, work training, property rights, firm management, industrial organization, urban agglomeration, security, and governance.

About Robin Hanson:

Robin Hanson is an associate professor of economics at George Mason University, a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University, and chief scientist at Consensus Point.

After receiving his Ph.D. in social science from the California Institute of Technology in 1997, Robin was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1984, Robin received a masters in physics and a masters in the philosophy of science from the University of Chicago, and afterward spent nine years researching artificial intelligence, Bayesian statistics, and hypertext publishing at Lockheed, NASA, and independently. Robin has over 70 publications to his name.

Robin has pioneered prediction markets, also known as information markets or idea futures, since 1988. He was the first to write in detail about people creating and subsidizing markets in order to gain better estimates on those topics. Robin was a principal architect of the first internal corporate markets, at Xanadu in 1990, of the first web markets, the Foresight Exchange since 1994, and of DARPA's Policy Analysis Market, from 2001 to 2003. Robin has developed new technologies for conditional, combinatorial, and intermediated trading, and has studied insider trading, manipulation, and other foul play. Robin has written and spoken widely on the application of idea futures to business and policy, being mentioned in over one hundered press articles on the subject, and advising many ventures, including GuessNow, Newsfutures, Particle Financial, Prophet Street, Trilogy Advisors, XPree, YooNew, and undisclosable defense research projects. He is now chief scientist at Consensus Point.

Robin has diverse research interests, with papers on spatial product competition, health incentive contracts, group insurance, product bans, evolutionary psychology and bioethics of health care, voter information incentives, incentives to fake expertize, Bayesian classification, agreeing to disagree, self-deception in disagreement, probability elicitation, wiretaps, image reconstruction, the history of science prizes, reversible computation, the origin of life, the survival of humanity, very long term economic growth, growth given machine intelligence, and interstellar colonization.

About the second talk:

The Technological Singularity: Why now?

Why Now? A quest in metaphysics

The word "singularity" usually denotes something exceptional, a situation that breaks a given model. It therefore seems like an incredible coincidence that we were born just decades before an imminent technological singularity that threatens to break our model of the evolution of the entire universe.

But what if that incredible coincidence is merely an illusion? What if our model is not correct to begin with?

This talk combines the ideas of intelligence explosion, the multiverse, the anthropic principle, and the simulation argument, into an alternative model of the universe - a model where, from the perspective of a human observer, technological singularity is the norm, not the exception.

There will also be a chance to ask Jaan questions about his views on the importance of the Singularity Institute, on the concept of the CL3 generation, and the Cambridge Project for Existential Risk.

About Jaan Tallin:

Jaan Tallinn is one of the programmers behind the Kazaa file sharing platform, and a founding engineer of Skype. He is also a partner in a seed-stage venture firm Ambient Sound Investments, co-founder and chairman of Panacea Research – a startup intent on revolutionising healthcare, and a co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. He describes himself as singularitarian/hacker/investor/physicist (in that order).

Jaan graduated from the University of Tartu in 1996 with a BS in Theoretical Physics with a thesis that involved travelling interstellar distances using warps in space-time.

In recent years Jaan has taken an interest in the ethical and safety aspects of artificial intelligence, thus traveling the world and talking to different experts, from philosophers to researchers to actual AI programmers.

Logistics:

2pm-5pm, Saturday 15th December

Venue: Room B33, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room B33 is on the basement level in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ

The meeting is free to attend - no charge.
But please consider making a small donation towards the costs of running the group:
- see How You Can Help London Futurists.

Optional pre-meeting rendezvous - please feel free to join a small number of regular London Futurist attendees at the Marlborough Arms any time from 12.30pm onwards, for general chat over a light lunch and/or drinks. To find us, look out for a table with a futurist book on it.

Join or login to comment.

  • Mike H.

    I thought this meeting was absolutely fascinating. A lot of what Robin had to say didn't taste very nice, but to be fair it was a talk about what he believed is likely to happen as opposed to what he/we would want to happen!

    Jaan's talking was mesmerising. I just had one question: when he talked about a single super-intelligence occupying one light-cone, would that one super-intelligence be a single conscious entity or some sort of hive-mind entity?

    December 18, 2012

    • Dirk B.

      For more thoughts on the multiverse, including how it can enable raising the dead from past records (no matter how sparse)...:
      http://ieet.org/index...­

      December 19, 2012

    • Mike H.

      I find pondering the motivations of such a powerful super intelligence very interesting: the thought of one super intelligence occupying one light cone sounds like a rather lonely existence!

      My perception of the evolution of intelligence/rationalism­ in humanity is that the instinct for tribalism is being replaced by an appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism. We are also a species transfixed on ensuring the security of our private digital information.

      I was under the impression that Jaan was suggesting that future super-intelligent entities might wish to 'merge' in some way - potentially resulting in a single super intelligent entity. I would hope/imagine that the appreciation of diversity and also of the security of digital identity would only be amplified in a 'society' of super intelligent entities. Therefore I imagine the possibility of a future cosmos swarming with a diverse variety of super intelligent entities each with their own identity and individual characteristics.

      December 22, 2012

  • Stephen A.

    I quite liked the sessions. Robin Hanson's talk wasn't quite a finished piece of work, but that didn't invalidate it. I think that he has to give a lot more thought to property rights than we saw on Saturday, mainly because he contradicted himself. At one point the ems were not to have property rights, and at another, their consumption spending was to drive the economy. The two positions appear to be contradictory, so I would have liked to have seen them reconciled.

    I liked the presentation by Jaan Tallinn, the graphics were well worth watching and we were told a good, internally consistent, story. I think that many professional futurists would take the view that we don't need to travel as far as suggested to find the multiverse. Indeed, I am of the opinion that we don't need to travel further than our own imaginations. We don't need to travel further than: "Imagine the possible outcomes when you flip a coin".

    Thank you, David, for organising the meeting. It was well worth attending.

    December 17, 2012

    • David W.

      Leo - Happily, because our species does have the ability to predict likely consequences of technology trends - including the possibility of self-induced extinction - we have the opportunity to steer the development of these technologies for positive rather than negative outcomes. At least, that's one of the main premises behind the London Futurist group, and similar initiatives worldwide (e.g. http://hplusmagazine....­).

      The conflict of interest between those who want to promote radical new enhancement tech, and those who want to suppress these developments, is brilliantly featured in the new SF novel "Nexus: mankind gets an upgrade" by Ramez Naam. See http://dw2blog.com/20...­ for my review of that novel.

      December 21, 2012

    • David W.

      Eva - I don't agree that it's just academic to discuss likely interactions between non-enhanced and enhanced humans, or between "ems" and non-ems. The technology that enables these enhancements is creeping up on us quickly than we might expect. We already have in our midst people who routinely take smart drugs to enhance their performance (whether physical or mental). Drones and robots are getting more capable by the year. We need to anticipate these developments, plenty of time before they happen, otherwise we might regret leaving things too late :-o

      December 21, 2012

  • Eva

    David, re your note to Leo, point 2 - they have to look like that, i.e. us (present males/females), as this is part of our behaviour/response pattern. Our brains are programmed to have desires based on these features....so we can reproduce or just experience pleasure. But I am not going to expand on this - even though we are all over 18 yrs old. However, this takes us back to that huge, mostly untested/unknown area of human emotions.
    Eva

    December 17, 2012

    • Eva

      I don't dispute that lots of mind blowing stuff is going on in controlled conditions but to apply this on a global scale is sth completely differrent

      December 19, 2012

    • Dirk B.

      Well, assuming we had such a technology its spread across the developed nations would be unbelievably fast. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, shit happens as usual.

      December 19, 2012

  • Eva

    Peter, small children or...hormonal teenagers? (still children!)

    December 19, 2012

  • Peter D.

    Ems j just how different are they from children?

    December 19, 2012

  • Peter D.

    Ems

    December 19, 2012

  • Peter D.

    Ems

    December 19, 2012

  • William E.

    I thought these two talks made a fantastic pairing - great stuff, thanks again David.
    On a completely separate note, I've had a request for material about long-term future thinking on Europe (politically) - can anyone make any good recommendations? They can be as books, reports, theses, etc but perhaps avoiding too much ruminating on how we got to the current economic mess unless it indicates important political trends.
    Thanks so much and happy Xmas everyone!

    December 19, 2012

    • Eva

      Good luck with that William. If you find something worth reading, pls let me know. Only a month ago I spoke to smb very high in politics and apparently they haven’t got a clue. There are as many theories as there are advisers.

      December 19, 2012

  • David W.

    To try to answer some of the questions raised about practical aspects of whole brain emulation, it's useful to look at some of the work of Anders Sandberg, of the FHI in Oxford:
    (1) A video of his talk on "Technical Roadmap of Whole Brain Emulation" at the 2009 Singularity Summit: http://vimeo.com/7318429
    (2) A 130 page PDF, which contains readable copies of some of the diagrams that are too hard to read in the video: http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/3853/brain-emulation-roadmap-report.pdf

    Anders' view is that we don't know in advance which level of emulation is required - for example, whether we need to emulate parts of the extended nervous system, such as in the spinal chord. But he regards it as an empirical matter: something we can investigate experimentally. As the emulation includes more and more details, it will eventually be able to convince us that it is fully conscious, and has the same inner mental phenomena (both rational and irrational) that we do

    1 · December 17, 2012

    • David W.

      Peter - these are big questions (and important ones).

      WBEs aren't the end of the story - once we can create them, there will also be all kinds of other AGIs among us.

      One book I personally found helpful, in thinking through some of the issues that arise, was "Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future" by James Hughes. I wrote a review of it here: http://dw2blog.com/20...­

      December 18, 2012

    • David W.

      And for more on the related topic of "inner Humanity+" vs. "outer Humanity+", see my article at http://dw2blog.com/20...­

      December 18, 2012

  • Peter D.

    This was my first and probably the last meeting. I was hoping to discuss issues of AI, rather than esoteric meta-physics.

    Personally, I found Robins talk self-indulgent, making over-the-top jumps in development, while sticking with late 20th Century economics. While his introduction was showing that the big changes in society happened when there were changes in the economic system.

    Jaan has some great things to day about AI, But instead did a nicely illustrated standard meta-physics lecture I could have had thirty years ago at university.

    The next talk from Peter Cochrane, The BT "futurist" who was at BT while the Internet ate their lunch, isn't my idea of challenging far-sighted thinker I think the group should be looking for!

    Hey- Ho

    December 17, 2012

    • David W.

      Hi Peter - I appreciate your candid feedback. I can see where you're coming from, even though I don't agree with everything you say. For example, the ideas of the Simulation Argument and the Metaverse in Jaan's talk are significantly different from anything I experienced at university 30 years ago (and I attended a large number of weird and wonderful talks at that time...)

      I don't think it's entirely fair to blame any one person at BT for their corporate issues over the years. In my experience, Peter Cochrane has a range of interesting and challenging things to say.

      I hope you'll keep an eye open for forthcoming meetings that are more in line with your expectations - I try to arrange for a mix of different kinds of speaker.

      December 17, 2012

  • Nik

    Thanks to both speakers for very interesting talks,and to David as always for organising.

    On the first talk's economics,was there a zero cost to duplication?At one point it seemed so (the example of a plumber copying herself a million times to do a million times more work) but at another point a cost was referenced.Either way,what would an economy look like in such a setup?

    Seems like there would be room for only one "individual" plumber.So long as the running costs allowed,demand and supply are always perfectly matched.There's little room for any other players in this plumbing economy.A plumber that innovates/drives down cost even slightly will either be destroyed by the original plumber copying them,or in turn completely own the market themselves instead,crowding out everyone else, since there is no problem in both scaling infinitely and being hyperlocal as required. Or perhaps even if not a monopoly,surely an oligopoly,much like large corporations today dominate certain areas?

    December 17, 2012

  • Eva

    Leo, there are many more "things" which cannot be just duplicated. Humans are much more complicated than it's been suggested. We know only ca 15% of our brain - how it functions, etc. That's very little. To complicate things further - the eloctromagnetic field of the heart is thousands times bigger than the brain. Our bodies have inbuilt intelligence which allows them to function on some levels even though the brain is shut down and is not processing any information. You can almost ask the question - where is the real brain which keeps us going?

    What about duplicating human emotions, feelings, desires - they are often irrational, spontatenous, very unpredictable - depending on circumstances, mental conditioning, our mood, etc. There is little logic to a lot of human behaviour. Can you duplicate sth which can be logical and illogical at the same time? What about intuition? How do you deal with that? We act on it more often than we realize.

    Somehow - I can't see it.
    Eva

    1 · December 17, 2012

  • David W.

    Hi Leo - Good questions.

    1. Robin suggested the ems would feel the same sort of gratitude and veneration towards the originals as we currently have for our grandparents. We wish our grandparents well, even though they aren't as fleet of foot as we are.

    2. Yes, these pictures are surely misleading - they're drawn from popular culture, presumably to add colour to the slides, without implying that ems would actually inhabit bodies that look like that. However, the question of the emotional and sexual feelings of ems remains valid - if they are essentially copies (albeit speeded up or enhanced) of our own brains

    December 17, 2012

  • David W.

    Here's a useful resource: Videos of the related talks given by Jaan Tallin and Robin Hanson at the Singularity Summit in October 2012 are available on Fora.TV as follows:
    *) http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Jaan_Tallinn_Why_Now_A_Quest_in_Metaphysics
    *) http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Robin_Hanson_Extraordinary_Society_of_Emulated_Minds

    1 · December 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Interesting lectures

    December 16, 2012

  • Aamer

    Riveting topics with plenty of audience participation.

    December 16, 2012

  • Ladislav M.

    2 excellent lectures.

    December 15, 2012

  • Andres C.

    Are you sharing the slides?

    December 15, 2012

  • Giulio P.

    I am sure this will be a great talk! Please, whatever the location is, make sure that you can stream from there.

    1 · November 20, 2012

    • David W.

      That's one reason why I am currently negotiating for use of different premises - where there is ample wifi

      2 · November 20, 2012

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy