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Caveat lector: This blog is where I try out new ideas. I will often be wrong, but that's the point.

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3.7.10

Zombies and Singularity Summit

What an odd week it's been!

So once again my talk at TEDxBerkeley has opened a few interesting doors for me. A few weeks after my talk I had lunch with John Chisholm. Apparently he's a colleague of Michael Vassar, the President of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. In August they're hosting the Singularity Summit.

The connection here is that John Chisholm saw my talk which lead to our lunch. He mentioned my talk to Michael Vassar. On Thursday, Michael Vassar emailed me to offer me admission to the Singularity Summit. He would like me to give him my neuroscientific input. This is a very unique opportunity; I'm pretty curious to see what the various views on the Singularity are. Of course one of the keynote speakers will be Ray Kurzweil, but I'm very happy to see that James Randi is the other keynote speaker. It should be an interesting comparison and contrast between the Singularity proselytizer and the great skeptic. It should make for excellent conversation.

Last week, MindHacks posted a very nice story about my TEDx talk. After this was posted, I received an email from Matt Mogk, the CEO of the Zombie Research Society. He heard me mention my love for "geek stuff" in my TEDx talk and emailed me to ask if I was interested in zombies at all.

If you know me at all, you know Jess and I are huge zombie fans!

So after speaking with him for a bit over the phone, he asked if I'd be willing to join their advisory board at some point in the future. Also, at the end of this October will be the first zomBcon, and he asked for me to be on a panel discussing the anatomy of zombies. Because of his intense love for zombies I pulled in my buddy and fellow neuroscientist Tim Verstynen to help me write a bit about the neuroscience of the zombie brain.

This is just awesome. Matt Mogk was an extremely nice guy, and I'm really excited about his approach with the ZRS. I see it as an excellent way to teach complicated neuroscience topics to the public using a really fun, amusing popular culture icon.

Anyway, this has all been quite a lot again. I'm still fighting my ever-present inner voice that wonders why in the hell this is all happening for me, and the fear of the other shoe dropping, but for now I'm trying to just enjoy the ride. As Jess said, these kinds of things aren't just luck. I've been working hard to make as many opportunities for myself as I can. Now I just need to take advantage of the opportunities I've been given.