Learning to Make Your Own Reality


Photo by Vincent Diamante

What new kinds of games will we play in the future, and what key knowledge and skills will game developers need to invent them? Futurist and game designer Jane McGonigal argues that over the next decade, games will become a powerful interface for managing our real work, organizing society, and optimizing our real lives. Increasingly, she predicts, game developers will be charged with the task of making people happier, smarter, friendlier, greener, and healthier — and hundreds of millions of new gamers will be playing together at home, at school, at work, and everywhere in between. The result? Game design and development expertise will become a sought-after talent in virtually every industry and field, from Fortune 500 companies to top government agencies.

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Further Steps Toward an AGI Roadmap


At the AGI-09 post-conference workshop‘s Roadmap Panel,  Itamar Arel of the University of Tennessee announced the founding of a wiki at agi-roadmap.org that will serve as a supplement to the creation of an AGI Roadmap.  Taking as examples several previous, related technology projects, J. Storrs Hall made mention of work conducted by the Foresight Institute on the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems and Ben Goertzel discussed his participation in the writing of the Metaverse Roadmap.

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Nanotechnologies: Long Term Potentials, Unprecedented Challenges for Governance


Christine Peterson is the founder and vice president of public policy for the Foresight Institute  and co-chair of the Convergence 08 Unconference.   For the February 13, 2008 lecture for the Stanford Law, Science and Technology Colloquium at Stanford University, she presented on the long-term potentials and unprecedented challenges inherent in nanotechnology.

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The Merits of Novamente’s Parrots


As AI developers are convening in San Francisco this week for the Game Developers Conference, another artificial intelligence conference is wrapping up in Arlington, Virginia, a short walk from the Pentagon. AGI-09, the second conference on artificial general intelligence, brings together researchers attempting to create learning, reasoning agents with broad, humanlike intelligence.

Organized by Dr. Ben Goertzel, chief science officer of Novamente LLC, the AGI conference series is a motivated effort to steer research back in the direction of the original intents of AI, namely to make a thinking machine. Goertzel’s plan is to inch up the cognitive ladder by incrementally developing more cleverly adaptive pets in virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games.

>> GameSetWatch: The Merits of Novamente’s Parrots and the Arrival of Advanced AI

Is Sousveillance the Best Path to Ethical AGI?




When cheap, advanced sensors give rise to ubiquitous monitoring technology, there will be the potential for what David Brin in The Transparent Society and others have called “sousveillance” to become universal. One could envision a future in which everyone was monitoring the activities of everyone else.  At the AGI-09 post-conference workshop, Ben Goertzel presented on a paper with Stephan Bugaj on various scenarios resulting from a future of advanced artificial intelligence that includes sousveillance technologies.

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Welcome to the Future of AGI


 Ben Goertzel and J. Storrs Hall at the AGI-09 post-conference workshop

Following in the footsteps of AGI-08, the Future of AI workshop was held in conjunction with AGI-09. This year’s workshop, held Monday, March 9th, 2009, at the main conference venue of the Crowne Plaza National Airport in Arlington, Virginia featured a slate of invited talks as well as contributed papers and posters. The event was hosted by J. Storrs Hall, president of the Foresight Institute, and introduced the topic of the economics of advanced AI.

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Risks Posed by Political Extremism


The world’s democracies are set to face their gravest challenge yet as viable and ongoing political options. George Dvorsky, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and Humanity+ while bloging at Sentient Developments, presented at the Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View on how given these high stakes situations, democratic institutions may not be given the chance to prevent global catastrophes.

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Mapping a Cone of Uncertainty


Paul Saffo is a forecaster and essayist with over two decades experience exploring long-term technological change and its practical impact on business and society. He teaches at Stanford University and is a Visiting Scholar in the Stanford Media X research network. He was the founding chairman of the Samsung Science Board and serves on a variety of other boards including the Long Now Foundation. At the Convergence unconference in November, he delivered a keynote presentation on the differences between forecasting and advocating for potential future outcomes.

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SENS Progress Worldwide


Though some areas of SENS, such as stem cells and amyloid immunotherapy, are sufficiently mainstream not to need funding, most are still relative backwaters that rely on the Methuselah Foundation to progress. As a result of the great generosity of donors, the non-profit organization trebled the diversity of its research in 2008. At the BIL unconference in February, Chief Science Officer Aubrey de Grey gave an overview of the research projects that the organization is now funding, their significance to SENS, and their potential to lead to accelerated progress towards the defeat of aging in 2009 and beyond.

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Longevity Convergence


Convergence08, the interdisciplinary unconference, continued with a panel discussion on life extension. Moderated by Christine Peterson of Foresight Nanotech Institute, the group of biotechnology and health experts included Aubrey de Grey of the Methuselah Foundation, Terry Grossman of the Frontier Medical Institute, Bruce Ames of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and Gregory Benford of Genescient Corporation.

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Toward Real AI


Peter Voss started his career as an entrepreneur, inventor, engineer and scientist at age 16. After a few years of experience in electronics engineering, at age 25 he started a company to provide advanced custom software development and information-technology services. Seven years later the company employed several hundred people and was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Having recently taken his artificial intelligence company Adaptive A.I. Inc. (a2i2) out of stealth mode, he presented at the BIL unconference in Long Beach, California in February on the prospects of creating artificial general intelligence, or “Real AI,” in less than a decade.

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AI Convergence


Convergence08, the technology unconference, began with a different kind of AI debate: not on whether to create AI, or which technical path will work fastest, but how we can use AI technology to build the world we want to live in. Jonas Lamis of SciVestor moderated the panel of artificial intelligence experts, which included Barney Pell of Powerset, Steve Omohundro of Self-Aware Systems,  Peter Norvig of Google and Ben Goertzel of Novamente.

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