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.
Within the next few decades, and perhaps sooner, a new type of manufacturing will be made possible by molecular nanotechnology (MNT). Considering its enormous potential for profound social, environmental, economic, and military impacts, MNT has received insufficient attention in ethical and policy discussions. Mike Treder, co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, presented on the global risks posed by molecular nanotechnology and the potential for resilience at the November Global Catastrophic Risks conference .
Tad Hogg is a researcher in the Social Computing Laboratory of Hewlett-Packard, focused on harvesting the collective intelligence of groups of people to optimize the interaction between users and information. At the 2008 Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View, he presented on the prospects of distributed surveillance with MEMS & nano-scale sensors.
Jamais Cascio gave the closing talk at GCR08, a Mountain View conference on Global Catastrophic Risks. Titled “Uncertainty, Complexity and Taking Action,” the discussion focused on the challenges inherent in planning to prevent future disasters emerging as the result of global-scale change.
Jamais Cascio is a Senior Fellow for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, a research affiliate at the Institute for the Future, and blogs at Open the Future. He presented on the concept of engineering civilization to be more resilient in the face of catastrophic risks at GCR08, the November Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View. A day-long seminar on threats to the future of humanity, natural and man-made, the meeting offered various viewpoints on the pro-active steps we can take to reduce global risks.
The study of reproducible errors of human reasoning, and what these errors reveal about underlying mental processes, is known as the heuristics and biases program in cognitive psychology. This program has made discoveries highly relevant to assessors of global catastrophic risks. Eliezer Yudkowsky, who writes on the subject of cognitive biases at Overcoming Bias, presented at the Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View on the subject of cognitive biases in the assessment of risk.
Bruce Damer is the CEO of DigitalSpace, an international corporation with a leading practice in virtual worlds for industrial design engineering, education and public outreach. He is also the director of Contact Consortium, a California 501c(3) non-profit organization catalyzing the development of multi-user virtual worlds and virtual communities in cyberspace. For the 2008 Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View, he presented on the subjects of mitigating impact risks from Near-Earth objects, and the long-term potential for utilizing the source of these possible threats as stepping stones to a sustainable space program.
J. Storrs Hall is the author of Nanofuture: What’s Next for Nanotechnology, a book covering the physical principles of engineering at the atomic scale, possible applications of nanomachines, and their potential alteration of human society. More recently he published Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine, a review of the history of AI, discussing some of the major roadblocks that the field has recently overcome, and predicting the probable achievements in the near future. At October’s Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View he gave a presentation entitled “The Weather Machine” on the potential for nano-enabled “Climate Control for the Earth”
Mike Treder of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology and J. Hughes of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies introduce the November 14 conference on Global Catastrophic Risks taking place in Mountain View, California. The event followed a meeting on the same subject, an immensely diverse collection of events could constitute global catastrophes, in July at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The topic for the conference was “Building a Resilient Civilization.”
Global catastrophic risks are risks that seriously threaten human well-being on a global scale. An immensely diverse collection of events could constitute global catastrophes: potential factors range from volcanic eruptions to pandemic infections, nuclear accidents to worldwide tyrannies, out-of-control scientific experiments to climatic changes, and cosmic hazards to economic collapse. Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, provides an overview of aims of the Global Catastrophic Risks conference series at GCR08, a meeting in Mountain View, California in November of 2008.
The IEET, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology and the Lifeboat Foundation hosted a meeting on Global Catastrophic Risks on Friday, November 14 in Mountain View, California, one day prior to the Convergence 08 Unconference. The seminar’s theme was “Building a Resilient Civilization,” for which IEET executive director J. Hughes argued in favor of strengthening transnational governance to mitigate risks.
Aubrey de Grey is the editor-in-chief of Rejuvenation Research, a medical journal which publishes cutting-edge work on anti-aging therapies in the laboratory and clinic. At the “Securing the Longevity Dividend” event in Chicago organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, he argued the scientific feasibility of anti-aging therapies by exploring the concept of longevity escape velocity and sharing interim results from research funded by the Methuselah Foundation.