Hofstadter Symposium [was Re: it was all a gag]

From: Ken Clements (Ken@Innovation-On-Demand.com)
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 11:23:21 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:

> That big Stanford schmooze with Hofstadter, Morovek, Ralph,
> all the other dignitaries, it was all a huge elaborate April Fools
> gag. Bunch of us nerds showed up, some weasley undergrad
> April Fooled us, told us we were all skepticism challenged, then
> escaped before we could lynch him. spike

Ha Ha, Spike, lol.

Actually, it was great to see the folks I had been reading for so long,
in the flesh (while we still have some). As expected, many more folks
showed up than the facility could support, and that made things
uncomfortable. Problems with the microphones did not help, either.

A great deal of time was spent talking about each person's area of
interest, until Kelly got up and said he was going to talk about the
actual question put forth by Bill Joy. Bill himself, looked rather
unhappy through the whole afternoon, and was a bit more negative with
this group. I think he felt we could take it. Folks got very quiet
when he put forth a vision of a 21st century of man made pestilence.
One important thing he told us was that the main stream media are
calling him up and asking for longer and longer interviews; it is now up
to 20 min.

Hofstadter admitted that he had stacked the panel by not asking anyone
from the anti-technology movement (Bill made up that whole side). Ralph
did what he could to push the idea that nanotech could be developed
safely, but only a small part of the audience seemed to know what he was
talking about.

I think most of the concepts discussed would not be considered
too advanced by the folks on this list, but it was quite a lot for a
public meeting. Hofstadter said the topic he really wanted was "Who
will be we in 2100?", and the discussion got interesting when Hans
started talking philosophy of identity.

All and all, I was very glad I went, and expect this to be the start of
much more of the same. I am interested to hear how others on this list
saw it.


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