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.