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Emerging Community Asks Big Questions About Accelerating Change
PALO ALTO, CA (September 2, 2003) - The world's first multidisciplinary
forum to explore business and society's accelerating rate of change, the
Accelerating Change Conference (ACC2003), occurs September 12-14, 2003,
at Stanford University's Tresidder Union. Twenty-four prominent thinkers
will present topics with profound implications about the course of our
lives, and humanity's near- and long-term future.
Several presenters will focus on the domains of nanotechnology and
artificial intelligence - two rapidly growing technologies expected to be
critically important in the twenty-first century.
K. Eric Drexler, Chair of Foresight Institute and author of Engines of
Creation, will clarify the long-term goals of nanotechnology (developing
nanofactories that precisely control matter at the atomic level), and the
focused research likely to safely and swiftly achieve these goals.
Matthew Lennig, Senior VP of Engineering at Nuance Inc., will review the
history of linguistic interfaces (systems that support communication
between humans and machines based on spoken or written human language),
present a vision for the future, and discuss the challenges that lie between
the present state of technology and the future linguistic user interface.
Christine Peterson, President of Foresight Institute, will explore the
benefits and risks of nanotechnology, the importance of avoiding intentional
abuse, the need for improved education about this technology and what policy
strategies will work, the Foresight Institute's preferred strategy of open,
cooperative international development, and how individuals can help ensure
the safe progression toward the next manufacturing revolution.
Ben Goertzel, CEO of Biomind, will examine the current state of artificial
general intelligence (AGI) theory and technology, and why over the next few
decades, powered by ongoing advances in computing hardware, AGI is poised
to play a leading role in the development of twenty-first century
technology, with emphasis on the power of AGI to enhance work in biotech,
nanotech, fundamental physics, and distributed cognition. Wearing his
futurist hat, Goertzel will propose that the infusion of AGI through various
areas of advanced technology may serve as the transition phase to a
technological singularity (the development of human-surpassing
intelligence), driven and dominated by sophisticated AGI systems.
John Smart, President of the Institute for Accelerating Change (IAC), the
event's organizer, said "Everybody has noticed it, but no community talks
openly and systematically about accelerating change. We're bringing together
leaders from multiple disciplines on this neglected and future-critical
subject. We don't just focus on nanotech, AI, and the continuation of
Moore's Law - we explore broader topics, such as 'Is technology becoming a
learning system?' 'Which technologies are self-catalyzing?' 'Is there a
historical trend toward increasing interdependence, intelligence, and
immunity in complex systems, such as human societies?' 'How do we guide
technology's development toward effectively solving social problems?'"
Smart continued, "We are still early in asking the big questions about the
accelerating future, and in finding ways to wisely guide acceleration in our
modern lives. But the more we give ourselves permission to consider these
issues, the better equipped we will be to create our daily personal and
collective futures, consistent with unavoidable accelerating trends."
To that end, the event's Collective Intelligence dinner will give all
participants a chance to explore their choice of 20-30 "Challenge Questions"
about the conference's themes, such as "What is the significance of global
IT services to small businesses?" and "What classes of technologies can
individuals and enterprises use to increase their productivity in the next
five years?" Each table will seat eight attendees with one question per
table. After the dinner, self-selected speakers will give a summary report
of their table's response to their particular question.
Tyler Emerson, IAC Vice President, said "The dinner blends small-group
brainstorming with large-group presentation to gain personalized
perspectives on a range of valuable questions. To be honest, every event
should have such a dinner. It provides an efficient way to explore the
knowledge of our distinguished participants, both speakers and attendees,
and to improve the quality of their networking and participation."
Christine Peterson, President of Foresight Institute, noted that "The first
meeting on an exciting topic like this is always a major event, attracting a
'Who's Who' of forward-looking thinkers. You'll meet the people who see
what's coming, know how to grapple with it, and are taking action to steer
and benefit from the tsunami of change we're all riding."
Mark Finnern, an event speaker, added "Most events covering the future look
two years ahead. What ACC2003 participants will do is take a step back, open
their eyes and look five to 30 years into the future. If you bring bright
minds together, some of them experts in their fields, coming from different
walks of life with different viewpoints, magical things happen."
IAC is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in Los Angeles,
California. Our mission is to help individuals, business, and society
understand the potential risks and benefits of the accelerating pace of
change through our conferences, reading groups, publications, websites, and
sense of community.
Reprinted with premission.
Copyright The Institute for Accelerating Change (IAC).
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