RE: [unrev-II] Hofstadter's Saturday, April 1st, Special: WILL SPIRITUAL ROBOTS REPLACE HUMANITY BY 2100?

From: Adam Cheyer (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 08:13:39 PST

  • Next message: Paul Fernhout: "Re: [unrev-II] Hofstadter's Saturday, April 1st,Special: WILL SPIRITUAL ROBOTS REPLACE HUMANITY BY 2100?"

    The URL for the site (with map) is:

    -- Adam.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Armstrong []
    Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 8:43 PM
    To: unrev-II@ONELIST.COM
    Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Hofstadter's Saturday, April 1st, Special: WILL

    From: Eric Armstrong <>

    Wow. Way, way, way cool.
    Is there some URL where I can find that location on a map
    of Stanford?

    Doug Engelbart - Bootstrap Institute wrote:

    > From: Doug Engelbart - Bootstrap Institute <>
    > Forwarded to some of us Foresight friends by Christine Peterson. This
    > bears
    > directly upon the "complex, urgent, huge-scale problems" we kept
    > bringing out
    > in the Colloquium. Are we going to get collectively capable enough,
    > soon
    > enough?.
    > *********
    > Foresight's own Ralph Merkle will participate in an important
    > symposium on
    > machine intelligence this Saturday at Stanford. Organized by Douglas
    > Hofstadter, others involved include Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Bill
    > Joy, John
    > Holland, Kevin Kelly, Frank Drake, and John Koza.
    > Given Bill Joy's recent views on nanotechnology and AI in in Wired,
    > and the
    > known views of some of the others, things may get a bit heated. Let's
    > do our
    > part to keep the tone friendly. Expect to see heavy press attendance.
    > The event is likely to fill up, so to be sure of getting in, you might
    > want to
    > arrive early.
    > -- Christine Peterson, Executive Director
    > -- free and open to the public --
    > Saturday, April 1, from 1 PM til 5:30 PM
    > Teaching Center, Science and Engineering Quad (TCSEQ), room 200
    > near the
    > Math Corner, Sequoia Hall, and the Varian Physics Building
    > Primary speakers:
    > Ray Kurzweil (inventor of reading machine for the blind, electronic
    > keyboards, etc., and author of "The Age of Spiritual Machines")
    > Hans Moravec (founder of Carnegie-Mellon University's Robotics
    > Institute,
    > and author of "Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind")
    > Bill Joy (co-founder of, and chief scientist at, Sun Microsystems)
    > John Holland (inventor of genetic algorithms, and artificial-life
    > pioneer;
    > professor of computer science and psychology at the U. of Michigan)
    > Panel members:
    > Ralph Merkle (well-known computer scientist and one of today's top
    > figures
    > in the explosive field of nanotechnology)
    > Kevin Kelly (editor at "Wired" magazine and author of "Out of
    > Control", a
    > study of bio-technological hybrids)
    > Frank Drake (distinguished radio-astronomer and head of the SETI
    > Institute
    > -- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
    > John Koza (inventor of genetic programming, a rapidly expanding
    > branch of
    > artificial intelligence)
    > Symposium organizer and panel moderator:
    > Douglas Hofstadter (professor of cognitive science at Indiana;
    > author of
    > "Godel, Escher, Bach", "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies",
    > etc.)
    > In 1999, two distinguished computer scientists, Ray Kurzweil and Hans
    > Moravec,
    > came out independently with serious books that proclaimed that in the
    > coming
    > century, our own computational technology, marching to the exponential
    > drum of
    > Moore's Law and more general laws of bootstrapping, leapfrogging,
    > positive-feedback progress, will outstrip us intellectually and
    > spiritually,
    > becoming not only deeply creative but deeply emotive, thus usurping
    > from us
    > humans our self-appointed position as "the highest product of
    > evolution".
    > These two books (and several others that appeared at about the same
    > time) are
    > not the works of crackpots; they have been reviewed at the highest
    > levels of
    > the nation's press, and often very favorably. But the scenarios they
    > paint are
    > surrealistic, science-fiction-like, and often shocking.
    > According to Kurzweil and Moravec, today's human researchers, drawing
    > on
    > emerging research areas such as artificial life, artificial
    > intelligence,
    > nanotechnology, virtual reality, genetic algorithms, genetic
    > programming, and
    > optical, DNA, and quantum computing (as well as other areas that have
    > not yet
    > been dreamt of), are striving, perhaps unwittingly, to render
    > themselves
    > obsolete -- and in this strange endeavor, they are being aided and
    > abetted by
    > the very entities that would replace them (and you and me):
    > superpowerful
    > computers that are relentlessly becoming tinier and tinier and faster
    > and
    > faster, month after month after month.
    > Where will it all lead? Will we soon pass the spiritual baton to
    > software minds
    > that will swim in virtual realities of a thousand sorts that we cannot
    > even
    > begin to imagine? Will uploading and downloading of full minds onto
    > the Web
    > become a commonplace? Will thinking take place at silicon speeds,
    > millions of
    > times greater than carbon speeds? Will our children -- or perhaps our
    > grandchildren -- be the last generation to experience "the human
    > condition"?
    > Will immortality take over from mortality? Will personalities blur and
    > merge
    > and interpenetrate as the need for biological bodies and brains
    > recedes into
    > the past? What is to come?
    > To treat these disorienting themes with the seriousness they deserve
    > at the
    > dawn of the new millennium, cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter has
    > drawn
    > together a blue-ribbon panel of experts in all the areas concerned,
    > including
    > the authors of the two books cited. On Saturday, April 1 (take the
    > date as you
    > will), three main speakers and five additional panelists will publicly
    > discuss
    > and debate what the computational and technological future holds for
    > humanity.
    > The forum will be held from 1 PM till 5:30 PM, and audience
    > participation will
    > be welcome in the final third of the program.
    > Sponsoring agencies at Stanford: Symbolic Systems Program; Center for
    > the Study
    > of Language and Information; Department of Computer Science;
    > Department of
    > Philosophy; Center for Computer-Assisted Research in the Humanities;
    > Channel
    > 51; GSB Futurist Club
    > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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