PANELISTS and SELECTED ABSTRACTS:
Vlad Bowen is the executive director of the Cosmism Foundation. He is a former professor of Philosophy: he taught European Philosophy, Existentialism and Philosophy of Science.
Modern Cosmism is the theory of Cosmic Evolution (including other Universes) where super-intelligent life plays an important role. We assume that in the distant future some advanced civilizations will pass their biological stage of development and become united, super-intelligent beings living in some form of synthetic mega-conscious reality connected to the fabric of space-time and trigger into existence many parallel Universes. Post-humanity may join those civilizations and thus fulfill our ultimate mission if we can successfully overcome certain “great filters” on the long way to our next self-evolution steps. Some of Vlad’s recent lectures/seminars can be found at: http://www.cosmism.com/events.html
Benjamin H. Bratton [by videolink]
Bratton‘s work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He recently founded the school’s new Speculative Design undergraduate major. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture). http://bratton.info/
José Luis Cordeiro is a world citizen in our small planet in a big unknown universe. He was born in Latin America, from European parents, was educated in Europe and North America, and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Mr. Cordeiro studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, where he received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) and Master of Science (M.Sc.) degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Economics and Languages. He received his PhD at Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) in Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Cordeiro worked as an engineer in petroleum exploration for the French company Schlumberger. For several years, he served as an advisor for many of the major oil companies in the world. His experience and studies in monetary policy, currency boards, dollarization and monetary unions have taken him to participate in several monetary changes in Latin America and Eastern Europe. At present, he is chair of the Venezuelan Node of the Millennium Project, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE – JETRO) in Tokyo, Japan, and Founding Faculty and Energy Advisor at Singularity University (SU). His most recent books are Latinoamérica 2030 with the Millennium Project and Crisis 危機: (Financial) Danger and (Monetary) Opportunity with Spanish economist Ramón Tamames. He has written more than 10 books and co-written over 20 more in five languages, including sections of the State of the Future with the Millennium Project. http://www.cordeiro.org/
Ted Goertzel is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Rutgers University. He has published in the area of social movements and social change, including the student movements of the 1970s, Brazilian political leadership. and conspiracy theories. He is author of a number of books, including Turncoats and True Believers and the forthcoming Presidential Leadership in the Americas. He has recently published on “The Path to More General Artificial Intelligence,” “Predicting the Age of Post-Human Intelligence,” “Cybernetic Socialism and the Technological Singularity,” and “The Global Brain and the Emerging Technology of Abundance: Mutualism, Open Collaboration, Exchange Networks, and the Automated Commons.”
Cosmo Harrigan is a cross-disciplinary internet entrepreneur and researcher in deep reinforcement learning. He is interested in understanding the nature of cognition and building generally intelligent agents.
He is a graduate of the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program at NASA Ames and the Applied Computational Mathematical Sciences program at University of Washington. In his company ChannelAgility, he led a team that designed and implemented a proprietary software architecture for a complex real-time e-commerce price optimization and demand forecasting service for the Amazon.com marketplace. In his company Streamline Audio Video, he bootstrapped a multimillion dollar company with offices in the United States and Manila, Philippines. He is an experienced project manager, researcher, executive and software architect. He is also on the board of directors of the Center for Media and Democracy and speaks fluent Spanish. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cosmoharrigan
Bill Hibbard is an Emeritus Senior Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center working on visualization and machine intelligence. Dr. Hibbard is principal author of the Vis5D, Cave5D and VisAD open source visualization systems. He is also author of papers about machine intelligence and of Ethical Artificial Intelligence, available here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.1373
Lecturer in Continental Philosophy at the University of Warwick (1987-1997). Co-founder of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (Ccru) with Sadie Plant. Editor at Urbanatomy (since 2006), and founder of Urbanatomy Electronic (2013, under Leo Zhou). Co-founder of Time Spiral Press (with Anna Greenspan, 2014). Author of The Thirst for Annihilation (1992), Fanged Noumena (edited by Ray Brassier and Robin Mackay, 2011), Templexity (2014), and Phyl-Undhu (2014). Blogs at Urban Future ( http://www.ufblog.net , http://www.facebook.com/pages/Urban-Future/448121928641155, twitter @UF_blog), and Outside in ( http://www.xenosystems.net , twitter @Outsideness).
Amy Li is Founder of Dance4Healing, a social venture leading the trend of telehealth into physical rehab space, inspired by her own fight against stage IV cancer, a partner for Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program. Rooted in neuroscience, Dance4Healing is a social platform connecting dance teachers to patients, using artificial intelligence and behavior design to recommend personalized music and dance, dance buddies and patient groups based on real-time emotion and health data, alleviating mental & physical pain, and improving quality of life. Amy is a graduate from Singularity University. She is a UX and branding leader and expert for global brands such as Yahoo, AT&T, VW, HTC, and Playstation, and has built/led UX and creative teams in design agencies and large tech companies. She is a board of director of Humanity+, an international non-profit advocate using technology to expand human capacities.
@meidesign || @dance4healing || http://meidesign.net
Reza Negarestani, philosopher. His philosophical project is focused on rationalist universalism beginning with the evolution of the modern system of knowledge and advancing toward contemporary philosophies of rationalism, their procedures as well as their demands for special forms of human conduct.
Abstract, “Language of General Intelligence”: Can general artificial intelligence be adequately defined or built without language? What is exactly in language that makes it imperative for the realization of higher cognitive-practical abilities? Arguments from the centrality of language as a social edifice are by no means new. In defining what language is and why it is necessary for the realization of general intelligence, it is easy to go astray: to associate language with an ineffable essence, to find its significance in some mythical social homogeneity between members of a community, or espouse dogmatic theories of meaning. While addressing some of these pitfalls, I would like to highlight the central role of language in the realization of higher cognitive abilities. To do so, I will provide a picture of language as a sui generis and multi-level computational system in which the indissociable syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects of language can be seen as a scaffolding for the generation of increasingly more complex cognitive and practical abilities.
Patricia Reed, an artist, writer and designer. Recent exhibitions include those at Homeworks 7 (LB); Witte de With (NL); and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE). She has contributed chapters to Dea ex machina (with/as Laboria Cuboniks); #ACCELERATE: The Accelerationist Reader; and The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism vol II, amongst others.
Abstract, “Epistemic Complications”: Against a reductionist strategy that often deploys the term ‘complexity’ to stifle or block cognitive access to systems-scale thinking, we must, rather, find ways to mediate complexity. These steps of mediation are a requirement in order to politicize often invisible or intangible structures that prescribe/deny modes of acting in the world. As the understanding our reality vastly supersedes our current cognitive and phenomenological grasp, this presentation will look at how human/machinic intelligence coupling both dismantles classical epistemic separations, and how it can serve the demands of our socio-political world, aiming towards its transformation.
Leads SysOrk, Orchestra Carbon, Terraplane, and Tectonics and has pioneered the use of fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetics in musical composition and interaction. Sharp has been featured at festivals New Music Stockholm, Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, and Au Printemps and is the subject of the documentary film Doing The Don’t. His composition Storm Of the Eye appears on violinist Hilary Hahn’s Grammy-winning album In 27 Pieces and Turing Test for the Neue Vocalsölisten Stuttgart premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2012. Sharp was awarded the Berlin Prize for Music Composition for 2015; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014; a Fellowship from the Center for Transformative Media in 2014. In 2015, he was awarded the Jahrespreis from der Deutscher Schallplatten Kritiks for Terraplane:4AM Always, the Preis in 2008 for the solo CD Concert In Dachau and in 2004 for the orchestral CD Racing Hearts, Tessalation Row, Calling. In 2003, he received a Fellowship from the Foundation For Contemporary Art. Collaborators have included Radio-Sinfonie Frankfurt; pop singer Debbie Harry; Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern; actor Steve Buscemi, qawaali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; pianist Cecil Taylor; multimedia artists Christian Marclay and Pierre Huyghe; and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka. http://elliottsharp.com/
Natasha Vita-More, PhD is Chair of Humanity+ and Program Champion of Graduate Studies at the University of Advancing Technology. She has published in the areas of humanity’s future, emerging technologies, and radical life extension. Natasha has appeared in more than twenty-four televised documentaries and features worldwide in numerous magazines. Wired called her “an early adapter of revolutionary changes” and The New York Times called her “the first female transhumanist philosopher”. Her scientific research of memory of C. elegans after vitrification is a breakthrough for long-term memory. Her wearable whole body prosthesis, Primo Posthuman, established the seminal innovation in the area of designer bodies and psychology of uploading. Her book The Transhumanist Reader (Wiley-Blackwell), is the first academic book that covers the history, currents and future of human evolution. Her new book Body Brain Mind will be out in late 2016. http://www.natasha.cc/
Peter Watts [by videolink]
Peter Watts is an awkward hybrid of biologist, science-fiction author, and (according to the US Department of Homeland Security) convicted felon/tewwowist. In addition to a number of accolades for science fiction, he has won minor awards in fields as diverse as marine mammal research and video documentary. Watts’ first book (Starfish) was a NY Times Notable Book, while his sixth (Blindsight)—a philosophical rumination on the nature of consciousness with an unhealthy focus on space vampires—has become a core text in diverse undergraduate courses ranging from philosophy to neuropsych, and is rumored to have ended up in the occasional Real Neuro Lab. It also made the final ballot for a shitload of domestic genre awards including the Hugo. Watts’ work is available in 19 languages. Described by the Globe & Mail as “one of the very best [hard-sf writers] alive”, the overall effect of his prose is perhaps best summed up by critic James Nicoll: “Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts.”
Peter Watts is actually a lot more cheerful than you might expect.
David R. Weinbaum (Weaver)
A free thinker and currently a PhD. researcher at the Global Brain Institute at Center Leon Apostel (CLEA), the Free University Brussels (VUB). He holds M.Sc. in electronics and computer engineering from Tel-Aviv University (1989). His research interests extend to Philosophy of mind, Cognitive Science, Foundations of thought, Metaphysics, Complex systems, Individuation and self-organization, Cybernetics, Theory of evolution, The Singularity, Post-modernist philosophy, Tanric teachings, Shamanic practices, Psychedelics, Theory of Emptiness, Butoh dance, Story-telling and the Absurd.
Pete Wolfendale, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg. His work develops the consequences of philosophical rationalism for the philosophy of mind, aesthetics, and metaphysics. His current project pursues the possibility of Computational Kantianism, interpreting Kant’s transcendental psychology through developments in artificial intelligence research and understanding the program of artificial general intelligence in terms of Kant’s transcendental philosophy. He is the author of ‘Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes’ (Urbanomic 2014).
Abstract, “General Intelligence in General Terms”: In distinguishing the program of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) from broader work in Artificial Intelligence the crucial conceptual challenge is to explain just what we mean by the ‘generality’. However, in doing so it is important to understand the level of generality that we are aiming for in this explanation: is this generality relative (e.g., human level AI) or absolute (e.g., AGI simpliciter), quantitative (e.g., more or less general) or qualitative (general or not general), abstract (independent of implementation) or concrete (depending on implementation)? The point of this talk is to examine these issues, and on that basis to oppose a pedagogical way of thinking about general intelligence to various all too common mysterian approaches.
Dr. Ben Goertzel
Chief Scientist of robotics firm Hanson Robotics and financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC and bioinformatics company Biomind LLC; Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+; Scientific Advisor of biopharma firm Genescient Corp.; Advisor to the Singularity University and Singularity Institute; Research Professor in the Fujian Key Lab for Brain-Like Intelligent Systems at Xiamen University, China; and general Chair of the Artificial General Intelligence conference series. His research work encompasses artificial general intelligence, natural language processing, cognitive science, data mining, machine learning, computational finance, bioinformatics, virtual worlds and gaming and other areas. He has published a dozen scientific books, 100+ technical papers, and numerous journalistic articles. Before entering the software industry he served as a university faculty in several departments of mathematics, computer science and cognitive science, in the US, Australia and New Zealand. He has three children and too many pets, and in his spare time enjoys creating avant-garde fiction and music, and exploring the outdoors.
Director of the Center for Transformative Media at The New School, and Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design. Designer, professor, writer, musician and multimedia artist. Prior to joining Parsons, he taught at Columbia Univ. GSAPP [1998-2010] and SCIArc [2004-09]. With Carla Leitao he co-founded AUM Studio, an architecture and new media firm that has produced residential projects, competitions, and new media installations in Europe and the US. His work and writing has appeared widely, in venues including Punctum, Praxis, ANY, AD, Arquine, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Architecture, Precis, Wired, Metropolis, Assemblage, Ottagono, and Progressive Architecture. He has spoken on architecture, film, technology and ecology internationally. Ongoing courses at Parsons include Design for this Century, Post-Planetary Design and The Radical Future of Guitar. Ed has been an avid rockclimber for over 35 years.