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Foresight Update 23.39: All conference videos now posted - April 9, 2010

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We are happy to announce that all videos from Foresight 2010, our January conference, are now posted:

There are 17 videos, so in case you'd like some guidance in getting started, consider starting with the top three talks as rated by conference participants:

Special thanks to Monica Anderson, Miron Cuperman, and TechZulu (Efren Toscano) for their work on this project.

If you enjoy the videos and have not yet joined Foresight or donated in 2010, we encourage you to chip in and help fund this work:

We hope to see you at the next Foresight Conference!

In this issue:

Foreseeing Future Technologies - Join Foresight
Contact Foresight

Technological singularity and acceleration studies: call for papers

This conference track is being chaired by a real computer scientist with a specialty in AI, so it should be more meaty than some popular discussions of this challenging topic…

Greece to trademark term "nanotechnology" (April 1)

Nanowerk reports:

Taking the patent land grab to a new level, the government of Greece today, April 1, filed a patent and trademark application for the term nanotechnology with the European Patent Office …

For readers in countries that dont celebrate April 1: today is the day we play jokes on each other, including this story.

U.S. military to use memristors for neural computing

From David Cassel: The military is funding a project to create neural computing using memristors, a sophisticated circuit component which HP Labs describes as a stepping stone to "computers that can make decisions" and "appliances that learn from experience."…

Free pass to SME Nanomanufacturing Conference

Once again, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers has donated one free pass to their Nanomanufacturing Conference to Foresight:
April 14-15, 2010 — SME Nanomanufacturing Conference
Hilton Phoenix East in Mesa, Arizona

This includes free admission to one of the pre-conference workshops on April 13, including Understanding Nanotechnology, taught by Foresight Senior Associate Tihamer "Tee" Toth-Fejel.

New sf novel includes nanomedicine, reviewed by Robert Freitas

In the mailbag today: A new fiction book Beyond Guilty by Richard Brawer, who got help on it from Robert Freitas, winner of the 2009 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory. Brawer wrote, "Robert A. Freitas Jr., Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, has graciously edited the references to nanomanufacturing and nanomedicine and has written the essay at the end of the novel about the progress being made in developing nanomedicine."

State-of-the-art Nanoprobes at Stanford, May 14

If you appreciate the mind-boggling abilities of today's nanoscale probes and microscopes, and/or want to move your career in the direction of nanotechnology, consider joining the Center for Probing the Nanoscale gang at Stanford's 6th Annual Nanoprobes Workshop on May 14, 2010. Registration accepted until May 7. Fees range from $100 for industry to free for college students and postdocs…

IEEE Spectrum looks at cryonics

The March 2010 issue of IEEE Spectrum has an article on cryonics, a method of suspended animation, featuring Dr. Ralph Merkle. Ralph is described as a nanotechnology expert; apparently the issue went to press just before he was also named as a co-winner of the 2010 IEEE Haming Medal.

As a long-time IEEE member, I was not impressed with the article. Although there are plenty of quotes from Ralph, it gets some facts wrong …

The protein engineering path to molecular manufacturing

One way to reach molecular machine systems is to get really, really good at protein engineering.

If that's your goal, you'll want to be in Boston on May 17-21 for PEGS 2010, "the essential protein engineering summit"…

Ave atque Vale

In case anyone wonders where I've gone, I'm resigning from Foresight for medical reasons (adhesive capsulitis — long and painful course of therapy) and to concentrate my few remaining neurons on my AI research…

IOP comments on Climategate

The UK-based Institute of Physics (IOP) publishes, among other things, the journal Nanotechnology, one of the leading journals in the field, and has had special issues with papers from Foresight conferences gaoing back to the 90s.

It was thus somewhat surprising, yet gratifying, to find them submitting quite a strongly-worded critique of practices in climatology that echo some of the concerns I've mentioned here about the impact of the shennanigans on the credibility of science as a whole…

Snow thoughts

It's been snowing continuously here for about 2 days … As usual, people who disbelieve in global warming point at the record snow coverage extents this year and say they disprove it. As usual, people who are global warming supporters claim that global warming is causing the snow…

Whatever the reason, we're about 3 months of what it's doing right this minute from an ice age. I don't have a clue how likely this is to happen how soon, but looking at the last million years of climate, ice age is the normal condition of Earth and interglacials are few and far between.

We can only hope we've had the sense to develop real nanotech before we're back in one.

Alien Invasion

As far as I can tell, nobody talking about interstellar contact has a model even vaguely close to a reasonable analysis of the situation…

Reality is that any alien race out there with whom we have any kind of physical contact at all is virtually certain to have (a) full-fledged nanotech, and (b) hyperhuman AI. Given these capabilities, if they want to find Earth-like planets anywhere in the area of space they would have the physical capability of travelling to, they will find them…

AI: Summing up

Let's try to pull all the threads together, as futurists — which is the whole point here — and get some idea about when it might be reasonable to expect AI to show up…

I don't think we'll have a superintelligent AI by 2020; indeed, I don't think we'll even have one that can educate itself by reading Wikipedia. But I do think it's at least a 50% chance we'll have AIs that can learn something by a combination of imitation and careful verbal coaching.

New Freitas paper: Diamond Trees

Rob Freitas has a new paper up:

Robert A. Freitas Jr., "Diamond Trees (Tropostats): A Molecular Manufacturing Based System for Compositional Atmospheric Homeostasis," IMM Report 43, 10 February 2010

Abstract. The future technology of molecular manufacturing will enable long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon in solid diamond products, along with sequestration of lesser masses of numerous air pollutants, yielding pristine air worldwide ~30 years after implementation …

—Nanodot posts by Christine Peterson and J. Storrs Hall

Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

To join:


NanoManufacturing Conference & Exhibits
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
Looking to understand what nanotechnology means for you?
April 14-15, 2010
Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa, Mesa AZ USA

This conference will highlight the current, near-term, and future applications of nanotechnology and how they are transforming the way we manufacture products. Peer networking, information sharing, and technology exchange among the world's nanomanufacturing leaders will be a key feature of the event. Foresight members can use the "member" registration rate, and one free pass is available

Former Foresight president Dr. Josh Hall will chair a closing panel on Feynman's Pathway to Nanomanufacturing, with Foresight Senior Associates Tihamer Toth-Fejel and Steve Vetter.

Free pass to SME Nanomanufacturing Conference

Contact Foresight

The Foresight Institute Weekly News Digest has merged with Foresight Update and is emailed every week to 15,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership, follow this link:

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Past issues: Earlier issues are here.

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