Social policy bonds

from the would-you-buy-it-for-a-quarter? dept.
WillWare writes "Ronnie Horesh, a New Zealand economist, has an interesting proposal he calls Social Policy Bonds. These are a bit like idea futures; they are bonds issued by a government, redeemable at a fixed high price when some measurable social goal has been attained. The bonds are initially sold or auctioned at a low price, creating a free-market incentive to fulfill the goal, while relieving the government of the burden of planning the implementation. The idea could be fully privatized, with certificates issued by individuals who would deposit the redemption price with a trusted escrow agent, redeemable upon any objective measure: discovery of a vaccine, release of an open-source program, a low infant-mortality rate in a third-world country, the opening of a homeless shelter, publication of a book, etc. There's probably a good crypto protocol for trading unforgeable e-certficates. "

Three Articles

NANOGIRL writes "—*Molecules with attitude, ready to perform. Functioning nanostructures self-assemble out of ink. Observed through a microscope, dried ink appears as a jumble of particles. Now an ink has been produced that, as it dries, can be seen under very powerful microscopes to self-assemble into orderly layers of very tiny caves — actually, nanoscopic pores — each leading to the next. Within these caves, ligands — active molecules that exhibit molecular recognition charactistics — interrogate any gas or fluid, laser light, or electric or magnetic field passing through. (Sandia 5/4/00) link —*Magnetic actuation enables three-dimensional MEMS. Recent work in magnetic actuation at the University of Illinois promises to enable the mass production of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices that can self-assemble "upward" from their substrate into the third dimension.(EETimes 5/15/00) link —*New Info from Slow Muons. The magnetic properties of superconductors are at least as fascinating as their extremely high electrical conductivity. As researchers try to understand the new high temperature superconductors(HTSCs) at a fundamental level, they need to scrutinize magnetic fields inside these materials. A new technique using cold muons, described in the 22 May PRL, can probe these fields within NANOMETERS of a material's surface–by far the most detailed look ever. (PRF 5/15/00) link "

Coding a Transhuman AI 2.0a published

from the smarter-than-the-average-mechanism dept.
Eliezer Yudkowsky writes "Coding a Transhuman AI 2.0a has just been published. The paper is 179K; there is a summary. CaTAI discusses how to build a general intelligence, along with the specific issues associated with creating a self-modifying or "seed" AI (one that can understand and rewrite its own source code). I expect this paper to be extended considerably in the future, but the published sections are complete and self-contained. I may revise this paper further before the Foresight Conference, but the initial version is now available for review. "

Waking up from Cryostasis

from the seven-year-snooze-bar dept.
Fred Chamberlain writes "In anticipation of the gathering, a short-story about people waking up from cryostasis (thanks to nanotech) is now posted on Alcor's website. It's a reprint from LifeQuest Issue No. 4 (Nov. 1988), one of the early stories inspired by "Engines". Comments were requested from a few people who either will be at the gathering, or should be. So far, all that's emerged is a flurry of email about how some of us define virtual reality vs. cyberspace, bio-cyber interfaces, etc. This weekend we're going to be trying to visualize what's coming and how to deal with it. Here's one possible scenario. "

Thinking about nanotech accidents

Foresight Senior Associate Robert A. Freitas Jr. has just completed a lengthy technical risk analysis of some "gray goo" scenarios which may be relevant to our discussions of nanoreplicator safely and regulations. The title is Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations . (Thanks go to Senior Associate Robert Bradbury for getting this into html.) If you're coming to the Gathering, try to read or skim this first. Additionally, you may comment below or by using Crit; to do the latter, click here.

Big Names endorse Nat'l Nanotech Initiative

Christine Peterson writes "Various technical and political honchos endorse the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative on this page at the site. It's not surprising that these folks would favor R&D spending, but for those of us in Foresight it is gratifying to see them endorsing our technical goals and/or our goals for applications (e.g. medical and environmental). Five of them get extra points for mentioning molecular-scale "machines": MIT's president, UCSB's chancellor, HP Labs' director, Material Research Society's president, and Newt Gingrich (!). "

Nanotechnology and plasmonics may lead to faster computers

Plasmonic nanoswitches based upon molecular machines may eventually lead to nanotech plasmonic circuits.