From: Mike Steven (
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 01:01:27 MST

Alas, it's kind of a trek for me to get there from England, but I've been
trying to talk someone from the company I work for into webcasting the
symposium. I'll let you all know if I have any luck - Chris Callison-Burch
of Stanford told me he'd be willing to provide the tape if someone can
organise digitising and hosting. Any takers if I can't wangle it?

----- Original Message -----
From: Eugene Leitl <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2000 6:45 AM

> Any list participants going? Hope I'll see you there...
> -- free and open to the public --
> Saturday, April 1, from 1 PM till 5:30 PM
> Teaching Center, Science and Engineering Quad (TCSEQ), room 200
> near the Math Corner, Sequoia Hall, and the Varian Physics Building
> rimary speakers:
> ay Kurzweil (inventor of reading machine for the blind, electronic
> eyboards, etc., and author of "The Age of Spiritual Machines")
> ans Moravec (founder of Carnegie-Mellon University's Robotics Institute,
> nd author of "Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind")
> ill Joy (co-founder of, and chief scientist at, SUN Microsystems)
> ohn Holland (inventor of genetic algorithms, and artificial-life
> pioneer; professor of computer science and psychology at the U. of
> anel members:
> alph Merkle (well-known computer scientist and one of today's top figures
> n the explosive field of nanotechnology)
> evin Kelly (editor at "Wired" magazine and author of "Out of Control",
> study of bio-technological hybrids)
> rank Drake (distinguished radio-astronomer and head of the SETI
> Institute -- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
> John Koza (inventor of genetic programming, a rapidly expanding branch of
> rtificial intelligence)
> Symposium organizer and panel moderator:
> ouglas Hofstadter (professor of cognitive science at Indiana; author of
> G-del, Escher, Bach", "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies", etc.)
> In 1999, two distinguished computer scientists, Ray Kurzweil and
> Moravec, came out independently with serious books that proclaimed that in
> the coming century, our own computational technology, marching to the
> exponential drum of Moore's Law and more general laws of bootstrapping,
> leapfrogging, positive-feedback progress, will outstrip us intellectually
> and spiritually, becoming not only deeply creative but deeply emotive,
> usurping from us humans our self-appointed position as "the highest
> of evolution".
> These two books (and several others that appeared at about the same
> time) are not the works of crackpots; they have been reviewed at the
> highest levels of the nation's press, and often very favorably. But the
> scenarios they paint are surrealistic, science-fiction-like, and often
> shocking.
> According to Kurzweil and Moravec, today's human researchers,
> on emerging research areas such as artificial life, artificial
> intelligence, nanotechnology, virtual reality, genetic algorithms, genetic
> programming, and optical, DNA, and quantum computing (as well as other
> areas that have not yet been dreamt of), are striving, perhaps
> to render themselves obsolete -- and in this strange endeavor, they are
> being aided and abetted by the very entities that would replace them (and
> you and me): superpowerful computers that are relentlessly becoming
> and tinier and faster and faster, month after month after month.
> Where will it all lead? Will we soon pass the spiritual baton to
> software minds that will swim in virtual realities of a thousand sorts
> we cannot even begin to imagine? Will uploading and downloading of full
> minds onto the Web become a commonplace? Will thinking take place at
> silicon speeds, millions of times greater than carbon speeds? Will our
> children -- or perhaps our grandchildren -- be the last generation to
> experience "the human condition"? Will immortality take over from
> mortality? Will personalities blur and merge and interpenetrate as the
> need for biological bodies and brains recedes into the past? What is to
> come?
> To treat these disorienting themes with the seriousness they deserve
> at the dawn of the new millennium, cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter
> has drawn together a blue-ribbon panel of experts in all the areas
> concerned, including the authors of the two books cited. On Saturday,
> April 1 (take the date as you will), three main speakers and five
> additional panelists will publicly discuss and debate what the
> computational and technological future holds for humanity. The forum will
> be held from 1 PM till 5:30 PM, and audience participation will be welcome
> in the final third of the program.
> Sponsoring agencies at Stanford:
> Symbolic Systems Program; Center for the Study of Language and
> Information;
> Department of Computer Science; Department of Philosophy; Center for
> Computer-Assisted Research in the Humanities; Channel 51; GSB Futurist
> Club

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