Re: Confronting The Singularity Conference

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 15:14:24 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:

> I wonder what would happen if you organized a "party/poster" conference

A very appealing idea.

Clearly, in the ordinary party setting, only those present for the
discussion get to hear what is said and contribute. By preserving the gist
on whiteboard or paper, the ideas become available to be worked on by all.
An elegant, almost embarrassingly obvious way of enhancing the event.

The holding of a conference in a semi-posh setting--hotel with meeting
rooms and catered dinners--is familiar as the conventional "way it is
done". It needs no rocket scientist to conceive of alternative, less
expensive, ways of accomplishing the same end. On motorcycle rides through
the hills of the California central coast (not all that far from Asilomar,
in fact), I have often stumbled upon underused rustic park facilities which
could easily accomodate a campout/cookout variation of the conventional
conference, some even with substantial accomodations and meeting halls. I
am certain that the various list members know of similar facilities in each
of their various locales. This is doable on the cheap and on the cheaper.
In fact, taking it to something of an extreme, the cost can be so low in
terms of food and lodging, that even the expense of bringing special
friends from faraway (and not so faraway) places might be subsidized at not
unreasonable expense.

I play volleyball in Golden Gate Park nearly every Sunday afternoon with a
group which calls itself the San Francisco International Volleyball
Club--we have people from every corner of the globe. The organizer of the
group arranges for three and four day trips to various places, from a
rustic YMCA camp in the Mendocino redwoods, to resort homes in Hawaii and
Puget Sound and Monterey. Total cost for these outings run from $75 (the
YMCA camp) up to $500 (airfare to Hawaii), but average about $160. (The
upcoming July 4th Squaw Valley trip is 5 days 4 nights for $167.) How does
that compare, costwise--no criticism intended-- to the recent Foresight

What it takes more than anything is the will, some leadership, some
cooperation, and a modicum of organization. But it's a great idea.

Before I put this post to rest, one last comment. As enthralled by these
futurist events as I am, I have entertained the idea of taping them
prefessionally and packageing them for wider media distribution--the Extro
TV idea. (I pitched this idea to the Alcor folks re the upcoming Life
Extension conference, but they turned me down.) This same possibility
exist re the independently organized retreat/seminar/party/poster event.
Though it certainly ratchets up the amount of "work", it also offers an
opportunity for subsidizing splendid little vacations in some of the
world's nicest resort locations while spreading futurist memes.

Unhatched chickens are always plump, tasty, and abundant.

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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