Does humanity have a future as uploaded minds? In his work, Robin Hanson asks this and other extra-large questions.

Why you should listen

In his book, The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth, Robin Hanson re-imagines humanity's role as our tech becomes smarter. A pioneer in prediction markets, also known as information markets and idea futures, Hanson has been known since the 1980s for taking the very very long view on topics as varied as (a selected list) spatial product competition, health incentive contracts, group insurance, product bans, evolutionary psychology and bioethics of health care, voter information incentives, incentives to fake expertise, Bayesian classification, agreeing to disagree, self-deception in disagreement, probability elicitation, wiretaps, image reconstruction, the history of science prizes, reversible computation, the origin of life, the survival of humanity, very long term economic growth, growth given machine intelligence and interstellar colonization.

Meanwhile, he has developed new technologies for conditional, combinatorial and intermediated trading, and he studied insider trading, manipulation and other foul play. Hanson is associate professor of economics at George Mason University and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. His next book is The Elephant in the Brain, co-authored with Kevin Simler, due in 2018.

Robin Hanson’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Robin Hanson

Live from TED2017

Mind and meaning: The talks of Session 5 of TED2017

April 26, 2017

How can we better understand the world within and around us? In the thought-provoking fifth session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Editorial Director, Helen Walters, talks about neuroscience, philosophy, cognitive science — and a special experiment in behavioral science — explored issues like filter bubbles, Alzheimer’s and the very essence of existence. Below, recaps of […]

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