Essays on the Atomic Bomb: One World or None

The New Press has just published a new edition of One World or None: A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb.  It’s a book of essays written by leading scientists in 1946.  From the publisher’s description:

In 1946, just months after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, the scientists who had developed nuclear technology came
together to express their concerns and thoughts about the nuclear age
they had unleashed. In a small, urgent book of essays, legends
including Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, and Robert Oppenheimer try to
help readers understand the magnitude of their scientific breakthrough,
fret openly about the implications for world policy, and caution, in
the words of Nobel Prize–winning chemist Harold C. Urey, that “There is
No Defense.”

The original edition of One World or None sold 100,000 copies and was a New York Times bestseller. Today, with the nuclear issue front and center once more, the book is as timely as ever.

This edition includes a new introduction by Richard Rhodes.

The Myths of Innovation

James Robertson has a good review of Scott Berkun’s The Myths of Innovation at Boxes and Arrows: Demolition Derby.  I’ve mentioned the book before and Scott was nice enough to send me a review copy.  I’ve read it and quite liked it.  He explores the history of innovation through ten myths ("the lone inventor," "the myth of epiphany," and others).  While it’s aimed primarily at a business audience (i.e., wannabe innovators) it serves as a good mini-history of innovation for a general reader as well.

Singularity Summit 2007 Announced

Last year I reported on the Singularity Summit at Stanford, which featured Raymond Kurzweil, Douglas Hofstadter, Bill McKibben and other thinkers discussing the future of artificial intelligence and its impact on humanity.

This year it’s a two-day event and takes place in San Francisco on September 8th and 9th (it’s also no longer free — tickets are $50).  I’m planning to attend and will report on it here, from a skeptical perspective, of course.  Their featured speakers include roboticist Rodney Brooks, Google’s Peter Norvig, and even a bioethicist, Wendell Wallach from Yale.

Link: Singularity Summit 2007: AI and the Future of Humanity.

Here is a related post by Bruce Klein: When will AI surpass human-level intelligence?
A rough poll says the singularity is due to arrive between 2030 and 2050.  Better start preparing!  I think that’s optimistic, and it’s kind of an ill-defined question anyway.  I’m not sure you could ever measure such a thing definitively, at least not until the robots have enslaved us — then I think you could say it’s happened.