Singularity - the rest
A few things I remember from the rest of the conference:
Pete Estep began his talk by replying to a quote by a Singularity skeptic:
"There's too much fixation on death avoidance. That's a shame, because in the future, as computers become stupendously powerful and as electronics and other technologies begin to enhance and fuse with biology, life really is going to get more interesting."
He wondered why someone would not be excited about avoiding death, and surmised that evolution has had to deal with hominids being aware of death for millions of years and thus we come up with "baseless fantasies" and rationalizations for it.
Pete Diamandis spoke about his work as the founder and chairman of the X-Prize Foundation. They've set up numerous prizes in the areas of space flight, education/global development, fuel economy, and other areas.
He notes that prizes are very efficient. The X-Prize for private space travel was $10 million, but much more than that was spent by the teams that competed for the prize. He says that about 10% of charity should be prizes. I think he said that that would amount to $30 billion annually
He wants to do a prize for a manned mission to Mars. It would have to be one way only - that's the only way it makes sense, he boldly stated.
Ray Kurzweil replied to some of the other speakers. One interesting thing was a reply to Marshall Brain about the potential unemployment of robots replacing some jobs. He says that if in 1900 he'd told America (paraphrased): "30% of you work in factories and 30% of you work in agriculture, that's going to be 3%/3% in a hundred years...you'd have been alarmed about your jobs. But it turns out that you become web designers and social networking entrepreneurs and all kinds of other new jobs that didn't exist."