Today I attended a roundtable discussion on the future of humanity. It
occurred at my local college, the University of Alaska, Anchorage(Go
Seawolves!!). Last week the topic was on philosophy and complexity theory
and there was a large showing and some fascinating as well as heated
This week(the last one) only four people showed up!! And when we had such a
great topic! Myself, Professor Maleko(chemistry), Professor Jacobs(history)
and Professor Beebee(mathematics). Last week over two dozen people showed
up! I missed the head of the bio department who is very outspoken and a
For the first time(in two years) the presentation was videotaped! I went to
the university audio/visual dept. and begged them to record it. We settled
on them loaning me a camera and tripod after I convinced them the topic was
worth taping. The a/v guy was sick that he couldn't attend also because his
favorite prof(Jacobs-history) would be there.
I felt it was a good discussion but had hoped for more. Prof. Maleko who
was the moderator started out by bringing up AI, computing, bio-engineering
and even uploading. But the other two professors lead the discussion into
more conservative paths. I admit to being somewhat deferential to
professors(I don't like to interrupt them) and so I didn't make many of the
points I wanted to in a attempt to bring up extropian topics). I spoke a
lot less then I would have wanted to. Again, I wish the head of the bio
dept. (he looks like he could be Max's cousin) had been there. The man has
No Problem interrupting to get a thought of his across!
We mainly discussed the "birth dearth" on the developing world, the nature
and accuracy of future scenario modeling, and how computing and the internet
is changing things.
At the conclusion, Prof. Maleko talked about how he hopes to get a grant so
he can bring up notable people from outside the state. I would love to see
Max and Natasha, Robert Bradbury, Robin Hanson, or another outspoken
extropian come and speak here. Funding may not come through though, and I
don't know how willing some of you would be to fly up here at your own
expense. Free housing and food could certainly be arranged.
If an extropian did come up to speak I would take it upon myself to
advertise it to the maximum(flyers, radio, weekly popular press) and get the
word out. Alaska is a beautiful place and one that is well worth visiting.
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