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Allison Duettmann  

Bio, Neuro & AI Frontier Tech Leader, CEO of Foresight Institute and Author of "Gaming the Future"

Allison Duettmann is the president and CEO of Foresight Institute, a San-Francisco research organization founded in 1986 to advance frontier technology for the benefit of life. She directs the Computer Science, Molecular Machines, Biotechnology, Neurotechnology, and Space programs, workshops, fellowships, Prizes, and Tech Trees, and shares this work with the public. She founded Existentialhope, co-edited "Superintelligence: Coordination & Strategy," co-authored "Gaming the Future," and co-initiated Foresight's AI Safety Grant Program, The Norm Hardy Prize for Computer Security, and The Longevity Prize.

She advises companies and projects, such as The AI Open Agency Architecture, EthicsNet, Cosmica, and The Roots of Progress Fellowship, and is on the Biomarker of Aging Consortium. She holds an MS in Philosophy & Public Policy from the London School of Economics, focusing on AI safety.

Speech Topics

Kickstarting Scientific Innovation: New Funding and Collaboration Architectures for Tomorrow’s Tech


The landscape of scientific discovery and innovation is undergoing a radical transformation, influenced by groundbreaking research in biotech, nanotech, neurotech, AI, and space exploration. For these frontier sciences to mature, they demand equally innovative frameworks that challenge traditional Silicon Valley models. This talk aims to spotlight the novel structures nurturing these fields, including decentralized science, new funding architectures, technology trees, and crowdfunded incentives, among others. The talk will conclude with a forward-looking perspective on how these innovative models can not only coexist with but also enhance and accelerate traditional paths to scientific discovery. We will consider the future of innovation ecosystems and how they can be designed to foster diversity, equity, and inclusivity in science.


  • An overview of the latest advancements in frontier sciences and their potential societal impacts.
  • New models of innovation that deviate from traditional approaches, highlighting their benefits and challenges.
  • The role of decentralized science (DeSci) in promoting open and collaborative research.

  • How new funding agencies and models are facilitating the translation of scientific research into tangible technologies.

  • The concept of technology trees as a roadmap for systematic technological development.
  • The impact of fellowships and crowdfunded prizes on independent research and innovation.

Call to Action:

  • This session calls on scientists, technologists, investors, policymakers, and futurists to engage in a thought-provoking dialogue on the evolution of the scientific process and its patronage. Let's collaborate to shape a future where scientific progress is unfettered by the constraints of yesterday's systems.

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • A comprehensive understanding of emerging sciences and the ecosystems supporting them.
  • Spotlighted work of pioneers and thought leaders in various scientific fields.
  • Explore collaborative opportunities for cross-disciplinary partnerships.
  • A renewed vision for participants to implement innovative funding and research models within their organizations and communities.

Bio, Nano, Neuro, AI: Opportunities and Risks in Frontier Tech


In an era where science fiction edges closer to reality, the frontiers of scientific research promise profound transformations across society. This talk offers a panoramic view of several leading-edge domains: longevity biotech, nanotechnology, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. The aim is to provide a comprehensive outline of each field’s current landscape, future opportunities, and how to navigate potential risks that accompany these emergent technologies.


To give a succinct yet comprehensive overview of select frontier sciences. To identify and discuss the transformative opportunities that these technologies present. To critically examine the potential risks and inherent in the rapid development of such technologies and chart positive paths ahead.


Longevity Biotech:

  • Unpacking the quest for extended human healthspan, the innovations driving this field, and the societal implications of a significantly aged population. Nanotechnology:

  • Exploring the manipulation of matter on an atomic scale, its potential to revolutionize materials science, medicine, and electronics, and the environmental and health concerns it raises.


  • Investigating how interfacing with the human brain is expanding capabilities in health and cognition, while also navigating the delicate ethical terrain of mind and privacy.

Artificial Intelligence:

  • Assessing AI’s trajectory in automating complex tasks, its role in shaping economies and societies, and the existential questions it poses concerning job displacement and decision-making.

Space Exploration:

  • Charting the progress in extraterrestrial ventures, the economic and strategic opportunities of space resources, and the geopolitical tensions that could ensue.
  • Each segment of the talk will follow a structured approach.

Introduction to the Field:

  • What are the basics that define this area of study or industry? Current State of Play:

Futuristic Glimpse:

  • Envisioning the next decade – what could be the milestones and transformative outcomes? Risk Assessment:

  • Identifying potential pitfalls, from ethical dilemmas to practical roadblocks, and how they might be mitigated.


  • The session will conclude with an overarching synthesis that integrates the diverse prospects and challenges of these frontiers, offering strategic insights on how best to navigate them.

Call to Action:

  • This talk is a call to scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and funders to recognize their role in shaping a future where innovation is balanced with responsibility. Attendees will be encouraged to proactively engage with these scientific frontiers, ensuring informed decision-making and stewardship as these technologies evolve.

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • A multi-dimensional understanding of advanced scientific fields and their trajectories.
  • A foundation for strategic thinking about integrating these technologies into business, governance, and society.
  • An impetus for ongoing dialogue about managing the risks associated with cutting-edge technological progress.

Charting Optimism: Steering Sci-Fi Futures from Existential Angst to Hope

In a world often colored by dystopian narratives, the power of existential hope becomes not just a balm but a beacon guiding us toward more aspirational futures. This talk is an invitation to shift our collective gaze from a horizon lined with existential angst to one aglow with potential and positivity. The focus will be on the influential role of modern science fiction in shaping public perceptions and attitudes toward the future and how it can inspire us to choose paths leading to beneficial rather than negative outcomes.


  • To explore the impact of science fiction narratives and the media on societal outlooks towards future technological and social developments.
  • To illustrate the concept of 'Existential Hope' as a counterbalance to 'Existential Angst.'
  • To discuss how we can inspire a future that aligns with positive human values and aspirations.
  • To propose strategies for innovators to embed existential hope into their daily lives.

Existential Angst vs. Hope:

  • Understanding the psychological and cultural impacts of dystopian versus utopian sci-fi.

  • The Narrative Influence: How our culture shapes our expectations of the future and the role of storytelling in human cognition.

  • Inspiring Futures: Examining case studies and scenarios where positive sci-fi narratives and events have led to real-world innovation and societal benefits.

Constructive Creativity:

  • Ways in which writers, filmmakers, and other creatives can foster a sense of existential hope through their work.
  • Practical Utopianism: Leveraging optimism to inform corporate decision-making, policy, education, and innovation for ambitious futures.

Dystopia to Utopia:

Transitioning from grim warnings to inspiring prospects in sci-fi.

Science Fiction as a Catalyst:

  • Utilizing sci-fi as a proactive tool for shaping the trajectory of technology and society.
  • Real-World Impact: How positive narratives have historically influenced technological development and social change.

Cultivating Optimism:

  • Strategies for embedding hope into the cultural zeitgeist.


  • Concluding with a powerful call to action, this talk will aim to galvanize thinkers, creators, and leaders to consciously cultivate narratives of existential hope in their works and endeavors.

Call to Action:

  • This session is not just a talk; it's a summons to anyone who dreams, designs, or dictates what tomorrow might hold. By choosing to seed hope in our narratives, we can collectively tilt the scales toward a future that is not only survivable but thrivable.

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • A renewed perspective on the influence of science fiction in shaping societal outlooks.
  • Practical takeaways for incorporating positive visions of the future into one’s business and everyday life.
  • A community of attendees inspired to champion existential hope in their professional and personal circles.

AI Tomorrow: Reaping Rewards, Navigating Risks

Introduction: As artificial intelligence approaches the inflection point of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), the imperative to navigate its potential risks and maximize its benefits has never been more critical. This talk seeks to dissect the challenges and opportunities inherent in the rise of AGI, including major cyber threats, misalignment with human values, potential abuse, and accident risks. It will also explore how we can harness AI to secure a future enriched by technological harmony, particularly through the lenses of neurotechnology, cryptography, and balanced AI power structures. Additionally, I will provide insights into AI's transformative impact on accelerating scientific innovation across biotech, nanotech, and neurotech. Objectives:

  • To provide a comprehensive understanding of AGI, its current state, and trajectory. To identify key risks associated with AGI, including misalignment and cybersecurity threats. To explore innovative solutions like neurotechnology and cryptography for mitigating these risks. To discuss strategies for achieving a safe multipolar AI scenario that avoids concentration of power. To outline how AI can act as a catalyst for breakthroughs in various scientific domains. Content Overview:

AI and AGI Fundamentals:

Clarifying the concepts and the journey from narrow AI to AGI.

Cyber and Misalignment Risks:

  • Examining the potential vulnerabilities and alignment challenges posed by AGI.

Preventing Abuse and Accidents:

  • Strategies for safeguarding against the misuse of AGI and unintentional consequences. Constructive Synergies with Neurotechnology:
  • How neurotech can help align AI development with human cognition and ethics.

Cryptography's Role in AI Safety:

  • Utilizing advanced encryption to secure AI infrastructure and communications.

Multipolar AI Scenarios:

  • Envisioning a future where AI power is distributed to prevent monopolies and global imbalances.

AI as a Scientific Lever:

  • Previewing AI's role in accelerating research and innovation in crucial scientific fields. Framework for Discussion:

  • Understanding the Landscape: Establishing a baseline knowledge of AI/AGI's progress and potential. Risk Assessment:

  • Identifying and dissecting the spectrum of risks in developing AGI.

  • Innovative Safeguards: Introducing technological and regulatory measures to mitigate risks.

Future Visions:

  • Sharing optimistic yet pragmatic scenarios for a world augmented by AGI. Conclusion:

The talk will conclude by encapsulating the dual nature of AGI as both a formidable challenge and a remarkable opportunity. Attendees will leave with a sense of urgency and empowerment to participate in shaping a future where AGI acts as a force for good.

Call to Action:

  • This talk is a rallying cry to policymakers, technologists, ethicists, and futurists to forge alliances and create frameworks that ensure AGI will operate within secure, ethical, and beneficial parameters. Anticipated Outcomes:

  • An informed perspective on AGI and its societal implications.

  • Actionable knowledge on technological measures for AI safety.
  • A vision for the positive integration of AGI in advancing scientific discovery and innovation.
  • Inspiration and readiness among attendees to actively contribute to the discourse and direction of AGI development.

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