Today (20th August 2009) is the last day of the 20% discounted “early bird” price for registering for the 2009 Singularity Summit.
The summit is taking place at the Y on 92nd Street, New York, on the weekend of 3-4 October. I’ve been unsure whether to attend: my work is very busy these days, and I’ve also got some important family commitments at around the same date.
However, some things are more important even than work. There’s an argument that the Singularity could become the most important event in the near-to-medium term future.
I have a fair amount of sympathy for what Roko Mijic wrote recently (only partly with tongue-in-cheek):
Save the world by going to the Singularity Summit
Sometimes, you have to do unpleasant things in order to save the world, like stopping washing in order to save water or swapping your sports car for a Prius. But today, good readers, I give you an opportunity to do something that will contribute much more to the total expected utility in our common future light-cone than anything you have ever done before, whilst at the same time being a nice little holiday for your good selves, and an excellent opportunity to network with the movers and shakers of the world.
Yes, I am talking about the Singularity Summit 2009. Just look at the list of speakers. You would probably want to go just to listen to 10% of them. The summit will be held at the historic 92nd Street Y in New York City on October 3-4th.
Now, why will you attending this summit actually be even better for the world than you eating organic, not showering and driving a milkfloat for the rest of your life? Put simply, the possibility of smarter-than-human intelligence puts the entire planet solar system future light-cone at risk, and the singularity summits are the best way to get that message out. Adding more people to the summits generates prestige and interest, and this increases the rate at which something gets done about the problem.
I attended last year’s summit – and wrote up my impressions in my blog shortly afterwards. This year’s summit is longer, and has an even more attractive list of top-notch speakers.
I’ve made up my mind. I’ve booked a couple of days holiday from work, and have registered myself for the event.
Footnote: While browsing the summit site, I noticed the reading list, with its five recommended “introductory books”. I’ve read and deeply appreciated three of them already, but the two others on the list are new to me. Clicking through to Amazon.com for each of these last two books, I find myself in each case to be extremely interested by the book description:
- Good and Real: Demystifying Paradoxes from Physics to Ethics, by Gary Drescher;
- Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind, by Gary Marcus.
If you can judge the quality of a conference (in part) by the quality of the recommended reading it highlights, this is another sign that the summit could be remarkable.