Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!


Maria Williams hasn't commented recently.



World's first bitcoin endowment fund has launched

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "The March 2013 EU–IMF grab of 40% of large bank accounts in Cyprus that held government-backed money was the key event that caused the Lifeboat Foundation to feel that the time for 21st century money was here and to launch the world's first bitcoin endowment fund. Brian Cartmell will match the next 500 BTC in donations."
Link to Original Source

Battling Asteroids, Nanobots, and A.I.

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to protect people from some seriously catastrophic technology-related events. It funds research that would prevent a situation where technology has run amok, sort of like a pre-Fringe Unit.

The organization has a ton of areas that it's looking into, ranging from artificial intelligence to asteroids. A particular interest for the group revolves around building shields and lots of them, such as Neuroethics Shield — "to prevent abuse in the areas of neuropharmaceuticals, neurodevices, and neurodiagnostics.""

Link to Original Source

A Space Elevator in 7 Years

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Interesting article!

The article ends with "I can imagine that any effort like this would get caught up in a tremendous amount of international political wrangling that could easily add years on to the project. We should not let this happen, and we should remind each other that the space elevator is just the railroad car to space — the exciting stuff is the cargo inside and the possibilities out there. A space elevator is not a zero sum endeavor: it would enable lots of other big projects that are totally unfeasible currently. A space elevator would enable various international space agencies that have money, but no great purpose, to work together on a large, shared goal. And as a side effect it would strengthen international relations."

Link to Original Source

10th anniversary of Y2K

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "The 2009 Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award has been given to Peter de Jager on the tenth anniversary of Y2K which he helped avert. This award is in recognition of his 1993 warning which alerted the world to the potential disaster that might have occurred on January 1, 2000 and his efforts in the following years to create global awareness of the problem, and the possible solutions. His presentations, articles, and more than 2,000 media interviews contributed significantly to the world's mobilization to avoid that fate."
Link to Original Source

Google and NASA back the Singularity University

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Google and NASA are throwing their weight behind a new school for futurists in Silicon Valley to prepare scientists for an era when machines become smarter than people.

The new institution, known as the "Singularity University" is to be headed by Ray Kurzweil.

Google and NASA's backing demonstrates the growing mainstream acceptance of Ray's views, which include a claim that before the middle of this century artificial intelligence will outstrip human beings, ushering in a new era of civilization.

To be housed at NASA's Ames Research Center, a stone's-throw from the Googleplex, the Singularity University will offer courses on biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence."

Should we be phoning E.T.?

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "MSNBC's Cosmic Log reports that "We've been listening for the signs of extraterrestrial civilizations for nearly 50 years — and if E.T.s are out there, they just might have picked up on the radio signals that we've been transmitting for even longer. More recently, some broadcasters have been sending intentional shout-outs to the aliens.

Is that so wrong?

Yes, in the opinion of physicist-novelist David Brin and other scientists who say such transmissions could bring unwelcome consequences."

Link to Original Source

Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 3001: Don't Panic!

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Fascinating interview of Arthur C. Clarke shortly before his death.

Quote from interview:

Sir Arthur C. Clarke spoke brilliantly, with hope and optimism for humanity in the long term. He finished by reminding us that many future prophecies are self-fulfilling, and that is the reason why we have to be positive about the future. And then I asked him a final question: "If you could tell people one thing, just one thing, what would that be?"

"Don't panic!" was his brief and sharp answer. And I think that he is right, we have to avoid panic and keep building a better future, carefully, here and beyond planet Earth, or planet Ocean, as he liked to say. The time of humanity's childhood is ending, and our "Carbon-based biped" species should mature into a higher post-biological level."

Participants Riot at Foresight Unconference

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Found at the Lifeboat Blog: AP, Nov. 3 — The Foresight Unconference announced today that scientists have discovered that there in no world below 1 nanometer. "It's just space," said noted scientist Eric Drexler. "We don't know what to do!" Participants left dazed. Many decided to go back to philosophy, one attendee said.

"Like I said, It's full of stars!" said novelist Arthur C. Clarke, reached in Sri Lanka. "There's no there, there."

In a tragic note, famous author Ray Kurzweil was committed to an insane asylum, ranting "the Singularity isn't near! This is horrible!!!"

Participants then staged a bonfire outside of Yahoo! headquarters, burning copies of The Singularity Is Near and Engines of Creation . "We've been totally mislead!" screamed one woman, ripping her clothes off and jumping in the fire. "It's all over!!!"

"It's my fault," admitted conference organizer Christine Peterson. "By calling it the 'unconference', I cancelled out the entire science of nanotechnology.""

Apocalypse Soon? Naval Group to Discuss Extinction

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Wired says Should the U.S. military be thinking more about asteroid shields, lifeshield bunkers and antimatter weapon shields? Oh, and an alien shield.

If these defensive systems/catastrophic scenarios are something you feel the Navy should be pondering, visit the Lifeboat Foundation's plea for donations. Lifeboat Foundation is dedicated "to helping humanity survive existential risks." The Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group contacted the foundation because it wants its future leaders to have the "opportunity to gain insights into the activities of the Lifeboat Foundation and have discussion about different programs you have to help 'safeguard humanity'.""

James Martin is 2007 Guardian Award winner

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes " says "The Lifeboat Foundation has presented its 2007 Guardian Award to Dr. James Martin in recognition of the achievements of his Future of Humanity Institute in studying global catastrophic risks and the impacts of future technologies.

The award is given annually to a respected scientist or public figure who has warned of a future fraught with dangers and encouraged measures to prevent them.

James Martin, author of 102 textbooks, founded the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization, the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford, and The Future of Humanity Institute, which studies how anticipated technological developments may affect the human condition in fundamental ways, and how we can better understand, evaluate, and respond to radical change. FHI currently runs four interrelated research programs: human enhancement, global catastrophic risks, methodology and rationality, and impacts of future technologies.""

The Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  about 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "InstaPundit reports that Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Not just technology as in gadgets you get from Best Buy, but technology in the grander sense of strategies for eliminating disease, providing cheap but high-quality products to the world's poorest, improving quality of life and social interconnectedness, and so on. Technology we don't notice because it's blended in with the fabric of the world, but would immediately take note of its absence if it became unavailable. (Ever tried to travel to another country on foot?) Technology needn't be expensive — indeed, if a technology is truly effective it will pay for itself many times over.

Transhumanists tend to take a longer-than-average view of technological progress, looking not just five or ten years into the future but twenty years, thirty years, and beyond. We realize that the longer you look forward, the more uncertain the predictions get, but one thing is quite certain: if a technology is physically possible and obviously useful, human (or transhuman!) ingenuity will see to it that it gets built eventually. As we gain ever greater control over the atomic structure of matter, our technological goals become increasingly ambitious, and their payoffs more and more generous. Sometimes new technologies even make us happier in a long-lasting way: the Internet would be a prime example.

This top 10 list was created by Michael Anissimov who was featured in The Singularity is Near."

Link to Original Source

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Get some shiny nanobiochips inserted into your brain and join the cool neurotechnology wave!

The LF report Neurotechnology and Society (2010-2060) says: Since the time of the Industrial Revolution there has been a relatively consistent pattern of 50-year waves of techno-economic change. We are currently nearing the end of the fifth wave of information technology diffusion, while a sixth wave is emerging with converging advancements across the NBIC (nano-bio-info-cogno) space, making possible neurotechnology, the set of tools that can influence the human central nervous system, especially the brain."

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Roger Brent, President of the Molecular Sciences Institute, writes "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Time for the synthetic biology community to acknowledge three responsibilities".

In it he says "Precisely because it has attained a measure of prominence, synthetic biology has attained a measure of power. At the very least, it has increased its power to influence people's thoughts and opinions, and so affect public debate. At the same time, technical trends that predate synthetic biology but will inevitably be associated with it have brought about the current risky landscape. The consequence is pretty clear.

On some day in the future, they are going to hit us. Fill in your own "they"; remember that "they" in 2006 may not be the same "they" as in 2016; remember that "they" in 2006 could be "he" or "she" in 2016; and fill in your own "us". On the day that they hit us, significant numbers of Uncle Bens are going to die. Fill in your own "Uncle Bens".

With great power comes great responsibility.""

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes " says: "Energy 2020: A Vision Of The Future — A Report Retrieved From The Year 2020 Via A Wormhole".

By the year 2020, enhanced by nanotech, new energy sources — nuclear fusion, solar, fuel cells, hydrogen, space solar power satellites, and "bioenergy" using artificial bacteria to economically produce hydrocarbons — overtake gas and eventually substitute most fossil fuel production on the planet, in this scenario by José Luis Cordeiro on the future of energy."

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "InstaPundit says: "DAVID BRIN: SINGULARITIES AND NIGHTMARES: EXTREMES OF OPTIMISM AND PESSIMISM ABOUT THE HUMAN FUTURE : It's a must-read if you're interested in this stuff. And you should be."

David Brin discusses the dangers and benefits humanity will face as we move towards a technological singularity which may happen within one human generation. David has been both a NASA consultant and physics professor and is a well-known American author of science fiction."

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "Alan H. Goldstein, inventor of the A-PRIZE, and popular science columnist, says: Scientists are on the verge of breaking the carbon barrier — creating artificial life and changing forever what it means to be human. And we're not ready...

Nanofabricated animats may be infinitesimally tiny, but their electrons will be exactly the same size as ours — and their effect on human reality will be as immeasurable as the universe. Like an inverted SETI program, humanity must now look inward, constantly scanning technology space for animats, or their progenitors. The first alien life may not come from the stars, but from ourselves."

Maria Williams Maria Williams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Maria Williams (959812) writes "The Lifeboat Foundation has launched the A-PRIZE. This prize is awarded to "the person or organization responsible for creating an Animat/Artificial life form with an emphasis on the safety of the researchers, public, and environment OR the person or organization who shows that an Animat/Artificial life form has been created. (The second case is to uncover unpublicized or unsafe projects.)"

This contest was developed by Alan H. Goldstein who coauthored the National Research Council's triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

For nearly half a century, SETI efforts have Searched for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Instead of searching for alien life outside our planet, the Lifeboat Foundation has decided to take the opposite approach and to search for "alien" life on this planet. They call their efforts "Finding Artificial Life Created by Nanobiotechnology" (FALCN, which is pronounced like falcon)."


Maria Williams has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>