Asilomar

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pages: 824 words: 218,333

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical residency, moral hazard, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Malthus, twin studies

Einsteins on the Beach I believe in the inalienable right: Sydney Brenner, “The influence of the press at the Asilomar Conference, 1975,” Web of Stories, http://www.webofstories.com/play/sydney.brenner/182;jsessionid=2c147f1c4222a58715e708eabd868e58. In the summer of 1972: Crotty, Ahead of the Curve, 93. “the beginning of a new era”: Herbert Gottweis, Governing Molecules: The Discursive Politics of Genetic Engineering in Europe and the United States (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998). “Asilomar I,” as Berg would later call: Details of Berg’s account of Asilomar come from conversations and interviews with Paul Berg, 1993 and 2013; and Donald S. Fredrickson, “Asilomar and recombinant DNA: The end of the beginning,” in Biomedical Politics, ed. Hanna, 258–92. The Asilomar conference produced an important book: Alfred Hellman, Michael Neil Oxman, and Robert Pollack, Biohazards in Biological Research (Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1973).

abortion prenatal tests and, 267–68, 269, 269n, 273 Roe case on, 268–69 shifting attitudes toward, 269–70, 272 acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), 247, 248, 249, 375 ADA deficiency, 423, 424 ADA gene mutations, 422–24 Adam Agassiz’s race theories on, 331 as First Parent, 25 Adams, Mark, 316 ADCY5 gene, in humans, 451 addiction, genetic components of, 300, 301 adenine, 135, 155–56 adenosine metabolism, 423–24 adenovirus, as gene-therapy vector, 430, 431–32, 434, 435, 465 adoption inheritance patterns in genetic diseases involving, 300 intelligence of transracial adoptees in, 348 as option for carrier couples in genetic disorders, 291 studies of twins reared apart after, 374, 381, 383, 487 Advisory Committee on Uranium, 232 Aeschylus, 21 Agassiz, Louis, 331–32, 343 aging research, with transgenic mice, 421 AIDS, 247, 248, 249, 375 Aktion T4 program, Germany, 123–24 Albany, Prince Leopold, Duke of, 99 alcoholism eugenics on, 116 genetic components of, 301, 459 Alexandra, czarina of Russia, 98, 99, 100 Alice, Princess, 99 alleles Fisher’s mathematical research on combinations using, 104 Mendel’s experimentation on, 48–52 Morgan’s fruit-fly research on, 97 polymorphisms similar to, 280 Allfrey, Vincent, 400n Allis, David, 400, 400n alpha interferon, 251 Alu DNA sequence, 324 Alzheimer’s disease, 97, 316, 421 American Breeders’ Association, 77 American Journal of Human Genetics, 281 Amgen, 308 ammonia Miller’s “primordial soup” experiment using, 411 in ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, 429, 430, 431, 432 amniocentesis, 267, 269, 291 Anaxagoras, 356–57 Ancestral Law of Heredity, 68–69, 72 Anderson, William French, 424–27, 428, 430 anemia, 169–70 anthropology, 29–30, 124, 331, 335 antibodies, 224, 323, 423, 435 antipsychotic medicines, 1, 6 apes evolution and, 332 pairs of chromosomes of, 322 applied biology, in Nazi Germany, 119, 120 Are You Fit to Marry? (film), 85 Arendt, Hannah, 124 Arieti, Silvano, 442–43 Aristotle, 22–24, 27, 70, 142 Asilomar conference (Asilomar I, 1973), California, 226–27 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA (Asilomar II, 1975), California influence of, 230, 231–32, 234–35 moratorium proposal of, 230, 477, 502 range of attendees at, 229, 238 recommendations of, 237, 425 restrictions on recombinant DNA from, 243, 243n sessions at, 229–31, 234, 236 Asperger, Hans, 449 association study, 385 atomic bomb, 11, 131, 232, 301, 475 atoms as basic unit, 9–10, 485 coining of word, 71 fundamental units of matter making up, 140 as organizing principle for modern physics, 12 Rutherford’s conceptual model of, 140 attention deficit disorder, 386, 491 Augustinians, Mendel’s life among, 17–18, 49 Auschwitz concentration camp, Germany, 129, 130, 137–38, 502 autism, 276 creativity in, 448, 449 epigenetics used to alter, 406 mismatch between genome and environment in, 265, 482 mutations in, 406, 444, 444n, 454, 503 autoimmune disease, 453 Avery, Oswald background and training of, 133 Griffith’s transformation experiment confirmed by, 133, 136–37 research on DNA as genetic information carrier by, 137, 139, 158, 183, 205, 259, 314, 502 bacteria defense system against invading viruses in, 470–73 drug-resistant, 228–29 gene exchange between, 112 genes turned on or off for metabolic changes in, 175–76, 176n, 307n, 392 genetic information exchanged between, 136 as model system for research, 259 twin studies of genetic variations in response to, 130 Bailey, J.

These hybrid DNA molecules—recombinant DNA—could be propagated and expanded (i.e., cloned) in bacteria to generate millions of identical copies. Some of these molecules could be shuttled into mammalian cells. Recognizing the profound potential and risks of this technology, a preliminary meeting had suggested a temporary moratorium on experiments. The Asilomar II meeting had been convened to deliberate on the next steps. Eventually, this second meeting would so far overshadow the first in its influence and scope that it would be called simply the Asilomar Conference—or just Asilomar. Tensions and tempers flared quickly on the first morning. The main issue was still the self-imposed moratorium: Should scientists be restricted in their experiments with recombinant DNA? Watson was against it. He wanted perfect freedom: let the scientists loose on the science, he urged.


A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna, Samuel H. Sternberg

3D printing, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, carbon footprint, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, double helix, Drosophila, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker

., “Letter: Potential Biohazards of Recombinant DNA Molecules,” Science185 (1974): 303. Much has been written about Asilomar II: Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Study Decision Making; K. E. Hanna, ed., Biomedical Politics (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1991); M. Rogers, Biohazard (New York: Knopf, 1977); P. Berg and M. F. Singer, “The Recombinant DNA Controversy: Twenty Years Later,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 92 (1995): 9011–13. Berg and his colleagues decided that most experiments should proceed: P. Berg et al., “Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA Molecules,” Science188 (1975): 991–94. gave rise to a consensus that allowed research to proceed with popular support: P. Berg, “Meetings That Changed the World: Asilomar 1975: DNA Modification Secured,” Nature 455 (2008): 290–91.

Moreover, because the SV40 virus was known to cause tumors in mice, there was a chance that the fragment of SV40 DNA could create a novel carcinogenic pathogen that, if released into the environment, might wreak havoc by spreading cancer-causing genes or antibiotic resistance to humans or some other species. Because of these concerns, Berg and his team of researchers held off on attempting the experiment. Instead, Berg called for the first of what would eventually become two meetings held in the picturesque Asilomar Conference Grounds, nestled in Pacific Grove, California, on the western tip of the Monterey Peninsula. Before his research went any further, he wanted to enlist his fellow scientists to run a thorough cost-benefit analysis. The meeting in 1973—eventually known as Asilomar I—focused on the DNA of cancer viruses and the risks they posed; it did not directly address the new recombinant DNA experiments Berg was considering. That same year, however, scientists held a second conference focused specifically on gene splicing. The concerns raised at this meeting led scientists to request that the National Academy of Sciences establish a committee to formally investigate the new technology.

The Berg letter also included three other recommendations: first, that scientists adopt a cautious approach to any experiments designed to fuse animal and bacterial DNA; second, that the National Institutes of Health establish an advisory committee to oversee future issues surrounding recombinant DNA; and third, that an international meeting be convened so that scientists from around the world could review recent progress in the field and compare notes on how to deal with potential hazards. This last recommendation would result in the International Congress on Recombinant DNA Molecules, held back in Asilomar in February 1975. Much has been written about Asilomar II. Roughly a hundred and fifty people attended, mostly scientists but also lawyers, government officials, and members of the media. The debate was heated at times, with even the biology experts disagreeing with one another on the relative hazards of experiments involving recombinant DNA. Some argued against prematurely ending the moratorium, feeling that certain experiments should continue to be prohibited until much more was known about their risks; others felt the risks were likely nonexistent or at least minimal and certainly nothing that the proper safety measures couldn’t protect against.


pages: 688 words: 147,571

Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner

Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

This limited and modest approach is helpful, in that it seeks to identify potential problems first before charging headlong into an attempt at laying down definitive commands. 4.4 Asilomar 2017 Principles In 1975, leading DNA researcher Paul Berg convened a conference at Asilomar Beach, California, on the dangers and potential regulation of Recombinant DNA technology.78 Around 140 people participated, including biologists, lawyers and doctors. The participants agreed principles for research, recommendations for the technology’s future use, and made declarations concerning prohibited experiments.79 The Asilomar 1975 Conference later came to be seen as a seminal moment not just in the regulation of DNA technology but also the public engagement with science.80 In January 2017, another conference was convened at Asilomar by the Future of Life Institute, a think tank which focusses on “Beneficial AI”. Much like the original Asilomar conference, Asilomar 2017 brought together more than 100 AI researchers from academia and industry, as well as specialists in economics, law, ethics and philosophy.81 The conference participants agreed 23 principles, grouped under three headings82: Research Issues 1.Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence. 2.Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics and social studies, such as:How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?

Both of these topics are too narrow to qualify as general ethical codes and therefore are not discussed further here. 77“CERNA Éthique de la recherche en robotique”: First Report of CERNA, CERNA, 34–35, http://​cerna-ethics-allistene.​org/​digitalAssets/​38/​38704_​Avis_​robotique_​livret.​pdf, accessed 1 June 2018. 78The term “Recombinant” refers to the practice of attaching DNA from one organism to DNA of another, with the potential for creating organisms displaying traits from these multiple sources. See Paul Berg, “Asilomar and Recombinant DNA”, Official Website of the Nobel Prize, https://​www.​nobelprize.​org/​nobel_​prizes/​chemistry/​laureates/​1980/​berg-article.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. 79Paul Berg, David Baltimore, Sydney Brenner, Richard O. Roblin III, and Maxine F. Singer. “Summary Statement of the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA Molecules”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 72, No. 6 (June 1975), 1981–1984, 1981. 80Paul Berg, “Asilomar and Recombinant DNA”, Official Website of the Nobel Prize, https://​www.​nobelprize.​org/​nobel_​prizes/​chemistry/​laureates/​1980/​berg-article.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. 81“A principled AI Discussion in Asilomar”, Future of Life Institute, 17 January 2017, https://​futureoflife.​org/​2017/​01/​17/​principled-ai-discussion-asilomar/​, accessed 1 June 2018. 8290% approval from participants was required in order for a principle to be adopted in the final set. 83“Asilomar AI Principles”, Future of Life Institute, https://​futureoflife.​org/​ai-principles/​, accessed 1 June 2018. 84Jeffrey Ding, “Deciphering China’s AI Dream”, Governance of AI Program, Future of Humanity Institute (Oxford: Future of Humanity Institute, March 2018), 30, https://​www.​fhi.​ox.​ac.​uk/​wp-content/​uploads/​Deciphering_​Chinas_​AI-Dream.​pdf, accessed 1 June 2018. 85Anonymous comment made in discussion with the author, January 2018.

Longer-term Issues 19.Capability Caution: There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities. 20.Importance: Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on earth and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. 21.Risks: Risks posed by AI systems, especially catastrophic or existential risks, must be subject to planning and mitigation efforts commensurate with their expected impact. 22.Recursive Self-Improvement: AI systems designed to recursively self-improve or self-replicate in a manner that could lead to rapidly increasing quality or quantity must be subject to strict safety and control measures. 23.Common Good: Superintelligence should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organisation.83 The authors of the Asilomar Principles would probably admit that they need much further detail and specification if they were to form the basis for any eventual laws. However, the shortcomings in Asilomar was not so much in the content of its proposals, but in the process. The participants were hand-picked from a fairly small group of AI intelligentsia. Moreover, they were predominantly Western-based. Jeffrey Ding notes that “…out of more than 150 attendees, only one was working at a Chinese institution at the time (Andrew Ng, who has now left his role at Baidu)”.84 Another participant expressed surprise at being one of the small minority of non-native English speakers invited.85 The patrician approach to AI regulation can certainly generate potentially beneficial output, but risks public rejection if other means of garnering legitimacy are not used alongside.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Psychologically and commercially, the stage is set for a disaster. What can we do to prevent it? * * * Ray Kurzweil cites something called the Asilomar Guidelines as a precedent-setting example of how to deal with AGI. The Asilomar Guidelines came about some forty years ago when scientists first were confronted with the promise and peril of recombinant DNA—mixing the genetic information of different organisms and creating new life-forms. Researchers and the public feared “Frankenstein” pathogens that could escape labs through carelessness or sabotage. In 1975 scientists involved in DNA research halted lab work, and convened 140 biologists, lawyers, physicians, and press at the Asilomar Conference Center near Monterey, California. The scientists at Asilomar created rules for conducting DNA-related research, most critically, an agreement to work only with bacteria that couldn’t survive outside the laboratory.

Researchers resumed work, adhering to the guidelines, and consequently tests for inherited diseases and gene therapy treatment are today routine. In 2010, 10 percent of the world’s cropland was planted with genetically modified crops. The Asilomar Conference is seen as a victory for the scientific community, and for an open dialogue with a concerned public. And so it’s cited as a model for how to proceed with other dual use technologies (milking the symbolic connection with this important conference, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence [AAAI], the leading scholarly organization for AI, held their 2009 meeting at Asilomar). Frankenstein pathogens escaping labs recalls chapter 1’s Busy Child scenario. For AGI, an open, multidisciplinary Asilomar-style conference could mitigate some sources of risk. Attendees would encourage one another to develop ideas on how to control and contain up-and-coming AGIs.

none, except Omohundro: Relative to scientists engaged in the pursuit, Yudkowsky and MIRI are not trying to create AGI, though they consider the ethics of creating it and how to control it. AGI maker Ben Goertzel has frequently written about AI ethics, but that’s not the same as focusing on solutions to AI dangers. The scientists at Asilomar: Barinaga, Marcia, “Asilomar Revisited: Lessons for Today?” Science, March 3, 2000, http://www.biotech-info.net/asilomar_revisited.html (accessed October 10, 2011). 10 percent of the world’s cropland: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, “Crop Biotech Update,” last modified February 22, 2011, http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/specialedition/2011/default.asp (accessed October 10, 2011). programmed to die by default: Sterrit, Roy, Apoptotic Robotics Programmed Death by Default, “2011 Eighth IEEE International Conference and Workshops on Engineering of Autonomic and Autonomous Systems,” last modified February 11, 2011, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?


pages: 260 words: 84,847

P53: The Gene That Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong

Asilomar, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Kickstarter, mouse model, stem cell, trade route

In 1974 a number of leading scientists stopped their work on recombinant DNA pending a formal debate on the way forward for laboratories using this technology. The following year the intense soul-searching among scientists, and the equally volatile debate that had begun in the world’s media, culminated in an international conference held at the Asilomar Center, a magnificent old lodge built of warm local wood and stone overlooking the Pacific near Monterey, California. Writing for Science magazine in 2000 on the 25th anniversary of the Asilomar Conference, journalist Marcia Barinaga called it ‘the Woodstock of molecular biology: a defining moment for a generation, an unforgettable experience, a milestone in the history of science and society’. Looking back across the years, David Baltimore, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1975 for his work with viruses and was one of the organisers of the conference, said, ‘Recombinant DNA was the most monumental power ever handed to us.

In fact, so exciting was it, and so potentially scary, that the attempt to reach consensus on the way forward among the disparate group of 133 scientists gathered at Asilomar – debating under the watchful eyes and listening ears of 16 journalists and four lawyers – was extremely difficult. What eased the process was the decision to divide the types of experiments using recombinant DNA into several categories – depending on whether they involved organisms or fragments of DNA known to cause disease or pose other dangers, or used materials considered harmless – and making recommendations about how to proceed under different scenarios. These included taking measures to disarm living organisms used in experiments so that they could not interbreed nor survive outside of tissue cultures; and adopting specific safety measures in the design of labs. It fell to national governments to turn the recommendations of the Asilomar Conference into useable guidelines, and by 1976 scientists were able to resume their experiments with recombinant DNA, more or less reassured that they were not about to unleash Frankenstein species upon the world.

For information on Peyton Rous, I relied on the excellent archives of the Nobel Foundation, see: http://www.nobelprize.org/­nobel_prizes­/medicine/­laureates/­1966/­rous-bio.html Besides their autobiographical books already cited, the Nobel archive also was a rich source of information on Varmus and Bishop, who won the prize in 1989. See www.nobelprize.org/­nobel_prizes/­medicine/­laureates/1989 For the Asilomar debate see M. J. Peterson, 2010, Asilomar Conference on Laboratory Precautions. International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Technology. Available at www.umass.edu/­sts/ethics Chapter 3: Discovery The epigraph comes from Judson’s book, The Eighth Day of Creation, cited above, page 10. The footnote quote is from Jeffrey Taubenberger; see www.pathsoc.org/­conversations Chapter 4: Unseeable Biology The epigraph comes from A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (London: Transworld Publishers, 2003), page 451.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

THE MOTHER OF CRISPR BECOMES ITS CASSANDRA As the group of biologists gathered in Napa, California, in late January 2015, several couldn’t help but recognize the similarities to a conference that had taken place almost exactly forty years earlier. In February 1975, about 150 leading professionals gathered at the Asilomar Conference Grounds that overlooks the Pacific Ocean on California’s Monterey Peninsula. The meeting had been called to discuss a recent breakthrough discovery that allowed scientists to artificially manipulate the genome. Those in attendance were mostly molecular biologists, but the broad implications and wide-ranging discussions also brought physicians, lawyers, journalists, and government policy makers to Asilomar.14 The topic of discussion was recombinant DNA technology. Several years earlier, scientists had discovered restriction enzymes, enzymes that cut DNA at a single, specific sequence of nucleotides.

Fears that recombinant DNA experiments could unleash a public health disaster were never realized. Moreover, early excitement at the promise of recombinant DNA also gave way to the reality that manipulating DNA, precisely specifying the cutting location, proved surprisingly tricky. It remained that way until Professor Doudna’s CRISPR breakthrough. Still, Asilomar is credited with serving an even more important role. Dr. Berg explained to us in his Stanford office, where he still serves as a professor emeritus, that “what Asilomar accomplished was establishing trust between the public and the science.” Over 10 percent of the attendees were from the media, “who were there as participants,” he stressed, “not just as observers.” The journalists took part in all of the discussions, asked questions of the panelists, joined in for late-night beer drinking and debating with the scientists and bioethicists, and were given the freedom to write about the conference as they saw fit.

Berg and recombinant DNA technology, Professor Doudna, the inventor of CRISPR, was now a leader in the effort to understand and prevent the possible unintended consequences that could result from its unfettered deployment and adoption. Given the type of experimentation already underway using CRISPR, the questions the scientists at Napa tackled were markedly different from those at Asilomar. “We never discussed ethics,” Dr. Berg told us, “and we did it on purpose.” The darker questions were still beyond the horizon, and biohazard concerns were paramount at the time. While Asilomar focused on establishing broad safety protocols, those gathered at Napa discussed the risks of modifying the human genome. Professor Doudna and the others in attendance saw their Napa conference as a prelude to a broader international and public dialogue on the practical, ethical, social, and legal implications of CRISPR.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

The Cambridge and Berkeley city councils—both cities the home of major universities—outlawed recombinant-DNA research. The U.S. Congress began introducing restrictive legislation. That was the atmosphere that led to the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA Molecules in California in February 1975. Coming from all over the world, some 146 genetic scientists and related professionals convened for four days to regulate their research. They instituted an array of laboratory containment practices and mandated the use of organisms that could not live outside the lab. Some experiments were banned entirely, such as tinkering with the genes of pathogenic organisms. The guidelines were soon adopted and enforced in the United States by the National Institutes of Health. Was Asilomar a good idea? The question was controversial then and remains controversial now. As it happened, I had an early window on the issue from an inside perspective.

Brown’s view was that “government may not always be the first to know about important new ideas, but it should not be the last.” Thus every few weeks I got to spend a day hosting the likes of organizational guru Peter Drucker, futurist Herman Kahn, farmer-poet Wendell Berry, and media celebrator Marshall McLuhan. In 1977, two years after Asilomar, the California legislature was threatening to regulate recombinant DNA research in the state, so James Watson, the codiscoverer of the structure of DNA and director of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, came to visit. Watson had been an early supporter of the moratorium on recombinant DNA research and had helped to organize Asilomar. In a short talk to a group including Brown, the governor’s staff, and some legislators and press, Watson said:My position is that I don’t regard recombinant DNA as a major or plausible public health hazard, and so I don’t think that legislation is necessary.

I do not worry about “monsters.” . . . Some people have said the [Asilomar] guidelines are capricious. I think they’re totally capricious and totally unnecessary. We must have wasted $25 million on those precautions by now and it’s on its way to $100 million. I think it’s the biggest waste of federal money since we built all those fallout shelters. . . . It’s silly to control where there’s no evidence of danger. I am totally agreed that the public should participate in any process where they can be given facts to think about. But the tradition is, you don’t call fire until you see it. Watson was right, it turned out. The authoritative book on the history of molecular biology is Horace Judson’s The Eighth Day of Creation (1996). A year after the Asilomar conference, Judson reports, “scientists’ fears were receding fast.


pages: 608 words: 150,324

Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, anti-communist, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, post-materialism, Stephen Hawking

However, a great deal of further work will be needed before this approach can be applied in the real world, and I suspect few scientists – or readers – would want to rely solely on this technique to ensure biosecurity.52 These responsible approaches to the potential impact of a new technique of unprecedented power are a direct descendant of the Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA that so successfully guided science as it was catapulted into the new world of genetic manipulation. In 2008, Paul Berg reflected on the impact of the Asilomar conference: In the 33 years since Asilomar, researchers around the world have carried out countless experiments with recombinant DNA without reported incident. Many of these experiments were inconceivable in 1975, yet as far as we know, none has been a hazard to public health. Moreover, the fear among scientists that artificially moving DNA among species would have profound effects on natural processes has substantially disappeared with the discovery that such exchanges occur in nature. … That said, there is a lesson in Asilomar for all of science: the best way to respond to concerns created by emerging knowledge or early-stage technologies is for scientists from publicly-funded institutions to find common cause with the wider public about the best way to regulate – as early as possible.

Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. http://oralhistories.library.caltech.edu/27/1/OH_Benzer_S.pdf, 1991. Berg, P., ‘Meetings that changed the world. Asilomar 1975: DNA modification secured’, Nature, vol. 455, 2008, pp. 290–1. Berg, P. and Singer, M., George Beadle, an Uncommon Farmer: The Emergence of Genetics in the Twentieth Century, Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2003. Berg, P., Baltimore, D., Boyer, H. W. et al., ‘Potential biohazards of recombinant DNA molecules’, Science, vol. 185, 1974, p. 303. Berg, P., Baltimore, D., Brenner, S. et al., ‘Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA molecules’, Science, vol. 188, 1975, pp. 991–4. Berget, S. M., Moore, C. and Sharp, P. A., ‘Spliced segments at the 5′ terminus of adenovirus 2 late mRNA’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, vol. 74, 1977, pp. 3171–5.

Exchange of letters between Seymour Benzer and François Jacob, André Lwoff and Jacques Monod, on the occasion of the French trio being awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1965. Benzer was renowned for his sense of humour. 29. Banner put up in Marshall Nirenberg’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, when news came through of his 1969 Nobel Prize. 30. Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA, 1975. Left to right: Maxine Singer, Norton Zinder, Sydney Brenner and Paul Berg. The possibility of using CRISPR to change the human germ line has recently led to calls for a ‘new Asilomar’ to debate the ethical and technical questions involved. NOTES Chapter 1 1.Wood and Orel (2001), p. 258; see also Cobb (2006a), Poczai et al. (2014). 2.López-Beltrán (1994), Müller-Wille and Rheinberger (2007, 2012). 3.Harvey basically shrugged his shoulders and gave up (Cobb, 2006b). 4.Cobb (2006a). 5.For Mendel’s work and its implications, see Bowler (1989), Gayon (1998), Hartl and Orel (1992).


pages: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

In the early 1970s, biologists began to be concerned that novel recombinant DNA methods—splicing genes from one organism into another—might create substantial risks for human health and the global ecosystem. Two meetings at Asilomar in California in 1973 and 1975 led first to a moratorium on such experiments and then to detailed biosafety guidelines consonant with the risks posed by any proposed experiment.15 Some classes of experiments, such as those involving toxin genes, were deemed too hazardous to be allowed. Immediately after the 1975 meeting, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds virtually all basic medical research in the United States, began the process of setting up the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. The RAC, as it is known, was instrumental in developing the NIH guidelines that essentially implemented the Asilomar recommendations. Since 2000, those guidelines have included a ban on funding approval for any protocol involving human germline alteration—the modification of the human genome in ways that can be inherited by subsequent generations.

This has led to a high-stakes race in which caution and careful engineering appear to be less important than snazzy demos, talent grabs, and premature rollouts. Thus, life-or-death economic competition provides an impetus to cut corners on safety in the hope of winning the race. In a 2008 retrospective paper on the 1975 Asilomar conference that he co-organized—the conference that led to a moratorium on genetic modification of humans—the biologist Paul Berg wrote,16 There is a lesson in Asilomar for all of science: the best way to respond to concerns created by emerging knowledge or early-stage technologies is for scientists from publicly funded institutions to find common cause with the wider public about the best way to regulate—as early as possible. Once scientists from corporations begin to dominate the research enterprise, it will simply be too late.

I am indebted to Brian Tse for bringing these statements to my attention. 15. A very interesting paper on the non-naturalistic non-fallacy, showing how preferences can be inferred from the state of the world as arranged by humans: Rohin Shah et al., “The implicit preference information in an initial state,” in Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Learning Representations (2019), iclr.cc/Conferences/2019/Schedule. 16. Retrospective on Asilomar: Paul Berg, “Asilomar 1975: DNA modification secured,” Nature 455 (2008): 290–91. 17. News article reporting Putin’s speech on AI: “Putin: Leader in artificial intelligence will rule world,” Associated Press, September 4, 2017. CHAPTER 8 1. Fermat’s Last Theorem asserts that the equation an = bn + cn has no solutions with a, b, and c being whole numbers and n being a whole number larger than 2.


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Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test, twin studies

Silver, Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World (New York: Avon, 1998), p. 268. 10 Leon Kass, Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs (New York: Free Press, 1985), p. 173. 11 On this general topic, see James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It (New York: Basic Books, 1989). 12 Eugene Russo, “Reconsidering Asilomar,” The Scientist 14 (April 3, 2000): 15–21; and Marcia Barinaga, “Asilomar Revisited: Lessons for Today?,” Science 287 (March 3, 2000): 1584–1585. 13 Stuart Auchincloss, “Does Genetic Engineering Need Genetic Engineers?,” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 20 (1993): 37–64. 14 Kurt Eichenwald, “Redesigning Nature: Hard Lessons Learned; Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle,” The New York Times, January 25, 2001, p.

In 1970 Janet Mertz, a researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, wanted to splice genes from a monkey virus into a common bacteria, E. coli, in order to better understand their function. This led to a dispute between Mertz’s supervisor, Paul Berg, and Robert Pollack over the safety of such experiments; Pollack feared they could lead to the creation of a new and highly dangerous microbe.1 The eventual result was the Asilomar Conference, held in Pacific Grove, California, in 1975, at which the leading researchers in the field met to devise controls over experiments in the burgeoning field of rDNA.2 A voluntary ban on this type of research was put into place until the risks could be better appreciated, and a Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee was established by the National Institutes of Health. The NIH published guidelines for NIH-funded research in 1976 that, among other things, required the physical containment of rDNA organisms in the laboratory and restricted their release into the environment.

Indeed, the massive government-funded Human Genome Project was upstaged by Craig Venter’s privately held Celera Genomics in the race to map the human genome. The first embryonic stem cell lines were cultivated by James Thompson at the University of Wisconsin, using nongovernment funding in order to comply with the ban on federally funded research that would harm embryos. Many of the participants at a workshop held on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Asilomar Conference on rDNA concluded that while the RAC had served an important function in its day, it could no longer monitor or police the present-day biotech industry. It has no formal enforcement powers and can bring to bear only the weight of opinion within the elite scientific community. The nature of that community has changed over time as well: there are today many fewer “pure” researchers, with no ties to the biotech industry or commercial interests in certain technologies.12 This means that any new regulatory agency not only would have to have a mandate to regulate biotechnology on grounds broader than efficacy and safety but also would have to have statutory authority over all research and development, and not just research that is federally funded.


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

“Potential Biohazards of Recombinant DNA Molecules,” Science, 26 July 1974, letter reprinted in James D. Watson and John Tooze, The DNA Story: A Documentary History of Gene Cloning (San Francisco: H. W. Freeman and Co., 1981): 11. 55. Mukherjee, The Gene: 230. 56. Michael Rogers, “The Pandora’s Box Congress,” Rolling Stone, June 19, 1975. The conference was the second on recombinant DNA risks that was held at Asilomar—the first was in January 1973—but it was so extraordinary that it has come to be known as the Asilomar conference. Only six of the 150 Asilomar scientists “now fiddling with the basic mechanics of reproduction,” as one journalist put it, were female, but one woman played a pivotal role: the molecular biologist Maxine Singer was an organizer of the conference and among the very first to call attention to the potential risks. 57. Robert Pollack of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, quoted in “Microbiology: Hazardous Profession Faces New Uncertainties,” Science, Nov. 9, 1973, reprinted in Watson and Tooze, The DNA Story. 58.

“Certain of these hybrid molecules are potentially hazardous to both laboratory workers and the public.”53 One year later, the National Academy of Sciences committee, whose members included Cohen and Boyer, recommended a moratorium on certain recombinant DNA experiments until the risks were better understood.54 In February 1975, 150 top scientists from thirteen countries, along with a number of invited journalists and attorneys, convened at the Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, California. The conferencegoers wrestled with a monumental question: how to proceed safely in the hitherto unimaginable world in which genes could be swapped between species and easily reproduced. The terrifying implications included the possibility of pathogens or drug-resistant genes infecting large segments of the human population. With some scientists urging caution and others eager to press on with research, harsh rhetoric and accusations punctuated many sessions. (“You fucked the plasmid group!” was one comment offered on the floor.)55 Both Cohen and Boyer attended the Asilomar conference, and both deplored its unprofessional fractiousness. On the final day, a majority of the assembled scientists, possibly influenced by a panel of attorneys who had presented the previous afternoon, proposed a set of guidelines for minimizing safety risks when conducting recombinant DNA research.

On the final day, a majority of the assembled scientists, possibly influenced by a panel of attorneys who had presented the previous afternoon, proposed a set of guidelines for minimizing safety risks when conducting recombinant DNA research. Rolling Stone, which dubbed the Asilomar meeting the “Pandora’s Box Congress,” claimed that the safety guidelines marked the first time that scientists had proposed self-regulation since early in the Second World War, when some physicists had agreed to keep nuclear data from German scientists.56 One biologist was so alarmed by the risks that he wrote in Science that the world was now facing “a pre-Hiroshima situation.”57 The Stanford biochemist Paul Berg, one of the conference organizers, recalls, “It was the period just after the Vietnam War. People were concerned about doing things that would come back to haunt us.”58 The safety concerns presented a special challenge for Reimers.


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Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, global pandemic, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

I hope that, in some small way, this book will help readers to make sense of the spectrum of recent developments. Safety, of course, is paramount. The good news is that, thanks to a debate that dates back to Asilomar in the 1970s, robust and diverse regulations for the safe use of biotechnology and recombinant-DNA technology are already firmly in place. However, we must be vigilant and never drop our guard. In years to come it might be difficult to identify agents of concern if they look like nothing we have encountered before. The political, societal, and scientific backdrop is continually evolving and has shifted a great deal since the days of Asilomar. Synthetic biology also relies on the skills of scientists who have little experience in biology, such as mathematicians and electrical engineers. As shown by the efforts of the budding synthetic biologists at iGEM, the field is no longer the province of highly skilled senior scientists only.

The first transgenic mammal was created in 1974 by Rudolf Jaenisch and Beatrice Mintz, who inserted foreign DNA into mouse embryos.14 Because of the growing public unease over the potential dangers of such experimentation, Berg played an active role in debating to what degree such studies should be constrained and limited. In 1974 a group of American scientists recommended a moratorium on this research. Voluntary guidelines were drawn up at a highly influential meeting organized the following year by Berg at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, in Pacific Grove, California. The fear of some was that recombinant organisms might have unexpected consequences, such as causing illness or death, and that they might escape the laboratory and spread. This concern was balanced by arguments in support of the potential of genetic engineering, notably those of Joshua Lederberg, a Stanford professor and Nobel laureate.15 In 1976 the National Institutes of Health issued its own guidelines for the safe conduct of recombinant-DNA research, the repercussions of which are still being felt in the ongoing debates about genetically altered crops and the more recent discussion about the use and misuse of research on the genetics of influenza.

But a February 2012 meeting by the World Health Organization concluded that the benefits of the work outweighed the risks and expressed doubts about redacting the papers. Later an FBI report offered a number of suggestions to get the balance right between making progress with research and minimizing risks, and between scientific freedom and national security. The FBI report begins by pointing out that the Janus-like nature of innovation has surfaced again and again during the past several decades, underscoring the significance of such initiatives as Asilomar, which I dealt with earlier, and the adoption of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972. I believe that the issue of the responsible use of science is fundamental and dates back to the birth of human ingenuity, when humankind first discovered how to make fire on demand. (Do I use it to burn a rival’s crops or to keep warm?) Every few months, another meeting is held to discuss the conundrum that powerful technology cuts both ways.


pages: 513 words: 152,381

The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, availability heuristic, Columbian Exchange, computer vision, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, defense in depth, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ernest Rutherford, global pandemic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, p-value, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, survivorship bias, the scientific method, uranium enrichment

That conference in Puerto Rico was a watershed moment for concern about existential risk from AI. Substantial agreement was reached and many participants signed an open letter about the need to begin working in earnest to make AI both robust and beneficial.108 Two years later an expanded conference reconvened at Asilomar, a location chosen to echo the famous genetics conference of 1975, where biologists came together to pre-emptively agree principles to govern the coming possibilities of genetic engineering. At Asilomar in 2017, the AI researchers agreed on a set of Asilomar AI Principles, to guide responsible longterm development of the field. These included principles specifically aimed at existential risk: Capability Caution: There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities.

The lack of scientific literacy and expertise in government is most often lamented by precisely the people who have those skills and could be applying them in government. Put another way, it is unreasonable to blame people working on policy for not being great at science, but more reasonable to blame people who are great at science for not working on policy. 55 UN (n.d.). 56 See Grace (2015). There is some debate over how successful the Asilomar Conference was. In the decades after the guidelines were created, some of the risks envisioned by the scientists turned out not to be as great as feared, and many of the regulations were gradually unwound. Some critics of Asilomar have also argued that the model of self-regulation was inadequate, and that there should have been more input from civil society (Wright, 2001). 57 See Bostrom (2002b). 58 This distinction is from Bostrom (2014), and the analysis owes a great deal to his work on the topic. 59 The precise half-life is the natural logarithm of 2 (≈0.69) divided by the annual risk, whereas the mean survival time is simply 1 divided by the annual risk.

And they can spend time working with policymakers to ensure national and international regulations are scientifically and technologically sound.54 A good example of successful governance is the Montreal Protocol, which set a timetable to phase out the chemicals that were depleting the ozone layer. It involved rapid and extensive collaboration between scientists, industry leaders and policymakers, leading to what Kofi Annan called “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date.”55 Another example is the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, in which leading scientists in the field considered the new dangerous possibilities their work had opened up. In response they designed new safety requirements on further work and restricted some lines of development completely.56 An interesting, and neglected, area of technology governance is differential technological development.57 While it may be too difficult to prevent the development of a risky technology, we may be able to reduce existential risk by speeding up the development of protective technologies relative to dangerous ones.


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, twin studies, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

By the 1970s, recombinant DNA technology permitted scientists to cut long, unwieldy molecules of nucleotides into digestible sentences of genetic letters and paste them into other cells. Researchers could suddenly combine the genes of two creatures that would never have been able to mate in nature. In 1975, concerned about the risks of this new technology, scientists from around the world convened a conference in Asilomar, California. They focused primarily on laboratory and environmental safety, and concluded that the field required only minimal regulation. (There was no real discussion of deliberate abuse—at the time it didn’t seem necessary.) In retrospect at least, Asilomar came to be seen as an intellectual Woodstock, an epochal event in the history of molecular biology. Looking back nearly thirty years later, one of the conference’s organizers, the Nobel laureate Paul Berg, wrote that “this unique conference marked the beginning of an exceptional era for science and for the public discussion of science policy.

Scientists at the meeting understood what was at stake. “We can outdo evolution,” said David Baltimore, genuinely awed by this new power to explore the vocabulary of life. Another researcher joked about joining duck DNA with orange DNA. “In early 1975, however, the new techniques hardly aspired to either duck or orange DNA,” Michael Rogers wrote in the 1977 book Biohazard, his riveting account of the meeting at Asilomar and of the scientists’ attempts to confront the ethical as well as biological impact of their new technology. “They worked essentially only with bacteria and viruses—organisms so small that most human beings only noticed them when they make us ill.” That was precisely the problem. Promising as these techniques were, they also made it possible for scientists to transfer viruses—and cancer cells—from one organism to another.

Early in 2009, the results of a California Academy of Sciences poll that was conducted throughout the nation revealed that only 53 percent of American adults know how long it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun, and a slightly larger number—59 percent—are aware that dinosaurs and humans never lived at the same time. Synthetic biologists will have to overcome this ignorance and the denialism it breeds. To begin with, why not convene a new, more comprehensive version of the Asilomar Conference, tailored to the digital age and broadcast to all Americans? It wouldn’t solve every problem or answer every question—and we would need many conversations, not one. But I can think of no better way for President Obama to begin to return science to its rightful place in our society. And he ought to lead that conversation through digital town meetings that address both the prospects and perils of this new discipline.


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The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Asilomar, Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Menlo Park, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen

Noah's destination Is where it's at: Now showing at the Mount Ararat, Apis the Bull in Après le déluge, Groovy movie with a thousand castoffs: Whose Angels? — Hell's Angels ... Dear Lord, prepare to blast off Into the Angel blue. Oh, the vi-bra-tions... So Kesey was invited to come take part in the annual California Unitarian Church conference at Asilomar, beautiful state park by the sea in Monterey. The theme this year was: "Shaking the Foundations." The fact that Kesey had lately been arrested on a narcotics charge couldn't have mattered less to the Unitarians assembled on the greeny glades of Asilomar by the sea, not even the older ones. The Unitarians had a long tradition of liberalism in such matters and, in fact, were in the vanguard of the civil-rights movement in California. There was a good deal of civil disobedience and scrapes with the police in that fight; yes, sir.

THE FOLLOWING YEAR THERE WERE TWO CONFERENCES OF THE Unitarian Church. One, as always, was at Asilomar. And the Sport Shirts were there, as always. The other was in the High Sierras. The Young Turks held their own conference, in the High Sierras, up in the thin air. Somehow it wasn't quite what they expected, however. A certain psychic decibel level was lacking. Nevertheless, the age of bullshit was over. They were on the bus for good. The next year Sawyer spent a month living in Haight-Ashbury, to explore the possibilities of a new kind of ministry for the young people; on the bus, as it were. OH, THE VI-BRA-TIONS . . . IT SO HAPPENED THAT ONE OF THE FEMALE DELEGATES TO THE Unitarian conference at Asilomar had her own little résumé of the conference printed up, and she mailed it out. The Pranksters read it out loud in the living room at Kesey's: "So the Prophet Kesey came before us"—and did such and such.

By Friday, Kesey had done a lot of talking, on stage, off stage, down by the bus, and things had gotten to the point where people might start saying, well, for a guy who says talking won't get the job done, he has done an awful lot of talking. Kesey emerged from the bus that afternoon with a huge swath of adhesive tape plastered across his mouth. He went around the whole day like that, silent, plastered over, as if to say, I'm through talking. All the kids at Asilomar thought this was great, too. More and more of them were hanging around the bus, while the Pranksters flung kelp about and played like very children themselves. Nighttime and one girl really feels into the thing, and she wants nothing more in this world than to go on an acid trip with the Pranksters. She has never taken acid before. So they give her some and a group of them take acid, down by the bus, by the ocean, and christ, she starts freaking out.


pages: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

Was all that impressive progress in vain? FLI’s scientific advisory board includes Elon Musk, Frank Wilczek, George Church, Stuart Russell, and the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who dreamed up an oft-quoted Gedankenexperiment that results in a world full of paper clips and nothing else, produced by an (apparently) well-meaning AGI who was just following orders. The institute sponsors conferences (Puerto Rico 2015, Asilomar 2017) on AI safety issues and in 2018 instituted a grants competition focusing on research in aid of maximizing the societal benefits of AGI. While Max is sometimes listed—by the noncognoscenti—on the side of the scaremongers, he believes, like Frank Wilczek, in a future that will immensely benefit from AGI if, in the attempt to create it, we can keep the human species from being sidelined.

Today, talk of AI’s societal impact is everywhere, and work on AI safety and AI ethics has moved into companies, universities, and academic conferences. The controversial position on AI safety research is no longer to advocate for it but to dismiss it. Whereas the open letter that emerged from the 2015 Puerto Rico AI conference (and helped mainstream AI safety) spoke only in vague terms about the importance of keeping AI beneficial, the 2017 Asilomar AI Principles (see page 84) had real teeth: They explicitly mention recursive self-improvement, superintelligence, and existential risk, and were signed by AI industry leaders and more than a thousand AI researchers from around the world. Nonetheless, most discussion is limited to the near-term impact of narrow AI and the broader community pays only limited attention to the dramatic transformations that AGI may soon bring to life on Earth.

Everything I love about civilization is the product of intelligence, so if we can amplify our own intelligence with AGI, we have the potential to solve today’s and tomorrow’s thorniest problems, including disease, climate change, and poverty. The more detailed we can make our shared positive visions for the future, the more motivated we will be to work together to realize them. What should we do in terms of steering? The twenty-three Asilomar principles adopted in 2017 offer plenty of guidance, including these short-term goals: An arms race in lethal autonomous weapons should be avoided. The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity. Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use. . . . How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?


pages: 158 words: 46,353

Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield by Robert H. Latiff

Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, cyber-physical system, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, friendly fire, Howard Zinn, Internet of things, low earth orbit, Nicholas Carr, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, self-driving car, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Wall-E

The rules of war first found expression: Latiff and Howard, Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications of New Weapons Technologies. Lincoln’s War Department was deeply concerned: Paul Finkelman, “Francis Lieber and the Modern Law of War” (reviewing John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History), University of Chicago Law Review 80, no. 4 (September 2013): 2071–132. Scientists attending the Asilomar Conference: Paul Berg, “Meetings That Changed the World: Asilomar 1975: DNA Modification Secured,” Nature 455 (September 2008): 290–91. The medieval code of chivalry included: Richard Abels, “Medieval Chivalry,” United States Naval Academy, http://www.usna.edu/​Users/​history/​abels/​hh315/​Chivalry.htm. The Dutch historian: Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1999; originally published in 1919), 56–65.

After World War I, an international agreement banning the development and use of chemical weapons was signed. Since World War II, numerous efforts have been made to deal with issues of technology, weapons research, and ethics. These include the 1946 Nuremberg trials, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, and efforts by scientists to place restrictions on biomedical, genomic, and nanotechnology research. Scientists attending the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, near Monterey, California, in 1975 recognized the potential dangers of such DNA research and declared a moratorium until safe and ethical procedures could be developed. The guidelines developed were voluntary, but have been assiduously followed. Rules and theory are one thing, practical applications another. Philosophers have advanced two basic theories that have proven useful in analyzing moral problems and making decisions about ethical issues.


pages: 193 words: 51,445

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

But it’s worth noting that in a recent book, Inheritors of the Earth, Chris Thomas, a distinguished ecologist, argues that the spread of species can often have a positive impact in ensuring a more varied and robust ecology.5 In 1975, in the early days of recombinant DNA research, a group of leading molecular biologists met at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, and agreed on guidelines defining what experiments should and should not be done. This seemingly encouraging precedent has triggered several meetings, convened by national academies, to discuss recent developments in the same spirit. But today, more than forty years after the first Asilomar meeting, the research community is far more broadly international, and more influenced by commercial pressures. I’d worry that whatever regulations are imposed, on prudential or ethical grounds, cannot be enforced worldwide—any more than the drug laws can, or tax laws.

See also planets; SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) Allen, Woody, 178 ALMA radio telescope in Chile, 207 AlphaGo, 86–87, 88, 106, 191 AlphaGo Zero, 87 Alzheimer’s disease, failure of drugs for, 212 Ambrosia, life-extension start-up, 80 Anders, Bill, 120 Anderson, Philip, 176 Andromeda galaxy, 178 animal research, ethics of, 221 Anthropocene, 3, 31 antibiotic resistance, 72 antimatter, 169 Apollo programme, 120, 137, 139, 144, 145 Archimedes, 165 Arkhipov, Vasili, 18 Armstrong, Neil, 120, 138 arts and crafts, resurgence of, 98 Asilomar Conference, 74–75 assisted dying, 70–71 asteroid impact: collapse in global food supplies and, 216; existential disaster compared to, 114; on Mars, sending rock to Earth, 129; nuclear destruction compared to, 15, 18; planning for, 15–16, 43; as rare but extreme event, 15, 76 asteroids: establishing bases on, 149; travel to, 148 astrology, 11 atoms: aliens composed of, 160; complexity and, 172–74; as constituents of all materials, 165–66, 168; hard to understand, 195; number in visible universe, 182; quantum theory of, 166, 205 Bacon, Francis, 61 battery technology, 49–50, 51 Baumgartner, Felix, 149 Baxter robot, 106 Before the Beginning (Rees), 186 The Beginning of Infinity (Deutsch), 192 Bethe, Hans, 222 The Better Angels of Our Nature (Pinker), 76 Bezos, Jeff, 146 big bang: birth of universe in, 124; chain of complexity leading from, 164, 214; conditions in particle accelerator and, 111; intelligent aliens’ understanding of, 160; physical laws as a given in, 197–98; possibly not the only one, 181, 183, 184–85 (see also multiverse) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 224 biodiversity: loss of, 32–33, 66; our stewardship of, 35 bio error, 73, 75, 77–78 biofuels, 32, 52 biohacking, 75, 78, 106 biotech: benefits and vulnerabilities of, 5, 6; concerns about ethics of, 73–75; concerns about safety of, 73, 74, 75, 76, 116, 218; responsible innovation in, 218, 225; threat of catastrophe due to, 76, 109–10; unpredictable consequences of, 63.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

“Eventually, I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this.”11 For an artificial intelligence researcher who had just reaped hundreds of millions of dollars, it was an odd position to take. If someone believes that technology will likely evolve to destroy humankind, what could motivate them to continue developing that same technology? At the end of 2014, the 2009 AI meeting at Asilomar was reprised when a new group of AI researchers, funded by one of the Skype founders, met in Puerto Rico to again consider how to make their field safe. Despite a new round of alarming statements about AI dangers from luminaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, the attendees wrote an open letter that notably fell short of the call to action that had been the result of the original 1975 Asilomar biotechnology meeting. Given that DeepMind had been acquired by Google, Legg’s public philosophizing is particularly significant. Today, Google is the clearest example of the potential consequences of AI and IA.

The specter of machine autonomy either places human ethical decision-making at a distance or removes it entirely. In other fields, certain issues have forced scientists and technologists to consider the potential consequences of their work, and many of those scientists acted to protect humanity. In February of 1975, for example, Nobel laureate Paul Berg encouraged the elite of the then new field of biotechnology to meet at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. At the time, recombinant DNA—inserting new genes into the DNA of living organisms—was a fledgling development. It presented both the promise for dramatic advances in medicine, agriculture, and new materials and the horrifying possibility that scientists could unintentionally bring about the end of humanity by engineering a synthetic plague. For the scientists, the meeting led to an extraordinary resolution.

After a little more than a decade, the NIH had gathered sufficient evidence from a wide array of experiments to suggest that it should lift the restrictions on research. It was a singular example of how society might thoughtfully engage with the consequences of scientific advance. Following in the footsteps of the biologists, in February of 2009, a group of artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists also met at Asilomar to discuss the progress of AI after decades of failure. Eric Horvitz, the Microsoft AI researcher who was serving as president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, called the meeting. During the previous five years, the researchers in the field had begun discussing twin alarms. One came from Ray Kurzweil, who had heralded the relatively near-term arrival of computer superintelligences.


Coastal California Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

1960s counterculture, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, buy and hold, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, flex fuel, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, income inequality, intermodal, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, low cost airline, Lyft, Mason jar, New Journalism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, trade route, transcontinental railway, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Wall-E, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar

During peak season, volunteer guides answer all of your questions between noon and 3pm, weather permitting. Pacific Grove Golf LinksGOLF ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-648-5775; www.playpacificgrove.com; 77 Asilomar Blvd; green fees $43-64) Can’t afford to play at famous Pebble Beach? This historic 18-hole municipal course, where deer freely range, has impressive sea views, and it’s a lot easier (not to mention cheaper) to book a tee time here. 4Sleeping Antique-filled B&Bs have taken over many stately Victorian homes around downtown Pacific Grove and by the beach. Motels cluster at the peninsula’s western end, off Lighthouse and Asilomar Aves. Asilomar Conference GroundsLODGE$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-372-8016; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave; r from $188; iWs) This state-park lodge sprawls by sand dunes in pine forest. Skip ho-hum motel rooms and opt for historic houses designed by early-20th-century architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame) – the thin-walled, hardwood-floored rooms may be small, but they share a fireplace lounge.

Today, leafy streets are lined by stately Victorian homes and a charming, compact downtown orbits Lighthouse Ave. 1Sights & Activities Pacific Grove's aptly named Ocean View Blvd affords views from Lovers Point Park west to Point Pinos, where it becomes Sunset Dr, offering tempting turnouts where you can stroll by pounding surf, rocky outcrops and teeming tide pools all the way to Asilomar State Beach. This seaside route is great for cycling, too – some say it rivals the famous 17-Mile Drive for beauty and, even better, it’s free. Asilomar State BeachBEACH ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Sunset Dr) Negotiate a 1-mile trail boardwalk through rugged sand dunes. Note this beach is known for riptides and unpredictable surf, and care must be taken when swimming here. Point Pinos LighthouseLIGHTHOUSE ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-648-3176; www.pointpinoslighthouse.org; 80 Asilomar Ave; suggested donation adult/child 6-12yr $4/2; h1-4pm Thu-Mon) The West Coast’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse has been warning ships off the hazardous tip of the Monterey Peninsula since 1855.

Skip ho-hum motel rooms and opt for historic houses designed by early-20th-century architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame) – the thin-walled, hardwood-floored rooms may be small, but they share a fireplace lounge. Head to the lodge lobby for Ping-Pong, pool tables and wi-fi. Bike rentals available. Sunset InnMOTEL$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-375-3529; www.gosunsetinn.com; 133 Asilomar Blvd; r $99-235; W) At this small motor lodge near the golf course and the beach, attentive staff hand out keys to crisply redesigned rooms that have hardwood floors, king-sized beds with cheery floral-print comforters and sometimes a hot tub and a fireplace. 5Eating Downtown PG teems with European-style bakeries, coffee shops and neighborhood cafes. Jeninni Kitchen & Wine BarMEDITERRANEAN$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-920-2662; www.jeninni.com; 542 Lighthouse Ave; mains $18-32; h4pm-late Thu-Tue, 9:30am-1:30pm Sun) Happy-hour snacks from 4pm to 6pm segue to dinner at this bistro featuring the flavors of the Med.


Northern California Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

Airbnb, Apple II, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Burning Man, buy and hold, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google bus, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, housing crisis, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, McMansion, means of production, Port of Oakland, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, the built environment, trade route, transcontinental railway, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional

During peak season, volunteer guides answer all of your questions between noon and 3pm, weather permitting. Pacific Grove Golf LinksGOLF ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-648-5775; www.playpacificgrove.com; 77 Asilomar Blvd; green fees $43-64) Can’t afford to play at famous Pebble Beach? This historic 18-hole municipal course, where deer freely range, has impressive sea views, and it’s a lot easier (not to mention cheaper) to book a tee time here. 4Sleeping Antique-filled B&Bs have taken over many stately Victorian homes around downtown Pacific Grove and by the beach. Motels cluster at the peninsula’s western end, off Lighthouse and Asilomar Aves. Asilomar Conference GroundsLODGE$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-372-8016; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave; r from $188; iWs) This state-park lodge sprawls by sand dunes in pine forest. Skip ho-hum motel rooms and opt for historic houses designed by early-20th-century architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame) – the thin-walled, hardwood-floored rooms may be small, but they share a fireplace lounge.

Monterey Peninsula 1Top Sights 1Mission San Carlos Borromeo de CarmeloC6 2Point Lobos State Natural ReserveB7 1Sights 3Asilomar State BeachB2 4Carmel Beach City ParkB5 5Lone CypressA4 6Monarch Grove SanctuaryB2 7Point Pinos LighthouseB1 8Tor HouseB6 2Activities, Courses & Tours 917-Mile DriveA4 10Pacific Grove Golf LinksB1 11Whalers CoveB7 4Sleeping 12Asilomar Conference GroundsB2 13Cypress InnD7 14Inn by the BayD3 15Lodge at Pebble BeachB5 16Mission RanchC6 17Sea View InnC5 18Sunset InnB2 19Veterans Memorial Park CampgroundC3 5Eating 20Cultura Comida y BebidaD6 21Jeninni Kitchen & Wine BarC2 22La BicycletteD7 23MundakaD7 24PassionfishC2 25Tricycle PizzaC2 6Drinking & Nightlife 26BarmelD7 Scheid VineyardsD7 3Entertainment 27Forest TheaterC5 1Sights & Activities Pacific Grove's aptly named Ocean View Blvd affords views from Lovers Point Park west to Point Pinos, where it becomes Sunset Dr, offering tempting turnouts where you can stroll by pounding surf, rocky outcrops and teeming tide pools all the way to Asilomar State Beach. This seaside route is great for cycling, too – some say it rivals the famous 17-Mile Drive for beauty and, even better, it’s free. Asilomar State BeachBEACH ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Sunset Dr) Negotiate a 1-mile trail boardwalk through rugged sand dunes. Note this beach is known for riptides and unpredictable surf, and care must be taken when swimming here. Point Pinos LighthouseLIGHTHOUSE ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-648-3176; www.pointpinoslighthouse.org; 80 Asilomar Ave; suggested donation adult/child 6-12yr $4/2; h1-4pm Thu-Mon) The West Coast’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse has been warning ships off the hazardous tip of the Monterey Peninsula since 1855.

Skip ho-hum motel rooms and opt for historic houses designed by early-20th-century architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame) – the thin-walled, hardwood-floored rooms may be small, but they share a fireplace lounge. Head to the lodge lobby for Ping-Pong, pool tables and wi-fi. Bike rentals available. Sunset InnMOTEL$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-375-3529; www.gosunsetinn.com; 133 Asilomar Blvd; r $99-235; W) At this small motor lodge near the golf course and the beach, attentive staff hand out keys to crisply redesigned rooms that have hardwood floors, king-sized beds with cheery floral-print comforters and sometimes a hot tub and a fireplace. 5Eating Downtown PG teems with European-style bakeries, coffee shops and neighborhood cafes. Jeninni Kitchen & Wine BarMEDITERRANEAN$$ ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %831-920-2662; www.jeninni.com; 542 Lighthouse Ave; mains $18-32; h4pm-late Thu-Tue, 9:30am-1:30pm Sun) Happy-hour snacks from 4pm to 6pm segue to dinner at this bistro featuring the flavors of the Med.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

The second problem is that humanity has become very dependent on computer technology, as well as its constantly increasing power. It would take an extraordinary act of political will to suddenly turn that around and deliberately stop producing new hardware. Particularly if there was any doubt that competitive nations were adhering to any such ban. Realistically it would require a widely demonstrated disaster involving a hyperintelligent machine. By that stage it would be far too late. Asilomar conference A good example of political cooperation was the Asilomar Conference in 1975, in which researchers and lawyers drew up voluntary guidelines on recombinant DNA research. There were widespread concerns that this very new technology could accidentally produce super-microbes that would be impossible to control in the wider environment. Guidelines included strict rules on containing engineered organisms, including performing work on organisms that had been weakened in some manner so that they could not survive outside of laboratory conditions.

Fast take off 12. Single AGI 13. Goal consistency 14. Unpredictable algorithms 15. Ethics 16. Defeating natural selection 17. Wishful thinking 18. Whole brain emulation 19. Chain of AGIs 20. Running away 21. Just do not build an AGI 8. Political Will 1. Atom bombs 2. Iran's atomic ambitions 3. Stuxnet 4. Glass houses 5. Zero day exploits 6. Practicalities of abstinence 7. Restrict computer hardware 8. Asilomar conference 9. Patent trolls 10. Does it really matter? 9. Conclusion 1. Geological history 2. History of science 3. Natural selection 4. Human instincts 5. Intelligence 6. AI technologies 7. Building an AGI 8. Semi-intelligent machines 9. Goals 10. Prognosis 10. Bibliography and Notes When Computers Can Think The Artificial Intelligence Singularity Anthony Berglas, Ph.D. More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads.

The point is made that some approaches such as neural networks and genetic algorithms are unpredictable, starting from random values which would make it difficult to guarantee goal consistency over multiple generations of self-improvement. The book discusses some potential solutions such as the research into friendly AGI by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. It also considers analogous control for biological research resulting from the Asilomar conference. The difficulty of locking up an AGI is discussed, including Yudkowsky’s experiment. The unfriendly nature of military applications is analyzed, noting that the next war will probably be a cyber war. This book is a good wake up call. However, the book does not consider natural selection at all, and certainly not how natural selection might ultimately affect an AGI’s goals. Muehlhauser 2013 Facing the Intelligence Explosion Fair Use In this short book, Luke Muehlhauser focuses on our natural reluctance to contemplate a radically different future because it has never been encountered before.


The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Judea Pearl, Dana Mackenzie

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, Bayesian statistics, computer age, computer vision, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edmond Halley, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, personalized medicine, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Turing test

The detonation of the atomic bomb, however, was a turning point: many people think this technology should not have been developed. Since World War II, a good example of scientists pulling back from the feasible was the 1975 Asilomar conference on DNA recombination, a new technology seen by the media in somewhat apocalyptic terms. The scientists working in the field managed to come to a consensus on good-sense safety practices, and the agreement they reached then has held up well over the ensuing four decades. Recombinant DNA is now a common, mature technology. In 2017, the Future of Life Institute convened a similar Asilomar conference on artificial intelligence and agreed on a set of twenty-three principles for future research in “beneficial AI.” While most of the guidelines are not relevant to the topics discussed in this book, the recommendations on ethics and values are definitely worthy of attention.

An intent-based learning system is described in Forney et al. (2017). The twenty-three principles for “beneficial AI” agreed to at the 2017 Asilomar meeting can be found at Future of Life Institute (2017). References Bratman, M. E. (2007). Structures of Agency: Essays. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. Brockman, J. (2015). What to Think About Machines That Think. HarperCollins, New York, NY. Dennett, D. C. (2003). Freedom Evolves. Viking Books, New York, NY. Forney, A., Pearl, J., and Bareinboim, E. (2017). Counterfactual data-fusion for online reinforcement learners. Proceedings of the 34th International Conference on Machine Learning. Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 70: 1156–1164. Future of Life Institute. (2017). Asilomar AI principles. Available at: https://futureoflife.org/ai-principles (accessed December 2, 2017).


Coastal California by Lonely Planet

1960s counterculture, airport security, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, buy and hold, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, Joan Didion, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, low cost airline, Mason jar, McMansion, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, Steve Wozniak, trade route, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, white picket fence, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar

Museum of Natural History MUSEUM (www.pgmuseum.org; 165 Forest Ave; suggested donation per person/family $3/5; 10am-5pm Tue-Sat; ) With a gray whale sculpture out front, this small kids’ museum has old-fashioned exhibits about sea otters, coastal bird life, butterflies, the Big Sur coast and Native American tribes. Pacific Grove Golf Links GOLF ( 831-648-5775; www.pggolflinks.com; 77 Asilomar Blvd; greens fees $42-65) Can’t afford to play at famous Pebble Beach? This historic 18-hole municipal course, where black-tailed deer freely range, has impressive sea views, and it’s a lot easier (not to mention cheaper) to book a tee time. Sleeping B&Bs have taken over many stately Victorian homes around downtown and by the beach. Motels cluster at the peninsula’s western end, off Lighthouse and Asilomar Aves. Asilomar Conference Grounds LODGE $$ ( 831-372-8016, 888-635-5310; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove; r incl breakfast $115-175; ) Sprawling over more than 100 acres of sand dunes and pine forests, this state-park lodge is a find.

Some of the stately rooms have fireplaces, clawfoot tubs and kitchenettes, while private cottages welcome honeymooners and families. Rates include afternoon fresh-baked cookies and evening wine and hors d’oeuvres. Sunset Inn Hotel MOTEL $$$ ( 831-375-3529; www.gosunsetinn.com; 133 Asilomar Blvd; r $139-400; ) At this small motor lodge near the golf course and the beach, attentive staff check you into crisply redesigned rooms that have hardwood floors, king-sized beds with cheery floral-print comforters and some hot tubs and fireplaces. Ask about guest access to the top-notch Spa at Pebble Beach. Pacific Gardens Inn MOTEL $$ ( 831-646-9414, 800-262-1566; www.pacificgardensinn.com; 701 Asilomar Blvd; d $105-225; ) A hospitable owner and a communal lobby make all the difference at this welcoming, wood-shingled motor lodge sheltered among tall oak trees. For chilly nights, some comfy rooms have wood-burning fireplaces.

Sights & Activities Aptly named Ocean View Blvd affords views from Lover’s Point west to Point Pinos, where it becomes Sunset Dr, offering tempting turnouts where you can stroll by pounding surf, rocky outcrops and teeming tidepools. This seaside route is great for cycling too. Some say it even rivals the famous 17-Mile Drive for beauty, and it’s free. Point Pinos Lighthouse LIGHTHOUSE (www.ci.pg.ca.us/lighthouse; off Asilomar Ave; adult/child $2/1; 1-4pm Thu-Mon) On the tip of the Monterey Peninsula, the West Coast’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse has been warning ships off this hazardous point since 1855. Inside are modest exhibits on the lighthouse’s history and, alas, its failures – local shipwrecks. Monarch Grove Sanctuary PARK (www.ci.pg.ca.us/monarchs; off Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove; dawn-dusk) Between October and February, over 25,000 migratory monarch butterflies cluster in this thicket of tall eucalyptus trees, secreted inland from Lighthouse Ave.


Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Elon Musk, industrial robot, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, life extension, Menlo Park, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, popular electronics, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, theory of mind, Turing test

The “animating” pharmaka were “beneficial to mankind.”18 This process brings to mind Medea placing powerful pharmaka inside the hollow bronze statue of Artemis in chapter 2, and the internal life force inside Talos in the form of ichor (chapter 1). One might also note that the artificial lion “animated” by powers “beneficial to mankind” seems to anticipate the science-fiction author Isaac Asimov’s first law of robotics (1942): A robot may not harm humans. That rule—broken by Talos and other ancient automata—still resonates with modern experts who work on the ethics of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. In the “23 Asilomar AI Principles” for ensuring ethical human values in Artificial Intelligence (set forth by the Future of Life Institute in 2017) the final rule states that “superintelligence should only be developed . . . for the benefit of all humanity.”19 When the goddess Thetis interrupts him at his forge, Hephaestus is engaged in a project of “inspired artistry.” Forging twenty bronze cauldrons on tripods mounted on golden wheels, he is in the act of riveting the handles, which have not yet been attached.

In myth, Talos the bronze robot, the dragon-teeth army, the mechanical eagle, the fire-breathing bulls—all were deliberately intended to injure humans, breaking Asimov’s first law.44 Pandora certainly flouts rule number 1. But the scale of her devastation is so vast—the ruination of all humankind, as plotted by the tyrant Zeus—that Asimov’s fourth law applies. Pandora breaks the so-called Zeroth Law, which Asimov added later: a robot shall not harm humanity. Pandora also violates law 23 of the 2017 Asilomar principles: Artificial Intelligence should benefit all humanity (chapter 7). One cannot help noticing that all of the automata used to inflict pain and death in ancient mythology belonged to tyrannical rulers, from King Minos of Crete and King Aeetes of Colchis to Zeus, the Father of Gods and Men, who chuckles in anticipation of his cruel “trap” for humans. It is a striking fact that the autocratic fascination with animated statues designed to inflict torture and death was not confined to ancient myth.

See also exoskeleton Arnobius, 108 Arsinoe II, queen of Egypt, 100, 197, 199 Artemis, 36 Artificial Intelligence (AI): ancient Greek precursors of, 11, 150, 214; anthropomorphizing of, 11; black box technology and, 3; capabilities of, 215–17; culture of, 218; defined, 219; ethical issues concerning, 93, 107, 144, 215–17; Hephaestus’s Golden Maidens as, 150; learning as issue in, 215–17; sexual uses of, 107; Talos as, 11; Tay experiment in, 215; warnings about, 215, 216 artificial life: ancient conceptions of, 1–2, 4–5, 22–23; defined, 219; forms of, 3–4 artificial moral agents (AMAs), 30. See also ethics and morality Asilomar AI Principles, 144, 178 Asimov, Isaac, 144, 177–78 Asoka, King, 203–8, 211 Athena (Minerva): Athenians’ veneration of, 93, 124; and creation of humans, 106, 112, 113; Demetrios’s musical statue of, 187; in Heron’s Theater, 202; and manufacture of animal statues, 97; and manufacture of horse statues, Plate 9, 139, 141; in modern science fiction, 153; and Pandora, 156, 158, 162–63, 163, 164, 170–71; Phidias’s sculpture of, for Parthenon, 124, 170–71, 191 Athena (modern miniature robot), 216 Athenaeus, 71, 109, 198, 199 Athens, 90, 92, 93, 124, 170–72, 175, 192–93 athletes, 25, 47; realistic paintings and sculptures of, Plate 7, 97, 98, 99 automata: ancient conceptions of, 1–3, 95–96, 153–54, 211–15, 223n2; ancient examples of, 23, 145, 180–212, 214; Apega, 194–95; in China, 207–8, 231n19; Chinese tale about, 118, 121; controllability of, 29–30, 65–66, 206, 215; Daedalus’s moving statues, 90–95; defined, 220; desire of, to become human, 29; early uses of term, 145; economic motivations for creating, 152–53, 241n39; emotional responses to, 102–3; functions of, 180; guardians of Buddha, 203–11; historical, 179–212; in India, 203–11; Nysa, 198–99; Philo of Byzantium’s works, 199–200; philosophical questions raised by, 4, 211; slaves compared to, 93; Talos, 7–8, 22–23; terminology concerning, 3–4, 223n1.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

But will it be to liberate the human race or enslave it? If one reads the headlines today, it seems as if the question is already settled: the human race is about to be rapidly overtaken by our own creation. THE END OF HUMANITY? The headline in the New York Times said it all: “Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man.” The world’s top leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) had gathered at the Asilomar conference in California in 2009 to solemnly discuss what happens when the machines finally take over. As in a scene from a Hollywood movie, delegates asked probing questions, such as, What happens if a robot becomes as intelligent as your spouse? As compelling evidence of this robotic revolution, people pointed to the Predator drone, a pilotless robot plane that is now targeting terrorists with deadly accuracy in Afghanistan and Pakistan; cars that can drive themselves; and ASIMO, the world’s most advanced robot that can walk, run, climb stairs, dance, and even serve coffee.

As compelling evidence of this robotic revolution, people pointed to the Predator drone, a pilotless robot plane that is now targeting terrorists with deadly accuracy in Afghanistan and Pakistan; cars that can drive themselves; and ASIMO, the world’s most advanced robot that can walk, run, climb stairs, dance, and even serve coffee. Eric Horvitz of Microsoft, an organizer of the conference, noting the excitement surging through the conference, said, “Technologists are providing almost religious visions, and their ideas are resonating in some ways with the same idea of the Rapture.” (The Rapture is when true believers ascend to heaven at the Second Coming. The critics dubbed the spirit of the Asilomar conference “the rapture of the nerds.”) That same summer, the movies dominating the silver screen seemed to amplify this apocalyptic picture. In Terminator Salvation, a ragtag band of humans battle huge mechanical behemoths that have taken over the earth. In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, futuristic robots from space use humans as pawns and the earth as a battleground for their interstellar wars.

The human, not the Predator, is calling the shots. And the cars that drive themselves are not making independent decisions as they scan the horizon and turn the steering wheel; they are following a GPS map stored in their memory. So the nightmare of fully autonomous, conscious, and murderous robots is still in the distant future. Not surprisingly, although the media hyped some of the more sensational predictions made at the Asilomar conference, most of the working scientists doing the day-to-day research in artificial intelligence were much more reserved and cautious. When asked when the machines will become as smart as us, the scientists had a surprising variety of answers, ranging from 20 to 1,000 years. So we have to differentiate between two types of robots. The first is remote-controlled by a human or programmed and pre-scripted like a tape recorder to follow precise instructions.


pages: 482 words: 147,281

A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, butterfly effect, California gold rush, Golden Gate Park, index card, indoor plumbing, lateral thinking, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, place-making, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, supervolcano, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

Eldridge Moores, one of the great discoverers of the processes that led to the making of the American West, is shown here in suitably heroic pose, with a sequence of ophiolites, the key to the mystery, spread out before him. to the structural peculiarities there that led to all the San Francisco earthquakes, culminating in the disastrous event of 1906. Professor Moores remembers the moment of his realization only too well. It was 20 December 1969, and he was in Pacific Grove, California, at the Asilomar Conference Center. He was listening, fascinated, halfway through a session of the second of the annual Penrose Conferences that the Geological Society of America now holds to ruminate on the most important new developments in earth science.* At this legendary gathering ‘the full import of the plate tectonic revolution burst on the participants like a dam failure’, he later wrote. Paper after paper was being read that overlaid the new theories on top of virtually every major process of geology that had shaped the planet – the location of volcanoes, the folding of mountains, the distribution of earthquakes, the shape of the continents, the history of the oceans.

Everything was being answered by this devastatingly simple notion: that plates floated about on top of the plastic mantle and collided with one another, scraped alongside one another, broke into pieces or welled up under the influence of the immense heat from below. The ‘marvelous dance of the plates’ is how one of the conferees put it, with the rapture of the collective Eureka! It was, reflected Moores, ‘one of the most exciting moments of my life’, and everyone else at this most remarkable gathering of geologists appears to have felt the same. Asilomar was a turning-point in science like few had ever known. His own moment came as he was listening to the conference convener, Bill Dickinson, presenting his summary. Moores had drifted off message for a moment, thinking about a discussion the previous evening about just where the world’s ophiolite sequences were, when, ‘in a blinding flash of insight, it came to me’. What came to Eldridge Moores would make him famous, in two very distinct worlds.

Copyright 1956 Robert Frost Index Page references for maps and illustrations are in italics 1906 26–32 1906 earthquake xxv–xxvii, 32–3 books on 371–3 Chinatown 299–301 as divine intervention 304–5, 309–10, 311 effect on San Francisco’s supremacy 301–3 epicentre 149–52 eyewitness reports xxviii–xxxvi, 213–23 felt map 231 fire 261–71, 270 human response 272–93 insurance companies 293–9 maritime reports 223–5 measurement 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240–45 Olema 144–7, 146 outer areas 225–32 physical damage 245, 248–61 Adams, Ansel 23, 258, 259, 265 Adams, Henry 116 African Plate 36, 38 Agassiz, Louis 114, 248, 250 Agnew’s State Hospital for the Insane, Santa Clara 228 Aiken, Charles 209 Alaska 89, 337–40, 346, 350–51 Alaska Highway 341–5 Alcatraz 226, 312 Alliance 223 Althing 43 Amarillo, Texas 107, 112, 117 American Commonwealth, The (Bryce) 88 Ames, Frank 221 Amherst, Massachusetts 63 Anaheim 230 Anchorage 339, 340, 347–8 Anderson, J. 367 Angel Island 225–6, 312, 314–19, 318 Angmagssalik 47, 50 animals 213 Annalen der Physik 26 Annals of San Francisco 180, 191, 193 Annsville Event 63, 71 Antarctic 59 Antarctic Plate 36 Appraisers’ Building 281 ‘April’ (Watson) 1 Arctica 57, 58, 59, 61, 62 Ardsley, New York 85, 86 Argo 223–4 Argonaut 250–51 Armstrong, Neil xvii, xviii–xix, xxi art 319–24 aseismic creep 156 Asilomar Penrose 125–6 asperities 244 Assan, Marcelle 208, 210 Assembling California (McPhee) 126 asthenosphere 52 Atherton, Gertrude 319 Atlantic Ocean 46, 61 Atlantica 58, 59, 60 atmospheric pressure 355 Auden, W. H. 27 Audion 28 Azusa Street, Los Angeles 230, 305, 308–10, 308 Babes in Toyland (Herbert) 211 Baltica 58, 59, 60 Bam 65 banks 286 Barringer, Mr 109–110 Barrymore, John 209–10, 255 Bartleman, Frank 309–10 Bartlett, Washington 178–9 basalts 45–7, 48 Baudelaire, Charles 7 Bear Flag Revolt 89 Beaufort, Sir Francis 355 Bennett, Sir Courtney 215, 245, 261, 287–8, 301 Berkeley xxviii, xxxii–xxxiv, 105, 241 Berkshires 63 Betjeman, John 29 ‘Bhaja Govindam’ (Sankara) 60–61 Bible 304, 306, 309, 310 Bicknell, Ernest 291–2 Bidwell, John 93, 94–6 Bierce, Ambrose 197, 319 Big Bend 162, 164, 167, 172–3 Blosseville Coast 46, 52 Bohemian Club 320 Bohemians 319–21 Bolt, Bruce 149–50, 151 Bonneville, Benjamin 93 Bosch-Omori seismographs 238 Botanic Garden, The (Darwin) 337 Boyle, James 225 Bradbury, John 78–9 Branner, John 290 Brawley Seismic Zone 172 Brewer, William 21–2, 23 Brewer, Mount 22–3 Bristol’s Recording Voltmeter 235 Brooks, Jared 79 Browne, Sir Thomas xv Browns Park, Colorado 115 Bryce, James 88 Bulletin 197 Burke, William 285–6 Burnett, Peter 102 Burnham, Daniel 202, 324–5 Burnham Plan 202, 324–8 Burns, Robert xv, xix Burns, William 197 Bush, Reverend James 253 Bushveldt Intrusion 47 Butte Record 193 cable cars 188–9, 214 Caldwell, Charles 264 California 10, 23, 85 geology 17–20 history 13, 88–106 California Decorative 322 California Development Company 170 California Powder Works 281–2 California Star 178–9 Call Building 198, 217, 371 camels 165–6 Canada 57–8, 59, 343–5 Cape Ann, Massachusetts 84, 86 Carmel-by-the-Sea 320 Carmen 206, 208–9, 284 Caroline Plate 36 Carquinez Indians 11, 24 Carquinez Strait 11, 24 Carrier, Willis 66 Carrizo Plain 143, 160–62, 166 Caruso, Enrico 206–9, 207, 221, 222–3, 223, 268, 284 Cascadia Subduction Zone 141 Cerro Prieto Geothermal Area 171 chance-medley 221 Charleston xxxi, 62, 64–71, 69, 72, 84 Chiayi Earthquake 4 Chico, California 95–6 Chile 5, 338 chimneys 253–4 China 232–4, 236, 237 Chinatown 103, 190–95, 194, 264, 265, 267–8, 299–301, 312 Chinese 181, 191–5, 225, 311–19, 341 Chinese Exclusion Act 313, 315 chromium 48 Chronicle 326 City Gardens 189 City Hall 198, 252, 276, 277, 326, 327 destruction 218, 250–51, 255–6 ‘City that Will Not Repent, The’ (Vanchel) 174 Civil War 102 Claus Spreckels Building 198, 371 Clemens, Samuel 197 Clemens Well–Fenner–San Francisquito Fault 168 Clinopodium douglasii see yerba buena coal 13–14, 15, 18–19 Cocos Plate 36 Colima 141 Collins, Paul 371–2 Colombia 2, 31 Colorado River 119–21, 170 Colton, Walter 91, 92, 97, 101 Columbia 59, 61 concrete 252–3 Congo 61 construction vulnerability 359–60 continents 45–6, 49–50, 52–5, 56, 57–62 Cook, Constable Jesse B. 216–17, 244 Copeland, Ada 116 coping strategies 265–6 Coquille, Oregon 229–30 Cordilleran Geology 122 corruption 196–7, 251, 327 Cowell, Harry 321 Crater Lake, Oregon 340 Crespi, Juan 169 cribs 186, 187 crimps 186, 187 Crocker, Charles 198 crush zone 136 Daisy Geyser 350, 351 Daly City 146, 150–52, 231 Dana, Richard Henry 91, 98, 177 Darwin, Charles xxiv Darwin, Erasmus 337 Davidson, George xxix–xxx, xxxii, 241 Davis, Richard Harding 210 De Forest, Lee 28 De Young, Charles 326 De Young, Michael 326 ‘Death of King George V’ (Betjeman) 29 Delano, Alonzo 99 Delmonico’s 210 Denali Fault 340, 346, 351 Denny, James 224–5 Diablo, Mount xxviii, 7–17, 8, 19–20, 21–2 Diablo Beacon 21 Dickinson, Bill 126 Dictator, The (Davis) 210 Diego Garcia 83 Dixon, Maynard 320–21 Domengine Formation 13–14, 18–19 Douglas, David 174 Drake, Sir Francis 90 dynamite 281–2 Eagle 191 earthquakes Alaska 337–40, 346, 350–51 Bam 6, 65 California 169 Charleston 62, 64–71, 69 Chiayi 4 Chile 5 Ecuador–Colombia 1–2 Elastic Rebound 153–5 epicentre 144–5, 147–9 intensity 355–63 intraplate events 84–7 Lisbon 32, 33, 33 magnitude 363–9 Meers 83–4 New Madrid 71, 72, 75–7, 77, 79–81 Parkfield 159–60 prediction 84, 332–3 St Lucia 3, 359 San Francisco 173, 204–6, 328–30 San Miguel 130–32 seismographs 232–8, 233 Shemakha 3–4 Sumatran Tsunami 6, 61, 66, 213, 273–4, 333, 338 Tejon 164–7 United States 63–4, 70–71 see also 1906 earthquake EarthScope 158 East Gondwana 59 East Pacific Rise 138, 139 Ecuador 2 Ehlert Triples 235 Einstein, Albert 26–7, 29, 240 El Cabo de San Francisco 2 Elastic Rebound 153–5 EMS-98 (European Macroseismic) Intensity Scale 359–63 epicentre 144–5, 147–52, 244 Euphemia 183 Eurasian Plate 36, 41, 43 Eureka, California 232 Everybody’s Magazine 213 Ewing, James 235 Exclusion Act 313, 315 Fairbanks, Charles 275 fallen building clause 297–8 Farallon Islands 225 Farallon Plate 36, 128, 138–9, 140, 141, 171 Farquhar, Francis 23 faults 139–40 see also San Andreas Fault Filben, Thomas 300 Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company 298–9 fires 184–5, 195, 199–201, 212, 297 1906 earthquake 245, 248–9, 256, 261–71, 270, 276 Fisk, Missouri 79 Flamsteed, John 55 Flaugergues, Honoré 75 Flood, James 198 Forel, François 357, 369 Formosa 4 Fort Sill 81–2, 83 Fort Tejon 164–7 Fremstad, Olive 208 Freud, Sigmund 27 Frost, Robert 204 Funston, Frederick 274–7, 275, 280, 281 gabbro 124 Gadsden Purchase 90 Gaia Theory xviii, 6, 337 Galitzin-Wilip instrument 237 Genthe, Arnold 188, 194, 267–70, 270, 321 Geologic and Geographic Survey of the Fortieth Parallel 113–16 Geologic and Geographic Survey of the Rocky Mountain Area 118–22 Geologic and Geographic Survey of the Territories 112–13 Geologic and Geographic Survey West of the 100th Meridian 116–17 geology xvii, xviii, xx–xxv ophiolites 123–9, 125 surveys 110–23 geysers 113, 350–51, 352 Gieseke, Christy 130–31, 133 Gilbert, Grove Karl xxviii, xxxii–xxxiv, xxxvi, 109, 117, 118, 145, 146, 147, 218 Glenallen, Alaska 345–6 glossolalia 306 Goerlitz, Ernest 221 gold 14, 48, 82, 111 Gold Rush 13, 96–102, 98, 179–83, 190–91 Golden Gate Park 190 Goldstein and Co. 267 Gondwanaland 49, 50, 59, 60, 62 Good Friday Earthquake 337–8, 339 Goodnow, New York 85 Gorda Plate 36, 140 Gracie S. 224 Grady, Constable Michael 217 Grand Banks Earthquake, 1929 85, 86 Grand Canyon 119–21, 122 Grant, Ulysses S. 113 Great Comet 75 Great Western Surveys 112–23 Greely, Major-General Adolphus Washington 274, 275, 276, 279 green rocks 127 Greenland 44–9, 50, 52, 55, 57, 59, 61 Gregori–Hosgri Fault 140 Grenada 3 Gunn, Lewis 101 Haines Junction, Yukon 344 Hall of Justice 276, 277, 281 Hamburg-Bremen Company 299 Hansen, Gladys 291–2 Harbor View Camp 283 Harding, Warren G. 207 Harlocker, Judge 229–30 Harte, Bret 12, 14, 197, 319 Hay, John 116 Hayden, Ferdinand Vandeveer 112–13 Hayes Valley Fire (Ham and Eggs Fire) 263 Hayward Fault 173, 205, 332 Hearst, William Randolph 209 Heath, Cuthbert Eden 295–7, 296 Hecker, Dr 235 Heimaey 42 Hekla 42 Herbert, Victor 211 Hertz, Alfred 222 Hewitt, Fred xxviii, xxxiv–xxxv, xxxvi Holy Bible 304, 306, 309, 310 hoodlums 187, 195 Hopkins, Mark 198, 200 Hopper, James Marie 213 horizontal cut 298 Hotaling, A.


pages: 1,540 words: 400,759

Fodor's California 2014 by Fodor's

1960s counterculture, active transport: walking or cycling, affirmative action, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, California gold rush, car-free, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Donner party, Downton Abbey, East Village, El Camino Real, Frank Gehry, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, Kickstarter, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, young professional

At this 1855-vintage lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, you can learn about the lighting and foghorn operations and wander through a small museum containing U.S. Coast Guard memorabilia. | Asilomar Ave., between Lighthouse Ave. and Del Monte Blvd. | 93950 | 831/648–3176 | www.pointpinos.org | $2 suggested donation | Thur.–Mon. 1–4. Beaches Asilomar State Beach. A beautiful coastal area, Asilomar State Beach stretches between Point Pinos and the Del Monte Forest. The 100 acres of dunes, tidal pools, and pocket-size beaches form one of the region’s richest areas for marine life—including surfers, who migrate here most winter mornings. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach. Amenities: none. Best for: sunrise; sunset; surfing; walking. | Sunset Dr. and Asilomar Ave. | 831/646–6440 | www.parks.ca.gov. Where to Eat Fandango. MEDITERRANEAN | The menu here is mostly Mediterranean and southern French, with such dishes as calves’ liver and onions and paella served in a skillet.

. | 93950 | 831/655–0324 | www.tastecafebistro.com | Closed Sun.–Mon. Where to Stay Asilomar Conference Grounds. RESORT | On 107 acres in a state park, Asilomar stands among evergreen woods on the edge of a wild beach. Thirteen of the 30 buildings at the former YWCA retreat were designed by Julia Morgan between 1913 and 1928. The complex mostly serves groups and conferences, and a stay here may bring back fond memories of summer camp: there are games in the social hall, campfires outside, and paved paths between the buildings. Thankfully, the rooms are tasteful and modern (no bunk beds!), if simple. The general public can book individual rooms up to six months in ad | Rooms from: $185 | 800 Asilomar Ave. | 93950 | 831/372–8016, 888/635–5310 | www.visitasilomar.com | 312 rooms | Breakfast.

SEAFOOD | Fresh fish with a Latin accent makes this spot a favorite of locals for lunch or a casual dinner. Standards are the sea garden salads topped with your choice of fish and the fried seafood plates with fresh veggies. Diners with large appetites appreciate the fisherman’s bowls—fresh fish served with rice, black beans, spicy cabbage, salsa, vegetables, and crispy tortilla strips. | Average main: $22 | 1996½ Sunset Dr., at Asilomar Blvd. | 93950 | 831/375–7107 | www.fishwife.com. Joe Rombi’s La Mia Cucina. ITALIAN | Pasta, fish, steaks, and chops are the specialties at this modern trattoria, which is the best in town for Italian food. The look is spare and clean, with colorful antique wine posters decorating the white walls. Next door, Joe Rombi’s La Piccola Casa Pizzeria & Coffee House serves breakfast (baked goods) and lunch daily, plus early dinner Wednesday through Sunday. | Average main: $23 | 208 17th St., at Lighthouse Ave. | 93950 | 831/373–2416 | www.joerombi.com | Closed Mon. and Tues.


pages: 769 words: 397,677

Frommer's California 2007 by Harry Basch, Mark Hiss, Erika Lenkert, Matthew Richard Poole

airport security, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, Columbine, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, indoor plumbing, Iridium satellite, Joan Didion, Maui Hawaii, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, sustainable-tourism, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration

The modern $11-million, 37,000square-foot museum features interactive exhibits, a gallery of changing exhibitions, an orientation theater with a short video on Steinbeck’s life, educational programs, a gift The Monterey Peninsula Point Pinos Cannery Row 3 9 Carmel Beach City Park 15 Carmel Mission 16 Lovers Point 6 un s et D r Asilomar Blvd Links at Spanish Bay 11 S Monterey Peninsula CALIFORNIA Los Angeles PACIFIC OCEAN Spanish Bay Marine Gardens Park 7 Monterey Bay Aquarium 4 Asilomar State Beach Spanish Bay Golf Course and Resort Point Joe 17 11 i -M Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course 8 le S l o at Rd. Path of History 2 Cypress Point Cypress Point Clubhouse Golf Course Lake Clubhouse Sunridge R d. Dr . . Sunset Point 12 F o r ile D Lone Cypress Tree PEBBLE BEACH Poppy Hills Golf Course e st Spyglass Hill 13 Golf Course a ra d Alv -M 17 Tor House 17 Sp y o ill ss H g la Spyglass Hill Golf Course 13 Seal Rock R ird DEL MONTE PARK or Poppy Hills Golf Course 12 B Bird Rock Point Pinos Lighthouse 9 Lopez R d .

Wed–Sun 5–10pm. M O D E R AT E The Fishwife at Asilomar Beach The restaurant dates from Kids SEAFOOD the 1830s, when a sailor’s wife started a small food market that became famous for its Boston clam chowder. Today locals still return for the soup as well as some of the finest seafood in Pacific Grove (everyone raves about this casual, affordable place). Two bestsellers are calamari steak sautéed with shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and white wine; and prawns Belize, served sizzling with red onions, tomatoes, fresh Serrano chiles, jicama, lime juice, and cashews. Steak and pasta dishes are also available, and all main courses come with vegetables, bread, black beans, and rice or potatoes. The kids menu features smaller portions for less than $6. 19961⁄2 Sunset Dr. (at Asilomar Beach). & 831/375-7107. www.fishwife.com.

Walk out to Lover’s Point (named after lovers of Jesus, not groping teenagers) and watch sea otters play and crack open an occasional abalone. An excellent shorter alternative, or complement, to the 17-mile Drive (see “Pebble Beach & the 17-mile Drive,” below) is the scenic drive or bike ride along Pacific Grove’s Ocean View Boulevard . This coastal stretch starts near Monterey’s Cannery Row and follows the Pacific around to the lighthouse point. Here it turns into Sunset Drive, which runs along secluded Asilomar State Beach (& 831/648-3130). Park on Sunset and explore the trails, dunes, and tide pools of this sandy shoreline. You might find purple shore crabs, green anemone, sea bats, starfish, limpets, and all kinds of kelp and algae. The 11 buildings of the conference center established here by the YWCA in 1913 are landmarks, designed by noted architect Julia Morgan. If you follow this route during winter, a furious sea rages and crashes against the rocks.


Fast Times at Fairmont High by Vernor Vinge

Asilomar, Vernor Vinge

What he really wanted to ask was why Bertie had pushed him into this, but he knew that any sort of direct question along those lines might provoke a Freeze Out. "Don't worry, Juan. She'd do good work on any team. I've been watching her." That last was news to Juan. Aloud he said, "I know she has a stupid brother over in senior high." "Heh! William the Goofus? He is a dud, but he's not really her brother, either. No, Miri Gu is smart and tough. Did you know she grew up at Asilomar?" "In a detention camp?" "Yup. Well, she was only a baby. But her parents knew just a bit too much." That had happened to lots of Chinese-Americans during the war, the ones who knew the most about military technologies. But it was also ancient history. Bertie was being more shocking than informative. "Well, okay." No point in pushing. At least, Bertie let me on his unlimited team. Almost home.


Frommer's California 2009 by Matthew Poole, Harry Basch, Mark Hiss, Erika Lenkert

airport security, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Columbine, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, European colonialism, Frank Gehry, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, Joan Didion, Mason jar, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, post-work, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, sustainable-tourism, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

GETTING THERE THE MONTEREY PENINSULA & THE BIG SUR COAST drive from Pacific Grove, Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Big Sur, and the lodgings her e are 387 far less expensiv e, which makes it a gr eat place to set up base while exploring the Monterey coast. The Monterey Peninsula Point Pinos Cannery Row 3 9 Fisherman's Wharf 1 Links at Spanish Bay 11 Lovers Point 6 Monterey Peninsula Su nset Dr Sacramento San Francisco CA LIFORNIA Los Angeles PACIFIC OCEAN Spanish Bay Marine Gardens Park 7 Monterey Bay Aquarium 4 Asilomar State Beach Spanish Bay Golf Course and Resort . 10 Dr Point Joe 1 Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course 8 Asilomar Carmel River State Beach 18 11 D r. 17 -M il e Carmel Mission 16 Blvd Carmel Beach City Park 15 le Mi 7- Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History 5 t Sloa Rd. Path of History 2 ck Bird Rock Sunset Point ake Sunridge Rd. Clubhouse Dr . o Dr. Lone Cypress Tree 12 arad Alv le -Mi PEBBLE BEACH Poppy Hills Golf Course est L ill Cypress Point Clubhouse Golf Course 17 Tor House 17 Cypress Point sH Spyglass Hill Golf Course 13 Ro Spyglass Hill 13 Golf Course y Sp 17-Mile Drive Entrances 10 Seal Rock ird Fo r Poppy Hills Golf Course 12 B Point Pinos Lighthouse 9 DEL MONTE PARK Lopez Rd.

. & 831/373-2416. www.joerombi.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $18–$25. AE, MC, V. Wed–Sun 5–10pm. Moderate The Fishwife at Asilomar Beach Kids SEAFOOD The restaurant dates from the 1830s, when a sailor ’s wife star ted a small food mar ket that became famous for its Boston clam chowder. Today locals still return for the soup as w ell as some of the finest seafood in Pacific Grove (everyone raves about this casual, affordable place). Two bestsellers are calamari steak sautéed with shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and white wine; and Cajun catfish topped with salsa brav a. All main courses come with v egetables, br ead, black beans, and rice or potatoes. 19961/2 Sunset Dr. (at Asilomar Beach). & 831/375-7107. www.fishwife.com. Main courses $13–$19. AE, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 10am–10pm. F rom Hwy. 1, take the P acific Grove exit (Hwy. 68) and stay left until it bec omes Sunset Dr.; the r estaurant will be on y our left about 1 mile ahead as y ou approach Asilomar Beach.

Walk out to Lover’s Point (named after lovers of Jesus, not groping teenagers) and watch sea otters play and crack open an occasional abalone. An excellent shorter alternative, or complement, to 17-Mile Drive (see “Pebble Beach & 17-Mile Drive,” later) is the scenic drive or bike ride along Pacific Grove’s Ocean View Boulevard . This coastal stretch starts near Monterey’s Cannery Row and follows the Pacific around to the lighthouse point. Here it turns into Sunset Drive, which runs along secluded Asilomar State Beach (& 831/648-5730). Park on Sunset and explore the trails, dunes, and tide pools of this sandy shor eline. You might find purple shor e crabs, green anemone, sea bats, starfish, limpets, and all kinds of kelp and algae. The 11 buildings of the confer ence center established her e b y the YWCA in 1913 ar e landmar ks, designed by noted architect Julia Morgan. If you follow this route during winter, a furious sea rages and crashes against the r ocks.


Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

Asilomar, Maui Hawaii, upwardly mobile, young professional, zero-sum game

No schooner; no change in the weather; tobacco giving out, and not a grain of good humour to be had in the market. —CHARLES WARREN STODDARD, WITH THE EGG PICKERS OF THE FARALLONES, 1881 OCTOBER 10–11, 2003 The ocean is filled with unfinished stories: endings with unknown beginnings, blind guesses where there are usually facts. On a blustery and frigid December day in 1981, the nineteenth to be exact, a yellow surfboard washed ashore at Asilomar Beach, near Monterey. Two men, who happened by on their way to do some surfing of their own, stumbled across it. The board sent a ghastly message: A massive, ragged half circle had been ripped from its center. And its provenance was all too well known: It had belonged to a twenty-four-year-old surfer named Lewis Boren, who had last been seen taking advantage of a fifteen-foot storm swell, surfing by himself just north of Pebble Beach.

Now, more people can be accommodated on each trip, and the divers have the benefit of Mick’s experience with the island waters. (There’s one downside to the larger boat, however: The sharks aren’t as likely to approach it.) Groth himself has been spending much of his time in Guadalupe, where the water is a crystal-clear seventy degrees, and clients sign up for three-thousand-dollar weeklong trips in the sunshine. Everyone continues to surf. Yesterday, in fact, Kevin had ridden waves at Asilomar, near the site of Lewis Boren’s attack, and had a fantastic session despite a near closeout, with surf breaking close to the beach. Sidelined for most of the fall after slipping in his boat and bruising a rib while trying to tag a shark, Scot says he intends to make up for lost time when the season winds down. Peter arranges his days according to surf conditions in Bolinas and a few local places that he refuses to divulge, for fear that others will discover them.


pages: 434 words: 114,583

Faster, Higher, Farther: How One of the World's Largest Automakers Committed a Massive and Stunning Fraud by Jack Ewing

1960s counterculture, Asilomar, asset-backed security, Berlin Wall, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, crossover SUV, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, hiring and firing, McMansion, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs

On August 18, Johnson approached Ayala at an industry conference they both attended in Pacific Grove, California, organized by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. The gathering took place at a resort known as Asilomar, set amid dunes and pine forests adjacent to a broad sandy beach on the Monterey Peninsula. It is a congenial place for a meeting, offering rustic wood and stone buildings clad in weathered shingles. The attendees included experts from government and academia as well as people from the auto industry. Bosch was a cosponsor. That day Johnson admitted to Ayala that the Volkswagens contained a defeat device. Johnson, who apparently made the confession despite orders from above not to, also informed Christopher Grundler, the director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at the EPA, who was also at Asilomar. Ayala was furious, and he let Johnson know it. He allows he might have used a few obscenities.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

There are good examples in history where we as a society have brought together expertise in anticipation of catastrophic risk before it occurred. One such case was the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, which was held at Asilomar State Beach in Monterey, California. The event gathered 140 biologists, lawyers, ethicists, and physicians to discuss the potential biohazards of emerging DNA technologies and drew up voluntary safety guidelines. As a result of the event, scientists agreed to stop experiments involving mixing the DNA from different organisms—research at the time that held the potential to have radical, poorly understood, and potentially disastrous consequences. The lessons and successes of Asilomar are well worth repeating. Though we are racing full speed ahead with synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, swarming robotics, and nanotechnology, we are dedicating precious few resources to understanding the concomitant risks of technologies that could replicate beyond our control.


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

Questioning Science Regulatory uncertainties plagued genetic engineering from the beginning, but the scientific community self-regulated those concerns in many instances, understanding the potential dangers genetic engineering posed to the public and to science. Genetic engineering’s transformative power was evident from the time the gene-cloning technique was developed in 1973 by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen. Two years later, participants at the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA called for a voluntary moratorium on genetic engineering to allow the National Institutes of Health to develop safety guidelines for what some feared might be risky experiments. By being proactive, the scientific community took responsibility for designing safety guidelines that were themselves guided by the best available scientific knowledge and principles. The scientists set in motion what would become a science-based risk assessment and management system that was applied to subsequent stages in the development of genetic engineering.

See Koran, printing of Arab Spring, 91 Archery, 15 Argentina Bt cotton in, 234 genetically edited crops regulation, 254 transgenic organisms, dispute over, 241 Armenians, as printers in Istanbul, 81–82 Al’Arraq, Muhammad ibn, 50 Arthur, W. Brian, 22, 319n5 Artificial ice industry, 197 Artificial intelligence, 13, 199, 281, 284 Artists, relationship with technology, 223 Asbestos, 31 Asia. See also specific countries agricultural systems in, 253 transgenic crops, response to, 251 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, 236 Assemblies, technology as collections of, 22–23 Associations. See names of specific organizations and associations Atatürk, Kemal, 89 Attaix (current-generating device manufacturer), 38–39 Attitudes, as barriers to technological innovation, 33, 36 Audiffren (refrigerator brand), 190 Audio recording system, magnetic, 41–42 Auerbach, Junius T., 186 Austin, Samuel, 176 Australia, genetically edited crops in, 234, 254 Authority, technological innovation and, 30–31, 71 Automation, 14, 281, 283–284.


pages: 736 words: 147,021

Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety by Marion Nestle

Asilomar, biofilm, butterfly effect, clean water, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, illegal immigration, out of africa, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, software patent, Upton Sinclair

In looking at these issues, we will see that despite protestations of industry and government to the contrary, it is impossible to separate science from politics in matters related to the safety of these foods. HEALTH CONCERNS When scientists first discovered how to move genes from one organism to another, they wondered whether such manipulations could be harmful to health or to the environment. In 1975, researchers met in Asilomar, California, to review the potential hazards of genetic manipulations. To prevent unanticipated problems that might emerge from the new recombinant DNA techniques, they proposed stringent research guidelines. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) soon required recipients of its research grants to follow such guidelines. In an extreme example of caution, residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts, debated whether such experiments should be allowed within the city limits.

See USDA Agrobacteria, 301, 331n35 Alcohol, 35, 56 Alexander, Stuart, 111 Allergic reactions, 2, 3, 4–5, 9–11, 13, 14, 16–17, 19–20, 25, 142, 172–76, 192, 208, 241, 243 Alliance for Bio-Integrity, 244 Alliance for Food Security, 269 Alto Dairy, 89 American Cancer Society, 29 American Cheese Society, 128, 323n38 American Corn Growers Association, 224, 245 American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), 24, 123 American Dietetic Association, 120, 165 American Federation of Government Employees, 108 American Meat Institute, 71, 76, 77, 81, 82, 83, 91, 100, 124, 134, 254, 295 American Medical Association, 206 American Public Health Association (APHA), 66–67, 76, 80–81, 106, 271–72 American Seed Trade Association, 4 American Veterinary Medical Association, 295 Amino acids, 9, 147, 174, 183–84, 185, 196, 198, 300, 301, 331n35, 343n5 See also Tryptophan Anemia, 160 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 56, 58 Animal feed, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 43, 47, 56, 113, 146, 147, 151, 174, 175, 251–55, 288 Animal rights, 200, 229 Animals as carriers of pathogens, 29, 34, 37, 42, 43, 44–48, 52, 62, 250–57, 342n4 cattle, 25, 28, 40, 41, 42, 44–45 (See also Cattle, infected) poultry, 34, 37, 46, 54, 57–59, 95, 115, 134 Anthrax, 25, 33, 126, 248, 249, 250, 257–60, 265, 301, 344n23 Antibiotics, 176–77 farm animals treated with, 43, 46–48, 113, 176, 177, 179, 199, 259, 295 and protection against anthrax, 258–60 resistance to and genetically modified products, 142, 176–79, 192, 221, 229, 238, 243 microbial, 19, 41, 43, 45–47, 118, 127–28, 176, 199, 259, 265, 279, 294–95, 301 Antitrust laws, 232, 244 APHA v. Butz, 66–67, 76, 80–81, 106 Archer Daniels Midland, 8 Argentina, 150, 237, 238, 239, 240 Armour company, 90 Army, U.S., 122 Arsenic, 136 Arthritis, 40 Artisanal cheese, 128 Asilomar conference on biotechnology, 171 AstraZeneca, 159–60 Australia, 109, 238, 239 Austria, 238, 278 Aventis CropScience, 2–8, 11–14, 16, 139, 234, 260 Azteca Milling, 6, 8 Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), 3, 6, 151, 180–81, 183, 196, 207, 216–19, 220, 301 Bacteria genetically modified, 139 mutations in, 184 Bacteria, foodborne, 27, 28, 35, 36, 37, 40–42, 57–59 antibiotic-resistant, 19, 41, 45–47, 118, 127–28, 176–77, 199 and safe handling labels, 66–67, 76–77, 82, 83, 90 spread by processing practices, 49, 50, 117–20 spread by production practices, 43, 44–45 and warning labels, 66–67, 98–99 See also Microbes, foodborne; names of bacterial species Bayer, 5, 259, 260 Bayer CropScience, 260 Beachy, Roger, 151, 326n13 Beef ground, 29, 40, 45, 77, 78, 81–84, 97, 101, 102, 104, 125, 283, 284, 286, 288–90, 294–95 imported, 114 irradiated, 122–26, 136 nonintact, 103 rare, 29, 35 See also Hamburger Beef America, 101 Beef industry accountability of, 83, 124, 129 and cattle diseases, 44–45, 135, 187, 249, 250–57, 289 government alliance with, 62, 63, 65, 70–71, 74, 84, 253, 255 government influenced by, 31, 46, 76, 77, 79–80, 91–92, 94 through lobbying, 62, 64, 65, 71, 79, 80, 91, 118 government inspection of, 50–54, 59, 65–66, 70, 71–72, 73, 79, 80–84, 86, 87, 100, 101, 107–11, 134, 136, 257 government regulation of, 62, 63, 65–67, 74–76, 80–84, 283 and fragmentation of regulatory authority, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 70 by HACCP, 63, 67–71, 68, 69, 75, 75, 76, 81, 84–85, 86–92, 94–99, 104–10, 112 largest producer in, 79, 101 and recalls of food products, 53, 87, 100–102, 121, 123, 288–90, 294–95 and resistance to government regulation, 28, 63, 65, 70, 71, 72, 76–77, 82–84, 86, 92, 94, 97, 103–7, 110–12, 120, 295 responsibility denied by, 63, 73, 75–76, 102, 103, 110, 112, 124, 136 and safe handling labels, 66–67, 76–78, 78 and science-based approach, 63 See also Meat processing Beef Packers, Inc., 294 Beets, 278 Belgium, 3, 4, 7, 47 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, 198, 200, 203–4, 204 Berkeley.


pages: 235 words: 65,885

Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg, James Howard (frw) Kunstler

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Fractional reserve banking, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, urban planning

To this day I do not know whether my article was rejected, whether my messages were intercepted by Federal agents, or whether the magazine’s editors’ ambivalence about technology rendered them unable to manage their communications responsibly. The essay was later published in the anthology Living a Life of Value, edited by Jason A. Merchey.16 “Fifty Million Farmers” is the edited text of a speech delivered in November, 2006 to the E. F. Schumacher Society (which has published the full version).17 Over the past few months I have offered essentially the same message to the Ecological Farming Association in Asilomar, California, the National Farmers Union of Canada in Saskatoon, and the Soil Association in Cardiff, Wales. Each time I discussed the likely impacts of Peak Oil and gas for modern agriculture, and emphasized the need for dramatic, rapid reform in our global food system. “Five Axioms of Sustainability” came from many years of frustration over the widespread, careless use of the terms sustainable and sustainability.


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

That was more important to pay attention to than studying that your crops are half a percent better than last year, and we continue to have this preference for bad news. MARTIN FORD: There’s a step-change, though, between real risks and existential risks. RAY KURZWEIL: Well, we’ve also done reasonably well with existential risks from information technology. Forty years ago, a group of visionary scientists saw both the promise and the peril of biotechnology, neither of which was close at hand at the time, and they held the first Asilomar Conference on biotechnology ethics. These ethical standards and strategies have been updated on a regular basis. That has worked very well. The number of people who have been harmed by intentional or accidental abuse or problems with biotechnology has been close to zero. We’re now beginning to get the profound benefit that I alluded to, and that’s going to become a flood over the next decade. That’s a success for this approach of comprehensive ethical standards, and technical strategies on how to keep the technology safe, and much of that is now baked into law.

We’re now beginning to get the profound benefit that I alluded to, and that’s going to become a flood over the next decade. That’s a success for this approach of comprehensive ethical standards, and technical strategies on how to keep the technology safe, and much of that is now baked into law. That doesn’t mean we can cross danger from biotechnology off our list of concerns; we keep coming up with more powerful technologies like CRISPR and we have to keep reinventing the standards. We had our first AI ethics Asilomar conference about 18 months ago where we came up with a set of ethical standards. I think they need further development, but it’s an overall approach that can work. We have to give it a high priority. MARTIN FORD: The concern that’s really getting a lot of attention right now is what’s called the control problem or the alignment problem, where a superintelligence might not have goals that are aligned with what’s best for humanity.


California by Sara Benson

airport security, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, buy and hold, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, Columbine, dark matter, desegregation, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Joan Didion, Khyber Pass, Loma Prieta earthquake, low cost airline, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, planetary scale, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, the new new thing, trade route, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Wall-E, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional

With a gray whale sculpture out front, PG’s Museum of Natural History (Map; 831-648-5716; www.pgmuseum.org; 165 Forest Ave; admission free; 10am-5pm Tue-Sat; ) has old-fashioned exhibits about Big Sur, Native American tribes, sea otters, coastal bird life and butterflies. It’s often overrun by schoolkids. Sleeping Modest motels cluster at the western end of Lighthouse Ave. B&Bs have taken over many historic mansions around downtown and by the beach. Asilomar Conference Grounds (Map; 831-372-8016, 866-654-2878; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave; d $105-195; ) Sprawling over more than 100 acres of sand dunes and pine forests, this state-park conference center is a find. Skip ho-hum motel rooms for historic houses designed by early-20th-century architect Julia Morgan, where cozy, hardwood-floored rooms share a sociable fireplace lounge. Wi-fi in lobby. Beachcomber Inn (Map; 831-373-4769; www.montereypeninsulainns.com; 1996 Sunset Dr; r $127-207; ) It’s hard to find a motel today run by such friendly folks, let alone one with such comfy beds.

On the tip of the Monterey Peninsula, at the northwestern end of Lighthouse Ave, humble-looking Point Pinos Lighthouse (Map; 831-648-5716; adult/child $2/1; 1-4pm Thu-Mon) is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. It has been warning ships off this hazardous point since 1855. Inside are exhibits on its history and its failures – local shipwrecks. It’s an excellent spot for whale-watching from December to April. The lighthouse grounds overlook the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links (Map; 831-648-5775; 77 Asilomar Ave; greens fees $20-45), where black-tailed deer freely range. If you’re in town during monarch season (roughly October to March), the best place to see them cluster by the millions is at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary (Map; 831-648-5716; Ridge Rd; admission free; dawn-dusk), a thicket of trees off Lighthouse Ave. With a gray whale sculpture out front, PG’s Museum of Natural History (Map; 831-648-5716; www.pgmuseum.org; 165 Forest Ave; admission free; 10am-5pm Tue-Sat; ) has old-fashioned exhibits about Big Sur, Native American tribes, sea otters, coastal bird life and butterflies.

Beachcomber Inn (Map; 831-373-4769; www.montereypeninsulainns.com; 1996 Sunset Dr; r $127-207; ) It’s hard to find a motel today run by such friendly folks, let alone one with such comfy beds. It’s an easy stroll over to the beach, or you can borrow a bicycle for free; some rooms even have decks overlooking the dunes. Rates include an extended continental breakfast. The famous seafood restaurant next door (with different owners) is only so-so. Sunset Inn Hotel (Map; 831-375-3529; www.gosunsetinn.com; 133 Asilomar Blvd; d $159-229) At this small motor lodge near the golf course and the beach, the attentive staff will check you into luxuriously redesigned rooms that have king-sized beds. Some are equipped with hot tubs and fireplaces. Wi-fi in common areas. Centrella Inn (Map; 831-372-3372, 800-233-3372; www.centrellainn.com; 612 Central Ave; d $149-309; wi-fi) For a romantic night inside a Victorian seaside mansion, this turreted National Historic Landmark is dreamy, with enchanting gardens and a player piano.


pages: 702 words: 215,002

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Asilomar, clean water, corporate raider, financial independence, haute couture, Menlo Park, rolodex, Saturday Night Live

For now, she would remain an active performer for as long as she could—and would always stay involved with the company even as she devoted herself nearly full-time to the children. But with the Muppets showing no signs of waning in popularity—and Jim increasingly anxious to expand into other media—Jim was going to need help sooner rather than later. That summer, Jim, one-year-old Lisa, and a very pregnant Jane made the trip to the Puppeteers of America convention in Asilomar, California, driving out this time in a much more comfortable but significantly less flashy station wagon. While Jim didn’t necessarily regard this as a recruiting trip, he was always interested in watching others perform and making contacts. His trip to the Detroit convention had sparked a professional friendship with Burr Tillstrom and led him to Bernie Brillstein. The journey to California, however, would mark the beginning of an even more extraordinary relationship.

At age fourteen, then, he had joined Lettie Schubert’s traveling Vagabond Puppets team at the Oakland Recreation Department, then performed regularly—and without pay—at Fairyland Amusement Park, where he struck up a friendship with a young man named Jerry Juhl, five years his senior, and an equally talented performer who had lately become a regular in the Oznowicz home “salon.” Oz had come to the Asilomar convention mainly to perform with Juhl and another Vagabond puppeteer in a show Juhl had written called The Witch Who Stole Thursday; he also wanted to participate in a talent contest, which, predictably, he won. While his parents had met Jim in Detroit a year earlier, Oz knew nothing about him, though he was slightly familiar with the Muppets, thanks to the Wilkins and Wontkins commercials Jim had produced for the regional carbonated drink CalSo.


pages: 761 words: 231,902

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Other viruses, such as smallpox, have both negative characteristics—they are easily contagious and deadly—but have been around long enough that there has been time for society to create a technological protection in the form of a vaccine. Gene engineering, however, has the potential to bypass these evolutionary protections by suddenly introducing new pathogens for which we have no protection, natural or technological. The prospect of adding genes for deadly toxins to easily transmitted, common viruses such as the common cold and flu introduced another possible existential-risk scenario. It was this prospect that led to the Asilomar conference to consider how to deal with such a threat and the subsequent drafting of a set of safety and ethics guidelines. Although these guidelines have worked thus far, the underlying technologies for genetic manipulation are growing rapidly in sophistication. In 2003 the world struggled, successfully, with the SARS virus. The emergence of SARS resulted from a combination of an ancient practice (the virus is suspected of having jumped from exotic animals, possibly civet cats, to humans living in close proximity) and a modern practice (the infection spread rapidly across the world by air travel).

As I mentioned above, the Foresight Institute, as one example, has devised a set of ethical standards and strategies for assuring the development of safe nanotechnology, based on guidelines for biotechnology.43 When gene-splicing began in 1975 two biologists, Maxine Singer and Paul Berg, suggested a moratorium on the technology until safety concerns could be addressed. It seemed apparent that there was substantial risk if genes for poisons were introduced into pathogens, such as the common cold, that spread easily. After a ten-month moratorium guidelines were agreed to at the Asilomar conference, which included provisions for physical and biological containment, bans on particular types of experiments, and other stipulations. These biotechnology guidelines have been strictly followed, and there have not been reported accidents in the thirty-year history of the field. More recently, the organization representing the world's organ transplantation surgeons has adopted a moratorium on the transplantation of vascularized animal organs into humans.


Parks Directory of the United States by Darren L. Smith, Kay Gill

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Asilomar, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donner party, El Camino Real, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hernando de Soto, indoor plumbing, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, oil shale / tar sands, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration

Special Features: Reserve protects and preserves an impressive stand of native Joshua trees and junipers which once grew in great abundance throughout the valley. Today, only remnant parcels of this woodland community remain in the valley; most of it was cleared for farming and housing. ★1519★ ASILOMAR STATE BEACH & CONFERENCE GROUNDS c/o Monterey District Office 2211 Garden Rd Monterey, CA 93940 Web: www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=566 Phone: 831-646-6440 Size: 107 acres. Location: Adjacent to Sunset Drive in Pacific Grove. Facilities: Beach, conference center (including meeting halls, 314 guest rooms, and dining facilities), hiking trails, nature trails (uu). Activities: Fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing. Special Features: Asilomar Beach is a narrow one-mile strip of ★1522★ AZALEA STATE RESERVE c/o North Coast Redwoods District Office PO Box 2006 Eureka, CA 95502 Web: www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=420 Phone: 707-677-3132 Size: 30 acres.

State Parks 313 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 239 110 1 63 194 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 103 96 48 173 245 2 128 143 16 9 80 255 10 11 12 224 93 199 13 5 104 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 260 19 227 228 263 101 233 68 132 134 314 32 147 236 59 137 232 75 56 163 3 222 37 133 17 201 15 206 251 140 169 240 52 161 San Francisco 171 5 40 187 192 202 50 680 119 49 5 91 215 235 43 85 139 214 141 248 13 186 148 223 158 205 102 153 152 86 190 185 38 253 170 219 164 100 257 88 101 162 149 247 144 San Jose 79 175 126 26 196 580 44 95 179 34 58 22 31 25 107 84 112 191 18 94 36 64 30 209 33 213 73 20 90 151 Sacramento 21 159 69 65 193 230 208 252 78 6 176 25 26 27 28 29 122 142 77 69 234 109 229 Lake Tahoe 262 11 82 14 70 238 80 29 117 7 116 154 203 92 120 55 113 146 249 99 23 1 256 46 183 24 Admiral William Standley SRA Ahjumawi Lava Springs SP Anderson Marsh SHP Andrew Molera SP Angel Island SP Annadel SP Año Nuevo SR Antelope Valley California Poppy SR Antelope Valley Indian Museum SHP Anza-Borrego Desert SP Armstrong Redwoods SR Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland SP Asilomar SB & Conference Grounds Auburn SRA Austin Creek SRA Azalea SR Bale Grist Mill SHP Bean Hollow SB Benbow Lake SRA Benicia Capitol SHP Benicia SRA Bethany Reservoir SRA Bidwell Mansion SHP Bidwell-Sacramento River SP Big Basin Redwoods SP Bodie SHP Bolsa Chica SB Border Field SP Bothe-Napa Valley SP 264 39 89 123 167 237 C-1 B-3 D-2 H-2 F-2 E-2 G-2 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 I-6 38 I-6 K-8 E-2 J-6 G-2 D-4 E-2 B-1 E-2 F-2 C-1 E-2 E-2 F-3 C-3 C-3 F-2 E-5 K-6 L-7 E-2 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 Brannan Island SRA Burleigh H.

Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WY). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4283 4284 4396 4397 4441 4440 4442 4439 4495 4496 4494 4537 3056 4536 4653 4654 4704 4705 4775 4776 State Archeological Parks Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site (FL). . . . . . . . . . Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site (WY). . . . . . . . . . . . . Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park (TN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park (TN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1992 4794 4264 4269 State Beaches Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds (CA) . . . . . . . . . . Bean Hollow State Beach (CA). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bolsa Chica State Beach (CA). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cardiff State Beach (CA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carlsbad State Beach (CA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

October 12, 2016. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/10/12/administrations-report-future-artificial-intelligence. Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, Pub. L. No. 106–398, 114 Stat. 1654 (2001). http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-106publ398/html/PLAW-106publ398.htm. French, H. Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Rev. ed. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Future of Life Institute. “Asilomar AI Principles.” Text and signatories available online. https://futureoflife.org/ai-principles/. Gaddis, J. L. The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. . On Grand Strategy. New York: Penguin Press, 2018. Gilder, G. F., and Ray Kurzweil. Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong AI. edited by Jay Wesley Richards. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2001.


pages: 332 words: 109,213

The Scientist as Rebel by Freeman Dyson

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, dark matter, double helix, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, undersea cable

Why did they not at least try to achieve a consensus of physicists against nuclear weapons before it was too late? Perhaps they would have acted, if Joseph Rotblat had been there to urge them on. Thirty-six years later, the sudden discovery of recombinant DNA technology presented a challenge to biologists, similar to the challenge which the discovery of fission had presented to physicists. The biologists promptly organized an international meeting at Asilomar, at which they hammered out an agreement to limit and regulate the uses of the dangerous new technology. It took only a few brave spirits, with Maxine Singer in the lead, to formulate a set of ethical guidelines which the international community of biologists accepted. What happened at George Washington University in 1939 was quite different. No brave spirits emerged from the community of physicists at the meeting.


pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

Is this the answer to Dr. Frankenstein’s dream?” There is no little irony that today Cambridge promotes itself as “one of the world’s major biotech centers.” Needless to say, more than forty years after gene splicing was invented, no plagues, much less epidemics of infectious cancer, have emerged from the world’s biotech labs. In the context of this furor, some 140 molecular biologists convened in 1975 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, to draft guidelines for conducting gene-splicing experiments. They self-consciously thought that they were avoiding what they saw as the mistakes made a generation earlier by Manhattan Project nuclear physicists when they unleashed the power of the atom. The initially restrictive guidelines have been greatly relaxed, not least because it turns out that microorganisms are natural and promiscuous exchangers of genes.


Western USA by Lonely Planet

airport security, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Donner party, East Village, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, intermodal, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, Maui Hawaii, off grid, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supervolcano, trade route, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar

InterContinental–Clement HOTEL $$$ ( 831-375-4500; www.intercontinental.com; 750 Cannery Row; r $200-455; ) Like an upscale version of a millionaire’s seaside clapboard house, this sparkling resort presides over Cannery Row. For utmost luxury, book an ocean-view suite with a balcony and private fireplace, then breakfast in bayfront C Restaurant. Parking $18. Asilomar Conference Grounds LODGE $$ ( 831-372-8016; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove; r incl breakfast $115-175; ) Coastal state-park lodge has buildings designed by architect Julia Morgan, of Hearst Castle fame. Historic rooms are small and thin-walled, but charming nonetheless. The lodge’s fireside rec room has ping-pong and pool tables. Bicycle rentals available. Monterey Hotel HOTEL $$$ ( 831-375-3184; www.montereyhotel.com; 406 Alvarado St; r $70-310; ) Right downtown, this quaint 1904 edifice harbors small, somewhat noisy but freshly renovated rooms sporting reproduction Victorian furniture.


pages: 469 words: 142,230

The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus

A number of these people – Ken Caldeira, Jim Galloway, David Keith, Ben Kravitz, Tim Kruger, John Latham, Jim Lovelock, David Morrison, Phil Rasch, Matt Watson, Jim Galloway, David Victor – are due extra thanks for reading and commenting on part or all of the book; and particular thanks in this regard go to Olivia Judson, my brother John Morton and Francis Spufford. They all made it better; all the reasons that it is not better still are my own. On top of the opportunities to listen, talk and socialise at various geoengineering meetings and summer schools in Asilomar, Berlin, Big Sur, Calgary, both Cambridges, Edinburgh, Heidelberg, Lisbon, Oxford, Potsdam, Santa Cruz and Waterloo, I have enjoyed similar stimulation at the Breakthrough Dialogues convened by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. I am also very grateful to NCAR for a media fellowship in 2009 and to the Skoll Foundation and Sundance Institute for their ‘Stories of Change’ project. At a number of these venues it has been a pleasure to work alongside various other writers interested in this most fascinating topic, including Catherine Brahic, Jamais Cascio, Christopher Cokinos, Jeff Goodell, Eli Kintisch, Fred Pearce, Andy Revkin, Jon Vidal and Gaia Vince.


pages: 568 words: 174,089

The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, Alan Wolfe

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American ideology, anti-communist, Asilomar, collective bargaining, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, full employment, Joseph Schumpeter, long peace, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, one-China policy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Thorstein Veblen, Vilfredo Pareto

See Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York: Macmillan, 1922), which is still the best account of this aspect of the media. Cf. especially pp. 1–25 and 59–121. 8. Cf. Gerth and Mills, Character and Social Structure (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1953), pp. 84 ff. 9. J. Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1931) p. 360. 10. Cf. Mills, ‘Work Milieu and Social Structure,’ a speech to ‘The Asilomar Conference’ of the Mental Health Society of Northern California, March 1954, reprinted in their bulletin, People At Work: A Symposium, pp. 20 ff. 11. A. E. Bestor, Educational Wastelands (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois, 1953), p. 7. Cf. also p. 80. 14. The Conservative Mood 1. Cf. Karl Mannheim, Essays on Sociology and Social Psychology (Edited and translated by Paul Kecskemeti) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), Chapter II: ‘Conservative Thought,’ pp. 74 ff. 2.


pages: 659 words: 203,574

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge

anthropic principle, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, low earth orbit, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, MITM: man-in-the-middle, source of truth, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge

What he really wanted to ask was why Bertie had pushed him into this, but he knew that any sort of direct question along those lines might provoke a Freeze Out. “Don’t worry, Juan. She’d do good work on any team. I’ve been watching her.” That last was news to Juan. Aloud he said, “I know she has a stupid brother over in senior high.” “Heh! William the Goofus? He is a dud, but he’s not really her brother, either. No, Miri Gu is smart and tough. Did you know she grew up at Asilomar?” “In a detention camp?” “Yup. Well, she was only a baby. But her parents knew just a bit too much.” That had happened to lots of Chinese-Americans during the war, the ones who knew the most about military technologies. But it was also ancient history. Bertie was being more shocking than informative. “Well, okay.” No point in pushing. At least, Bertie let me on his unlimited team. Almost home.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

Now it seems to me that an AI capable of language, abstract thought, creativity, environmental interaction, originality, prediction, invention, discovery, and above all self-improvement, is well beyond the point where it needs also to be Friendly. The Dartmouth Proposal makes no mention ofbuilding nicejgoodjbenevolent AI. Questions of safety are not mentioned even for the purpose of dismissing them. This, even in that bright summer, when human-level AI seemed just around the comer. The Dartmouth Proposal was written in 1955, before the Asilomar conference on biotechnology, thalidomide babies, Chemobyl, or 1 1 September. If today the idea of artificial intelligence were proposed for the first time, then someone would demand to know what specifically was being done to manage the risks. I am not saying whether this is a good change or a bad change in our culture. I am not saying whether this produces good or bad science. But the point remains that if the Dartmouth Proposal had been written fifty years later, one of the topics would have been safety.


USA Travel Guide by Lonely, Planet

1960s counterculture, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big-box store, bike sharing scheme, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, edge city, El Camino Real, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, global village, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, immigration reform, information trail, interchangeable parts, intermodal, jitney, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mars Rover, Mason jar, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, Menlo Park, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, off grid, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, supervolcano, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, the payments system, trade route, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar

InterContinental–Clement HOTEL $$$ ( 831-375-4500; www.intercontinental.com; 750 Cannery Row; r $200-455; ) Like an upscale version of a millionaire’s seaside clapboard house, this sparkling resort presides over Cannery Row. For utmost luxury, book an ocean-view suite with a balcony and private fireplace, then breakfast in bayfront C Restaurant. Parking $18. Asilomar Conference Grounds LODGE $$ ( 831-372-8016; www.visitasilomar.com; 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove; r incl breakfast $115-175; ) Coastal state-park lodge has buildings designed by architect Julia Morgan, of Hearst Castle fame. Historic rooms are small and thin-walled, but charming nonetheless. The lodge’s fireside rec room has ping-pong and pool tables. Bicycle rentals available. Monterey Hotel HOTEL $$$ ( 831-375-3184; www.montereyhotel.com; 406 Alvarado St; r $70-310; ) Right downtown, this quaint 1904 edifice harbors small, somewhat noisy but freshly renovated rooms sporting reproduction Victorian furniture.