Learn about the Presenters/Panelists

James Fodor

James Fodor

Rationalist, Skeptic

James Fodor is studying a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne, with a focus on maths, physics, and computing. He has aspirations of entering the field of Computational Neuroscience, which applies computational and mathematical techniques in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the human brain. He is currently president of the University of Melbourne Secular Society, a student club which strives to promote rationality, skepticism, and secularism on campus. His other interests include interfaith dialogue, epistemology, effective altruism, science communication, emerging technologies, and history.

Kevin Korb

Kevin Korb

Bayesian Philosophy of Science

Kevin’s research is in artificial intelligence and the philosophy of science and the interrelation between the two, and especially the automation of scientific induction, or causal discovery. He is also co-founder of Psyche: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness.

Recent presentations: The Philosophy of Computer Simulation, an invited talk at the 13th International Congress of Logic Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Beijing, 9-15 August, 2007 .

John Wilkins

John Wilkins

Philosopher of Evolutionary Biology

John Wilkins is a historian and philosopher of biology, especially evolutionary biology, and has published the standard history of the idea of species in biology. He blogs at Evolving Thoughts .

Abstract: What is the relationship between religion and science, if we accept that science is our best way of knowing about the natural world? Can science accommodate religion, or does religion need to adapt to science even when core beliefs are challenged? Dr Wilkins, who has written on the issue online and in print for over 25 years, will explore this issue and present a solution.

Bill Hall

Bill Hall

Enterprise Architect, Evolutionary Biologist

PhD Evolutionary Biology, Harvard (1973). Computer literacy educator 1981-83, software documentation management 1983 - 1987, corporate services and banking systems documentation management for Bank of Melbourne 1988-1989, documentation and knowledge management systems analysis and design for Tenix Defence 1990-2007 - designed & helped to design computer-based engineering documentation and knowledge management systems that made Tenix’s $7 BN ANZAC Ship Project one of the few defence projects around the world that finished on-time, on-budget against a stringently fixed-price contract with a healthy corporate profit. Beginning in 2000 I have been working to combine my biological understanding of evolution and genetic knowledge, with my practical experience working with the production, maintenance and transmission of cultural knowledge. This presentation summarizes some highlights from a nearly finished hypertext book project, Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation: A Fugue on the Theory of Knowledge that explores and develops the interactions of these seemingly disparate career threads.

Stephen Ames

Stephen Ames

Philosopher, Theologin, Historian

Stephen is a lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Melbourne and a priest at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. He has a PhD in physics and a PhD in philosophy of science both from Unimelb. For the last ten years he has been the main lecturer in ‘God and the Natural Sciences’ a second and third year subject at the university. Stephen’s research interests are firstly in exploring the intersection between physics and metaphysic via two routes: Fisher Information and the work of physicist, V.J.Stenger, and secondly, in examining the competing understandings of the human person at the intersection of science, philosophy and theology.

Colin Hales

Colin Hales

Engineer, Scientist

I am a late-onset engineer/scientist (PhD awarded!)/post-doc with the sole intent of developing a novel brain-tissue replication chip technology for application in artificial general intelligence/robots and human implants. Later, I hope to get the robots and derivative products into commercial production. The chip technology facilitates natural learning of the kind biology uses to adapt to novelty.

Interests

Artificial general intelligence, the scientific study of consciousness, intelligence, cognition, molecular dynamics, biophysics, electrodynamics, scientific method, pattern theory, cellular automata, information theory, memristor applications/chip design, cell biology, empirical and theoretical neuroscience, machine consciousness.

Projects

My only science mission is to create artificial general intelligence (machine, inorganic intelligence) that learns like biology learns and that have an internal life appropriate to that circumstance. Currently that goal requires a general review of the laws of electromagnetism as applied to brain material.

Greg Restall

Greg Restall

Philosopher

Greg Restall is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Queensland in 1994, and has held positions at the Australian National University and Macquarie University, before moving to Melbourne in 2002. His research focuses on formal logic, philosophy of logic, metaphysics, and philosophy of language, and even some philosophy of religion. He has published over 80 papers in journals and collections, and is the author of three books, An Introduction to Substructural Logics (Routledge, 2000), Logic (Routledge, 2006), and Logical Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2006; with Jc Beall). His research has been funded by the Australian Research Council, and he is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Ashley Barnett

Ashley Barnett

Magician, Rationalist

By day, I’m a critical thinking instructor and educational researcher. Most of my work is for the Intelligence Community (i.e. spies and intelligence analysts). No, I don’t have access to your phone records and internet history! My research is on how to make people significantly smarter. I run a free online course at www.improvingreasoning.com, which is the product of lots of funding from the US government – God Bless America!

Chris Guest

Chris Guest

Bayesian, Philosopher, Skeptic

President of Australian Skeptics Victorian Branch

Chris Guest is a software developer with an academic background in Philosophy, Mathematics and Machine Learning. He is interested in applying critical reasoning to boundary problems in skepticism and is involved in consumer complaints and skeptical advocacy

Organisers

Francesca Minerva

Francesca Minerva

Philosopher

Francesca Minerva’s main area of research is practical ethics (medical ethics, the ethics of genetics, human enhancement, new forms of reproduction, conflicts between secular and religious ethics).
She graduated in Philosophy (summa cum laude) from the University of Pisa and obtained a PhD in “Law, New Technologies and Bioethics” from the University of Bologna in 2010. She was a research associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. She started a post-doc at the University of Melbourne (at CAPPE) in June 2011 (McKenzie Fellowship). Her PhD thesis focused on the topic of conscientious objection in medicine. In general, She is interested in analysing the possible problems that can arise in the medical context when patients and doctors with different moral and religious values have to take important decisions about therapies needed.

Adam Ford

Adam Ford

Conference Chair, Futurist

Adam A. Ford is a futurist and IT professional who lives in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He completed his Masters in IT (Distributed Systems) in 2003 and has been contracting in the IT sector since the late 90s. He is on the Board of Humanity+, and is the founder of H+ Australia, organises regular think tank oriented discussion groups, and conferences around the future of science and technology aimed at shaping the likelihood of a favorable future for humanity. He is spearheading the Future Day initiative, aimed at creating an international day of attention to matters regarding our future.
He is a midnight oil burner, a skeptic, plays an assortment of musical instruments, and enjoys a good sci-fi movie.

Adam is also a part-time journalist, he regularly conducts interviews with rationalists, futurists, scientists and technologists - the videos end up on his blossomingYouTube channel with over 700 videos of exclusive material.
He is working on a documentary on possible futures of humanity. He also wishes to help improve the likelihood of a beneficial Intelligence Explosion.
His first computer was an Apple IIc, his latest is an Android.
Skype: adam_ford,Reddit: adam_ford, Twitter: adam_ford, YouTube: http://youtube.com/TheRationalFuture

Science, Technology & the Future is supported by:

Science, Technology & the Future

Science, Technology & the Future

Principle Sponsor

Science, Technology & the Future

Humanity+

Humanity+

Principle Supporter

Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association) is an international organization which advocates the ethical use of emerging technologies to enhance human capacities.
The objectives of Humanity+ are:
- to support discussion and public awareness of emerging technologies;
- to defend the right of individuals in free and democratic societies to adopt technologies that expand human capacities;
- to anticipate and propose solutions for the potential consequences of emerging technologies;
- to actively encourage and support the development of emerging technologies judged to have sufficiently probable positive benefit.

CAPPE

CAPPE

Principle Supporter

The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) is an Australian Research Council Special Research Centre. CAPPE commenced operations in 2000 and is the world’s largest concentration of applied philosophers. Spanning three of Australia’s most prestigious universities our purpose is to connect rigorous philosophical thinking with policy input, community discussion, and professional aims.

CAPPE aims to assist members of the community to make more ethically informed choices by making available the considerable resources of the rich tradition in philosophical theory, as well as other information, such as empirical research and the statement of fundamental human rights in international instruments of human rights.

CAPPE aims to combine frontier research in social and applied philosophy with close attention to the concrete problems and requirements of practitioners in the public sphere. It also draws on Charles Sturt University (www.csu.edu.au ) and University of Melbourne (www.unimelb.edu.au ) social and natural scientists, lawyers, economists and others to make up effective research teams. Our blend of depth in research and presence in the public sphere not only sets our work apart from otherwise comparable centres, but the interplay between these different elements improves the quality and relevance of the research and its impact on public life.
6 INTEGRATED RESEARCH AREAS

The Centre’s work is organised around six integrated research areas

Emerging and Converging Technologies Program:
Poverty Program:
Health Program:
Ecology Program:
Economy Program:
Security Program:

    “The mobile has spread faster than any other technology in human history – in half a generation being connected and being human have become synonymous.” — Mark Pesce