Modern Cosmism Conference @ New York Society for Ethical Culture
Oct 10 all-day

Cosmism was originated in Russia more than a hundred years ago. That was an esoteric futuristic philosophy about post-humanity, technological immortality, resurrection and cosmic expansion. Early cosmists proposed the idea of decompaction (lightweighting) of the human body, that eventually wouldn’t need an atmosphere and would be powered directly by solar energy. They call it “radiant humanity” – a perfect society of highly moral and super-conscious beings merging and colonizing the whole Universe.

Modern Cosmism brings to the original doctrine the ontological foundation, a scientific structure and a deeper comprehension of possible technology aims to create in the future a new synthetic reality where the concepts of truth, consciousness, freedom and happiness will be deeply revised.

The conference will review the critical question about a meeting with advanced extraterrestrial  civilizations and suggest few hypothesis about their “eerie silence”. We will touch some related problems in cosmology, and astrophysics such as the shape and future of the Universe, black hole information paradox, multidimensional space, dark energy and interpretation of quantum mechanics. Are they a separate arrow of time? Are there exceptions to the principle of causality?

Like no other area of philosophy and technology before, Modern Cosmism raises fundamental questions about the post human nature and how it will be connected to the reality. Is the structure of reality included the consciousness? Is a non biological hardware can support the consciousness? How we can define Cosmic Evolution and what is the role of intelligent life?

The conference will address important philosophical issues that arise with the future design of artificial consciousness, mind uploading and cyber-immortality.  How will our concepts of subjectivity, perception, and morality change, if we will live in virtual reality of mega-consciousness environment where individuals can experience multiple presence, personality and have no gender. Will we be able to create super intelligent agents with consciousness and feelings? What are the limits of artificial capacities or functional simulations we should create?  Could we enhance our own humanity by genetically redesign our nature?

Our keynote and plenary speakers are well-known international protagonists of Cosmism, Transhumanism and interdisciplinary researchers.  Their lectures will discuss the most important current issues of Modern Cosmism from the point of view of philosophy,  technology, ethics, robotics, psychology, and anthropology.

Ben Goertzel Ph.D. is the author of “Cosmists Manifesto”. He is Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC, which is a privately held software company, and bioinformatics company Biomind LLC, which is a company that provides advanced AI for bioinformatic data analysis (especially microarray and SNP data); Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+; Scientific Advisor of biopharma firm Genescient Corp.; Advisor to the Singularity University; Research Professor in the Fujian Key Lab for Brain-Like Intelligent Systems at Xiamen University, China; and general Chair of the Artificial General Intelligence conference series.

Giulio Prisco is former senior manager in the European Space Agency, Prisco is a physicist and computer scientist. He served as a member on the board of directors of World Transhumanist Association, of which he was temporarily executive director, and continues to serve as a member on the board of directors of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and of the Associazione Italiana Transumanisti. He is also a founding member of the Order of Cosmic Engineers, and the Turing Church, fledgling organizations which claim that the benefits of a technological singularity, which would come from accelerating change, should or would be viable alternatives to the promises of major religious groups.

James J. Hughes Ph.D. served as the executive director of the World Transhumanist Association (which has since changed its name to Humanity+) from 2004 to 2006, and currently serves as the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, which he founded with Nick Bostrom. He also produces the syndicated weekly public affairs radio talk show program Changesurfer Radio and contributed to the Cyborg Democracy blog. Hughes’ book Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future was published by Westview Press in November 2004