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TransVision Thursday Keynote William Shatner

26 July 2007 (updated 12 June 2020)

TransVision Thursday Keynote William Shatner

I’m in Chicago for TransVision 2007. Here are some notes and thoughts from Ray Kurzweil’s keynote.

William Shatner began with the star trek intro about “space, the final frontier.” He spoke about the importance of innovation and imagination. Keep exploring. The WTA is very trek-like.

It holds that we cannot only survive, but thrive. The refusal to accept the status quo has moved us forward. There is a loss of predictibility. Change is about exploring.

Demand innovation from ourselves and others. No one gets change better than Transhumanists. We turn whispy ideas into concrete reality. Actors should not get the attention.

Rather, the persons doing the work should get attention. Why should we care about science fiction? We are transforming star trek ideas into real working concepts. Imagination can change the world.

Art is not limitating life. Life is imitating art. We’ve been willing to make mistakes. We are willing to look stupid.

If we don’t make mistakes, how do we learn? If we don’t learn, how do we achieve? Children learn because they make mistakes and continue. We shouldn’t make the same mistakes – that’s insanity.

We can’t let fear of failure paralyze us. Every innovation was preceded by mistakes. Never blindly take orders. Be curious.

Why? Why? We should ask ourselves, our politicians, our bosses. Why?

GPS systems don’t like when things move, because they become clueless. The world changes. As we follow the gps, we wonder: who is in charge? I, the human, am following the machine?

What makes it so smart? We have a love-hate dilemma with our machines. There’s too much to know and there are no know-it-alls. The reasonable man adapts to the world.

The unreasonable man adapts the world to him. Progress depends on the unreasonable man. We should all be a bit unreasonable. If we were not curious, where would we be?

Hunter gatherers have transformed themselves into today’s amazing world. If we were not unreasonable, we would still be cave bound or dead.

  1. Look stupid.
  2. Be curious.
  3. Use discomfort to breed brilliance.

Things are moving so fast that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Common news headlines reveal rapid scorching change. We’ll be pushed out of our comfort zones. If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.

Adapt or die. We seem to be a species adapted for adaptibility. That is the only thing that seems to be different between us and extinct creatures. We’ll take some lumps as the future comes, but if we do nothing, we’ll be selected out.

We are the descendents of the smaller apes, not the larger. Why did the smaller succeed? They fashioned the first tool as a knife. They used flint to make fire. Teeth in the bigger apes took thousands of years, whereas the tools came relatively quickly to the smaller ape.

Invention itself arose from this. It brought both solutions and problems. It has brought all of our contemporary challenges. What about all the wild ideas of the future?

We have big problems coming, and we’re struggling to keep up. It is a race of education. That’s what this convention is about. There is reason to be optimistic.

Regardless of our position on intelligent design, maybe the time has come for we humans to practice some intelligent design of our own? If we don’t, we’re in for trouble.

Other Sessions

Here are my other other notes and thoughts from TransVision 2007:

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