2003 Los Angeles Future Salons

January February March April May June July August October November December

January 10th (3rd Floor, Chair Circle), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Group updates and article sharing on our Accelerating World,
followed by a discussion of the recent well-received nanotechnology overview book:
Our Molecular Future
, Doug Mulhall, 2002
Doug is a Foresight Senior Associate and environmental consultant, with a background in various ecological and nature preservation projects. It's quite interesting to read a technologically-educated environmentalist's take on the future of nanotechnology--he sees it as something that will allow every new generation of our machines, and technology-aided human beings, to live with a dramatically smaller environmental footprint, something the human species historically has not been able to do on its own, because of inherent limitations in our design. In this speculative and singularity-aware book, Mulhall discusses how nanotechnology will affect robotics, genetics, and artificial intelligence, the nature of our coming transhumanity, and whether (or rather, when) robots should have rights. Though unsupported and imaginative in several places, Our Molecular Future is an excellent and thought provoking take on our Extraordinary Future.
Theme 2: Special Guest Lecturer (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion)
Dr. Aristides Requicha
, Director, Laboratory for Molecular Robotics, USC.
Talk: "Robotics at the Nanometer Scale."
We are very pleased to announce a special guest speaker, who will give us an overview of a very important emerging technology. Dr. Requicha is a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at USC where he directs the Laboratory for Molecular Robotics (http://lipari.usc.edu/~lmr/) since 1994 and the Programmable Automation Laboratory (http://www-pal.usc.edu/pal-index.html) since 1986. The theme of Requicha's research for the last thirty years has been the development of intelligent systems that interact with the three-dimensional world in which we live. From the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s, he addressed the problem of describing the 3-D objects that populate our physical environment, and did pioneering work on solid modeling. Today, computer-based solid modelers are the standard means of capturing objects' geometry in computer graphics and industrial computer aided design and manufacturing. Next, he researched spatial reasoning, through a blend of concepts and techniques from artificial intelligence and geometric modeling. The main focus was on automatic planning for manufacturing and inspection tasks. With his students, he developed systems for recognizing manufacturing features, designing and assembling fixtures using modular components, and planning dimensional inspection with Coordinate Measuring Machines. His current research is focused on the science and engineering required to interact with the nanometer-scale world. He directs USC's Laboratory for Molecular Robotics, an interdisciplinary center whose ultimate goal is to control the structure of matter at the molecular scale. The lab is now developing systems for manipulating nanoscale objects using Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPMs) as sensory robots. Applications in nanoelectronics, nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanobiotechnology are being investigated. This work is evolving towards the construction and deployment of autonomous nanorobots. The above information was edited from Dr. Requicha's websites. His personal home page and CV can be found at (http://lipari.usc.edu/~requicha/). Come join us as Dr. Requicha explains the present realities and future promises of robotic nanoscience! If you are ready to delve into the details of nanotechnology and nanoscience, here is one of the most-recommended introductory textbooks: Nanotechnology: Basic Science and Emerging Technologies, , Michael Wilson (Ed.), 2002. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1584883391/)
As Dr. Requicha will tell us, there are many, many surprises waiting to be unveiled within this field in coming years. Seats for ~40 of us in the Chair Circle. Earlybirds get best seating! As usual, we will head over to the local CPK afterwards for those with social and culinary interests. See you soon!

February 14th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Group updates and article sharing on our Accelerating World,
followed by a discussion of the nanotechnology overview book:
Our Molecular Future
, Doug Mulhall, 2002 (Note: This book did not come in on time for our last meeting, so we are covering it this month).
Doug is a Foresight Senior Associate and environmental consultant, with a background in preservation and sustainability. In this speculative and singularity-aware book, Mulhall discusses how nanotechnology will affect robotics, genetics, and artificial intelligence, the nature of our coming transhumanity, and when our fast-developing robots should have rights. Though occasionally unsupported, Our Molecular Future is a thought provoking take on our Extraordinary Future.
Theme 2: Special Guest Author and Booksigning (8pm)
Dr. Bart Kosko, Professor of Engineering, USC.

Presentation Title: "Fuzz, Noise, and Heaven"
Bart Kosko is a deep-thinking futurist, electrical engineer, computer scientist, and champion of artificial intelligence, neural networks, and fuzzy logic. He published what is often considered the world's first textbook on modern neural networks, Neural Networks and Fuzzy Systems, in 1991. In Fuzzy Thinking, 1993, Dr. Kosko popularized the effectiveness of probabilistic, non-Aristotelian, post-Boolean logic in engineering and software design. He stressed the importance of understanding the myriad situations when events are both "A and not-A", when they are on a continuum of shades of grey, and that this process has historically been much easier within Eastern spiritual and philosophical perspectives. He has made seminal academic contributions to the fields of fuzzy logic, neural networks, and intelligent signal processing, including the constructive use of noise. He is also a regular op-ed columnist with the Los Angeles Times (e.g., "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?," 12.31.02), and has recently written the future fiction novel Nanotime, 1998. He will regale us with artificial intelligence insights, as well as bold and detailed speculations on the nature of a coming world full of thinking machines. Dr. Kosko will do a booksigning for us on Fuzzy Thinking, as well as his newer book, Heaven in a Chip: Fuzzy Visions of Society and Science in the Digital Age, Bart Kosko, 2000.
We will have eight copies of Heaven in a Chip on hand. They will be $14 apiece, and please bring exact change or a check. As B&N was not able to order them due to a supplier problem, we will be distributing them outside the store at the end of the talk (thanks to B&N for the flexibility). If we run out, you may order extras directly from Dr. Kosko's publisher, Fearlessbooks.com. (See ordering link at the top of their homepage). Like Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, and a very small community of other technically adept futurists, Dr. Kosko is willing to tackle the biggest issues of accelerating change, including perhaps the most challenging one of all here in 2003: the question of biological uploading into/convergence with the coming self-aware technological substrate. Dr. Kosko calls his version of this convergence "Heaven (building a society closer to human ideals than ever before) in a Chip," a fascinating metaphor. He has a number of insights to share about the apparently inevitable, fast-approaching time when our biological selves will receive this technological upgrade, transitioning us to a new, much more robust and capable platform for experiencing reality. Please join us for Dr. Kosko's presentation and discussion, and to receive your own signed copy of this must-read, singularity-aware book on our Accelerating World.

March 14th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Group updates and article-sharing on our Accelerating World, followed with a brief presentation by LAFuturist Michael Shields on:
Marie Wilson, Arcosanti Archetype: The Rebirth of Cities by Renaissance Thinker Paolo Soleri, 1999
[Note: This beautiful and reasonably-priced book ($23) is presently hard to find, only Blackwells has it.]
If you picture cities soon blanketing the Earth in unchecked urban sprawl ("LA-ification of the planet"), then with a bit more imagination, you can envision special environments where they are instead highly concentrated within architectural structures. Such "miniaturization" and physical proximity would give humans significantly enhanced social interaction (think Tokyo or Manhattan, but without urban blight), as well as real privacy when desired. It would also leave much of the natural world, or at least adjacent greenbelts, as an easily accessible playground. Paolo Soleri called this idea "Arcology" (architecture with ecological insight) and set out to build such a city in the Arizona desert in the 1950's. His ongoing Arcosanti project near Scottsdale is a testament to that vision, and Marie Wilson has done a great job exploring Soleri's ideas and project in this highly visual book. Fascinating.
Theme 2: Special Guest Author and Booksigning (8pm)
Syd Mead,
World-Renowned Graphic Designer and Futurist (Booksigning)
"Future Visions and the Art of Design"
Books: Syd Mead's Sentury, Syd Mead, 2001
Books: Oblagon: Concepts of Syd Mead, Syd Mead, 1997
Syd Mead is a visual futurist and designer who presents the coming world with a scope, spectacle, and realism that virtually no other artist has yet dared. For many of us, the world of Blade Runner was our first deep exposure to a fully-realized world of intelligent machines. More than anyone else, legendary visual artist and designer Syd Mead was responsible for that vision. Graduate of the Art Center College of Design, he has been a force behind many of Hollywood's most groundbreaking future films, such as 2010, Tron, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Syd's works have inspired legions of today's best Anime artists and industrial designers. He has also applied his visions for such industrial clients as Ford, General Motors, and Honda, Norwegian Carribean Cruise Lines (designing sleek new cruise ships) Phillips, and U.S. Steel, as well as architectural futurescapes for a nightclub (built in Japan), and such places as the City of Houston, and Minolta Marina. One of his latest projects, Tokyo 2040, also provides compelling glimpses of a coming world of high technology and human liesure
Please join us for Syd's presentation and discussion on the art of design, an opportunity to get a signed copy of one his latest books, Syd Mead's Sentury and Oblagon, and to take a look for yourself at his fantastic visions for our Extraordinary Future.

April 11th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Group updates and article-sharing on our Accelerating World.

Followed by a discussion of Nanotechnology: An Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea, Mark Ratner, 2002, a good intro to nanotech futures, and the NBIC Convergence Report, World Technology Evaluation Center, 2002 Free 405-page PDF here. To be published in book form later this year. The latter book is visionary project of Mike Roco and William Sims Bainbridge at the National Science Foundation, this is a deep exploration of accelerating and converging trends in Nanotech, Biotech, Infotech, and the Cognitive sciences (particularly, understanding how brains think) ("NBIC" Convergence). Mike Roco directs the National Nanotechnology Initiative, a top funding priority of both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Written by those who fund the labs, it's one of the most important books exploring the future of science for the next few decades. Amanda Seipel and friends have written a good brief overview here. There are perhaps a few too many unsupported speculations within its covers, and still not enough recognition that infotech, when considered from the standpoint of universal physics, may be the central driver of all the other "convergence technologies." But there are also several truly excellent pieces from leading academic researchers (including Dr. Montemagno, our esteemed guest speaker), government leaders, and industry. Politics aside, Newt Gingrich's piece on cascading S curves and an "Age of Transition," is an example of admirable long term, technology-aware foresight work from the government side.
Theme 2: Special Guest Speaker (8pm)
Dr. Carlo Montemagno,
Director, Montemagno Research Group, UCLA
Chair, Department of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, IDP Roy and Carol Doumani Professor Co-Director NASA Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration "Nanoscale Biological Engineering: Present and Promise"
Dr. Montemagno is doing stunning work in applied nanotechnology just down the street from us at his major UCLA research center. Co-Chair of the recent NBIC Conference at UCLA, he has graciously agreed to give LA Futurists a one hour overview of his research program. Go to biomotors.net and you'll be absolutely amazed. His group is conducting key research in hybrid nanomechanical systems (including integrated muscle and MEMS structures, actin-based motility systems), custom-engineered membrane proteins (such as voltage-gated nanovalves), wireless implantable microsensors (medical monitoring), biomolecular motors (his famous F1-ATPase motor), and applied nanotechnology (nanofabrication en masse for commercial purposes). Harnessing the deep intelligence of natural biological systems and repurposing that for human guided purposes is one of the true frontiers of nanoscience. Dr. Montemagno is a leader in that approach, and you will learn a tremendous amount about the new world of Inner Space by coming and hearing his recent triumphs and the challenges ahead.

May 9th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm).
We'll discuss the latest amazing events in our ever accelerating world. Future-relevant insights from such sources as Discover, New Scientist, Reason, Skeptic, Technology Review, The Futurist, and Wired.
We'll briefly review and discuss the new work Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values, by Thomas Georges, 2003. This is an interesting intro to such arcane topics as machine ethics, emotional computers, and human preferences for artificial intelligence in a world of accelerating change. Even more briefly, we'll discuss Harvard astronomer Robert Kirshner's new book, The Extravagant Universe, 2002. It's a nice, humorous update on the dark energy theory and a best seller. Don't be late or you'll miss some great stuff, including a free raffle!
Our Special Guest Speaker: (8pm)
Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, "The Invisible Universe"

Described by Time Magazine as "a cross between Carl Sagan and Madonna", astrophysicist, author and recording artist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi received her doctorate in physics from the University of Milan, has studied opera and composition at Conservatory G. Verdi Corsi Serali, taught mathematics and physics at Liceo Scientifico, Milan, and now teaches astronomy at a range of U.S. colleges and universities. In research at the Computer Audio Research Lab, U.C. San Diego, she developed techniques to convert radio waves from galaxies into sound. This led to her acclaimed CD "Music from the Galaxies" (Island Records), CD-ROM "Invisible Universe" (Voyager), her "Beyond Life" dance/trance CD and video tribute to Dr. Timothy Leary (Mercury Records), Billboard Top 20 Music Video "The Gate to the Mind's Eye" with Thomas Dolby (Warner) and numerous other works.
Dr. Terenzi has been described as a pop-iconic figure that's part Timothy Leary and part Dianna Troi (the comely Star Trek psychologist). Her eponymous website, http://fiorella.com, is well known in both the science and art communities, and her work has been featured in the major planetary news media.
She'll discuss the insights of her career and will be signing copies her CDROM "Invisible Universe" (Voyager). She may also sign copies of her latest book Heavenly Knowledge: An Astrophysicist Seeks Wisdom in the Stars, 1998 (NOTE: Only if we can get book copies: there are publisher supply problems). Heavenly Knowledge is a very personal and autobiographical account of a brave and creative soul, a composer and musician with a PhD in Astrophysics who teaches college students to "listen to the stars," and has written programs and produced CD's that help us do exactly that. Her book discusses the importance of seeking human meaning and life wisdom in the larger patterns of nature. Rather than the typical anthropic reasoning, or the philosophical discussion of evolutionary and complex systems that we see from other astrophysicists on this topic, however, Dr. Terenzi takes us on a more personal journey into relationships, beauty, music, and the feminine/masculine dynamic. Like other great champions of scientific inquiry, Dr. Terenzi seeks to use her professional career as a way to improve our imagination, sense of wonder, and appreciation for the dream as much as for the equation. In lectures and performances in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, Dr. Terenzi has combined science and art to awaken people to the wonders of the universe.

June 13th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
We'll discuss the latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Come hear and bring your future-relevant insights from such sources as Discover, New Scientist, Reason, Skeptic, Technology Review, The Futurist, Wired, and the Wonderful World Wide Web (wwww). Our LA Futurist Elaine Baran will briefly review and discuss The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, Fareed Zakaria, 2003. This excellent new work outlines the conditions under which democracy fails when it is introduced to countries that don't have a history of personal freedom, and the conditions under which it weakens when liberty is eroded in longstanding democratic systems. Zakaria explores the complexities of creating a stable postwar Iraq, and proposes what will be necessary to expand democracy everywhere in coming decades. Compelling arguments and riveting reading!
Our Special Guest Speaker: (8pm)
Mike Korns, "Evolutionary Computation (without the Math)"
Michael Korns
is joining us from Henderson, NV to discuss an emerging new technology, evolutionary computation, in a straightforwad and understandable fashion. This is an approach to software intelligence that allows machines to discover their own creative solutions to well defined human problems, in an evolutionary developmental process that occurs at least ten million times faster than our own genetic evolutionary history occurred. Mike's companies Korns Associates/Invest by Agent are an "...R&D company that develops and uses sophisticated agent technology to build artificial intelligence applications for securities analysis and stock ranking". He will share his many years of experience in this approach, and his insights from the growing community, now over ten thousand, of software developers that use this partially "hands off" approach to computer programming. Our primary book for this talk will be Emergence, Steven Johnson, 2002. This is an excellent, broad ranging treatment of the system conditions under which new organisms, behaviors, rules/laws, or other persistent new environmental features emerge.[Another good overview book is Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, Kevin Kelly, 1995. For a quick popular discussion of software agents, see: Bots: The Origin of a New Species, Andrew Leonard, 1998. ] Mike will use books like Emergence, Out of Control and Bots an introduction to what is happening in the world of self-programming software. You don't have to have read any of these to participate, just come, get a good overview, and bring your inquisitive and imaginative mind. For web resources on these topics, see: Exploring Emergence by Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman. an excellent intro into a related field, Cellular Automata.

July 11th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
We'll discuss the latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Come hear and bring your future-relevant insights from media, your networks, and the Wonderful World Wide Web (wwww). LA Futurist Kate ("Reverend Kate") will briefly review and lead discussion of Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness, James H. Austin, 1998. This intriguing work, by a neurologist and Zen Buddhist, explores the neurophysiology of meditation, the mindfulness practices we use to alter our consciousness, perception of self/other, experience of past/present/future, emotional states, and other mental phenomena central to our experience of reality. Understanding mind states, brain anatomy, physiology, and chemistry is juxtaposed with the author's personal experience in exploring inner landscapes, and summaries of the latest neurological research. Fascinating reading!
Our Special Guest Speaker and Booksigning: (8pm)
William Poundstone, How Would You Move Mt. Fuji? Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers, 2003
Adapted from Amazon.com: "Why are manhole covers round? How do they make M&Ms? What does all the ice in a hockey rink weigh? How many piano tuners are there in the world? Questions like these test creative problem-solving abilities, not specific competencies. Going far beyond standard IQ tests and psychological inventories, they are intended to separate the most creative thinkers from the merely brilliant. Almost half of the book is devoted to an "answer" section, where Poundstone gives possible solutions to the brainteasers." Our city's own William Poundstone is the author of a bestselling series of popular works on the hidden mechanisms of modern life: Big Secrets, 1985; Bigger Secrets, 1989; Biggest Secrets, 1994, and The Ultimate, 1991. He has also authored several excellent popular science works: Labyrinths of Reason: Paradoxes, Puzzles, and the Frailty of Knowledge, 1990; Prisoner's Dilemma: John Von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb, 1993; Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos, 2000, and perhaps my personal favorite, The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge, 1985. William is an amazing thinker and a really nice guy as well (or so his press agent says :). We'll find out in person this July, as he shares his extraordinary intellect and keen eye for the unusual aspects of human culture.His presentation title: "A Short History, and Near Future, of Employee Assessment" We'll get a tour of the changing nature of hiring and evaluation at top companies in an increasingly complex world. We'll also have an extended Q&A so that after we learn how to move mountains and make M&M's, we may attempt to pick his brains on any of the other fascinating topics listed above that you are curious to discuss! Come join us for a fun, insightful, and stimulating evening. As usual, those with social and culinary interests will go a restaurant on the Promenade afterwards to continue our discussion. See you soon!

August 8th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7-9:30pm
Reminder: No LA Futurists meeting on September 12th!
Come join us at our Accelerating Change Conference (Sept 12-14), at Stanford University.
Details at: http://accelerating.org/acc2003/conf_home.htm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
We'll discuss the latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Come hear and bring future-relevant insights from all your networks, including the Wonderful World Wide Web (wwww). I will do a brief review of a fascinating new book, B.J. Fogg's, Persuasive Technology.
Professor Fogg (http://www.bjfogg.com/work_stanford.html) is director of Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab (http://captology.stanford.edu/). He spoke recently at our No. California sister group, Bay Area Futurists, and was very well recieved. After the book and articles, if time permits we can recap the World Future Society conference as well.
Guest Speaker: Gregory Peter Panos (8pm)
Talk Title: "Using Virtual Reality to Document Human Existence."
Greg Panos is an LA-based strategic futurist, consultant, writer, producer, educator, and evangelist for bold new initiatives in Human Simulation. He is past chairman of the LA Chapter of SIGGRAPH, America's premiere computer graphics community, and author of the Virtual Reality Sourcebook. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences on the implications of virtual reality, experiential simulation, human motion capture, 3D internet and object scanning, and the evolution and future of entertainment technology. He has worked with leading CGI/visual FX organizations in industry and government. He is presently founder and director of the LA-based Persona Foundation (http://www.personafoundation.org), a nascent organization whose noble and inspiring goal is "Furthering Initiatives in Human Simulation." He has a broad and visionary command of the convergence technologies that are today driving the computer graphics and gaming industries, technologies that will soon allow us to create new tools and platforms for "Documenting Human Existence," both past and present, in a range of mostly unanticipated ways that will champion our interconnectedness, protect our diversity, and develop our latent humanity like never before. Come listen to his amazing prescription for our Extraordinary Future, one we are already sliding into as we enter what some futurists have called the "Age of Simulations."

October 10th, 3rd Floor: Chair Circle, 7:00-9:30pm
Discussion: Consciousness Explained, 1992, Daniel Dennett. (7:45pm)

Our very own Rev. Kate Nelson, former chair of the Neurobiology Society at CSULA, emerging comic and Sci-Fi author, and Mutaytor representative will introduce this highly acclaimed landmark convergence of psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of identity and mind. Then we will open up to discussion about its lasting impact, and the new "science of consciousness" that has emerged in the decade since. Dennett (Brain Children, Freedom Evolves, Kinds of Minds, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, The Mind's I, etc.) makes the claim that consciousness is software that must emerge from the brain's massively parallel neural circuitry, software that must be shaped by cultural ("memetic") evolutionary development. He is one of those who champion the idea that tomorrow's biologically inspired, massively parallel computers interacting with the human culture and environment, will have to develop similar emergent software of their own. Is he right? To what exent does any massively parallel system (human culture, internet users) already have "a mind of its own?" Come give your two cents as we wrestle with these foundational ideas.
Special Guest Speaker: Prof. Marcos Novak, U.C. Santa Barbara (8:30pm)
"Transvergence: Seeing and Using Patterns of Change in Virtual Reality, Architecture, Nanotech, and Biotech in Coming Decades — Grow it and they Will Come!"
The word "transvergence" (trans = across, and moving beyond simple divergence and convergence) speaks both to longstanding but newly understood patterns of bottom-up, chaotic development, and to a productive personal creative stance one may take in a complex, accelerating world. Join us as professor Marcos Novak, researcher at U.C. Santa Barbara's California Nanosciences Institute, and instructor in U.C.S.B.'s Media Arts and Technology program, discusses systems and patterns of change and their relevance to our personal lives, from his experience as architect, artist, composer, theorist and one of the pioneering explorers of cyberspace. For more, see his personal website, at Centrifuge.org, which includes published articles and interviews. The 2001 Calimero interview, on the possibilities of cyberarchitecture, is particularly fascinating.

November 14th, 3rd Floor: Chair Circle, 7:00-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
We're on the third floor again this month, so come early for cozy seats! We'll start off with the latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Get updates, take a quiz, bring future-relevant insights from your networks!
Discussion: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, 1999, Jared Diamond. (7:45pm)
The insightful and ever-inspiring Jessica Richman, head of the San Diego Objectivists Network and the newly forming SD Futurists, will review and lead discussion on this amazing work of cultural and technological history and biogeography since the Ice Ages. He states "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." In particular, he notes that cultures that developed early population density through domesticated plants and animals got a head start on developing writing, government, trade, technology, weapons of war, and even accelerated immunity to the planet's deadly germs. This is a fascinating non-West oriented explication of why the Europeans/West developed cultural and technological innovation so early, and why the early innovators are likely to maintain their lead in a number of non-zero sum activities, as long as critical environmental resources remain available (they didn't in lots of places). Is he right? If so, what are the implications for the future of the West in a globalized society? Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, Why is Sex Fun? Ecology and Evolution of Communities) is a UCLA professor of evolutionary biology whose next work will reportedly be on "the future of human society." Hopefully we'll be able to get him to do a booksigning for us when it comes out.
Special Guest Speaker & Booksigning: Didier Sornette, Professor, Inst of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and Dept of Earth and Space Science, UCLA (8:30pm)
Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems, 2002
Could we have predicted the global stock market crash of April 2000? Didier Sornette is Professor of Geophysics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a research director at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France. A specialist in the scientific prediction of catastrophes in a wide range of complex systems, he has coauthored more than 250 papers in international journals, as well as the previous book Critical Phenomena in Natural Sciences: Chaos, Fractals, Selforganization and Disorder: Concepts and Tools, 2000 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/3540674624/
In systems theory circles, Dr. Sornette has been described as a "singularity theorist," one who uses math to study dynamical systems that undergo accelerating disequilibria, self-catalyzing positive feedback loops which lead to "singularities", "critical points" or "phase changes," and the subsequent transition to environments where new rules and system descriptions apply. Why Stock Markets Crash is a text in the emerging field of "econophysics," applying singularity mathematics and historical analysis to past accelerating instabilities (e.g., 1637's Tulip Mania in the Netherlands, 1720's South Sea Bubble in England, 1929's Great Crash, 1987's Black Monday in the U.S.) and also looking to the future. Dr. Sornette proposes that our new models of networks (think Barabasi's, Linked or Watts', Small Worlds) combined with singularity theory can help us to predict the development of accelerating instabilities (think Gladwell's Tipping Point) in complex financial systems months or even years before the runaway occurs. That means his work is a very valuable development in the financial analysis world: a predictive and falsifiable model that we will be able to use in advance of our next inevitable bubble and crash. Those of us who study accelerating technological change find these ideas fascinating. Can we apply Dr. Sornette's toolset to the measurement of growth in our technologies of information storage, input/output, processing, replication, and replicative autonomy? Could we use these models to predict, even today, whether or how quickly we are sliding toward a "critical point," a technological singularity of runaway computational self-improvement? Can we say today that certain technology subsectors, such as computer hardware production, or global communication, are driving our transition to this critical point more rapidly and powerfully than others? Come hear Dr. Sornette discuss the past and future of financial markets via singularity theory, a fascinating new paradigm of systems analysis. He will also sign copies for us of his latest highly-acclaimed book, Why Stock Markets Crash, immediately after his presentation.

December 12th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
We'll start off with the latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Bring insights from your networks!
Discussion 1: Peggy DuBois on Consciousness Explained, by Daniel Dennett, 1992. (7:30pm)
This was the book Kate Nelson was going to do, but she was sick, and is now engaged in a Las Vegas production. Peggy DuBois has stepped forward to introduce this highly acclaimed landmark work on psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of identity and mind.
Peggy is a therapist in private practice in Westlake Village. She has degrees/licenses in clinical nutrition and in marriage, family therapy (intersting combo). She is in her last year of doctorate studies in psychoanalysis, and her graduation paper is on the clinical application of nonlinear, dynamic systems theory in clinical practice. Fascinating!
We will discuss the book's impact, and the new "science of consciousness" that has emerged in the decade since. Dennett (Brain Children, Freedom Evolves, Kinds of Minds, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, The Mind's I, etc.) makes the claim that consciousness is software that must emerge from the brain's massively parallel neural circuitry, software that must be shaped by cultural ("memetic") evolutionary development. He is one of those who champion the idea that tomorrow's biologically inspired, massively parallel computers interacting with the human culture and environment, will have to develop similar emergent software of their own. Is he right? To what exent does any massively parallel system (human culture, internet users) already have "a mind of its own?" Come hear Peggy's overview and give your own intuitions as we wrestle with these foundational ideas.
Guest Speaker: Allison Dollar, President, Interactive Television Alliance. (8:30pm)
"Interactive Television and the Future of the Home"
A background book is Interactive Television Demystified, Jerry Whitaker, 2001
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=2WBISYRRC0&isbn=0071363254&itm=1 Allison also has a new book out on iTV that she will bring for browsing, Interactive Television: Tracking and Preparing for an Emerging Market, released in April 2003. It is available at NAB Online for $99: http://www.nab.org/nabstore/product.asp?dept%5Fid=139&pf%5Fid=3919 Allison is a founder and co-president of the Interactive Television Alliance, a non-profit trade association whose broad constituency is committed to accelerating iTV in the U.S. She is also a principal in 2degree Partners, a management consultancy focused on iTV and leveraging digital channels through innovative advertising/programming packages. She specializes in building alliances, cross-platform marketing and digital services integration. She co-founded eTV World, Hollyweb Live!, iNNOVATORS™ venture pitch series, and chaired NAB's Executive Committee to launch Multimedia World. Clients have included IBM's eBusiness (American Express, Bell Atlantic, Mail Boxes Etc.), AOL, SimplyTV, Web TV, WB, Creative Planet, Stan Lee Media, Vi[z]Rt (virtual sets), and Envivio (MPEG-4). For Webcasts.com she was CSO and a founding board member (IPO as iBEAM Internet Broadcasting Corp). Previously, for Phillips Business Information she led business/content development with over 30 trade publications. A founding board member of Maryland's WIFV, she received ASAE's Golden Circle award, held advisory board positions for CINE and the US Film&Video Festival. She holds a M.A. from the University of Virginia and Phi Beta Kappa B.A. from Goucher College in Baltimore, and has been interviewed by a number of national news media.

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