Jamais Cascio is one of the world’s top 100 thinkers according to Foreign Policy. He writes and speaks on a variety of topics from technology and global warming, to war, nuclear proliferation, ethics, and sustainable development. Thus my goal was to discuss most of those topics for, in one way or another, they are relevant to our future. Unfortunately, I got tangled up in our discussion of the singularity and we spent most of our time on that topic. The good news, however, is that I am planning to use this as an excuse and invite Jamais to come back again on Singularity 1 on 1.
During our conversation with Jamais Cascio, we cover a wide variety of topics such as his personal story of becoming “an easily distracted generalist;” his undergraduate and graduate training in history, anthropology, and political science; his views on the singularity community in general and the technological singularity and Singularity University in particular; his criticism that creators of new technology rarely consider the ethical and political implications of their inventions; what he means by saying “if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of the singularity;” the benefits of irrationality and biology; mind uploading versus human augmentation; the lack of agency and assumed machine perfection as some of the most upsetting aspects of the singularity…
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Who is Jamais Cascio?
Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Thinkers, Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies, environmental dilemmas, and cultural transformation, specializing in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. His work focuses on the importance of long-term, systemic thinking as a catalyst for building a more resilient society. Cascio’s work appears in publications as diverse as the Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy. He has been featured in a variety of television programs on future issues, including National Geographic Television’s SIX DEGREES, its 2008 documentary on the effects of global warming, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2010 documentary SURVIVING THE FUTURE. Cascio speaks about future possibilities around the world, at venues including the Aspen Environment Forum, Guardian Activate Summit in London, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC, and TED.
In 2009, Cascio published his first non-fiction book, Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering, praised by Foreign Policy as “the most subtle analysis yet on the subject.” Cascio has long worked in the field of foresight strategy. In the 1990s, he served as technology specialist at scenario planning pioneer Global Business Network, and later went on to craft scenarios on topics including energy, nuclear proliferation, and sustainable development. Cascio is presently a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, and also serves as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
In 2003, he co-founded WorldChanging.com, the award-winning website dedicated to finding and calling attention to models, tools and ideas for building a “bright green” future. In March, 2006, he started Open the Future as his online home, writing about subjects as diverse as robot ethics and the carbon footprint of cheeseburgers.