Vernor Vinge @ AC2005
John Smart founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation kicked things off by talking about the future, and future studies. This entire conference is presenting a multidisciplinary view of the future, and the effects of acceleration caused by the technological revolution. John primed the pump with some interesting comments, and a quick review of the speakers.
He then introduced the first speaker ... someone who I have wanted to hear speak for quite some time ... Vernor Vinge. Vernor is given credit for first using the term the "technological singularity". He immediately jumped into his presentation ... the slides are here: Vernor Vinge @ AC2005
It was fun to hear his line of thinking about the Singularity, and various types of growth curves. His slides contain a good set of quotes and thoughts about possibility. What is so great is to hear a speaker like this talking about the future, and some of the "inevitable" future events ... the development of creativity and intellect that surpasses present-day humans, this *is* the Singularity ... and the future of being human will evolve into whole new dimensions. He talks about direct neural hook ups of computers as inevitable in a way that makes you realize this is not a question of if ... but when.
He spent some time talking about the soft takeoff vs. hard takeoff scenarios. As he discussed soft takeoffs he highly recommended Accelerando as a great book exploring "soft takeoffs" as one possible scenario. Amazing stuff. He is a big thinker.