The Singularity Summit at Stanford is coming up next month:
What, then, is the singularity? It's a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself. Understanding the singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes one's view of life in general and one's own particular life.
The Singularity Institute is the principal driving force behind the event, and as such you can expect a strong focus on general artificial intelligence (GAI) and Vingean or Kurzweilian views of the technological singularity. The interest here is, at root, in methologies for overcoming limits to exponential growth that result from the limits of the human mind. This is all of little direct relevance to the near future of healthy life extension and advancing medical technology - as it will take place while the development of GAI is still in its earliest stages - but it is of great relevance to the mid- and long-term future of all human endeavors. Tools that improve our ability to manage complexity will greatly speed the advance of biotechnology, a science that is already bumping up against the limits imposed by our ability to manage and understand vast datasets and complex biological systems.
The Singularity Institute is worth a closer look by those interested in successful advocacy for a cause. Their transformation from a force-of-will personal venture to professional advocacy and position group has been quite impressive since Tyler Emerson took the reins, culminating in acquiring Peter Thiel as an advisor and patron. I can't overemphasis the cachet that brings in monied circles; Thiel is widely regarded as having an excellent sense of what to invest in and where the technology world will be going next. Don't let that obscure the small, important details for you, however - take some time to watch how the Institute does things if you're interested in getting ahead in advocacy.
UPDATE: Tyler Emerson emails to note:
You wrote, "The Singularity Institute is the principal driving force behind the event,..." While that's partially accurate, this isn't an SIAI event -- it's a Stanford event organized by the Symbolic Systems Program, and co-sponsored by the Singularity Institute, KurzweilAI.net, and the Stanford Transhumanist Association.
You might note that Thiel became involved in part because he was very impressed by our vision and objectives, and especially by Yudkowsky's work. As it stands, the post could be interpreted as if I were solely responsible for Thiel's involvement, which isn't accurate.
The Singularity Institute seems set to successfully emulate the Foresight model in bringing interest and investment into their field, and the best of luck to them. Now if we could just garner a few more organizations like that for the healthy life extension cause to complement and compete with the Methuselah Foundation...