The Political Economy of the Longevity Dividend

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Public critics of radical life extension have made such various claims as “There is no known social good coming from the conquest of death,” and “The finitude of human life is a blessing for every individual, whether he knows it or not.” Ronald Bailey, who servers as science correspondent for Reason Magazine, set out to refute these assumptions in his talk at the 2007 event held by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies entitled “Securing the Longevity Dividend” by noting the wealth of research suggesting that the trend toward increasing lifespan has resulted directly in greater overall wealth and social good.

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Policy Scenarios for the Longevity Dividend

 

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Patrick Hopkins, Anders Sandberg, and Mark Walker at Transvision 2007

Anders Sandberg Ph.D. is a Swedish neuroscientist and futurist. He occupies the roles of James Martin research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, and research associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. In his talk at the July 23, 2007 Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies event entitled “Securing the Longevity Dividend,” Dr. Sandberg brought up four possible scenarios surrounding the public reaction to the emergence of radical life extension.

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The Next 20 Years of Gaming

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Ray Kurzweil has received the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and has been honored by three U.S. presidents. For the February 21 keynote presentation of the 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, he gave a talk entitled “The Next 20 Years of Gaming” where he discussed the foreseeable ramifications of the accelerating price performance growth of information technologies such as those found in the videogame industry.

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Artificial Intelligence and Society

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Ben Goertzel, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and Melanie Swan at the Artificial Intelligence and Society event

In everyday life, we underrate the importance of intelligence because our social environment consists only of other humans, yet it is our real trump card as a species and the foundation for everything else we do. The Bayesian statistician I. J. Good proposed that an “intelligence explosion” brought about by an artificial intelligence improving the design of its own intelligence could be expected to reshape the universe more than all human actions up to this point. In January 2008, Eliezer Yudkowsky examined this arguments in an informal presentation of his talk “The Human Importance of the Intelligence Explosion” at the Artificial Intelligence and Society event hosted by the University of Santa Clara and Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

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Systems Theories of Accelerating Change

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John Smart and Eliezer Yudkowsky at the 2006 Singularity Summit at Stanford

John Smart is a developmental systems theorist who studies accelerating change, computational autonomy, and the singularity. He is President of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, a nonprofit community for research, education, consulting, and selected advocacy of communities and technologies of accelerating change. He also co-produces the Accelerating Change Conference, a meeting of 350 change-leaders and students at Stanford University, and edits ASF’s free newsletter, Accelerating Times, read by future-oriented thinkers around the world. He is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, the FBI Futures Working Group, and the editorial advisory board of Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

In 2006, he presented the talk “Systems Theories of Accelerating Change” at the Singularity Summit at Stanford. There he looked at accelerating change from universal, biological, human cultural, and technological perspectives, and introduced a few well known and unorthodox ideas in acceleration mechanics.

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The Future of Technology

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We usually think about growth in linear and exponential models… but the biggest impacts come from discontinuous change, and history is a chain of discontinuities. At the Artificial Intelligence and Society event hosted by the University of Santa Clara and Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Melanie Swan presented on potentially disruptive technologies for the 21st century: synthetic biology, metaverse technologies, robotics, fabbing, quantum computing, intelligence augmentation, personalized medicine, artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology, affordable space launch and anti-aging therapies. A multidisciplinary introduction to thinking critically about the ramifications of accelerating technological change, the presentation is one of several open source projects available on her personal website.

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