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Spring 2004 Gathering

Foresight Vision Weekend

Annual Senior Associates Gathering
"Putting Feynman's Vision into Action"

Preliminary Program
(subject to change)

May 14-16, 2004
Hotel Crowne Plaza Cabaña Palo Alto
Silicon Valley, California


The meeting is off the record; no media writeups please.

In response to member demand, we try to reserve at least half of the weekend for informal discussion and Q&A, including a continuous parallel track in the schmooze room for demos, other toys, dealmaking, or whatever you want to do during talks you'd like to skip out on.

What to bring (optional): laptop demos, favorite techie toys and books, business plan, resumé, videos, book draft, swimsuit. Not needed: suits and ties. Laptop owners: We expect to have wireless access in the main meeting room so we can use Foresight's new social software capabilities in real time during plenary sessions.

May 14, Friday optional event
9 AM to 5 PM "Fundamentals of Nanotechnology" Tutorial
Steve Jurvetson, Ralph Merkle, David Lackner and Christine Peterson bring you up to speed on the basics, background of the field, funding politics, and near-term business opportunities.
May 14, Friday evening
6:30-7:30 PM Registration & Reception
Register and enjoy drinks and light hors d'oeuvres. It's been a year since we've been face to face, and it's great to catch up: what's the hot new startup, most amazing demo, best recent book, most exotic travel destination—even baby pictures are handed around. For newcomers, this is when you'll start putting faces to the names you've seen for so long. And, get a personal demo of the new Senior Associate collaboration site.
7:30-8 PM Accelrys: Molecular Modeling for Nanotechnology
So many of us would like to move our careers toward working in nanotech. Software is a pathway. Accelrys, the industry leader in molecular modeling software, gives an intro to today's tools. Later tonight, get a demo and sign up for your free three-month loaner machine and software.
8-9 PM Vision Weekend Orientation & Introductions
Supposedly a session for first-timers, all participants are welcome. First we have key players brief us on what the Foresight community is all about—values, goals, methods, achievements, challenges. Then it's your turn: tell us what you want from this meeting and your Senior Associate membership. The combined resources of this group are phenomenal, so feel free to think (and talk) big in this session.
9-10 PM Demo of Accelrys software
Get a demo of the extremely powerful Materials Studio "MS Modeling Software" package from Accelrys and sign up for your free three-month hardware and software loaner system.
10 PM Ice Cream Sundaes and Coffee, informal discussion around the pool, lounge and bar
May 15, Saturday morning
8 AM Continental breakfast: show up on time to schmooze with the early risers, or dash by and grab your caffeine and bagel on the run so you can munch through the first talk.
8:15 AM Breakfast Reception for 1st Time Participants: informal chat with key player(s), open to all Senior Associates attending their first Vision Weekend
9 AM Brad TempletonSharing in the challenging task of emceeing the Weekend will be Foresight director Brad Templeton, who also serves as chairman of Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Foresight president Christine Peterson. (Brad participates so vigorously from the audience that this year we decided to put him to work.)
9 AM Steve T. JurvetsonAs both a serious player in nanotech venture capital and a visionary for the longer-term prospects of the field, Steve Jurvetson is uniquely qualified to sketch the goals and how to get there, dollar by dollar. He'll share his views on today's action in nanotech, what to expect as the work evolves, and the dramatic changes coming from advanced nanotechnology.
9:45 AM Group discussion
10 AM Ralph C. MerkleIt's time for Georgia Tech Prof. Ralph Merkle's "Top Ten" picks for recent nanotech advances on the pathway to powerful, atomically-precise construction: real molecular manufacturing. Expect some amused references to hype in the field and deep insights into areas needing more attention if we are to reach our goal in the desired timeframe.
10:30 AM Group discussion
10:45 AM Caffeine break
11:15 AM John BashinskiWe now enter the "action" phase of the meeting: John Bashinski gives us a tour of our new tool for online Senior Associate collaboration, which we'll exploit in the next session, throughout the weekend, and over the year to come.
11:30 AM Brainstorming/Critiquing/Planning Breakouts and SIGs meet
12:45 PM Lunch (included) Take a well-earned break, or meet with specific members you've been wanting to talk with, or—if your Breakout group is going really well—sneak over lunch a couple of minutes early so your group can grab a full table to yourselves, and keep at it.
May 15, Saturday afternoon
2:15 PM K. Eric DrexlerIt's been a wild ride for K. Eric Drexler, author of both Engines of Creation and Nanosystems. Over 25 years of exponential interest in his ideas has culminated in billions of government spending in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The race is on; may the best side win. Eric will share his thoughts on who to root for, and how to get spending targeted more closely on molecular manufacturing.
2:45 PM Group discussion
3:00 PM Wrye SententiaWrye Sententia, co-director of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, explains and defends the ethics of technological cognitive enhancement to groups of all political persuasions — from anti-enhancement Christian bioethicists to pro-enhancement transhumanists and "Convergence" advocates. She'll lay out the controversies and lead up to our Debate of the Decade, coming next.
3:30 PM Group discussion
3:45 PM Caffeine break
4:15 PM

Debate of the Decade—Human Performance Enhancement:
Inevitable Progress or Immoral Selfishness?
William Hurlbut vs. Ramez Naam

Triggered in part by the NSF's NBIC Convergence conferences (NBIC = Nano/Bio/Info/Cogno), an uproar is growing over the potential use of such technologies to go "beyond therapy" to enhancement. Some see this as a personal matter to be decided by patient and doctor; others as an abuse to be prohibited by law. We'll dissect this controversial issue which may impact nanotech funding and regulation, and is destined to grow ever more heated in the decades to come.

William Hurlbut William B. Hurlbut is a physician and Consulting Professor in the Program in Human Biology at Stanford University. His primary areas of interest involve the ethical issues associated with advancing biomedical technology, the biological basis of moral awareness, and studies in the integration of theology and philosophy of biology. In 2001 Dr. Hurlbut was appointed by George W. Bush as a member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

Ramez NaamRamez Naam serves on the Advisory Board of the Nanobusiness Alliance and is the author of More Than Human: How Technology Will Transform Us and Why We Should Embrace It (Broadway/Random House, January 2005). The book makes a careful yet provocative case for embracing human enhancement, taking the position that these technologies are powerful new tools in humanity's age-long quest to improve ourselves, our offspring, and our world.

5:15 PM Group discussion
6:00-6:05 PM "FACE" Foresight's classic "Fastest Award Ceremony on Earth", in which our stellar volunteers are applauded. The only awards ceremony in existence, which is dreaded by no one. Recipients this year: Sergey Brin, Chris Cooper, and Steve Jurvetson — for hosting Foresight strategy sessions in their homes — and Rochelle Fuller, Judy Muhlestein, Kelly Plughoff, Richard Terra, Brian Wang, and Rosa Wang.
6:05-6:30 PM Sign up for and walk/drive to dinner groups, described below
May 15, Saturday evening
6:30 PM Self-assembling no-host dinner groups disperse to enjoy local cuisine. But get back on time for:
8:00-10:00 PM Join the informal Nanoschmooze reception in the Courtyard: complimentary Sweet and Salty Treats, hot and cold beverages. Ongoing demos of SAM collaboration website. (In case of chillly weather, we'll be in the Bacchus room.)
8:30-10:30 PM Bring your snacks to the "Human Enhancement" discussion with Wrye Sententia and Ramez Naan.
10:30 PM Informal interaction around the pool, lounge, and bar
May 16, Sunday morning
8 AM Continental breakfast: load up on caffeine to make up for being up late again last night. Have some protein and fruit too.
8:15 AM Neil JacobsteinNeil Jacobstein, Chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, will present a compelling new rationale for the NNI to provide major funding for molecular nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing. Neil will also give us updates on the upcoming National Academy of Sciences studies on nanotechnology, and the IMM Freitas Research Fund to support the ongoing research of IMM Senior Fellow Robert Freitas Jr., author of Nanomedicine Vol's I & II.
9 AM Luke NosekAs a founder and former Director of Strategy for Paypal, Luke Nosek has been touring the world for a few years now, having fun. Now it's back to work — applying his strategic sense to the challenge of molecular manufacturing. Let's hope he can speed it up as much as he did PayPal!
9:30 AM Group discussion
9:45 AM Christine PetersonChristine Peterson has a task of mind-boggling complexity: maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides of long-term advanced nanotechnology. But as Foresight president, she also has substantial resources available—this group, the Senior Associates. She'll outline the progress you have made to date, and how you can continue to make real nanotech happen sooner, safer, cleaner, and cheaper for all.
10:15 AM Group discussion
10:30 AM Caffeine break
11 AM Brainstorming/Critiquing/Planning Breakouts and SIGs meet. Either continue yesterday's work or add your fresh insights and skills to a different team.
1:00 PM Lunch (included). Take a break and let your neurotransmitters recover, connect with a prospective project cofounder—or take your entire breakout group with you to lunch and keep the energy going.
May 16, Sunday afternoon
2:15 PM Pat ParkerPat Parker—originally an economist, executive and management prof—got pulled into the world of national security and what is termed "intelligence". He'll give the big picture on how nano fits into the balance (or imbalance) or powers, what could happen, and what we should do about it.
2:45 PM Group discussion
3:00 PM Mike TrederIn late 2002, Mike Treder and longtime Foresight Senior Associate Chris Phoenix started the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. In the short time since then, these two have made substantial progress in spreading CRN's view that molecular nanotechnology may be coming sooner than most of its supporters estimate. While Mike brings us up to speed here in Palo Alto, Chris will be lecturing in China. We'll hear how two guys with computers are making a difference to molecular manufacturing.
3:30 PM Group discussion
3:45 PM Caffeine break
4:15 PM The Results
Now we see how well we've "Put Feynman's Vision into Action" during the weekend's two breakouts and the SIG meetings last night. Foresight president Christine Peterson presents each group's summaries of ideas conceived, projects proposed, and plans committed to for the coming year. Let's see who's serious and who just had fun (not that fun's a bad thing!). Expect the leaders of the more focused efforts to be key players as nanotech develops.
4:45 PM Critique and Kudos
Time for the hard truths and the happy ones. How is Foresight doing? What are we doing that's valuable and working, marginal and cancelable, or even dumb and harmful? What makes you proud to be a Senior Associate, and what leaves you cold or annoyed? Who should we form alliances with? What one thing should we do, as an organization that will make the biggest difference to our goals? (Discussion continues online.)
5:00 PM Official end of the meeting, but it goes on informally over wine—or, more likely, CokeTM—at the bar/pool. Locals and those staying overnight arrange dinner outings. New startup teams sneak off to whisper amongst themselves. URLs and email addresses are exchanged. Our Foresight community transfers from meatspace back to cyberspace—until October 21-24 in Washington, DC.

Special thanks

Corporate Sponsors:

Accelrys logo

Hewlett-Packard Company logo


Draper Fisher Jurvetson


Working In: Nanotechnology logo

Media Sponsors:

Kurzweil AI


Howard Lovy's Nanobot


Netconcepts, i-Marketing Innovation

Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities
Spring 2004 Gathering

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