Can we build AI without losing control over it? – Sam Harris

San Harris (author of The Moral Landscape and host of the Waking Up podcast) discusses the need for AI Safety ...
Read More

Marching for Science with John Wilkins – a perspective from Philosophy of Science

Recent video interview with John Wilkins!
  • What should marchers for science advocate for (if anything)? Which way would you ...
    Read More

March for Science! Interview with Michael Shermer

Adam Ford: G'day everybody - we've got Michael Shermer here today and we're going to discuss science advocacy as well ...
Read More

Ethics In An Uncertain World – Australian Humanist Convention 2017

Join Peter Singer & AC Grayling to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing society today - surviving the ...
Read More

Should “Work Ethic” be a timeless measure of human worth?

Should "Work Ethic" be a timeless measure of human worth? As automation increases alongside advances in AI and robotics - ...
Read More

March for Science Melbourne

Join us in Melbourne on April 22nd to champion science as a pillar of human prosperity!  This will be huge ...
Read More

The Simulation Argument – How likely is it that we are living in a simulation?

The simulation hypothesis doesn't seem to be a terse parsimonious explanation for the universe we live in. If what is ...
Read More

All Aboard The Ship of Theseus with Keith Wiley

An exploration of the philosophical concept of metaphysical identity, using numerous variations on the infamous Ship of Theseus thought experiment ...
Read More

Why don’t we see more larger brained species in our ecosystem?

Species with larger brains seem to have a higher general intelligence. So why haven't all species evolved larger brains? Possibly ...
Read More

Narratives, Values & Progress – Anders Sandberg

Anders Sandberg discusses ideas & values and where we get them from, mindsets for progress, and that we are living ...
Read More

Longevity Day with Aubrey de Grey!

“Longevity Day” (based on the UN International Day of Older Persons - October 1) is a day of support for ...
Read More

Longevity Day Melbourne 2016

“Longevity Day” (based on the UN International Day of Older Persons - October 1st) is a day of support for ...
Read More

Elon Musk on the Future of AI

Elon Musk discusses possible best of alternative AI futures - in that the advanced AI tech is democratized - no ...
Read More

Can We Improve the Science of Solving Global Coordination Problems? Anders Sandberg

Anders Sandberg discusses solving coordination problems: Includes discussion on game theory including:the prisoners dilemma (and the iterated form), the tit-for-tat ...
Read More

Anders Sandberg -The Technological Singularity

Anders gives a short tutorial on the Singularity - clearing up confusion and highlighting important aspects of the Technological Singularity ...
Read More

Heavy-Tailed Distributions: What Lurks Beyond Our Intuitions?

Understanding heavy-tailed distributions are important to assessing likelihoods and impact scales when thinking about possible disasters - especially relevant to ...
Read More


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

Join the Meetup Group for up to date info on related activities!

Join the Scifuture Meetup

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
Follow us on twitter

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?