Vital Progress "VP" Summit — Invited Keynote Participates
Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. (Confirmed)
Robert A. Freitas Jr., J.D. (Confirmed)
Raymond Kurzweil (Confirmed)
Max More, Ph.D. (Confirmed)
Prof. Marvin Minsky (Confirmed)
Christine Peterson (Confirmed)
Prof. Michael D. Shapiro (Confirmed)
Lee Silver, Ph.D. (Confirmed)
Gregory Stock, Ph.D. (Confirmed)
Natasha Vita-More (Confirmed)
Roy L. Walford, M.D. (Confirmed)
Michael West, Ph.D. (Confirmed)
View keynote Participants
Summit Now On! Read Keynote Statements here.
The summit will have three (3) levels of participation:
All levels of participation are vitally important, as everyone who attends the VP Summit will have an opportunity to voice his or her views, respond to keynote statements, and work with us to author a final deliverable response to President Bush's Bioethics Council's Report, Beyond Therapy.
Ray Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office, in 2002, and received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the nation’s largest award in invention and innovation. He also received the 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He has also received scores of other national and international awards, including the 1994 Dickson Prize (Carnegie Mellon University’s top science prize), Engineer of the Year from Design News, Inventor of the Year from MIT, and the Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. He has received eleven honorary Doctorates and honors from three U.S. presidents. He has received seven national and international film awards. His book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, was named Best Computer Science Book of 1990. His current best-selling book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence has been published in nine languages and achieved the #1 best selling book on Amazon in the categories of "Science" and "Artificial Intelligence."
"The central goal of my work is to expedite the development of a true cure for human aging. In my view, the main obstacle to developing such technology is the position of biogerontology at the boundary between basic science and medicine: the fundamental knowledge necessary to develop truly effective anti-aging medicine mostly exists, but the goal-directed frame of mind that is best suited to turning research findings into tools is very different from the curiosity-driven ethos that generated those findings in the first place. As a scientist with a training in an engineering discipline (computer science), I am unusually well placed to bridge this gap. I attempt to do so in three main ways: I do basic biogerontology research, I identify and promote specific technological approaches to the reversal (not merely the prevention) of various aspects of aging, and I argue in a wide range of fora (extending well beyond biologists) for the adoption of a more proactive approach to extending the healthy human lifespan sooner rather than later."
International Association of Biomedical Gerontology (Board of
Rejuvenation Research (editor-in-chief)
Robert A. Freitas Jr., J.D., published the first detailed technical design study of a medical nanorobot ever published in a peer-reviewed mainstream biomedical journal and is the author of Nanomedicine, the first book-length technical discussion of the medical applications of nanotechnology and medical nanorobotics. Volume I was published in October 1999 by Landes Bioscience while Freitas was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in Palo Alto, California. Freitas published Volume IIA in October 2003 with Landes Bioscience, and is completing Volumes IIB and III, as a Research Scientist at Zyvex Corp., a nanotechnology company headquartered in Richardson, Texas. He is also consulting on molecular assembler design at Zyvex.
Much in demand as a writer, speaker and consultant on the impact of advanced, emerging, and future technologies, Dr. More co-founded Extropy Institute - a multidisciplinary network of innovative thinkers committed to creating solutions to enduring human problems from aging to poverty to individual, organizational, and social weaknesses in decision making. He served as President of Extropy Institute from 1992 until 2003, and became its Chair in 2003.
More is also Director of Content Solutions at ManyWorlds, Inc., "Leading the revolution in business value creation." ManyWorlds' focus is on the intersection of strategy, innovation, and futures thinking. ManyWorlds offers executive consulting, seminars, the unique content management application Epiture, as well as Manyworld.com — the premier source for business thought leadership.
Recent writing & talks include:
Extropy" (version 3.1).
Marvin Minsky is Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has led to both theoretical and practical advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, neural networks, and the theory of Turing Machines and recursive functions. (In 1961 he solved Emil Post's problem of "Tag", and showed that any computer can be simulated by a machine with only two registers and instructions to increment, decrement and jump on zero.) He has made major contributions in the domains of symbolic graphical description, computational geometry, knowledge representation, computational semantics, machine perception, symbolic and connectionist learning. He has also been involved with many studies of advanced technologies for space exploration.
Professor Minsky was also one of the pioneers of intelligence-based mechanical robotics and telepresence. He designed and built some of the first mechanical hands with tactile sensors, visual scanners, and their software and computer interfaces. He also influenced many robotic projects outside of MIT, and designed and built the first LOGO "turtle."
In 1951 he built the first randomly wired neural network learning machine (called SNARC, for Stochastic Neural-Analog Reinforcement Computer), based on the reinforcement of simulated synaptic transmission coefficients. When a Junior Fellow at Harvard, he invented and built the first Confocal Scanning Microscope, an optical instrument with unprecedented resolution and image quality.
Turing Award, Association for Computing Machinery, 1970
Christine Peterson writes, lectures, and briefs the media on coming powerful technologies, especially nanotechnology. She is cofounder and President of Foresight Institute, a nonprofit which educates the public, technical community, and policymakers on nanotechnology and its long-term effects.
She directs the Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, organizes the Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, and chairs the Foresight Gatherings.
She lectures on nanotechnology to a wide variety of audiences, focusing on making this complex field understandable, and on clarifying the difference between near-term commercial advances and the "Next Industrial Revolution" arriving in the next few decades.
Dorothy W. Nelson Professor of Law, University of Southern California Law School. b.1938. B.A., 1959, U.C.L.A.; M.A., 1962; J.D., 1964, University of Chicago Law School. Associate Editor, University of Chicago Law Review. Admitted: California, 1965. Associate Attorney, Swerdlow, Glikbarg & Shimer, 1965-68; Lecturer, USC Law School, 1966; Staff Attorney, California Rural Legal Assistance, 1968; Acting Director of Litigation, Assistant Director of Litigation and Staff Attorney, Western Center on Law & Poverty, 1968-71; Visiting Associate Professor, USC Law School, 1970; Associate Professor, USC Law School, 1970-75; Professor, 1975-82; Visiting Professor, Yale Law School, 1975-76; Visiting Professor, U.C.L.A. Law School, Fall 1977; Ben Gurion Lecturer, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1981; Dorothy W. Nelson Professor of Law, USC Law School, since 1982. Subjects: Bioethics and Law; Constitutional Law; Medicine and Law. Member/Activities: Order of the Coif; Phi Beta Kappa; Institutional Review Board, Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, since 1989; Member, Pacific Council for Health Policy and Ethics; Reviewer, U.S. Department of Energy (Proposals to Study the Human Genome Project), 1990-92; Advisory Panel to the Joint Committee on Surrogate Parenting of the California Legislature, 1989.
Dr. Lee M. Silver is a Professor at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a member of the "Program in Science, Technology & Environmental Policy," the "Center for Health and Well-being," and the "Office of Population Research," at the Woodrow Wilson School. He is the author of "Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family" published in 15 languages. He teaches an under-graduate course "Human Genetics, Reproduction, and Public Policy" (WWS 320) and a graduate seminar "Biotechnology Policy" (WWS 586a). His research interests include topics covered in both of his courses as well as a social and political analysis of the influence of popular belief systems and religion on the acceptance of biotechnology, and the influence of biotechnology on popular belief systems concerning humanity, life, and soul.
Dr. Gregory Stock is the Director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at UCLA’s School of Public Health. In this role he explores critical technologies poised to have large impacts on humanity’s future and the shape of medical science. His goal has been to bring about a broad public debate on these technologies and their implications, leading to wise public policies surrounding their realization. Of particular interest to the program are the implications for society, medicine, and business of the human genome project and associated developments emerging from today’s revolution in molecular genetics and bioinformatics. The Storefront Genome, the symposium he convened in January 2003 to consider the broad challenges that cheap, easy access to our genetic constitutions will bring drew wide media attention, and his 1998 look at the possibilities of manipulating the genetics of human embryos, the first major public discussion of this issue among distinguished scientists, opened a global debate on this then taboo topic.
A prolific author and recognized authority on the impact of new technologies on human society, Professor. Stock’s 2002 book, Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future with Houghton Mifflin, won the Kistler Book Prize for Science books and was nominated for a Wired Rave Award. Among his other books are Engineering The Human Germline for Oxford University Press, Metaman, for Simon & Schuster, and the best seller, The Book of Questions, which has been translated into seventeen languages, and is now in its fifty-fifth printing. Sequels to that book include The Book of Questions: Business, Politics, and Ethics and a new book that will explore how coming technologies will reshape our everyday lives.
Dr. Stock has been an invited speaker to numerous academic, government, and business conferences, sits on the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics, and was asked to submit an Advisory Memo to the President on the challenges of the next century. He makes regular appearances on television and radio, including CNN, PBS, NPR, Bloomberg, and the BBC. He has debated biotech policy with Jeremy Rifkin, Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama, and other prominent voices who would rein in biomedical research, and he is hosting a television special later this year on key figures in today’s biotech revolution.
Gregory Stock has a Doctorate in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Harvard University and currently has appointments at Princeton University and UCLA’s School of Public Health.
Ronald Bailey, science correspondent
Mr. Bailey edited Earth Report 2000: Revisiting The True State of The Planet (McGraw Hill, 1999), and is the author of ECOSCAM: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse (St. Martins Press, 1993). In 1995, he edited The True State of the Planet (The Free Press).
He has produced several series and documentaries for PBS television and ABC News. Bailey was the 1993 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Commentary, The New York Times Book Review, The Public Interest, Smithsonian magazine, National Review, Forbes, The Washington Times, Newsday, and Readers Digest. He has lectured at Harvard University, Rutgers University, McGill University, University of Alaska, Universite de Quebec, the Cato Institute, the Instituto de Libertad y Desarrollo (Chile), and the American Enterprise Institute.
He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Dr. West is President and CEO, Advanced Cell Technology. He received his B.S. degree from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in 1976, his M.S. degree in biology from Andrews University, and his Ph.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1989 studying the molecular biology of cell senescence. He has been the founder of two biotechnology companies, first Geron Corporation of Menlo Park, California and later Origen Therapeutics of South San Francisco, California. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Origen.
Natasha Vita-More, artist and author, received international recognition for her conceptualized new human prototype, "Primo 3M+ Posthuman." This design combines the aesthetic engineering of science and technology, advanced robotics, and prosthetics as replaceable body parts that are upgraded, augmented and streamlined.
Natasha has been called a role model for "superlongevity." Said to be a combination of "Duchamp, Madonna and Schwarzenegger" by The Atlantic Monthly Online, she has been featured on BBC, Dateline, PBS, TLC, Discovery, has appeared on national talk shows, and featured in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Shift, Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire, which feature cover story quotes "Voglio vivere fino a 120 anni".
She founded the Transhumanist Arts movement in 1983 and Manifesto, now onboard the Cassini spacecraft heading toward Saturn. She self-published Create/Recreat: The 3rd Millennial Culture covering the beginnings and culture of transhumanity (1997); and 1-on-One Fitness (2004), a fitness guide for women. Most immediate to Natasha is writing and lecturing about the ideological splits facing superlongevity, the aesthetics in our highly technological future, and its effects on culture. These ideas helped to establish the Extropy Institute 2004 Vital Progress Summit.
Her fine art and videos has been exhibited at Brooks Memorial Museum, Telluride Film Festival, Women In Video, United States Film Festival, and London Contemporary Museum. Natasha received her BFA at University of Memphis, lectured at Accademia Belle Arti in Italy and Academy of Art and Design, Tallinn, Estonia; and currently she is working on a Masters of Science.
Dr. Walford has been Professor of Pathology at the UCLA School of Medicine since 1966. Other positions have included: from 1962-72, Director of the School of Medical Technology, UCLA Hospital, 1971-80, Director of UCLA Blood Bank, 1990-94, Chief of Medical Operations, Space Biospheres Ventures (Biosphere 2), Oracle, Arizona, and visiting Professor of Surgery, University of Arizona. Advisor to the World Health Organization in Immunology; Counselor to all the International Histocompatibility Workshops; Senatorial Delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1981; Fulbright Research Scholar (for study in Germany, 1960, laboratory of Otto Westphal), and a Commonwealth Fund Fellow (for study in France, 1968, laboratory of Nobelist Jean Dausset). He was the physician inside Biosphere 2 during its first two years of closure, 1991-93.
Dr. Walford's scientific career has been focused largely on research into the biology of aging. He has received various honors and awards, including the Levine Award of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, the Research Award of the American Aging Association, the Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America, the Henderson Award from the American Geriatrics Society, The Senator Alan Cranston Award, and the Infinity Award of the the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Asteroid #4629 was named after him by its discoverer (E. Helene) in 1986.
His membership in scientific societies include: the American Aging Association, Gerontological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Blood Banks, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, New York Academy of Sciences, and the Explorer's Club (New York).
Television interviews have included featured appearances on the following: In Search Of; Omni's The New Frontier; Nova; the BBC's On Aging; The Merv Griffin Show; Good Morning America; the PBS's War On Aging; CNN's On Aging; ABC's "20/20 Special on Aging"; Canadian TV's The Originals; Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer; and more recently, The Learning Channel (1995): Ultrascience: Forever Young; NBC's Dateline(1995); the BBC's Life Without End (1996); Discovery Magazine (1997); the Discovery Channel (1997); and PBS's Life and Times Tonight,: Science and Aging (1998). Books include: Walford, R.L. Maximum Life Span. W.W. Norton & Co. N.Y. 1983; and Walford, R.L. Beyond The 120-Year Diet. Four Walls Eight Windows, N.Y. 2000
Invited Keynote Participants (as of 02/15/04)
Juan Enriquez, Chairman and CEO of Biotechnology; former
Director of Life Sciences, Harvard Business