That was a really enjoyable Future Salon with David Brin. Thank you John Smart for making the connection. Thank you also SAP for opening your doors and hosting us the setting really worked.
If you don't need the Future Salon intro you can jump to minute 7:30m where David Brin starts. Don't miss him doing a little Al Sherman homage at minute 57.24m. Here is a link to a record of Al Sharman on YouTube for folks like me that didn't know him. That is also the start of the Q&A part of the Future Salon.
Oh and you may want to turn it off before the last minute, if you don't want to hear my little twist to the Auld Lang Syne song.
Some quick notes from the Future Salon:
- Folks really liked the format with a 10-15m group discussion in the middle. Ping me with your improvement suggestions.
- David Brin thinks the next 10 years will be critical timeframe within which we will either be able to keep our freedoms and prosperity for most or fall back into a feudal system with an oligarchy having absolute power.
- I was surprised that David thinks that lie detectors will be one of the deciding factors and whether citizens will be able to turn them on the rich and powerful too.
- Who is spending the most on AI? The investment bankers to improve their algorithms for high frequency trading. This is done in absolute secrecy, without any oversight. The investment bankers are developing the most ruthless predatory AI imaginable to wring out every little advantage from the system, which is of great concern. I asked him later whether the Tobin Tax [small tax on all trades to make high frequency trading unprofitable] would mitigate that risk and he enthusiastically agreed.
- The conversation before and after a Future Salon with the people in the room are always super interesting too: Scientists have switched on a gene in mice that lead to enlarging and folding of their brain. These reserachers claim to have killed all of the mice before checking whether they were smarter, but who knows what is really going on. If it's only a matter of activating one gene, would expecting parents want to activate it, to give their baby a head start? Intelligence is less about the size of the brain, but connected to the number of folds and neurons. Now if scientists give rats brains a couple of more folds, they would sure find a way to break out of the lab. Michael Crichton book coming to a bookstore near you in 3-2-1 ;-)
We are living in interesting times. Thank you all for coming. Let's go out and make all of our futures bright.