Singularity U

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend...Image via Wikipedia


Another sign that the singularity is approaching is this little bit of (intentionally) overlooked info from this past weekend. From Nick Carr over at Rough Type:

On Saturday, September 20, 2008, a carefully selected group of the tech world’s best and brightest assembled in a windowless conference room at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley – barely a mile from the Googleplex as the rocket flies – to discuss preparations for our impending post-human future. This was the founding meeting of Singularity University, an academic institution whose mission, as founder Dr. Peter Diamandis told the elite audience, is “to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies (bio, nano, info, etc); and to apply, focus and guide these to the best benefit of humanity and its environment.”


The day after the meeting, IBM’s Modha wrote a brief post about the event, but his words were quickly erased from his web site – not, however, before they were copied to the MindBroker site. “All in all,” wrote Modha, “a weekend day well spent in company of brilliant and sincere people trying to make a positive impact on the world!”

Modha’s post is one of the few public clues to the existence of Singularity University. (Another person who posted news of Singularity University was, he reports, “immediately contacted by people involved with the SU launch and asked [nicely and as a favor, nothing like cease and desist] to remove the post from the web archive, the reason being that the web sources quoted [not available anymore on the web, but still in Google cache and some blogs] had been posted without authorization and in breach of confidentiality.”) Attendees of the Ames meeting were asked to keep their lips zipped: “The Singularity University founding meeting and the details around the Singularity University are being held confidential until a public announcement is officially made. Please do not discuss or share this information publicly. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.” The last thing you want to do is frighten the humans.

You Can’t Erase The Web

Who would have thought that these guys would want to keep themselves a secret? Even stranger, why would anyone, especially these guys, think that they could hide anything in the current age of insta-blog information retrieval? Case in point: here is the ‘erased’ blog entry mentioned by Nick Carr above, which I found at MindBroker:

Founding Meeting for Singularity University
via Dharmendra S Modha’s Cognitive Computing Blog von dsmodha am 21.09.08

On September 20, 2008, I was invited by Ray Kurzweil (Co-founder, Kurzweil Technologies),
Peter Diamandis (Chairman/CEO X PRIZE Foundation), and Dr. Pete Worden (Director, NASA
Ames Research Center) to attend a discussion on possible creation of Singularity University
at NASA Ames.

The meeting was beautifully organized and run. Ray Kurzweil made an amazing presentation.
I also made a presentation on Cognitive Computing. Larry Page said that he evaluates projects
on a simple binary metric: “whether, if successful, it can change the world?” Bob Richards
said that in any educational endeavor “peole are the product”.

I had a chance to meet and discuss with Larry Page (Founder, Google), Nobelist George Smoot
(Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), Larry Smarr (Founding Director of the California Institute
for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UCSD), Tim Draper (VC, Draper Fisher
Jurvetson), Stephanie Langhoff (Chief Scientist, NASA Ames), Ralph Merkle (Institute for
Molecular Manufacturing), Michael Simpson (President, International Space University), Bob
Richards (Founder & CEO, Odyssey Moon), Moses Znaimer (ideaCity), Ramez Naam (Microsoft),
and many other distinguished people in different spheres of science, technology, business,
art, and media.

All in all, a weekend day well spent in company of brilliant and sincere people trying to
make a positive impact on the world! As an added bonus, I ran into an old high school friend,
Deep Nishar (Director of Wireless Products at Google).

How Many Words Is A Picture Worth Now?

And here is a picture of the folks who were there:

Singularity U small


I am Jon, and I ain’t skeered…

Image 4