Bayeswatch - by Chris Guest

Bayeswatch – The Pitfalls of Bayesian Reasoning – Chris Guest

Bayesian inference is a useful tool in solving challenging problems in many fields of uncertainty. However, inferential arguments presented with ...
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Science vs Pseudoscience – Kevin Korb

Science has a certain common core, especially a reliance on empirical methods of assessing hypotheses. Pseudosciences have little in common ...
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Aubrey de Grey – Engaging the Disengaged

There is likely a lot of mileage in engaging the disengaged in untapped support for more efficient progress in regenerative ...
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Aubrey de Grey – Ageing & Suffering

The main thing that people misunderstanding is the actual relationship between aging and the diseases of old age - and ...
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Peter Singer at UMMS - Ethics Utilitarianism Effective Altruism

Peter Singer – Ethics, Utilitarianism & Effective Altruism

Peter Singer discusses Effective Altruism, including Utilitarianism as a branch of Ethics. Talk was held as a joint event ...
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Panel on Skepticism & Science

Panelists: Terry Kelly (Former president of Vic Skeptics), Chris Guest (Current president of Vic Skeptics), Bill Hall (Researcher at the ...
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Understanding the New Statistics

Geoff discusses statistics, confidence intervals, Bayesian approaches, meta-analysis, and problems with the use of 'P' values in significance testing. Discussion ...
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Can Spiritual Experience be Scientifically Validated?

At a Melbourne skeptic’s meeting in Australia, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss was asked whether spiritual experiences could ever be scientifically ...
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Vernor Vinge on the Turing Test, Artificial Intelligence

Preface On the coat-tails of a the blockbuster film “The Imitation Game” I saw quite a bit of buzz on ...
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Simulating for Computational Biology – Arun Konagurthu

Arun Konagurthu is a Senior Lecturer at the Clayton School of Computer Science and Information Technology, Faculty of Information Technology, ...
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What is Technoprogressivism?

Rejecting the two extremes of bioconservatism and libertarian transhumanism, Hughes argues for a third way, “democratic transhumanism,” a radical form ...
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Robin Hanson – Attitudes to the Future – Future Day Discussion 2015

Topics covered: Attitudes to the future, Prediction Markets, SciCast, Blockchain currency, Quadratic Voting, Artificial Intelligence Development etc. Notes on interview: ...
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Aubrey de Grey – SENS Therapy Delivery

In this interview Aubrey discusses some of the various approaches that SENS therapy will likely be delivered. Mostly covering gene ...
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Scientific and Engineering language within a General Theory of Discourse – Rohan McLeod

We have heard many different notions of what the words: science, philosophy and the term 'philosophy of science' mean ...
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The Revolutions of Scientific Structure – Colin Hales

"The Revolutions of Scientific Structure" reveals an empirically measured discovery, by science, about the natural world that is the human ...
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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?