The Stepping Into the Future conference is complete – videos are being embedded in the various articles linked to from the agenda.

Why Technology Favors a Singleton over a Tyranny

Is democracy loosing its credibility, will it cede to dictatorship?  Will AI out-compete us in all areas of economic usefulness ...
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Uncovering the Mysteries of Affective Neuroscience – the Importance of Valence Research with Mike Johnson

Valence in overview Adam: What is emotional valence (as opposed to valence in chemistry)? Mike: Put simply, emotional valence is ...
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Physicalism & Materialism – John Wilkins

Materialism was a pre-socratic view that for something to be real it has to be matter - physical stuff made ...
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On Consciousness, Qualia, Valence & Intelligence with Mike Johnson

Andrés Gómez Emilsson joined in to add very insightful questions for a 3 part interview series with Mike Johnson, covering ...
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Ethics, Qualia Research & AI Safety with Mike Johnson

What's the relationship between valence research and AI ethics? Hedonic valence is a measure of the quality of our felt ...
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Science, Mindfulness & the Urgency of Reducing Suffering – Christof Koch

In this interview with Christof Koch, he shares some deeply felt ideas about the urgency of reducing suffering (with some ...
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Towards the Abolition of Suffering Through Science

An online panel focusing on reducing suffering & paradise engineering through the lens of science. Panelists: Andrés Gómez Emilsson, David ...
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The End of Aging

Aging is a technical problem with a technical solution - finding the solution requires clear thinking and focused effort. Once ...
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Michio Kaku on the Holy Grail of Nanotechnology

Michio Kaku on Nanotechnology - Michio is the author of many best sellers, recently the Future of the Mind! The ...
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Aubrey de Grey – Towards the Future of Regenerative Medicine

Why is aging research important? Biological aging causes suffering, however in recent times there as been surprising progress in stem ...
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Surviving the Zombie Cell Apocalypse – Oisín Biotechs Stephen Hilbert

Oisín Biotechnologies ground-breaking research and technology is demonstrating that the solution to mitigating the effects of age-related diseases is to ...
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Antispecism & Compassionate Stewardship – David Pearce

 I think our first ethical priority is to stop doing harm, and right now in our factory farms billions ...
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The Antispeciesist Revolution – read by David Pearce

The Antispeciesist Revolution [Original text found here] Speciesism. When is it ethically acceptable to harm another sentient being? On some ...
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CLAIRE – a new European confederation for AI research

While the world wakes up to the huge potential impacts of AI in the future, how will national worries about ...
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Moral Enhancement – Are we morally equipped to deal with humanities grand challenges? Anders Sandberg

The topic of Moral Enhancement is controversial (and often misrepresented); it is considered by many to be repugnant - provocative ...
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The Great Filter, a possible explanation for the Fermi Paradox – interview with Robin Hanson

I grew up wondering about the nature of alien life, what it might look like, what they might do, and ...
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Here we grapple with a number of fascinating topics, including:

Epistemology – which questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. Much of the debate in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.

Philosophy of Science – a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions concern what counts as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth.

Unprecedented Technological Growth – Over the last few decades we have seen unprecedented technological change.   Our ability to visualize impacts of technological convergence in the short, medium and long term is detrimental to our survival.  With informed estimates of possible futures, we can hope to achieve clearer visions for a better future, let’s leverage growth in powerful new technologies  to solve global problems.

Many Thanks to all who participated in previous conferences!

Videos of the presentations are at http://youtube.com/TheRationalFuture

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What is ‘Science, Technology & the Future’?

We convene a diverse range of thought leaders to explore potentials in technological growth to solve some of humanities grandest challenges. Scientists, Engineers and Philosophers discuss evidence-based research, community awareness of science, and scenarios for navigating our future.

“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”Albert Einstein

The Science, Technology & the Future conferences & meetups are held in Melbourne, Australia

Themes

We live in a time of great change, and unprecedented risks to global safety and prosperity. Some of these changes may threaten our survival — but let us take solace that great change brings great opportunities. We have the societal framework to deal with increasingly complex problems, harnessing the accumulated weight of thousands of individuals in fields as narrow as a nanotube and as overlapping as the world wide web. Let us take the opportunity to future-proof our efforts to find solutions.

Under normal conditions the research scientist is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles, and the puzzles upon which he concentrates are just those which he believes can be both stated and solved within the existing scientific tradition. Thomas S. Kuhn

Materials Science / Nanotechnology

Advances in Nanotechnology and Materials Science will help convert Waste into useful material, and help develop powerful photovoltaics to leverage energy from the largest power source in the solar system – dramatically reducing our footprint on the environment.

Neuroscience and Neuromorphic AI

Neuroscience will continue to inspire AI, and vice versa. With more intelligence, we can hope for quicker and better solutions to achieving our goals and solving our problems.

Ethics Guided by Evidence and Reason

Science is opening up more and more ways to pursue evidence based research on what it means to be human – expanding our sphere of ethical consideration.

Opportunities & Risks

Technology is a double edged sword. In deciding to develop or not develop technology, to research or not research – we must respect both risk and opportunity.

Quotes

The grand goal of AI is to develop systems that exhibit general intelligence on a human-level or beyond. If achieved, this would have a far greater impact on human society than all previous inventions together, likely resulting in a post-human civilization that only faintly resembles current humanity.Marcus Hutter - Deepmind
If we want our species to survive in the long term, human beings cannot afford to stop reaching for the stars.Peter Doherty - Nobel Laureate
The fact that Deep Blue can beat Kasaprov just shows that brute force can sometimes achieve what would otherwise require real thought.Tim van Gelder - Applied Epistemologist
Is artificial superintelligence (ASI) imminent? The history of AI progress is replete with examples of how intelligent systems have surpassed peak human capability in a variety of interesting domains. Exploring existing trends into the not too distant future paints a picture of how AI will likely outpace human capability in most or not all areas of economic usefulness, such as mostly automated science, engineering and technological development – resulting in explosive progress more significant than the agricultural and industrial revolutions.Adam Ford - Information Architect / Conference Organizer
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Science In Practice

Philosophy of science has traditionally focused on the relation between scientific theories and the world, at the risk of disregarding scientific practice. In social studies of science and technology, the predominant tendency has been to pay attention to scientific practice and its relation to theories, sometimes wilfully disregarding the world except as a product of social construction. Both approaches have their merits, but they each offer only a limited view, neglecting some essential aspects of science. We advocate a philosophy of scientific practice, based on an analytic framework that takes into consideration theory, practice and the world simultaneously.

Fundamental Research

Often we are made aware of new gadgetry, shiny and improved!  Short term technological spinoffs from research can be useful, though some of the greatest human achievements have come through dedication to long term fundamental research which provides new knowledge.  There are also considerable financial reward per unit of effort in the long run.

Overcoming Limitations

What is science for?  Overcoming limitations is something that our species has been doing for a very long time – how can we use philosophy to guide science?