Singularity Summit: My Index To The Content

Singularity Summit(Nov. 3 Update:  Videos of presentations are now available at :

The Singularity Summit ( happened last weekend in NY.  You can check out what this conference was all about by watching the promo video.  During the two days of the conference there were over 30 speeches and panels.  Around 800 people attended. 

I could not attend (no travel budget), but I really did not need to.  As it turns out Blogging and Twittering is alive and well.  There’s a flood of information available for consumption.  You just have to search for it.   So I did do the searches…and having done so, I thought I’d share with you what I found. 

There were a few key bloggers who were liveblogging the event, including Ari Schulman (covered for The New Atlantis), Stuart Fox (covered for PopSci), David Wood (covered for dw2), Benjamin Peterson(covered for Sentient Developments), and Lisa Rein (covered for h+ magazine).  Ari Schulman did the best job.

Below you will find the agenda of the event as sourced from the Singularity site peppered with URL links to blog posts and other content that can provide you with opinions and key summaries from the individual speakers.  From what I can read, there will be videos posted at some point in the future of most if not all of the talks.  If and when that happens, I will post those links here as well.

Saturday, October 3

9:00 am  – Introduction – Michael Vassar, Singularity Institute

9:05 am  – Shaping the Intelligence Explosion – Anna Salamon, Singularity Institute

9:35 am  – Technical Roadmap for Whole Brain Emulation – Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute

10:00 am  – The time is now: As a species and as individuals we need whole brain emulation  -  Randal Koene, Fatronik-Tecnalia Foundation

10:25 am  -  Technological Convergence Leading to Artificial General Intelligence  -  Itamar Arel, University of Tennessee

11:10 am  -  Pathways to Beneficial Artificial General Intelligence: Virtual Pets, Robot Children, Artificial Bioscientists, and Beyond  -  Ben Goertzel, Novamente

11:35 am  -  Neural Substrates of Consciousness and the 'Conscious Pilot' Model  -  Stuart Hameroff, University of Arizona

11:55 am   -  Quantum Computing: What It Is, What It Is Not, What We Have Yet to Learn   -  Michael Nielsen

12:35 pm   -  DNA: Not Merely the Secret of Life  -  Ned Seeman, New York University

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session.  Check out the Twitter section at end of this post for the Twitter feed.

Lunch Break as blogged by Ari N. Schulman:  Liveblogging the Singularity Summit

2:20 pm   -  Compression Progress: The Algorithmic Principle Behind Curiosity, Creativity, Art, Science, Music, Humor   -  Juergen Schmidhuber, IDSIA

3:00 pm   -  Conversation on the Singularity  -  Stephen Wolfram and Gregory Benford

3:30 pm   -  Simulation and the Singularity  -  David Chalmers, Australian National University

4:15 pm   -  Choice Machines, Causality, and Cooperation  -  Gary Drescher

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session

5:05 pm  -  Synthetic Neurobiology: Optically Engineering the Brain to Augment Its Function  -  Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab

5:30 pm   -  Foundations of Intelligent Agents   -  Marcus Hutter, Australian National University

5:55 pm   -  Cognitive Ability: Past and Future Enhancements and Implications  -  William Dickens, Northeastern University

6:30 pm  -  The Ubiquity and Predictability of the Exponential Growth of Information Technology  -  Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies


Content providing a summary of Day 1 

Sunday, October 4th

8:00 am -  More than Moore: Comparing Forecasts of Technological Progress  -  Bela Nagy, Santa Fe Institute

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session, but here are a few comments from Twitterland.
    • sandysantra: #SS09 Bela Nagy, Santa Fe Institute, comparing prediction methodologies of Moore, Goddard, Wright, Wright, Sinclair, Nordhaus.
    • vangeest: Sinclair better forecasting model than Moore's Law #ss09
    • sandysantra: #SS09 Day 2 attendees are getting the most hardcore statistical analysis (by Bela Nagy) that they've seen yet. 3-D "error mountain" graph!
    • Sarah_Hines: Nagy argued convincingly we should switch to a different functional form–wish he had talked a bit on the implications of switching. #ss09
    • danothebeach: Nagy has very interesting comparison between various predictors of growth #ss09
    • fboosman: couldnt get excited about Nagy's #ss09 talk. Any straight line on an exponential graph is still exponential growth.

8:20 am   -  The "Petaflop Macroscope"  -  Gary Wolf, Wired Magazine

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session, but here are a few comments from Twitterland.

8:40 am   -  Collaborative Networks In Scientific Discovery  -  Michael Nielsen

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session, but here are a few comments from Twitterland.
    • troed: M Nielsen on collaborative science. This is how we'll create new exponentials. #ss09
    • sandysantra: #SS09 Michael Nielsen on crowdsourcing, with some amazing insights on development of Linux, Wikipedia, and crowdsourcing math problems.
    • dw2: Michael Nielsen reviews Fields medallist Tim Gowers experiment in collaborative mathematics & open source methods to advance science #ss09
    • ENextMag: Michael Nielsen, quantum maestro, concludes with the all-important question for evolutionaries: "How can cultural change be achieved?" #ss09
    • Sarah_Hines: Most excellent overview of open source/crowd-sourced scientific collaborations by Neilson. Would like to rewatch when published #ss09.

9:00 am   -  How Does Society Identify Experts and When Does It Work?   -  Robin Hanson, George Mason University

  • Could not find anyone who blogged this session, but here are a few comments from Twitterland.
    • sandysantra: #SS09 Robin Hanson opens his talk with a drive-by attempt to define the Singularity–first speaker to get even close.
    • positiveneuro: "Don't expect academics to study your 'silly' question if it makes them look less impressive to their colleagues." -Robin Hanson #ss09
    • j2d3: #ss09 hansom skewers academia: knowledge production merely a side effect; academia primarily concerned with narcissistic affiliations
    • sandysantra: #SS09 Robin Hanson takes the biggest risk of the summit yet: taking to task academia head-on.
    • Sarah_Hines: This morning's lineup has been good. Hanson added something new to the conversation. #ss09 (will want to rewatch this presentation on video)

9:20 am   -  Future of Scientific Method Panel -  Gary Wolf, Michael Nielsen, Robin Hanson. Moderator: James Jorasch

10:15 am  -  Artificial Biological Selection for Longevity  -  Gregory Benford, University of California- Irvine

10:40 am   -  Critics of the Singularity  -  Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies

11:10 am   -  The Finger of AI: Automated Electrical Vehicles and Oil Independence  -  Brad Templeton, Electronic Frontier Foundation

1:15 pm   -  The Fallibility and Improvability of the Human Mind  -  Gary Marcus, New York University

1:40 pm  -  Macroeconomics and Singularity  -  Peter Thiel, Clarium Capital Management

2:20 pm   -  Venture Capitalist Panel: Peter Thiel, David Rose, Mark Gorenberg. Moderator: Robert Pisani

3:15 pm   -  The Singularity and the Methuselarity: Similarities and Differences  Aubrey De Grey, SENS Foundation

3:40 pm  -  Cognitive Biases and Giant Risks  -  Eliezer Yudkowsky, Singularity Institute

4:10 pm  -  Discussion: Eliezer Yudkowsky, Aubrey De Grey, Peter Thiel. Moderator: Michael Vassar

4:40 pm   -  How much it matters to know what matters: A back of the envelope calculation  -  Anna Salamon, Singularity Institute

Blog Post by Ari N. Schulman:  "How much it matters to know what matters"

Day 2 Summaries

Conference Recaps

Content that provides a review of the whole conference



In Closing

The conference organizers made a feeble attempt to launch a Facebook page for the event.  It looks like it never took off.

If I hear of anything else, I will update this post (Nov. 3 Update:  Videos of presentations are now available at :