Nanotechnology and the wildcard of advanced software

Nanotechnology and the wildcard of advanced software

Nanotech experiments using real molecules are expensive and slow. Progress in nanotechnology would be greatly increased by highly advanced software truly able to model how molecules interact to make materials, devices, and systems. What are the odds of highly advanced software — machine intelligence — being developed any time soon?

Explore this question at the Singularity Summit 2007, September 8-9 in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking, along with a lot of far more highly qualified and famous folks; see list below.

From today’s press release:

The Singularity Summit to address promise and peril of advanced AI to future of humanity

What are the major challenges to achieving advanced AI? What are the benefits and dangers? How far are we from self-improving AI? How should we prepare for this potentially powerful innovation?

These are among the questions that 17 outstanding thinkers will explore and debate at the Singularity Summit, to be held Saturday and Sunday, September 8-9, at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California. The summit is organized by the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institute in Silicon Valley for the study of safe advanced AI.

“Advanced AI has the potential to impact every aspect of human life. We are in a crucial window of opportunity where we have temporary but powerful leverage to influence the outcome,” said Tyler Emerson, chair of the summit and executive director of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. “Only a small group of scientists are aware of the central issues. It is essential to expand discussion of this critical 21st century issue, which is why I have created the summit.”

Tickets can be purchased online for $50 at

Peter Thiel, PayPal Cofounder, Clarium Capital President, and Facebook’s initial investor, will MC the summit and present his new ideas on financial markets and the Singularity. “It’s clear that the term ‘AI’ means a lot of different things,” said Thiel. “It’s one of these terms that has been bandied about a great deal, and has been misused a lot. It has been predicted for a long time that AI is right around the corner, and it’s taking longer than many people thought it would, with many disappointments along the way. However, it’s clear that there’s a massive set of issues happening, and people who don’t think there’s something important going on are living in a fantasy, and need to wake up.”

The Singularity Summit speakers include:

* Dr. Rodney Brooks, famous MIT roboticist and founder of iRobot
* Dr. Peter Norvig, director of research at Google
* Paul Saffo, Stanford, leading technology forecaster
* Sam Adams, distinguished engineer within IBM’s Research Division
* Jamais Cascio, cofounder of World Changing and creator of Open the Future
* Dr. Ben Goertzel, director of research at SIAI and founder of Novamente
* Dr. J. Storrs Hall, author of Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine
* Dr. Charles L. Harper, Jr., senior VP at John Templeton Foundation
* Dr. James Hughes, executive director of Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
* Neil Jacobstein, prominent AI expert and CEO of Teknowledge
* Dr. Stephen Omohundro, founder of Self-Aware Systems
* Dr. Barney Pell, founder and CEO of Powerset
* Christine Peterson, cofounder of Foresight Nanotech Institute
* Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and founder of Clarium Capital
* Wendell Wallach, author of Machine Morality: From Aristotle to Asimov and Beyond
* Eliezer Yudkowsky, Friendly AI pioneer and cofounder of SIAI
* Peter Voss, founder and CEO of Adaptive Artificial Intelligence

“To any thoughtful person, the Singularity idea, even if it seems wild, raises a gigantic, swirling cloud of profound and vital questions about humanity and the powerful technologies it is producing,” said Douglas R. Hofstadter at last year’s Singularity Summit at Stanford, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980. “Given this mysterious and rapidly approaching cloud, there can be no doubt that the time has come for the scientific and technological community to seriously try to figure out what is on humanity’s collective horizon. Not to do so would be hugely irresponsible.”

About the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI):
SIAI is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institute in Palo Alto, California, with three long-term goals: furthering the nascent science of safe advanced AI (self-improving cognitive systems) through research and development, research fellowships, research grants, and science education; furthering the understanding of its implications to society through educational outreach, such as the annual Singularity Summit; and furthering education among students to foster an interdisciplinary field for the study of safe advanced AI. Learn more by visiting SIAI at

Hope to see you there! —Christine

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One Comment

  1. Phillip Huggan August 19, 2007 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Software databases could be used to profile characterisitcs of computer users who make their computers available for distributed computing applications. Aids, gene sequencing, particle reactor design optimizing, pharmaceutical application…If certain educational, demographic, location, occupation, policial, etc; if the software (AI, technically) marketing program finds certain groups of people to be more likely to offer their screen saver cycles to distributed computing applications (including computational chemistry), the AI would help these charitable and private organizations better market their distributed computing ads.

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