Foresight Nanotech Institute Logo
Image of nano

Archive for the 'Memetics' Category

Tiptoe or dash to the future?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 24th, 2009

Over at Overcoming Bias, Robin Hanson wonders whether we should go fast or slow with tech development as we move toward a level of development (solar-system wide or interstellar civilization) where we are reasonably not likely to be wiped out in a single incident. He bases his analysis on how likely we are to stumble (or [...]

Original Sin

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 20th, 2009

Mike Treder has a post at IEET that reads like a catechism of the Gaian religion. Now I’m a firm supporter of freedom of religion and Mike has a perfect right to believe what he does and indeed to preach it to whomever will listen. (And besides, Mike is a friend of mine.) But in [...]

Some Historical Perspective

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 5th, 2009

At Bryan Caplan’s blog this morning there was an odd comment that stirred up a 40-year old memory: A single sentence in the Durants’ The Age of Napoleon makes me wonder whether I can trust a word they write on economic policy: The memory is that it was reading another part of the Durant’s Story [...]

Eine Kleine Nachtphysik

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 29th, 2009

(or a little physics about climate change. Or at least a few clarifications about some of the points being raised.) In the wake of Climategate, a wide variety of mistakes and misapprehensions are being circulated on the Internet (as if that weren’t happening before). For example, in this article from the Telegraph: Phil Jones, the [...]

Superhuman Psychopaths

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 22nd, 2009

The usually reliable Michael Anissimov has claimed that I seem to think that “superintelligence will automatically acquire a favorable morality without any real work.”  Now I’m not all that sensitive about such things; but it bothers me that SIAI, of all people, should fail to understand the basic parameters of the problem, and thus have [...]

Parricide

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 11th, 2009

Once upon a time, or so the story goes, there was a young man who was hauled up before the court on charges that he had killed his father and mother. He readily confessed to the crime, but nevertheless pled for clemency: after all, he pointed out, he was an orphan. Recently on his blog [...]

Prediction Markets Summit for 2009 announced

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 24th, 2008

A “Call for Participation” for the first post-US election Prediction Markets Summit and Collective Intelligence Conference of 2009 has been announced.

American public remains uninformed about nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 7th, 2008

A recently released poll shows that the American public is largely uniformed about both nanotechnology and synthetic biology, and furthermore that the level of public awareness about nanotechnology has not changed since 2004.

NanoArt festival to showcase nanotechnology and its impact

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 1st, 2008

Christine Peterson passes along this press release from NANOART FESTIVAL-STUTTGART: The 2nd International Festival for NanoArt organized by NanoArt21 (www.nanoart21.org) will be hosted in Stuttgart, Germany by NAHVISION Institute for International Culture Exchange, between November 1st and November 30th, 2008. The show is curated by artist/scientist Cris Orfescu (USA) and art professor Dorothea Fleiss (Germany). [...]

Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Revolutions to be Explored at Convergence08 Unconference

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 29th, 2008

The Convergence08 conference (www.convergence08.org) on Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno (NBIC) technologies and their interactions will be held November 15-16, 2008 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. The event will use an innovative “unconference” format to enable participants to customize the event in a highly interactive way. Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley forecaster with over two [...]

Singularity Summit 2008 to explore future of human technological progress

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 10th, 2008

Foresight Nanotech Institute is partnering with the Singularity Institute and other organizations for The Singularity Summit 2008, to be held October 25, Montgomery Theater, San Jose, CA. The speakers include names that will be familiar to most Nanodot readers. A separate Emerging Tech Workshop may also interest many Nanodot readers. A few excerpts from The [...]

Meme that machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence gathers support

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 29th, 2008

Kurzweil’s concept of an impending “singularity,” in which machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence, has garnered support from Intel’s Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner.

Nanotechnology: a way of understanding ourselves

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 22nd, 2008

We’ve previously pointed out the usefulness of looking at future-oriented fiction as a way of stimulating thinking about nanotechnology. Now Annalee Newitz’s io9 site brings an interview of Kathleen Ann Goonan, who “was writing about nanotech before most people even know it existed.” An excerpt: I think that, for me, nanotech has been a metaphor [...]

Nanotechnology: Productive Nanosystems as a Grand Challenge?

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 11th, 2007

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering wants input on what should be the Grand Challenges in engineering over the next century. Let’s let them know: nanotechnology! Specifically, nanotech leading toward, and achieving, productive nanosystems. Heck, they can just follow the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. The IEEE has a summary. You have until August 17, [...]

Fortune profile on Kurzweil and nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 2nd, 2007

These days Foresight is focused on our Technology Roadmap and policy initiatives such as Open Source Physical Security. But we still have our visionary side, shown in a Fortune profile of Foresight advisor Ray Kurzweil, which also features Foresight director and X PRIZE founder Peter Diamandis: If you went around saying that in a couple [...]

Nanotechnology "nanofactories" may not be far away

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 6th, 2007

Gazette.net reports that nanotechnology is bringing dramatic advances: Imagine not having to go to the doctor when you are sick. No medicine, no popping pills. Instead, tiny cell-like machines in your body would already be at work manufacturing medicine and delivering it exactly where it is needed. University of Maryland researchers say these ‘‘nanofactories” may [...]

Nanotechnology hazard symbol misleading

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 24th, 2007

We should assume that those participating the ETC Group’s nanotechnology hazard symbol contest are all trying to be helpful, and such a symbol may someday be of some use. However, of the three top symbols named as winners, the first one — by far the most vivid — has a real problem. First, see the [...]

Nanotechnology researchers urged to speculate more

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 30th, 2006

In the November 2006 issue of Nano Today, researcher-turned-science-journalist Jason Palmer urges nanotechnology researchers to open up to the public about the long-term promise of their nanotech work: In this sense, it is as important to consider and discuss what can be done as it is to rule out what cannot. Because they are careful [...]

Nanotech: US ambition, UK pessimism

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 16th, 2005

Richard Jones asks: “Why does the molecular manufacturing community seem to have many fewer members in the UK than it does in the USA? I don’t think it’s fair to say that the dramatic vision of molecular manufacturing is pursued in a contextual vacuum – I think there is quite a well-developed world view that [...]

It had to happen: Nanotechnology for Dummies

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 20th, 2005

You may like the “for Dummies” series, or dislike it, but surely it was inevitable that there would be a Nanotechnology for Dummies book, due out in five days. I can’t tell from the description whether this will be a useful introduction or not, but am always a bit nervous when the first phrase is [...]