Defining God (Panel; Sunday, 1 – 2:15 PM, Room 634)
Moderator: P. C. Hodgell; F. J. Bergmann, Chibi-Evil, Richard S. Russell, Yonatan Zunger
Atheists are often asked, “What would it take to get you to believe in God?” The stock response is “Well, you’d need to start with a good definition, so I’d know what to look for.” OK, let’s get started. What sort of superpowers does it take to rise to the level of godliness? Would a really smart computer qualify? If you just had a creature who could create a whole universe, but was pathetic in many other respects, wouldn’t that still be pretty godlike?
Economics of the Future (Panel; Sunday, 4 – 5:15 PM, Conference 5)
Moderator: Benjamin Rosenbaum; Fred, Christopher Davis, Gayle, Yonatan Zunger
Science fiction has posited a wide range of economic models, from total abundance to mean scarcity, from plutocracy to collectivism. What happens when goods are freely available to all? What happens when long–lasting food rations are worth killing for? Which books actually talk about economics (whether capitalist or socialist or some other sort) without handwaving it all away?
AI’s: The Current Reality, the Future Possibilities (Talk; Monday, 10 – 11:15 AM, Room 629)
AIs have the possibility of being very interesting from a narrative perspective because they can be a fundamentally different kind of intelligence that nevertheless shares a world with us. The basic evolutionary pressures that drove our brains to work the way they do are completely different from those that would act on them. And indeed, the AIs that we’re starting to see in the real world—from search engines that understand our intentions to cars that drive themselves—look very different from the positronic brains we once imagined. In this talk, Yonatan Zunger will discuss the ways in which AIs are developing today and various possibilities for future directions.
I think this should be a really interesting con; the panels look ripe for spirited, and intelligent, discussion, and the talk should be fun. I guarantee mention of BrainPals and of the religious tendencies of artificial intelligences. Because that’s the real future of AI: theologically-minded brain implants.
ETA: Dates, times and rooms are kinda useful information. Added!