Abstract – More Human Than Human: The Computation of Moral Reasoning – Lev Lafayette

The application of propositional and predicate calculus in mathematical systems is very well known. The truth-functional application has been fundamental to the computational systems with widespread application in the sciences and engineering. Further, a computational theory of mind which suggests that computation equates to consciousness has become a common argument in cognitive psychology and in evolutionary psychology.
Criticism of the theory’s inability to provide a sufficient proof of intentionality become testable with the relative capacity (and inability in the realm of artificial intelligence) for the formation of new shared symbolic values. Retracing this issue through the motivational differences between descriptive and normative statements provides both an understanding of the supposed problem of consciousness, but also a grounding for moral values, which can be further elaborated into universal pragmatics through rational reconstruction. Such a grounding provides no less than the prospect of a propositional and predicate calculus of a universal moral theory, ‘more human than human’, a transhumanism which may be misunderstood as inhuman compared to the developmental limitations within the species. In addition this ontologically independent moral realism will also retain problematic elements of propositional and predicate calculus, along with serious issues concerning incommensurability between the different systems of verification.

By Lev Lafayette

Abstract – Open Source Biotech – Jeremy Nagel

William Donovan will be co-presenting the open source biotech talk with Jeremy Nagel.
Everyone knows you need millions of dollars and a PhD to do biotechnology research. Right? Well someone forgot to tell the high school kids taking part in the iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) contest. Hundreds of teams of young people from all around the world are now taking part in the open source biotechnology revolution. They have designed and built biosensors, which turn red when there are toxic amounts of mercury in soil; ‘hole pluggers’, which sniff out and fill in gaps in concrete structures; and even living computer screens.

How is this possible? Two reasons: technology and freedom of information. Rapid progress in technologies like DNA sequencing and synthesis have dramatically lowered the cost and complexity of creating genetically modified organisms. It’s easier than ever before and keeps getting easier. On the information side, science is opening up. Disciplinary silos are breaking apart as molecular biologists, engineers and coders join forces in a new wave of innovation. Instead of hoarding away knowledge and rushing to the patent office at the mere whiff of a discovery, people are giving away their intellectual property for free to the community. The open source software movement has been translated into open source biotech. Sites like partsregistry.org allow anyone to get their hands on the DNA code to design a new life form.

The implications are big. Some economists predict that 50% of future economic growth will come from biotechnology. The low barriers to entry mean that developing nations can join in too.

However, despite the excitement there are some concerns to address. Should we be allowing people to set up garage laboratories? Are there safety risks? Could bio-terrorists use these tools to create a ‘super-anthrax’? Are there ethical issues? Should humans be designing life?

During this session, you will enter an Open Source Biotech simulation, where you build your own lifeform. You will use a rapid prototyping approach and work in teams to design a microbe that solves one of humanity’s pressing problems (or just does something really cool!). The most creative team will win a special Open Source Biotech prize. We will then use the lifeforms you create to discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of Open Source Biotech.

Join the discussion at the H+ Summit, where Melbourne’s leading experts will share their experience and their vision for the future.


The Summit will be held on June the 25th, 26th 2011.
The agenda is also available in this google calendar. Here’s the public XML link, the iCAL link, and the HTML link.


*This will most likely change slightly, though the days will stay the same. Registrants will be emailed closer to the  conference dates.

Saturday 25 June 2011

8.30 am Welcome Registration and Introduction
9.00 Presentation: Slade BeardArchitecting the Future” (Complex Systems)
10.00 Presentation: Tony Smith“The Plurality: Why everything is all over the place”
11.00 Break
11.15 Panel: Chaos, Emergence, Black Swans and the Future
12.00 Presentation: TentativeAdam A. FordSingularity 101
1.00 Break: Lunch, networking
2.00 Presentation: Meredith Doig“Rationalism, Transhumanism & the Singularity”
3.00 Panel: Rationality, long term thinking and technological change
3.45 Break
4.00 Presentation: Colin Kline“Logics”
5.00 Presentation: Hugo de Garis“Topological Quantum Computing – Much More than Moore’s Law”
6.00 Break: Dinner – US Singularity Summit 2010 Video
7.00 Presentation: Binh Nguyen“Evolutionary AI”
8.00 Presentation: Patrick Robotham“Universal AI, AIXI the Markus Hutter approach”
9.00 Panel: Transhumanism and You
9.30 Stumble to the pub

Sunday 26 June 2011

8.45 am Welcome and Introduction
9.00 Presentation: Lev Lafayette“More Human Than Human: The Computation of Moral Reasoning”
10.00 Presentation: Avatar Polymorph“The ethics of boosting animals from sentience to self-aware consciousness”
11.00 Break
11.15 Panel: Augmentation, Transhumanism, and Morality
12.00 Presentation: Hugo de Garis“Nanotechnology,Femtotechnology & Really small stuff – Plenty of room at the bottom”
1.00 Break: Lunch & Video & or Networking
2.00 Presentation: Jeremy Nagel“Open Source Biotech – The opportunities and the perils!”
3.00 Presentation: Jon Oxer “The Maker Revolution – At home manufacturing”
4.00 Break
4.15 Panel: At home with technology
5.00 Presentation: Andy Gelme“Internet of Things – What happens where everything is online?”
6.00 Presentation: Greg Adamson“Technology and social control”Norbert Weiner
7.00 Break: Dinner – US Singularity Summit 2010 Video
8.00 Presentation: Sean McMullen“Doing It Now”
9.00 Panel: Doing it Now
9.30 Stumble to the pub

(Note: Meals/Drinks not included in registration fee, though some complimentary snacks will materialize)


It will be a fantastic opportunity for networking with people who are not ignoring the importance of technological growth, and who are aware of trends of technology moving into almost every endeavor, the impact this has on industry direction/headroom, and the mechanics of which society floats – not to mention the advantages that strategic vision can give.

We hope to see you at the Humanity+ Summit @Melbourne. If this is of interest, please consider registering now as seats are limited – feel free to contact us with any questions you have.

Greg Adamson

Greg Adamson
Greg Adamson

Dr Greg Adamson is a member of the SSIT Board of Governors, chair of SSIT Australia, and an Honorary Fellow at the Department of Information Systems, University of Melbourne. His research is focused on barriers to uptake for socially beneficial technologies.

Greg lives a professional life devoted to the pursuit of the research, design, delivery and operation of effective technology.
Greg Adamson’s Specialties:

  • Security/governance
  • Project management
  • Industry analysis
  • eBusiness

Greg Adamson’s Experience



(Non-Profit; Non-Profit Organization Management industry)

January 2010 — Present (7 months)

SSIT Flyer dec 2010 – IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology – CRITIQUING PRIVACY, DEFENDING SURVEILLANCE: A SOCRATIAN DIALOGUE

“Hindrances to Socially Beneficial Technology”

Link to Video of talk

Greg’s paper entitled ‘One hundred reasons socially beneficial technology might not work’ (pdf) deals with the subject in detail.

Last year Greg Adam gave a presentation entitled “Hindrances to Socially Beneficial Technology”.

Abstract: “Technologies service many human needs. Socially beneficial technologies can also assist in resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems: climate change; access to safe drinking water; quality housing; universal health care. Often a technology already exists, awaiting to be applied. In other cases it is within grasp given appropriate prioritisation. This paper considers approximately 100 theories of and approaches to technology innovation and adoption regarding the question, How is the failure of socially beneficial technology explained? Approaches include legal, regulatory, political, philosophical, sociological, usage, psychological, technical, economic, commercial, and marketing…”


Greg Adamson “Hindrances to Socially Beneficial Technology” – SingSum AU 2010 from Adam A. Ford on Vimeo.

Abstract – The ethics of boosting animals from sentience to self-aware consciousness – Avatar Polymorph

No abstract yet

Avatar Polymorph was born as Nicholas Playford was born in the storeroom of a Canberra hospital on 5 May 1961, the same day that Alan Shepard became the first American to leave planet Earth and travel into space. His father’s family has been involved in South Australian and national politics for a number of generations. His mother’s family came to Australia as refugees from Lithuania in 1949. He has a history degree from Adelaide University and worked for several years as a policy adviser in the PM’s Department in Canberra and later for the Victorian Premier’s Department. He has continued to write occasional fiction and has also written on nanotechnology, futurology and spirituality (including under his current name, Avatar Polymorph). A leukaemia survivor, Ill for from 1996 to 2007, he has been based around Fitzroy, Melbourne, since 1990, including for various Performance Art and other art projects.

Jeremy Nagel

Jeremy is completing his honours year in bioinformatics. He was involved in Monash University’s iGEM team in 2010 and hopes to start a synthetic biology incubator in Melbourne to develop new solutions to ‘wicked problems’.

He is passionate about the environment and works with the Oaktree Foundation and OzGreen to run leadership programs for young people. He is also a social entrepreneur with several businesses and is the founder and head facilitator of SESA – the Society of Entrepreneurial Success and Achievement.

Jeremy’s proudest achievement is completing the Two Bays 56km ultramarathon. His next big goal is the Great Ocean Road 100k trail run on October 15th. In March 2012, he plans to ride his bike from Melbourne to Cairns.

Innovation in Action

Jeremy Nagel picture

My mission: work with the next generation of leaders to end poverty and create sustainable, accelerating growth.

My projects:

Global Changers: An experiential leadership program focused on ending poverty

SESA: A community of social entrepreneurs, who support each other to take massive action.


My mission and values

My mission is to work with the next generation of leaders to create an ecologically sustainable world free from poverty.

I see an end to poverty driven by people working from the ground up to create sustainable wealth for themselves and for their communities.

I see a rapid transition to a carbon-free global economy powered by innovative technologies and creative community projects.

I see a world, where everybody takes responsibility for the consequences of their actions and their inactions.

I see these things and I act to make them happen.

I believe anything is possible when a group of passionate people unite around a common goal.

I do not and will never have all the answers, so I strive to learn and grow every day.

My life is guided by 5 core values:

– Meaning: I centre my life around creating meaning through my words and through my actions
– Growth: I look forward not back and aim to constantly improve
– Joy: I treasure each moment and smile and laugh as I make my journey
– Love: I care deeply about everyone I meet and give without expecting anything in return
– Audacity: I am not afraid to think big and act big

Related Posts Widget for Blogger

Humanity Plus Conference in Melbourne – last weekend in June (25th-26th)

Humanity Plus Summit - 25th and 26th of June 2011About: H+ Conf in Melbourne this year, 2011, on the last weekend in June (25th-26th).

Directions: Melbourne Uni Graduate HouseAddress: 220 Leicester Street, Carlton Victoria 3053 – Google Map


Secure Free Tickets >>  

View the program


The goal of the H+ Conference is to support discussion and public awareness of emerging technologies, to defend the right of individuals in free and democratic societies to adopt technologies that expand human capacities, to anticipate and propose solutions for the potential consequences of emerging technologies, and to actively encourage and support the development of emerging technologies judged to have sufficiently probable positive benefit.
Humanity Plus Summit @Melbourne June 25-26 2011

First Singularity Salon a Success

Singularity SalonHad a generalised meeting entitled ‘Singularity Salon‘ on a few things futurist at Prudence bar in North Melbourne… A good turnout, had a round table discussion for about 5 hours and in the spirit of St Patrick made plenty of noise.
We spoke about a range of subjects including the Japan nuclear disaster, CEV (Coherent Extrapolated Volition), reflected equilibrium, what the metaphor of the Technological Singularity means (can’t see past the Event Horizon of a black hole) – a definition of what the Singularity is and what it isn’t:
– it isn’t the accelerating returns or technological development that may lead into a Singularity, it isn’t an infinite growth after a Singularity upwards ad infinitum, it isn’t referring to a black hole
– it is more like that IJ Good defined as an Intelligence Explosion, a closing of a feedback loop in which an intelligence intelligently and insightfully optimizes its own intelligence, lather rinse repeat…
We also spoke about a word made up on the spot: ‘enflourishment’, and what that word could mean. Actually found out later that the word really does exist.
Also spoke about the up and coming Humanity Plus summit in Melbourne (first one in Australasia), and the 2nd Singularity Summit AU (also in Melbourne).
Lastly we spoke on the dynamics and biases of conspiracy oriented thinking, floating ideas, some common behaviors associated with orgs like Ralien UFO cults. Also future less wrong meetings in Melbourne.

singularity salonThanks to all those who came along.
We are planning to have more Singularity Salons in the coming months.

Abstract – The Plurality: why everything is all over the place – Tony Smith

Tony will show why no matter how accurately we know the rules of the behaviour of the components of a complex system we can still be surprised by some things the system as a whole does. While that sense of surprise may almost disappear with systems that we are long familiar with, the potential for surprise never completely goes away and increases greatly with new and unfamiliar systems. Though the behaviour of the whole does not cause any of the parts to break their own confirmed rules of behaviour, being part of a whole can cause the part to do things that could not be conceived given only total understanding of the part in isolation.

Chaos is formally defined as extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. Thus chaotic systems are found to rapidly explore the space of possibilities at least locally. But the space of possibilities grows incomparably faster than the number that can ever be tested at even slightly larger sizes. Things get more interesting when chaotic explorations find configurations which self-organise into a pattern that generates repeatable behaviour. Tony will demonstrate some of the most spectacular examples of emergent organisation he has discovered during his current extended study of new cellular automata rule families.

We will take a look at other examples of emergent organisation in the natural world, working up from the insights into solid state physics of Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin to today’s much more rapid and fragile exploration of technological possibilities. This will draw on mathematical models described by theoretical biologist Stu Kaufmann to help understand how natural processes can so productively but still mindlessly create and exploit new opportunities, given sufficient time and space. We will conclude by looking at what this enhanced perspective can tell us about how to act locally now.

Abstract – Architecting the Future – by Slade Beard

“Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol but every human thought has its page in that vast book.”
Victor Hugo

The Human species faces some very significant challenges into the future. Many of these challenges are complex in nature and do not yield to simplistic methods of problem reduction and resolution.
We have two ways that we can respond to these challenges, we can simply take a myopic view of the forces that will impact our future and “let things happen” or we can set out to shape the outcomes we would like for the future state of our species. The history of our species has shown that whenever we set out to plan, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.
When JFK set his vision for the quest to place man on the moon, he set a bounded problem, and from what we knew we launched into what we needed to learn. Ultimately we achieved the vision that was expressed.
In similar fashion, the future should be guided by an evolving vision of who we are and who we aim to become as a species.
The discussion I would like to have is about ways of looking at complex problems, understand and expressing a vision or aspiration for the solution to those problems and then drawing on all the depth of skills and knowledge we have as a species to deliver that vision.
I am actually very positive about our future as a species. The rapid development of thinking in the management of complex problems is a great example of our ability as a species to find our way through the labyrinth of challenges that have arisen and will continue to arise for our species as we continue our journey beyond the boundaries of this planet.