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Acceleration-Relevant Conferences


ASF Conferences



Special Interest Group (SIG) Goals



Acceleration-Relevant Conferences

See also the conference list at the ASF community directory.


ASF Conferences

The Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF) produces two periodic conferences.

The first, Evo Devo Universe, networks scientists and systems theorists who study evolutionary and developmental processes in universal change. We believe better scholarship and critique can help us understand what is intrisincally unpredictable (evolutionary process) and what is predictable (developmental process), and thereby improve our foresight and management of accelerating processes of planetary change. See Evo Devo Universe 2008 for details.

The second, Accelerating Change, is an occasional conference geared for a general and business audience. It promotes analysis, forecasting, informed speculation, and social advocacy with regard to understanding and management of continuous accelerating change. See the ASF website for more details.


Goals of ASF Conferences, Seminars, and SIGs (Special Interest Groups):

Beginning with currently acceleration-aware futurist communities, ASF is seeking to establish Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in the study and discussion of accelerating change at a selection of annual scientific, technology, business, and social futures conferences. We seek to:

Increase multidisciplinary research interest in accelerating change.

Develop and assist any existing conferences, programs, and institutions that are beginning to explore acceleration and phase transition metrics, mechanisms and implications.

Promote critical discussion of the phenomenon of local accelerating change as a universally-driven, apparently statistically inevitable developmental process (developmental singularity hypothesis) and one which may lead to autonomous, human-surpassing machine intelligence (technological singularity hypothesis).

Identify and network various writers, technologists, students, faculty, departments, and institutions which have demonstrated past evidence of interest in these topics.


Acceleration-Relevant Conferences

Below are a sample of conferences in eight broad categories which provide important background and context for models of locally accelerating change, many of which may be expected to develop some level of discussion of accelerating change and phase transition processes in coming years. If you discover other likely candidates, please let us know:

1. Astrophysics
2. Biology and Medicine
3. Business
4. Complexity Studies
5. Computer Science—Hardware
6. Computer Science—Software
7. Foresight and Futures Studies
8. Technology and Society

Scientific conference search:

1. Astrophysics
Cosmology, and Astrobiology Conferences

A number of cosmic evolutionary models now incorporate exponential local change in various metrics, such as Eric Chaisson's free energy rate density (Cosmic Evolution, 2001). The multiple universes cosmologists, such as Lee Smolin and Martin Rees, are also beginning to formulate developmental acceleration models. Astrobiologists have also published a few papers on life as a multi-locally accelerating process, and the trajectory of that intelligence has major implications for SETI. With its tremendous annual influx of new astronomical data, strong theoretical complement, deep interest in the origins, structure, and future of life, and multidisciplinary approach, astrobiology (and a subfield, computational astrobiology) is quickly becoming the most important new academic community uncovering and confronting evidence of universal multi-local accelerating change (physical singularities within black holes are, of course, also in this category. Examples:

AAAS DoSER Conference: Cosmic Questions (Last: April 1999, Washington, DC)
American Physical Society (APS)
(March 18-22, 2002 Indianapolis, IN; April 20-23, Albuquerque, NM)
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
(July 13-18, St. Paul, MN)
(July 8-12, 2002, Great Barrier Reef, Australia)
Black Holes III
(May 19-23, 2001 Kananaskis, Alberta, CANADA)
: Cultures of the Imagination (March 2-4, Santa Clara, CA)
ESA: First European Workshop on Exo/Astrobiology (May 21-23, Frascati, Italy)
Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics (Spacetime Structure) (May 21-25, Ann Arbor, MI)
NASA Annual Astrobiology Science Conference (April 7-11, Moffett Field, CA)
Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting, 16th (PCGM) (March 9-10, 2001 Santa Barbara, CA)
UW Astrobiology (August 5-8, Crystal Mountain, WA)

2. Biology and Medicine
Evolutionary, Developmental, Comparative, Theoretical, and Systems Biology Conferences

Evolutionary development, or "evo-devo," is the paradigm where evolution at all scales is understood to occur within, and be substantially constrained by a framework of statistically predetermined development (self-organization). Biological systems provide our best evidence and most detailed models for how to apply the lessons of developmentalism to universal change and the observed continuous local accleration of that change. Unfortunately, there is currently a significant conceptual gap between most evolutionary biologists, who frequently view change as a "random" or "accidental" process (with the exception of a minority who now combine insights in neutral theory and self-organization), and developmental biologists, with the latter generally having a much better understanding of universal change, able to discriminate the evolutionary (random) and developmental (causal, in a probabilistic sense) components of change in the systems they study. Assuming that the universe itself is such an evolutionary developmental system, much will be learned in coming years from uncovering the secrets of developmental biology. Indeed, two of the greatest remaining mysteries of scientific understanding, galactic development and embryonic development, may be more than superficially linked at a systems level. In general, developmental models are still only superficially applied to substrates above or below that of the biological organism, with a few notable exceptions, such as the emerging field of developmental genetic programming. Examples:

Ecological Society of America (ESA) (August 5-9, 2002, Tucson, AZ)
Internt'l Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ICMTB) (July 16-19, Hilo, HI)
Internat'l Conference on Systematic and Evolutionary Biology (ICSEB) (September 9-16, 2002, Patras, Greece)
Internat'l Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB) (November 4-7, Pasadena, CA)
Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) (January 26-29, Long Beach, CA)
Society for Developmental Biology (July 18-22, Seattle, CA)
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) (January 2-6, 2002, Anaheim, CA)
Society for Study of Evolution/ASN/SSB (June 26-30, Knoxville, TN)
West Coast Developmental Biology Conference
(May 11-13, Lake Arrowhead, CA)

3. Business
Investment, Economics, Management, and Organizational Behavior Conferences

Like the semiconductor engineers since the 1960's, the general business community is now acutely discovering the impact of accelerating change since 1995, due to the explosive growth of the internet. As Andy Groves has said, "internet time" is real and here to stay. Yet the U.S. has also recently suffered a major financial bubble because we collectively misinterpreted signs of accelerating technologic change to develop an unrealistic expectation (mass delusion?) of parallel accelerating increase in market capitalization. As any careful investment analyst will tell you, these two emergent properties (business technology and market cap) are only rarely tightly coupled, and understanding their complex relationship within each investment environment is paramount. A few business consultants and theorists, such as Ichak Adizes, have been analyzing accelerating change as a fundamental constant of business transformation since the 1970's. It remains true that we will see explosive growth in this area in coming decades, as cheaper and higher bandwidth, storage, wireless access, pervasive computation, and other emergences shift our entire productive environment into technologic (not social) hyperdrive. One principle remains true: Shrinking the time necessary and relevant information available for all complex transactions is the most immediate path to improving business productivity. Examples:

Accelerating Change in the Information Economy (Feb 7-8, 2001 Los Angeles, CA)
Adizes Graduate School's Business Analysis Conferences (July and August 2001, Santa Barbara, CA)
Dynamic Visions (Reason Magazine) (February 19-21, 2000 Santa Clara, CA)
Probing the Future: Organizational Foresight in the Knowledge Economy (July 11-13, 2002, Glasgow, United Kingdom)
International InfoMesa Summit: Complexity and Business (August 27-30, 2001, Santa Fe, NM)
Nanotechnology Briefing (Red Herring) (Sept 24, 2001, Boston, MA)
Society of Quantitative Analysts, Annual Fuzzy Day Seminar (June 14, New York, NY)
Telecosm (Gilder/Forbes) (Nov 4-6, 2001, San Francisco, CA)

4. Complexity Studies
Complexity, Systems Theory, Information Science, and Nonlinear Science Conferences

There is a growing understanding of accelerating change within this community—but no specific conferences as yet. It appears that the broad area of complexity studies, while independent in initial stages of investigation, is eventually be subsumed into whatever discipline (cosmology, biology, computer science, physics, chemistry, linguistics, business, manufacturing, economics, ecology, sociology, urban planning, etc.) it chooses to study. That is both heartening and to be expected. Examples:

Complexity and Fractals in the Sciences (FRACTAL) (March 17-20, 2002, Grenada, Spain)
Discrete Chaotic Dynamics in Nature and Society (DCDNS)
(Last: May 2000, Odense, Denmark)
Global Brain Workshop (July 3-5, Brussels, Belgium, VUB)
Foundations of Information Science (FIS)1996 and 1994 (June 11-15, Vienna, Austria)
Hawaii International Conference on the Systems Sciences (HICSS) (January 7-10, 2002, Waikoloa Village, HI)
IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) (October 7-10, Tuscon, AZ)
Internat'l Conf. on Scientometrics and Informetrics (ICSI/ISSI) (July 16-20, Syndey, Australia)
Internat'l Conf. on Perception and Action (ICPA) (June 25-29, Storrs, CT)
International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS)
(July 8-13, Pacific Grove, CA)
Self-Organization and Evolution of Social Behavior
(September 8-13, 2002, Ascona, Switzerland)
Singularity Theory
(July-Dec, 2000, Cambridge, UK)
Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics (SCI)
(July 22-25, Orlando, FL)

5. Computer Science — Hardware
Solid State Physics, Microtechnology, Nanotechnology, Robotics/Embodied A.I., Automation, and Autonomous Technology Conferences

Continuing dramatic miniaturization and autonomy in technological systems has led some of these conferences to begin considering the long range trajectories, leading to speculation in nanotechnology futures. But the most far reaching implications, exploring the meaning of autonomous non-biological nanocomputation for local intelligence, are still in a rudimentary stage of discussion. The nanotechnology, embodied A.I.(robotics), and autonomous technology development communities may all be the most important public arenas for recognition and discussion of accelerating technological change in coming years. Examples:

ALA SmallTalk 2001: Microfluidics, Microarrays, BioMEMS (August 27-31, San Diego, CA)
BioMEMS and BioNanotechnology World
(September 22-25, Columbus, OH)
DesignCon (Electronic Design Automation (EDA) semiconductor systems simulation & design) (Jan 28-31, 2002 Santa Clara, CA)

IEEE Internat'l Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
(October 29-November 3, Maui, HI)
IEEE Internat'l Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
(May 21-26, Seoul, Korea)
IEEE Nanotechnolgy (Nano)
(October 28-30, Maui, HI)
IFAC World Congress on Automatic Control (IFAC)
(July 21-26, 2002, Barcelona, Spain)
Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation (ISA) (September 10-13, Houston, TX)
Internat'l Conference on Computational Nanoscience (ICCN)
(April 22-25, San Juan, PR)
Internat'l Conference on Evolvable Systems (ICES)
(October 3-5, Tokyo, Japan)
Internat'l Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS)
(March 25-27, 2002, Marina Del Rey, CA)
Internat'l Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems (DARS)
(June 25-27, 2002, Fukuoka, Japan)
NASA/DoD Workshop on Evolvable Hardware (EH)
(July 12-14, Long Beach, CA)
Robo Cup Competitions and Conferences
(June 16-23, 2002, Fukuoka, Japan)
SmallTech 2001: MEMS/Nano
(September 18-21, Washington, DC)
Workshop on Neuromorphic Engineering (NE)
(July 1-21, Telluride, CO)

6. Computer Science — Software
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Life, Agents, Evolutionary and Biologically Inspired Computation, Fuzzy Systems, Classical AI)

A small number of sessions at these conferences discuss the future implications of emergent computation, and some are beginning to systematically measure and consider the wider implications of continuously accelerating computational change. To my knowledge, none are yet measuring the increasingly autonomous (human-independent) nature of this change. However, due to direct experience with and implicit understanding of the wider implications of Moore's Law and substrate shift in the technological domain, the computer science and information techology communities have become by far the most acceleration-aware of all the professions. Examples:

ACM1: Beyond Cyberspace (March 10-14, San Jose, CA)
Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (SAIS/AISTATS) (January 4-7, Key West, FL)
Artificial Life (December 9-13, 2002, Sydney, Australia)
Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE) (November 4-7, St. Louis, MO)
Autonomous Agents (May 28-June 1, Montreal, Canada)
Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL-EACL) (July 6-11, Tolouse, France)
Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) (July 7-11, San Francisco, CA)
Earthware: A Good World in 2050 (Last: Oct 2000, Pittsburg, PA, Carnegie Mellon U)
Emergent Computing Conference Series (Last: July 2000, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom)
Evolution of Language (EvoLang) (March 27-30, 2002, Cambridge, MA)
Internat'l Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN) (August 21-25, Vienna, Austria)
Internat'l Conf. on Intelligent Agents, Web Tech, and Internet Commerce (July 9-11, Las Vegas, UT)
Internat'l Conf. on Knowledge-Based Intelligent Electronic Systems (KES) (September 6-8, Osaka, Japan)
Internat'l Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (June 28-July 1, Williamstown, MA)
Internat'l Conf. on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) (September 7-11, 2002, Grenada, Spain)
Internat'l Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) (Aug 4-10, Seattle, WA)
Language Technologies (NA-ACL) (June 2-7, Pittsburgh, PA)
Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) (December 3-8, Vancouver, Canada)
Scandinavian Conference on Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) (February 19-21, Odense, Denmark)
IEEE International Conference on Information Fusion (July 8-11, 2002, Annapolis, MD)
IEEE Mobile Agents (December 2-4, Atlanta, GA)
IEEE World Congress on Comp. Intell.(IJCNN/CEC/Fuzzy Systems) (May 12-17, 2002, Honolulu, HI)
Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI) (August 2-5, Seattle, WA)

7. Foresight and Futures Studies
Foresight, Forecasting, and Speculative Futures Conferences

Futures studies includes a broad range of perspectives, including trend extrapolation, systems theory, and utopian, dystopian, and millenial scenarios. Is the technological singularity hypothesis just a millenialist fantasy? Certainly there is some millenialist component to the mythos, as Greg Benford and others have noted. Yet technological acceleration was extrapolated to an asymptotic "singularity" as early as 1902, by technology scholar Henry Adams. Accelerating change in our knowledge and technology has become increasingly obvious to human observers over at least the last two millenia. It is probably this broad social intelligence, at least as much as any other factor that has fueled the proliferation and increasing sophistication of our cultural eschatology (end of the world, millenialist) myths. The modern difference is that now everyone is starting to recognize accelerating change, no longer just the visionaries and philosophers. A few of these annual conferences, such as Foresight and TransVision, regularly discuss the technological singularity hypothesis. Examples:

BostonU, Center for Millennial Studies, Conference on Millenialism (Last: Oct, 2000, Boston, MA)
Conferences of the Center for the Study of the Long Range Future
(Oct 2001, Boston, MA)
Extro (Extropy)
(June 15-17, San Jose, CA)
Foresight (April 20-22, Palo Alto, CA)
FutureScope(WFS) (July 29-31, Minneapolis, MN)
Ideas at the Powerhouse
(August 16-19, Brisbane, Australia)
(October 19-22, Camden, ME)
(June 12-14, Minneapolis, MN)
(June 22-24, Berlin, Germany)
World Science Fiction Society Convention (Worldcon) (Aug 29th-Sept 2nd, San Jose, CA)

8. Technology and Society
Technology Assessment, Technology and Public Policy, Science and Technology Studies, History/Philosophy/Sociology of Science/Technology Conferences

As Ray Kurzweil and others have long observed, the fields of technology assessment and public policy have long ignored the cultural, sociopolitical and economic implications of our record of hyperexponential computational growth. Historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science are becoming more amenable to studying the exponential and double-exponential growth in various domains of science and technology, but few yet see this process as leading to some essential or effective singularity (phase change, emergence), as viewed from the human perspective. Most likely, this is due to the lack of recognition of accelerating technological autonomy (encoded adaptive/algorithmic intelligence). This may change in the coming decades, as the rate of technological (but not human social) change continues to accelerate and become more human-independent. Examples:

AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy (May 3-4, Washington, DC)
American Sociologial Association (Aug 18-21, Anaheim, CA)
Camden Technology Conference (Oct 19-21, Camden, ME)
Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences (June 11-15, 2002, Honolulu, HI)
History of Science Society (Nov 8-11, Denver, CO)
IEEE Internat'l Symposium on Technology and Society (July 6-7, Stamford, CT)
Philosophy of Science Association (Nov 7-11, Milwaukee, WI)
National Association of Science Writers (February 13-14, 2002 Cambridge, MA)
Society for Philosophy and Technology, Biennial Conference (July 9-11, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Supernova (June 20-22, San Francisco, CA)
Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) (Feb 20-23, 2002, Monterey, CA)