Global Existential Risks & Radical Futures

Dates: June 14, 2014
Location: Piedmont, California

 

comet_striking_earth_web

An artist’s rendition of the comet exploding in Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt (credit: Terry Bakker)

Global Existential Risks & Radical Futures will be held on June 14, 2014 at Piedmont Veteran’s Hall, 401 Highland Avenue, in Piedmont, CA.

The event will take place from 9 am to 9 pm. Producers are Hank Pellissier of Brighter Brains Institute and Alexey Turchin, cofounder of The Longevity Party and founder of Stop Existential Risks.

Tickets for the event will cost between $25 – $35, available on EventBrite by April 6th, 2014.

Lead Sponsor: The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology (IEET) is a nonprofit think tank which promotes ideas about how technological progress can increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies.

Global Existential Risks & Radical Futures will present the future’s worst catastrophic scenarios, and what we can do to avoid them. Numerous radical futures will also be examined.

Seth Baum (Keynote) is cofounder and Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute. He received a PhD in Geography from Pennsylvania State University and was recently with Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. His research covers a broad range of topics, including artificial general intelligence, environmental policy, ethics, economics, education, and astrobiology. He also helps lead the global catastrophic risk research community via GCRI, the Society for Risk Analysis, and other organizations.

Baum is also active at the interface of academic scholarship and other sectors of society. Through GCRI, he is building ties between global catastrophic risk researchers and other relevant professionals. He is also active in public scholarship through collaborations with artists, entertainers, journalists, and other members of the media. His research has gotten wide media attention including interviews in the Discovery Channel, Fox News, and Talk Radio 702 (South Africa), plus additional coverage in The Guardian, MIT Technology Review, MSNBC, and other publications.

He will lecture on the following topic: “Navigating the High-Stakes Turbulence to Our Future.”

In his book The Meaning of the 21st Century, the late James Martin described this era of history as like a deep river canyon with turbulent rapids. The turbulence threatens to sink the entirety of human civilization through environmental collapse, war with increasingly destructive weapons, and new technologies that could ruin the planet by accident. It is our challenge as inhabitants of this era to navigate humanity through the turbulence. If we succeed, a very long and bright future awaits. In this presentation I will survey the threats that drive the turbulence and the actions we must take to navigate through it. Important contributions can come from public policy, business, technology, media, research, and other sectors, though each also has its limitations. A pluralistic, collaborative approach will ultimately be most successful.

 

Xenia Chernyshova started a FEMEN chapter in Quebec in October, 2012, “when she paraded topless through a Montreal IKEA to protest the fact that women were being airbrushed out of the company’s Saudi catalogues.” She is the leader of North American activities for the anarchist-activist-feminist-topless group that originated in Ukraine. Another recent actions is tearing off her shirt and storming a stage to interrupt a speech by Hamadi Jebali, former prime minister of Tunisia, to protest that nation’s imprisonment of Amina Tyler (another FEMEN activist). She also organized a topless protest outside the Tunisian consulate in Montreal to demonstrate support for Amina. Xenia airfare to the conference is sponsored by the Brighter Brains Institute. She will present a video explanation of FEMEN activities.

Darshan Elena Campos - A traveling professor and academic consultant, Darshan Elena Campos, Ph.D. has taught face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses for almost 4000 students. She has also organized national conferences and numerous workshops over the past decade. Darshan’s current research focuses on how educators use digital technologies to foster student leadership, collaboration, and critical literacy. She is a big nerd. Darshan can be reached via her website, www.darshancampos.org.

her presentation is: Building a Transhuman Social Movement

Grassroots social movements are curious, living, evolving beings with many centers. Their success rests in the energy and vision of individuals but also their strategies for creating and sustaining community. In other words, grassroots social movements are most successful when they inspire participation, harness collective intelligence, distribute responsibilities, and share leadership. With the rise of digital technologies and advances in neuroscience, we have even more opportunities for igniting grassroots social movements and shaping transhuman futures. In this presentation, I offer a model for turning a largely intellectual movement into a broader grassroots social movement. This presentation has three threads. First, I provide an overview of the teaching method I use to guide college students in gaining a deeper understanding of transhuman technologies and transhumanism as a future vision. Second, I speak to what folks outside the traditional classroom environment – folks like us – can gain by developing a shared definition of transhumanism. Last, I outline strategies for building a grassroots social movement in light of both digital technologies and transhuman developments. I end by presenting several practical strategies for igniting the transhuman movement, starting with the folks gathering in this room at this time.

Alexey Turchin is author of the book “Structure of the Global Catastrophe. Risks of human extinction in the XXI century” and numerous articles on the topics of existential risks and the Doomsday argument. He studied Physics and Art History at Moscow State University. Since 2010, he has worked at the Science for Longer Life Foundation where he wrote a book “Future Studies” with Michael Batin. Now he is working on the book ‘‘Immortality”. He is one of the founders of Longevity Party, and the founder of Stop Existential Risks on Facebook. He organised first ever street action in US for Life extension in Googleplex in Feb 2014 and several actions in other countries. He will lecture on the ideas below:

From 2000 – 2008 was the golden age of x-risk research. Many books and articles were published – from Bill Joy to Bostrom and Yudkowsky – and many new ideas appeared. But after that, the stream of new ideas stopped. This might be good, because every new idea increased the total risk, and perhaps all important ideas about the topic had been discussed…but unfortunately…nothing was done for preventing x-risks, and dangerous tendencies continued. Risks of nuclear war are growing. No FAI theory exists. Biotech is developing very quickly and geneticaly modifed virusus are cheaper and cheaper. The time until the catastrophe is running out. The next obvious step is to create a new stream of ideas – ideas on how to prevent x-risks and when to implement these ideas. But before doing this, we need a consensus between researchers about the structure of the incoming risks. This can be via dialog, especially informal dialogs during scientific conferences.

Chris Hables Gray focuses his research and activism on the role of information technologies in war and peace making. Author of the booksPostmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict (Guilford and Routledge 1997), Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age (Routledge 2001) and Peace, War and Computers (Routledge 2005) and over 100 articles in academic and popular journals, his research is interdisciplinary and pragmatic.

He earned his doctorate from the notorious History of Consciousness Board of Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and much of his understandings of the world crisis from his experiences during 40 years as a revolutionary anarchist feminist active in the nonviolent direct action movement in many protests, and a dozen jails, around the world.

Currently he is a Visiting Professor in Digital Humanities at University College Cork, Ireland and normally works as a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz and California State University at Monterey Bay.

Only by creating a radical future will we be be able to overcome the existential crises humanity faces today. New technologies are a big part of the problem and just as big a part of the solution. Sorting out the specifics is the hard part, but, Hables argues, it is possible through horizontalist praxis, participatory evolution, and cyborg citizenship.

Grant Stanley Wilson is Deputy Director at the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (GCRI), a nonprofit think tank that engages in research, education, and professional networking in areas related to global catastrophic risks. He received a JD and a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. He has worked on issues related to the environment, human rights, and global catastrophes all over the world —Kenya, South Korea, Hungary, Mexico, Belgium, the United States—with the fundamental goal of ensuring that future generations are able to enjoy the Pacific Northwest (his home) and other marvelous regions.

Anatoly KarlinAnatoly Karlin - San Francisco-based Russian businessman, writer, thinker, and blogger at http://akarlin.com, where he blogs “about various esoteric and not so esoteric things: Futurism, human biodiversity and psychometrics, transhumanism, China, Russia, the Arctic, geopolitics, cliodynamics, peak oil, climate change, the paleo lifestyle… What passes for “debate” between Team Left and Team Right in most Western countries is stale, banal, and insipid. Both are bursting at the seams with hamsters. I prefer to deal with objective reality, even if it does put me outside all the mainstream ideological groupings. Anything else would just be dishonest…” His conference presentation will be: “The Future of Russia.”

Bryce A. Lynch is a mostly organic entity with a nontrivial number of software augmentations. By day he works as an integration security engineer in the field of financial cryptography. By night he is an open source hacker, blogger who tracks outbreaks of the future (http://drwho.virtadpt.net/), information security researcher, and social activist. He is a consulting agent of the hacktivist collective Telecomix, with whom he was active as an intelligence analyst and subject matter expert during the Arab Spring. He considers Agent Cameron a close friend. In his spare time he teaches classes on cryptography, operational security, privacy, and anonymity to activists, journalists, and anyone else who asks politely. He is one of the core developers of Project Byzantium, a live distribution of Linux for rapidly and easily setting up wireless mesh networks during emergencies and disaster situations to facilitate communication within the community and first responders.

Presentation: As transhumanists, hackers, scientists, and grinders it is well and good to keep our eyes on our eventual goals: Immortality in some form, extended continuity of consciousness, and augmentation of our current cognitive and physical abilities. It’s easy to spend our time discussing what might come to pass but neglect developments in technology and technique that we can develop and employ as first steps toward achieving these goals. Some of the technologies which we can build upon right now are open source prosthetic limbs, censorship circumvention technologies, civilian brain/computer interface devices, ad-hocratic operational templates, and free/libre intelligence analysis and data mining software. Examples of these technologies and techniques will be briefly discussed along with their implications for practical, applied transhumanism in the present time.

Yoni Binstock went to Rollins College, graduating with a BA in Political Science and a minor in International Business. He was columnist and business manager of the school newspaper, President of Rollins Democrats, and started the Green Rollins Initiative. Next, he attended Boston University for a MA in Energy and Environmental Analysis. After this degree, Yoni became Operations Coordinator at DailyFeats, a web startup committed to building and maintaining healthy habits in people’s lives. In 2011 he started Climate Scores to keep Congress accountable on climate change.
In 2012, Yoni joined Ashoka to manage online fundraising efforts, targeting Gen Y donors. In 2013, he organized a TEDx event and started a mobile appcompany. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at Mosaic as a Data and Marketing Fellow, then at SolarCity as a Sales Consultant, and currently works at Change.org as a Business Development Associate. He is also a fellow at the Clinton Global Initiative University and StartingBloc. Yoni’s presentation at the conference will be on 3D Printing.

Karl Doerrer discuss “how cryto-currencies can survive without depending on fiat exchange and the benefits of that happening”