Monday, May 15, 2006


For the past two days I've been pretty uninvolved with the rest of the world. Some disorder or other has had me sleeping.

Now I'm back at the desk, perhaps not 100%.

I just wanted to comment on two things. This weekend, my boss, Peter went to the Singularity Summit, and was pleased at the time-investment, despite the spotty speaker selection. It was supposed to be a gathering and presentation of cutting edge stuff on Vinge's technological singularity, but Kurzweil's recent book understandably took a lot of the credit.

I'll post when audio/video/transcripts come to my attention, as some of the presentations were apparently pretty good(via Peter-report), if not entirely applicable to the topic. (looking forward to good presentations from specifically: Cory Doctorow(irrelevant, perhaps interesting), Bill McKibbin(charismatic neo-luddism), Eliezer (good general basic presentation), Max More(naive psychological treatment of AI problems), Hofstadler (another apparent Hugo de Garis, believes AI is a long way off for personal reasons, somewhat dissapointing))

More important that the specific presentations, none of which represented new information, is the new focus that singularity topics find themselves in. By all reports, the Summit was extremely professional, slick, and well attended. I hope more attention follows to the more specific issues and efforts.

I'm somewhat surprised that the tone of the conference was so speculative and blue-sky, considering all the current development and interesting stuff. I suppose concrete subjects require too much grounding and are subject to embarassing retractions. I would have expected at the least for Eliezer to counterpoint the predictions some gave (100+ years, in at least one case), but perhaps he's clamming up for respectability reasons.

In other news, the long awaited (for me at least) new Vinge novel "Rainbow's End" is available now. Near-future sci-fi set in a high school with the protagonist a recovering alzheimer's patient re-entering society. YES.

Also, China's giant deal with finally producing their own microprocessors that operate on par with Intel, TI, et al? Not so much. Apparently the progress was falsified, and some of the work that was done may have been stolen. That's bad. China is getting a very bad reputation for not playing nicely with Western companies intellectual property, which is a big deal, if they want to join the same game.

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