As 2010 turns into 2011, let me offer some predictions about topics that will increasingly be on people’s minds, as 2011 advances.
(Spoiler: these are all topics that will feature as speaker presentations at the Humanity+ UK 2011 conference that I’m organising in London’s Conway Hall on 29th January. At time of writing, I’m still waiting to confirm possibly one or two more speakers for this event, but registration is already open.)
- A recognition that we need new ways of thinking about our future co-existence with powerful artificial minds which are at the same time both strikingly similar and strikingly dissimilar to human minds
- Continuing interest in nurturing broader aspects of “intelligence” that go beyond “rational” intelligence to include concepts such as “empathetic superintelligence“
- Concerns to understand and defuse the threat of dysrationality, in which increasing human cleverness nevertheless gets in the way of practical human progress
- A desire for more information about the practicalities of human self-enhancement – whether involving neural implant upgrades, the imaginative use of art coupled with new technology, or insight from neuropsychology
- An increasing willingness to set aside bygone prejudices, to more fully examine both the social and technological aspects of humans who tend to live longer and longer – perhaps even approaching a longevity escape velocity
- A quest to cultivate a new discipline that preserves the benefits of age-old practices of meditation whilst taking advantage of modern always-on social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter
- A desire to explore the implications of synthetic biology, including options for making our ever larger cities a saner, safer, more vibrant place to live
- The re-emergence of interest in viable ways to utilise new technology and engineering to explore the solar system
- The need for futurists to accelerate a discussion in which we can all make more sense of where these powerful trends could – and should – lead us.
Apologies for omitting many other key emerging tech-related trends from this list. If there’s something you care strongly about – and if you live within striking distance of London – you’ll be more than welcome to join the discussion on 29th January!