The H+ Summit @Melbourne is Coming to Town!

Adam Ford, who invited me to speak at last year’s Singularity Summit in Melbourne, is also organising this year’s H+ Summit in Melbourne, June 25 – 26. He asked me to post some info about it:

The H+ Summit @ Melbourne brings together an eclectic mix of rationalists, futurists, science fiction writers, AI experts, scientists, biotechnology experts, philosophers and theorists to pursue deep philosophical, scientific and technological inquiry, with the aim of being able to discern those changes which are likely to have profound impacts and those which are merely transient and or fashionable.

Technological innovation permeates all aspects of society — from tiny water purification packets and 3d printers, to GPS tracking devices, wearable smart devices, decision support systems, replaceable body parts and personal genome tests. Because technology and society evolve together, it has become increasingly important to develop a greater understanding of how technology is shaping the course of our lives. We are faced with the challenge to continuously become innovative in harnessing and controlling technological development as it accelerates on many diverse fronts. The “pioneers of the future” are faced with the necessity to become ever more resourceful. Even the most conservative thinkers agree that we have already stepped into an era of a profound change. The good news is that our human diversity continues to spawn both inventiveness and novelty.

This conference is brought to you by Humanity+ @ Melbourne (Victoria, Australia). Humanity+ explores how society might use and profit from a variety of creative and innovative thought. Join us for this adventurous journey into the future where you can make a difference! This conference will challenge and enhance your view of the future.

Seating is limited, so Secure your tickets now! >>

Partial list of Speakers and subjects:

Unfortunately I can’t make it due to Perdomo Lounge responsibilities, otherwise I’d be there with bells on.

Bionic Contact Lenses!

According to – it’s called “A Twinkle in the Eye” and these lenses have been fabricated with an LED, a small radio chip and an antenna.The unit is powered wirelessly by the RF electrical signal and represents the start of research that could eventually lead to screens mounted onto contact lenses inside your eyes.

This reminds me of Vernor Vinge’s novel, RAINBOWS END which was set about 20 years into the future when everyone wore contact lenses that had the net and all sorts of augmented reality overlays. I did an interview with Vinge about it which you can listen to here. Sign me up for this shit NOW.

Four More Years Before Machines Surpass Humans

Hans Moravec has suggested that the human brain has a processing capacity of 10 quadrillion instructions per second (10 billion MIPS). In comparison, it was announced today that the fastest supercomputer in the world, called Roadrunner and devised and built by engineers and scientists at I.B.M. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is capable of handling 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.

In 2007, it was announced the previous fastest supercomputer, IBM’s Blue Gene /l, had been upgraded to achieve 478 TFLOPS sustained and 596 TFLOPS peak. So in less that 12 months, we’ve doubled (hey, I should create a law around that prediction).

So, if Moore’s Law holds out:

2009 – 2 QIPS

2010 – 4 QIPS

2011 – 8 QIPS

2012 – 16 QIPS – which puts it 6 QIPS above the suggested ability of a human brain.

Are you ready for that? Do you think the human race is ready for that?

We have NO IDEA what the consequences of that are. On one hand, it could be nothing. On the other hand, what if sentience is nothing more than massive computation?

Either way, here we are, a mere 4 years before a machine is likely to be built which will have a bigger brain than a human and we aren’t even discussing what that means for the human race.

Well, that’s not exactly true – Tyler’s Singularity Institute are discussing it, but where is the debate in mainstream media, in the government, in polite society?

It reminds me of a chat I had with Australian SF author Damien Broderick over dinner about ten years ago. I asked him when he thought these subjects would be discussed by the general populace. He replied “when it’s way too late to do anything about it”.

G’Day World #323 – Aubrey de Grey

In #323 I welcome back a previous G’Day World guest, one of my favourite scientists, Dr Aubrey de Grey.

Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey is the founder of The Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit 501c(3) organization committed to the acceleration of progress toward a cure for age-related disease, disability, suffering, and death.

They are running a special conference on aging at UCLA from June 27 – 29 and the Friday night session, with three hours of speeches from leaders in the field, is FREE. Book tickets here.

If you want to learn more about SENS, here’s a link to the show I did with Aubrey back in August 2005:
G’Day World #42 – Aubrey de Grey

The music on today’s show is “1,000,000” from the new Nine Inch Nails album “THE SLIP“, which is licensed under a creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license.

NIN encourage you to
remix it
share it with your friends,
post it on your blog,
play it on your podcast,
give it to strangers,


The Slip

Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbows End” Wins ‘Best Novel’ at Hugo Awards!

Via Simon Sharwood’s twitter, I just learned that Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbows End” has just won the coveted ‘Best Novel’ award at the Hugo Awards! A massive congratulations from all at TPN to Vernor. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of RAINBOWS END. It is a brilliant imagining of what the net will probably look like in 2025.

Vinge was recently on G’Day World and I guess this is as good a time as any to give it another plug! Listen to my July 2007 interview with Vernor Vinge here.

Rainbows End