The Really Big Picture

I was at a lunch talk today by Nick Bostrom, of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. The institute has an unusual mandate to consider the really big picture: human extinction risks, truly disruptive technologies such as cognitive enhancement, life extension and brain emulation, and other issues too large for most people to take seriously. It was a pleasure to hear someone thinking clearly and precisely, in the manner of a good philosopher, about topics that are usually the preserve of crackpots. Prof Bostrom’s website is a treasure trove of papers. An atypical but perhaps robot-relevant example is the Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap.

  • Hey Mike. I’d recommend it – he’s worth hearing. The talk was part of Balliol’s informal lunchtime talks, not much advertised. They’re normally in the Chaplin’s sitting room, with most of the audience on the floor. Maybe you could invite him to give a colloquium at New?
    I find Overcoming Bias a bit of a mixed bag, but some great stuff there occasionally.

  • Hmm no emailed notification of responses to my comment, oh well. I’m not going to invite Nick Bostrom, I’m too shy! Overcoming Bias is nothing if not a mixed bag, but personally I find Eliezer’s pontificating and ranting kind of entertaining even when it’s not that stimulating. Cheers

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