Future Leaders Institute 2016
An Overnight Camp for Ambitious High-School Students
Dates for 2016 Institute: July 9-17, 2016
Cost for 9 days: $1,000 (includes all room, board, and materials). We are committed to ensuring that every New Hampshire student who wants to participate in this program can do so regardless of financial need. Please see the application for more on financial assistance.
REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT WILL BEGIN ON MARCH 1, 2016
For more context, check out the UNH College Letter article, The Great Debate, which will provide further insight into last year's FLI program.
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2016 Program: The Promises and Threats of Technological Progress
Imagine a culture that did not have the technology of writing. How would you describe it? Uncivilized? Barbaric? Backwards? Similarly, imagine people today without “smart phones” or laptops. If we’re being charitable, we might call such people “old-fashioned” or possibly “retro.” Less charitably, we might describe them as “out-of-touch,” “outdated,” or even “obsolete.” Without such devices, how could they excel in school, compete for a job, or even have a fulfilling social life? Now imagine a smart phone twenty years from now. What will it be able to do? Will it be separate from our bodies, or somehow “integrated” into us? How will such devices transform civilization?
Much of our past has been driven by technological innovation, for example in agriculture, water supply (aqueducts), weaponry, ship-building, communications (writing, the printing press and the internet), energy (the steam engine and electricity), and reproductive technology (birth control). It seems probable that technology will soon provide humans with godlike strength and intelligence. Many prominent biologists and philosophers even claim that not too long from now humans will be able to live for a very long time, if not forever, thanks to advances in computing and biotech. Others warn that the technology of the near future will spell the end of humanity as we know it.
The Future Leaders Institute 2016 will consider whether such advances are always good. Should we, for instance, be building artificial intelligence that will surpass “natural” human intelligence? Should we always welcome improved technologies into our lives? Is progress in technology necessarily progress for humanity? Where is all of this technology taking us, and how should the next generation of leaders guide the future of humanity?
The Future Leaders Institute is a camp for ambitious high-school students to come together to learn, debate, argue, and write forcefully and persuasively. The directors, Nick Smith (Philosophy) and Scott Smith (Classics) bring interdisciplinary and diachronic approaches to the big questions that humanity has faced and will continue to face in the future.
A full schedule will be posted in late spring, but for now interested parties can take a look at the summer 2015 schedule or get a jump on this year’s topic by clicking on the links below.
Watch: 10 Questions for Ray Kurzweil (Time)
Read: A.I. Anxiety (Washington Post)
Read: Why The Future Doesn't Need Us, Bill Joy