Singularity Summit 2009 in New York

SIAI is organizing the 2009 edition of their yearly Singularity Summit on October 3rd and 4th. Unlike the 2006-2008 summits, which were in the Bay Area, this one will be held in New York.

For interested people in East Coast US and in Europe, especially, the Summit seems a unique opportunity to see speakers of various awesome expertise on the kind of subjects this blog talks about. Subjects are broadly based around the idea of the technological singularity, but look like they will include cognitive enhancement, neuroscience, the philosophy of mind, nanotechnology, and future forecasting. Some out of many interesting speakers are David Chalmers, Ray Kurzweil, Philip Tetlock, and Peter Thiel.

The technological singularity concept recently got some front page NYT coverage – evidence that it’s taking off in the media. Still, if you come to the Summit or help spread the word, it should still be early enough that you get to say you were into this stuff before it was mainstream.

Quantum Wildlife

David Wallace wrote an article about reductionism, emergence, and worlds in the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics that’s enlightening and more accessible than his earlier writings:

Decoherence and Ontology (or: How I learned to stop worrying and love FAPP)

Ultimately, though, that a theory of the world is “unintuitive” is no argument
against it, provided it can be cleanly described in mathematical language. Our
intuitions about what is “reasonable” or “imaginable” were designed to aid our
ancestors on the savannahs of Africa, and the Universe is not obliged to conform
to them.

I especially enjoyed figure 2 and footnote 14.

Wallace also has a latest update on the program to derive Born probabilities from decision theory:

A formal proof of the Born rule from decision-theoretic assumptions

I tend to think of Wallace’s as the most orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, it’s just that people don’t know it yet.