Re: Confronting The Singularity Conference

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri May 26 2000 - 21:26:34 MDT

Brian Atkins writes:

> As a networking/funding/meet people you know or heard about in person type
> thing it was great.
Too early to form business alliances, though. Most first stage shops
will burn out for sure.
> As for learning stuff you didn't already know, I found that the majority
> of the participants were not as well informed as myself or some of the
> other people on this list. Sure some of them are experts in certain

I've expected thus much. Also, the 600+x $ price tag seems to be a bit
stiff for my current financial costume. (Same amount spent on the
right books alone would seem to be much better invested, imo).

> fields, but as for well considered, REALISTIC opinions on what the
> singularity or even near-future holds it wasn't anything to write home
> about. I was surprised at how conservative many of the people there

By definition, realism breaks down nearby the event horizont.

> were- you would think these people who are all supposedly looking forward
> to the future and rapid technological change would want more than a
> simple star trekian future. But that seemed to be their outlook... I
> ran across VERY FEW people actually interested in trying to accelerate
> the singularity.

Duh. Another data point.
> As for getting a better feel for where Foresight itself stands on these
> issues it was very good. I was disappointed to get the impression that
> they are remaining very focused on nanotech only, rather than branching
> out and also focusing on other routes to a singularity.

True to its name should move on into risk analysis and
countermeasures, now that mainstream Has Gotten It. (See most recent
Science issue on another neat bucky paper).
> There were some no-shows including Minsky and Kurzweil.
> It was quite evident that nanotech is gaining steam. Technanogy sponsored
> the event, they are a nanotech incubator backed by Ted Waitt (of Gateway
> computers). Their first project is "nano aluminum", which in its first
> application is the creation of super high thrust solid rocket fuel. Think
> single stage to orbit at $50 to 100 a pound. But for starters they are
> working on refitting stingers and other conventional weapons.
Nano and cheap path to LEO, now there are two speculative topics under
one roof.

> The food was pretty good :-) San Francisco was cold, and had waaay worse
> traffic than last time I was there in 96.

Thank you for your report. Much appreciated.

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