FYI all:  The Singularity Summit 2008 is coming up, 9am-5pm October 25th, 2008 in San Jose, CA.  This is run by my host organization, the Singularity Institute.  Speakers this year include Vernor Vinge, Marvin Minsky, the CTO of Intel, and the chair of the X Prize Foundation.

Before anyone posts any angry comments: yes, the registration costs actual money this year.  The Singularity Institute has run free events before, and will run free events in the future.  But while past Singularity Summits have been media successes, they haven't been fundraising successes up to this point.  So Tyler Emerson et. al. are trying it a little differently.  TANSTAAFL.

Lots of speakers talking for short periods this year.  I'm intrigued by that format.  We'll see how it goes.

Press release:

SAN JOSE, CA – Singularity Summit 2008: Opportunity, Risk, Leadership takes place October 25 at the intimate Montgomery Theater in San Jose, CA, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence announced. Now in its third year, the Singularity Summit gathers the smartest people around to explore the biggest idea of our time: the Singularity.

Keynotes will include Ray Kurzweil, updating his predictions in The Singularity is Near, and Intel CTO Justin Rattner, who will examine the Singularity’s plausibility. At the Intel Developer Forum on August 21, 2008, he explained why he thinks the gap between humans and machines will close by 2050. “Rather than look back, we’re going to look forward 40 years,” said Rattner. “It’s in that future where many people think that machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence.”

“The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century,” said computer scientist Dr. Vernor Vinge in a seminal paper in 1993. “We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.”

Singularity Summit 2008 will feature an impressive lineup:

  • Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy, pioneering AI and robotics researcher
  • Dr. Eric Baum, AI researcher, author of What is Thought?
  • Marshall Brain, founder of, author of Robotic Nation
  • Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, robotics professor at MIT, creator of Kismet
  • Dr. Peter Diamandis, chair and CEO of X PRIZE Foundation
  • Esther Dyson, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist
  • Dr. Pete Estep, chair and CSO of Innerspace Foundation
  • Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, author of Fab
  • Dr. Ben Goertzel, CEO of Novamente, director of research at SIAI
  • John Horgan, science journalist, author of The Undiscovered Mind
  • Ray Kurzweil, CEO of Kurzweil Technologies, author of The Singularity is Near
  • Dr. James Miller, author of forthcoming book on Singularity economics
  • Dr. Marvin Minsky, one of AI’s founding fathers, author of The Emotion Machine
  • Dr. Dharmendra Modha, cognitive computing lead at IBM Almaden Research Center
  • Bob Pisani, news correspondent for financial news network CNBC
  • Justin Rattner, VP and CTO of Intel
  • Nova Spivack, CEO of Radar Networks, creator of Twine semantic-web application
  • Peter Thiel, president of Clarium, managing partner of Founders Fund
  • Dr. Vernor Vinge, author of original paper on the technological Singularity
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky, research fellow at SIAI, author of Creating Friendly AI
  • Glenn Zorpette, executive editor of IEEE Spectrum

Registration details are available at

About the Singularity Summit

Each year, the Singularity Summit attracts a unique audience to the Bay Area, with visionaries from business, science, technology, philanthropy, the arts, and more. Participants learn where humanity is headed, meet the people leading the way, and leave inspired to create a better world. “The Singularity Summit is the premier conference on the Singularity,” Kurzweil said. “As we get closer to the Singularity, each year’s conference is better than the last.”

The Summit was founded in 2006 by long-term philanthropy executive Tyler Emerson, inventor Ray Kurzweil, and investor Peter Thiel. Its purpose is to bring together and build a visionary community to further dialogue and action on complex, long-term issues that may transform the world. Its host organization is the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization studying the benefits and risks of advanced artificial intelligence systems.

Singularity Summit 2008 partners include Clarium Capital, Cartmell Holdings, Twine, Powerset, United Therapeutics,, IEEE Spectrum, DFJ, X PRIZE Foundation, Long Now Foundation, Foresight Nanotech Institute, Novamente, SciVestor, Robotics Trends, and MINE.

New Comment
4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

I just find it interesting that the event is scheduled for St. Crispin's Day -- is that a reference to "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers", OR to "half a league, half a league, half a league ahead" -- or total indifference by Singularity experts on the subject of ancient battles which happened to inspire great English poets?-)

"Before anyone posts any angry comments: yes, the registration costs actual money this year."

For comparison: The Singularity Summit at Stanford cost $110K, all of which was provided by SIAI and sponsors. Singularity Summit 2007 undoubtedly cost more, and only $50K of that was raised through ticket sales. All ticket purchases for SS08 will be matched 2:1 by Peter Thiel and Brian Cartmell.

All ticket purchases for SS08 will be matched 2:1 by Peter Thiel and Brian Cartmell.

Thanks for mention. Some inaccuracies: SS08 registrations matched 1:2 by two donors at any time (every dollar given matched by two dollars). Matching donor list forthcoming. Includes Thiel (not Cartmell at this time), among others.


I'm not sure that makes much sense in this context, because you were offering a free lunch last year...