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Vision Weekend, Effective Altruism, Atomic Precision for Healthspan & Longevity, 2017 Feynman Prize, Fellow Profiles, Molecular Robot Builds Molecules

Foresight Update 30.03—November 8, 2017
ISSN 1078-9731

Looking Ahead

  • Vision Weekend
  • Future Forum & Annual Dinner
  • Existential Hope—indexing positive futures for sentient beings

Following Up

  • Foresight @BIL 2017
  • Effective Altruism Workshop: How To Evaluate Hard-To-Measure Projects
  • Atomic Precision for Healthspan & Longevity Workshop
  • 2017 Feynman Prize
  • NanoMind

Foresight Fellow Profiles

  • Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, Biomolecular Machines
  • Eric Hinterman, Space Technologies

Nanodot Update

  • Prototype quantum computer gives small molecule quantum simulation
  • Molecular robot builds four types of molecules

Looking Ahead

Vision Weekend
Dec 2-3, SF

"A milestone in our journey to better understand our future" - Robin Hanson

The Vision Weekend is a gathering dedicated to take stock of the most compelling ideas of today, turn them into coherent visions for a better future, and get to work on them.

Saturday: Keynote panels at Gray Area. Industry-leaders deliver food for thought during panels, followed by private Q&A tables with your favorite speaker.

Sunday: Strategy sessions at The Laundry. The stage is yours: What vision do you want to contribute to our future? Pick your topic, and apply to host a strategy session. Be bold - Sunday is off the record.

Check out the event website for program, speaker profiles, to apply to host a strategy session, sponsor, or buy your ticket. Share the event with your friends on Facebook.You may apply the code “FriendofForesight” for a 20% discount when purchasing your Vision Weekend ticket. This is a Foresight member-only event, you can become a member when registering.

Future Forum & Annual Dinner

Foresight’s President President Steve Burgess will be moderating the following panel in Santa Barbara County this Thursday, November 9:

“Artificial Intelligence — For Better or for Worse?” and will feature the following:

  • Dr. Terence Yeoh Asst. Principal Director, The Aerospace Corporation and Team Lead, Aerospace Team Participation in the IBM Watson AI Xprize
  • Paul Cook, Chief Information Officer, Coast Hills Federal Credit Union
  • Dr. Ryan Jenkins, Asst Professor, Philosophy Senior Fellow, Ethics Emerging Sciences Group, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Tickets are available here.

Existential Hope - indexing positive futures for sentient beings

Foresight’s Allison Duettmann created an index of items that inspire a positive long-term vision for humanity - one with existential hope. The list is for everyone who wants to improve the world but doesn’t know where to start, including general readings on everything from transhumanism to existential risks, and a toolkit to act on. The list lays out a vision of why and how we should care about the future: it focuses on Utopia, and why it’s neither impossible, nor boring. The project is in it’s infancy - please contribute and share the index with everyone who can add or derive value from it. Let's pool our knowledge & hope, index it, and act on it.

Access the index here.


Foresight @BIL 2017

Foresight’s Steve Burgess, Christine Peterson, and Allison Duettmann spoke on several technologies of high importance for humanity’s future at BIL 2017.

Did you miss the conference? Catch up on the videos below:

Christine Peterson: Cyber Risk: My Favorite Catastrophic Risk & How To Fix It

Allison Duettmann: Existential Risks: Why They Matter & Some Decentralized Mitigation Strategies

Steve Burgess: Nanotech Abundance: What, How & Why?

Effective Altruism Workshop: How To Evaluate Hard-To-Measure Projects

Workshop facilitated by Christine Peterson, and Allison Duettmann at Effective Altruism Global 2017 in San Francisco:

The EA movement is attracting a great deal of well-deserved attention, especially from idealistic young people. Most of the charities endorsed by EA organizations are doing immediately measurable work, but often that work was made possible by science and technology R&D done earlier. The effectiveness of this R&D work is essential but very hard to measure. Let's tackle this problem head-on as a group! We’ll explore both how breakthrough science can be evaluated by EA standards, and how individual EAs can figure out whether they have a comparative advantage in focusing on these endeavors.

Watch the Workshop video here.

Atomic Precision for Healthspan & Longevity Workshop

The workshop brought together a multidisciplinary group of specialists in healthspan and longevity research to collaborate with those tackling the challenges of atomically-precise 3D structures and molecular machines, including construction pathways using chemistry, applied physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and engineering. Report and project proposal videos will be available soon. For more information, see the workshop website.

Participants at the Atomic Precision for Healthspan & Longevity Workshop

The workshop team - see the participant list on the workshop website

2017 Feynman Prize

Congratulations to our 2017 Feynman Prize winners: Giovanni Zocchi in Theory, and William Shih in Experiment! Find out what nano-rheology and 3 dimensional DNA origami are and why they are prize-worthy:

Foresight prize winners

Steve Burgess, President Foresight Institute, Brad Templeton, Board Foresight Institute, William Shih, Winner of Experimental Prize, Giovanni Zocchi, Winner of Theory Prize, Hai Qian, Distinguished Student Award, Ravi Pandya, Donor of Student Prize, Allison Duettmann, Foresight Institute


NanoMind is a project proposal that originated at the the 2017 Foresight Institute workshop on AI for Atomic Precision: Design-Software for Molecular Machines.

The video can be found here.
workshop info can be found here.

Foresight Fellow Profiles

Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, Biomolecular Machines

Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli
Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli is currently Associate Professor of Engineering, College of Science at University of Massachusetts Boston and Visiting Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT. Her areas of expertise are nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, nanomaterials, and rapid diagnostics. Kimberly received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and an S.B. in Chemistry from MIT. Her mission is to create a scientific legacy, which means training people that are not only skilled and creative, but also have a strong sense of citizenship and integrity.

Eric Hinterman, Space Technologies

Eric Hinterman
Eric Hinterman is a current Ph.D. Candidate at MIT in Astronautics and a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Notre Dame and worked in the chemicals industry for three years prior to beginning his graduate studies. Eric is intensely driven to develop technologies needed to colonize Mars, as he believes it is critically necessary to increase the long-term survivability of humanity by colonizing another planet. His background in chemical engineering and current program in astronautics provide a unique basis for his studies in the development of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies critical to enabling astronauts to survive on Mars. He hopes to move into industry after receiving his degree and drive humanity towards space colonization for the betterment of future generations.

Nanodot Update

Prototype quantum computer gives small molecule quantum simulation

We have pointed to examples of how atomically precise nanotechnology might open the road to developing quantum computers (Atomically precise location of dopants a step toward quantum computers, August 4th, 2016; Architecture for atomically precise quantum computer in silicon, November 9th, 2015; A nanotechnology route to quantum computers through hybrid rotaxanes, March 27th, 2009). The converse process of quantum computing facilitating the development of atomically precise nanotechnology by enabling quantum simulations too large to be tractable on a classical computer was noted by Richard Terra writing on this blog (Quantum computers for quantum physics calculations, July 5th, 2002). This converse process took a big step forward with an advance from IBM. ...

Molecular robot builds four types of molecules

Since winning the 2007 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, Theory category, Professor David Leigh FRS FRSE FRSC MAE, and since 2012 at the University of Manchester, has continued to achieve major milestones on the road to complex systems of molecular machinery. … The most recent achievement of his team has garnered much well-deserved attention.

Discuss these news stories on Foresight’s Facebook group.

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