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David Brin
Esther Dyson
Bill Joy
David Friedman

Foresight Senior Associate Gathering:
"Exploring the Edges"

April 20-22, 2001
Hotel Crowne Plaza Cabaña Palo Alto
Silicon Valley, California

This event is open to current and new Senior Associates.
The meeting is off the record; no media writeups please.
This event has been held. This page is for archival purposes only.

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Special thanks to our Corporate Sponsors:

Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Tuva Capital

  • Nanotechnology
  • Open source
  • Smart matter
  • Design-ahead for fast advance
  • Intellectual "property" abuse & reform
  • Radical life extension
  • Super-privacy or super-surveillance?
  • Singularity or gradualism?
  • High-tech environmental repair
  • Solar system settlement
  • Ubiquitous ethics
  • Artificial entities
  • Key players outside the U.S.
  • Strategies for coping, thriving
  • Individual action plans
  • Investing in extreme technologies
Senior Associates at Work and/or Play: Photos from last year's Gathering
Doug Engelbart
Eric Raymond
Steve Jurvetson
Robert Grudin


Confirmed participants include:

Greg Aharonian: patent buster; publisher, Internet Patent News
Brian Behlendorf: co-founder, The Apache Project; founder & CTO, Collabnet
Sergey Brin: president and co-founder, Google
Eric Drexler: nanotechnologist; author, Engines of Creation, Nanosystems
Robert Grudin: humanist, author, philosopher

Steve Jurvetson: managing director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; "The Valley's Sharpest VC"
Brewster Kahle: founder Internet Archive; co-founder Alexa; inventor WAIS, supercomputer designer
Ralph Merkle: nanotechnologist, Zyvex; co-inventor, public key cryptography
Fred Turner: poet laureate of nanotechnology; aesthetic theoretician
John Walker: cofounder Autodesk; author, Speak Freely

What's the next big thing? Little things

The end of the Internet bubble is encouraging investors and the tech community to look elsewhere. In the "bits versus stuff" tradeoff, stuff is now getting the attention. As venture capitalist extraordinaire John Doerr put it, "I'm getting interested in making things again — atoms". Nanotech is increasingly seen as the next industrial revolution, but what does this mean? Come find out.

Why join forces with Foresight

Maybe you feel totally able to track technological progress and its impact — but we doubt it. No one can do this alone — the avalanche of change is too great. Here at Foresight we bring together folks from the bleeding edge of change in widely dispersed fields. By combining enough informed perspectives, we have a chance of figuring out what's coming, how to adapt, and when to get in there and help push things in a different direction.

What you'll learn — people you'll meet

The goal is to spot the early warning signs of big changes: in nanotechnology, infotech, social systems...wherever powerful waves of revolution can start. Then, combine these to see how they play together: see what existing entities will be made obsolete and which new ones should be designed and evolved.

Who comes to participate in this process? Systems thinkers — those who can see beyond the trivia of daily routine, to the big picture of tomorrow. And, have the vision and energy to do something about it, whether that's writing a book or founding a company. (You may be recruited for a nanotech startup — it definitely happens at these meetings.)

Not just talking heads: high-intensity interaction

These meetings are not about passive absorption of wisdom from big names — though big names are present. It's about pooling our opinions, trying on new viewpoints, changing our internal models of the world. This requires flexibility and a wide range of inputs — everyone is encouraged to share what they can. Lectures are minimized, focused discussion maximized. (With plenty of schmooze time built in, of course.)

Explore the edges

Seeing ahead requires boldness in where you're willing to look — so we don't shy away from subjects some might call "science-fictiony". Of course what's coming sounds like science fiction — the Web certainly did — and it takes skill to tell which parts can actually happen. Foresight members are good at that, and at these Gatherings we share our work and build new insights.

Do it for your organization

When does your organization need to start thinking about nanotechnology? (Hint: now may be the time. Some have already started, and it's best not to be last.) Do you know what the effect will be — on resource prices, on transportation, on trade — and when? Every organization will feel the impact; many will feel it well before nanotech actually hits. But: sometimes the right answer is "it's too early to worry". Get up to speed now and be the clueful one with the answers when these questions come up.

Do it for your career and family

Chances are, you'll experience the nanotech revolution personally — or, you have family members who will. Can your skill set and savings portfolio make it through successfully? What should you and your kids be learning now to be well-placed as such radical changes unfold? Join us in figuring out how to make these critical personal decisions.

Do it for your planet and your fellow Homo sapiens

There's more to life than making money, even here in Silicon Valley. Especially in Silicon Valley. We see the power of technology to tackle world ills, from pollution and species destruction, to providing clean water to the Third World. We also see the potential downsides, and have ideas on how to head them off. Join us in leveraging nanotechnology — and other coming powerful technologies — to make the Earth (and beyond) a better place for humans and other living things.

Do it for yourself — you deserve it

This meeting is so useful, you'd need to come even if it weren't fun. But fortunately, in addition to being something you can't afford to miss, it's also a total blast. Nowhere else can you find such a high concentration of brilliant, action-oriented folks who share your interests. The temptation to stay up all night talking is hard to resist — last time, one of us got laryngitis from doing this. Be smart: practice safe conferencing.

We hope to see you there!