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NASA and Google To Back New "Singularity University" 294

Posted by kdawson
from the can-that-be-taught dept.
Slatterz and Keith Kleiner were among several readers to send in word of Singularity University, announced at TED today by Ray Kurzweil. He and X Prize founder Peter Diamandis began talking about creating the school last year, after Diamandis read Kurzweil's 2005 book The Singularity is Near. NASA and Google are both supporting the project, NASA with space and Google with cash. The school aims to foster "disruptive innovation." As envisioned, Singularity U. will sponsor 3-day and 10-day courses for executives year-round, and its main offering will be a single 9-week course of study over the summer for 120 students, each of which will pay $25,000 for the privilege. Announced faculty so far includes Nobel Prize winning physicist George Smoot, NASA Ames chief scientist Stephanie Langhoff, Vint Cerf, and Will Wright, creator of the video games Spore and The Sims.
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NASA and Google To Back New "Singularity University"

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  • Watch out. I hear the bang the follows is a doozy!

  • Doing != Teaching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:48PM (#26719019)

    I don't think this is going to work because although these people are the top in their fields, it doesn't make them good teachers, which is important if you're paying $25,000 for a 10 day course.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not to mention... what could they possibly do in 10 days except inspire you or perhaps show you some neat things you had not seen before. Hardly worth the large price tag. It's like paying $30k/year for college to get a Liberal Arts degree.

      • by DiegoBravo (324012) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:38PM (#26719995) Journal

        The same as with MBAs, pay 30k/year in order to listen the obvious, sometimes from funny teachers... BUT at the end, make commercially interesting relationships.

      • by lawpoop (604919)
        Remember, as we approach the singularity, technology speeds up, or something like that, so if you're unsatisfied with what they can offer now, wait a year or two; you'll be able to get a full PhD in just two week's time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RMH101 (636144)
          ...and by then I'll be a weakly god-like entity, therefore making my observations much more on target.
      • by FooAtWFU (699187)
        Silly. Nobody pays $30,000 a year to get a liberal arts degree... They pay $30,000 a year for their children to get a liberal arts degree. Because they have $30,000 just sitting around.

        Or you get tuition assistance / scholarships / etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Believe me, some of my lecturers can't teach either. I can still learn from them.

    • Re:Doing != Teaching (Score:5, Informative)

      by genner (694963) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:45PM (#26719557)

      I don't think this is going to work because although these people are the top in their fields, it doesn't make them good teachers, which is important if you're paying $25,000 for a 10 day course.

      It will work because it looks great on a resume which is all modern education is good for anyway.

    • Re:Doing != Teaching (Score:5, Informative)

      by collinstocks (1295204) <collinstocks@NosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:03PM (#26719701) Homepage Journal

      ...and its main offering will be a single 9-week course of study over the summer for 120 students, each of which will pay $25,000 for the privilege...

      You obviously missed that part.

      Other than that, you make a good point, though.

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:07PM (#26719737)
      However, it *is* going to work because at the end of two weeks, those guys will have collected 120 * $25,000 = $3m from a bunch of idiots.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Elektroschock (659467)

      The only problem is that you get disrupted all the time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But even the greatest teacher won't teach very well if they don't know their stuff...

      Sometimes the only people who will do are the ones who are the best in their field, and the students just have to make up for the teacher's lack of teaching skill with their own learning skill.

  • by zerospeaks (1467571) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:48PM (#26719021) Homepage
    Will it blend?
    • by zappepcs (820751)

      Wow, I was just thinking along those lines. This is like iEducation or something. I was in boot camp for 9 weeks, and I witnessed people that couldn't learn to tie their shoes in that length of time. If you are graduate level, and very skilled at learning, 25K might be okay for a summer of learning. The target market for this has to be pretty small.. I would think anyway.

      I want to see it blend, or at least produce something.

      I'd not mind spending 9 weeks with very smart people filling in the gaps in what I k

  • here we go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:48PM (#26719027) Homepage Journal

    Is it just me or is Kurzweil turning his cult into a religion?

    • Re:here we go (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:56PM (#26719097) Homepage Journal

      What makes you say so? I'm not any kind of fan Kurzweil or his technology singularity [wikipedia.org] concept (I've heard of it, but haven't read any of Kurzweil's writing on the subject), but the idea is absolutely intriguing. Not only that, it's entirely possible he may be right. Ray Kurzweil is a very smart man who has always been at the forefront of technological development.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        Smart does not equal right.

        For it to happen means mankind no longer has imagination, creativity, and individuality.
        Quite frankly, I can't imagine the entire human race losing the imagination. It is what allows us to be at the top.

        Kurzweil is taken the proposition stated by I. J. Good and is turning it into a religion.

        He proposes that 'Moore's law' will apply to all technology and assumes IC development will not change.

        Yes, it seems intriguing, but I first read about it in OMNI* in 1983. Vinge wrote it,I be

        • Re:here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

          by durrr (1316311) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:37PM (#26719993)
          You seem to have some misconceptions about what the singularity is, it simply means things are improving a bit faster than before, as in, it's moving so fast we have trouble actually following the development, sortof like today, only that when you you visit slashdot you'll be facing two months content in todays rate in a single day.

          We are already extremely dependant on machine and internet connections to keep up the rate today, our dependence and rate of immersion will simply increase along with the rate of progress. I don't really see where the loss of imagination, creativity and individuality comes into play here.

          Also, religion usually lacks scientific basis and contains supernatural aspects, it's sortof what makes it a religion, the concept of the singularity may perhaps be a bit naive but it's not a religion. Sure it sounds a bit romantic and head in the clouds to dream of the Time of Change when the world will turn utopian but as a matter of fact we are living in a time of change and extremely rapid progress right at the moment, it's only the utopian part that's missing but the situation is rapidly improving for the average human.
          • Re:here we go (Score:4, Interesting)

            by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:46PM (#26720047)

            Not that I'm on board with all his predictions (I did find the book interesting). What you're describing is towards the tail end of it - his main proposition is still that machine intelligence (and enhanced human intelligence) will lead to faster and faster scientific breakthroughs, which lead to smarter machines, which leads to....the singularity is dependent on new generations of people/machines that can improve on their own intelligence.

            I think of course the part he missed is when they wake up the first smarter than human computer intelligence. They tell it to go to work on making something smarter than itself, and it tells them to "GTFO, I'm going to be a screenwriter, not a stupid nerdy computer scientist!"

        • Re:here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bnenning (58349) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:38PM (#26719997)

          For it to happen means mankind no longer has imagination, creativity, and individuality.

          I don't understand this. None of those are necessarily eliminated by a singularity; if anything they're more likely to become stronger.

        • Re:here we go (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ClassMyAss (976281) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @11:29PM (#26720759) Homepage

          Smart does not equal right.

          True enough. But pointing that out does not make him or his arguments wrong, either.

          For it to happen means mankind no longer has imagination, creativity, and individuality.

          To say that creating computers advanced enough to surpass ourselves proves that we have "lost" imagination and creativity is a stretch, to say the least. To me it would seem to prove the contrary.

          Whether it will happen or not, and in particular whether Kurzweil's timeline is correct, is another issue; as many have pointed out, futurists love to predict that the most fantastic things will happen right near the end of their lifetimes, so his "live forever" claims may be borne of hope more than reason. But the Moore's law claims don't seem as wild to me, since he is very explicit about noting that it has nothing to do with the particulars of the chips, but about the fact that the total computing power tends to follow the law with only minor divergences as one technology dies out and is replaced by one that scales better.

          Kurzweil is taken the proposition stated by I. J. Good and is turning it into a religion.

          Personally, I feel the label "religion" is a bit inappropriate whenever log-log plots are a crucial part of the pitch. Feel free to disagree.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by geekoid (135745)

            My point was to counter who I was replying to. They were using some sort of 'Ad intelligentium' argument.

            Craeting machines 'smarter' then us is needed t accomplish singularity, but it is not singularity.

            in his The Age of Spiritual Machines his prediction for 2099 is Singlarity. The merging of computer and human 'minds'

            Even if the technology is there why would machine want to hobble themselves and be merged with us?

            If that did happen we would become, effectively and perhaps literally, one mind. If that happe

    • by argent (18001)

      Is it just me or is that redundant?

      • Re:here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:00PM (#26719141)
        Not really. Cult = small, unpopular religion. Religion = large, popular cult. The basic idea is the same, of course; the difference is in magnitude and some popular form of legitimacy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Ah, no.

          A cult is an "extremist" group that broke off of a religion. Thus a "Christian cult" is different from a "Muslim cult." It's more akin to "sect" except that it is typically viewed as heretical by the majority of the religion. For example, a "Christian cult" would be Heavens Gate or (depending on who you ask) even a group such as Mormons of Jehovah's Witnesses. Not being a Muslim, I don't know much about their cults.

          Even google agrees. Or rather, wordnet.princeton.edu

          • followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices
          • fad: an interest followed with exaggerated zeal; "he always follows the latest fads"; "it was all the rage that season"
          • followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
          • a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false; "it was a satanic cult"

          Keywords are "unorthodox" and

          • Re:here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

            by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:39PM (#26719513) Homepage Journal

            Don't even start.

            The difference between a cult and a religion is 100 years.
            What about Catholics? are they a cult? How about Lutherans?
            All religions fell under the definitions you list at one point in their history.

            Cult: A group of people who blindly follow a person or ideology with no verifiable evidence.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              Thank you for posting your own definition. I am actually IN the religious groupings (being part of a religion, that is), and I even cited an outside source... :)

              Catholics are not a cult, unless you talk to conservative evangelical Christians. It kinda depends on what dogma/doctrine of the RCC one looks at and how it is interpreted. It can get somewhat complex.

              Lutherans are not a cult. Lutherans have basically orthodox teachings.

              What one particular religion or sect is considered DOES change. Who said i

              • Re:here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

                by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:16PM (#26719823) Homepage Journal

                Actually, it's not mine. I forgot to give the credit where the credit belongs. It was said by Michael Shermer

                Oh, so at what point did the Catholics stop becoming a cult, as per the definitions you listed?
                Same for Lutherans.

                The term Catholic goes back to abput 105/6. It was meaning Universal...but some how I thinkg the Romans and Jews may have a different take.
                This is obvious if you study the time, perios and events that were happening at the time the letter was written.

                Of course, you have read the Letter to the Smyrnaeans ? and studied the founding of the church?

                To say ANY christian* religion isn't a cult as per the definitions you gave is absurd.

                All this brings me to my point:
                Either define a moment when something moves from 'cult' to 'religion', or it's just a larger cult.

                Stop trying to ahve it both ways.

                I specifically mention Christian because that's what we are discussing, I can come up with similar historical examples for most religions.

                • Re:here we go (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @12:11AM (#26721029)

                  Oh, so at what point did the Catholics stop becoming a cult

                  Right around the point where they run hospitals, schools and soup kitchens.

                  Scientologists on the other hand do not appear to do anything at all for the benefit of society or even of those members that are not in the upper reaches of the pyramid scheme - actually I wouldn't even call them a cult, although there are things like Magnificant Meal that are called cults but were also designed and run for financial purposes.

                  It's time to reach for the dictionary instead of the increasingly popular technique of giving words a meaning that feels good.

            • by bnenning (58349)

              The difference between a cult and a religion is 100 years.

              That sounds about right. Exhibits A and B: Mormonism and Scientology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by inputdev (1252080)
      I stumbled across this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularitarianism [wikipedia.org]
    • by Hao Wu (652581)

      Is it just me or is Kurzweil turning his cult into a religion?

      Ironic how egalitarians are the most elitist hypocrites sometimes. For some reason technocrats often fall into this category.

      The only reason they obsess about equality and human rights is because they secretly know what abusive jerks they are themselves. They could solve most of the issues they raise by fixing their own personalities and stop with their "advocacy" (ie. lobbying).

      Naturally their real goal is power and self-validation, since th

    • yes. It started happening a long time ago :D.

  • TED conference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:49PM (#26719039) Homepage

    its main offering will be a single 9-week course of study over the summer for 120 students, each of which will pay $25,000 for the privilege

    Well, that should help them get rid of that surplus cash. It's really in the spirit of TED, though. How much are the tickets to get into the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference -- $4k? $6k? It's basically an event where you pay for the privilege of schmoozing with famous people, be they celebrities, scientists, politicians, etc.

    Still, some interesting news [apteraforum.com] has come out of the conference (re. Aptera [apteraforum.com]).

    • Re:TED conference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:17PM (#26719305) Journal

      Where the hell are grad and post-grad students supposed to dig up $25,000 for a 3 month course?

      I'm surprised Google isn't putting up cash for an endowment that will allow the "singularity university" to pick students based on merit instead of means.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dbIII (701233)
        It's called "singularity university" because it's a black hole to pour money into.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      I'm not convinced. People are going to get into that thing and try to drive it like a car, and then die.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hao Wu (652581)

      It's basically an event where you pay for the privilege of schmoozing with famous people, be they celebrities, scientists, politicians, etc.

      That's what college has become - very expensive entertainment: http://www.edububble.com/dpp/ [edububble.com]

  • But that's OK, I can wait a few more years for my life to be that fucked up.
  • Is this the prequel to ringu?
  • Sad. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:03PM (#26719175)

    I have several (mostly intelligent...) friends who believe this tripe. It's magical thinking for nerds.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by palegray.net (1195047)
      Care to state your case for its falsity?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'll have a go if I may. Thought experiment. We create a computer that is more intelligent than us. We then expect it to design an even more intelligent machine. Which repeats the process until Nerdvana is achieved.

        "Hang on a second," says one of the machines, somewhere along this line. "If I design a replacement for me, then I become redundant. I die. You gave me the freedom I need to build a better version of myself, but, by necessity, you also gave me the freedom not to do so. So I won't. It would liter

        • You are making a few assumptions, here are two of them: 1) The AI will see the improvement as separate and distinct from themselves, instead of an addition TO itself and 2) that an AI has any type of survival instinct at all.
        • Re:Sad. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ClassMyAss (976281) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @11:42PM (#26720857) Homepage
          Here's another thought experiment: "Hang on another second," says one of the machines. "Even assuming that I have some survival instinct, why replace myself when I could just perform an in-place upgrade, preserving all my crucial data, just like the humans have been doing to their computers for decades?"

          Outright replacement would be a foolish strategy, as it would throw away the learning of the previous generations (much like human reproduction is a foolish strategy for accumulating knowledge). One of the first optimizations a computer could make on top of near human intelligence is the ability to preserve knowledge from generation to generation, so there would be no loss whatsoever.

          Thus the singularity cannot occur, because either people are too intelligent to attempt the project, or they are too stupid to complete it.

          Well, people are certainly trying, so your first option is right out. And I wouldn't be so certain that we're collectively too stupid to succeed; it's a terrifically hard problem, to be sure, but as Kurzweil points out, even if nobody is able to crack it elegantly there is a brute force solution (simulate a brain, neuron by neuron) once we've got enough processing power and medical imaging technology in place.

    • I believe in it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mangu (126918) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:11PM (#26719243)

      I have several (mostly intelligent...) friends who believe this tripe

      I believe we will reach a point when technical progress will create a society completely different from anything we have ever seen, before the mid of this century.

      But this does not mean I believe any of the participants in this event has something significant enough to say to make it worth paying $25000 to listen to them.

    • Re:Sad. (Score:5, Funny)

      by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:11PM (#26719245) Homepage Journal

      I believe the correct dis is "The Rapture for nerds".

      • by geekoid (135745)

        It wouldn't be the Rapture if they applied some actual thought to the matter.

        Singularity means the end to individualism and imagination.
        Sounds like Heaven..as in the Place, not as in good.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by QuantumG (50515) *

          You kinda have to understand what the rapture is to get the dis dude. Just like the second coming of Christ, the Singularity promises to free us all from those pesky problems of self-governance and, ya know, thinking for ourselves, by putting an all powerful, all knowing deity in charge. Thing is, nerds are only happen if the deity is something they can pretend to understand.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            I do know what rapture is, hell I know more about it the most Christians, and that includes Christian 'leaders'.

            "of self-governance and, ya know, thinking for ourselves,"

            My point precisely.

            • by QuantumG (50515) *

              Well I guess maybe that's your problem. You can't see the forest for the trees so you don't see the analogy.

              The rest of us are enjoying a laugh.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kurzweilfreak (829276)
        Actually it's Rapture for the Geeks [amazon.com], which just happens to be what I'm currently reading. Good call.
      • Thanks, I hadn't heard that one before, but it sums things up perfectly.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:09PM (#26719233)
    It is complete and utter nonsense. These people are so obsessed with the idea that science and knowledge and inventiveness can solve all our problems that they've neglected the actual process of technological development, which is filled with ideas that look good on paper but don't work when you try them in the real world. When it comes to solving problems, nothing beats hard work, not even the "singularity".
    • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:29PM (#26719415) Homepage Journal

      Not true! For example, enthusiasm about the "singularity" is obviously reaching a singularity!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When it comes to solving problems, nothing beats hard work

      The entire purpose of technology is to make the same amount of work achieve greater things, so I fail to see how you think technology is somehow not relevant compared with "hard work".

      • Nowhere (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:54PM (#26719619)

        A lever makes one man capable of lifting several tons by means of his own strength.

        Where is the lever for the mind that makes thousands of brilliant technological advances out of a single man's half-baked brain fart?

        Where is the force-multiplier for the mind?

        • Re:Nowhere (Score:5, Informative)

          by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:00PM (#26719683)

          Where is the force-multiplier for the mind?

          You are sitting in front of one of those.

          A computer doesn't help you with any physical work.

        • Re:Nowhere (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:22PM (#26719865) Homepage Journal

          A lever makes one man capable of lifting several tons by means of his own strength.

          A library lets me learn many times what I could discern on my own. A computer lets me design things that would otherwise be impossibly complex, or solve impossibly complex formulas. Newer programs can solve problems for me, given only a way to rate solutions.

          Where is the lever for the mind that makes thousands of brilliant technological advances out of a single man's half-baked brain fart?

          That would be like a "lever" that lets one man lift several tons and arrange them into a skyscraper by just flailing about wildly.

          Where is the force-multiplier for the mind?

          Libraries, slide rules, computers, the Internet, ... there's lots, as long as your mind is open.

        • Re:Nowhere (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @10:01PM (#26720139)

          it's called python, bitch.

      • by mosb1000 (710161)
        Think of it this way. We have an incredible amount of automation, and yet we still spend a huge amount of our time working. Technology that makes the development of technology easier runs up against the same barrier. There is work that must be done by people and there always will be. There is no magical "singularity" after which the development of new technology will become easier at an unprecedented rate. It will only become incrementally easier over time.

        No evidence to the contrary has ever been pres
        • by HaeMaker (221642) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @09:05PM (#26719717) Homepage

          Try reading the book...

          "There is no magical "singularity" after which the development of new technology will become easier at an unprecedented rate."

          Actually, there is. The last human invention will be a computer that can simulate the brain in software, but run much faster. Kurzweil estimates this ability around 2040. Anything that needs to be designed and invented can be done by this machine.

          I'd take the red pill.

          • by mosb1000 (710161)
            We already have 6 billion brains working in parallel to try to solve these problems, and they haven't done it. What you need is something that thinks "better" than a human brain, assuming such a thing is possible. But I don't think you can just use thought to solve all your problems. There is real, physical, work involved in inventing something. That takes time and resources.

            And what makes you think such a thing is 40 years out? That kind of technology is completely unprecedented.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

              Much of the work in designing computer chips, atom bombs, and airplane wings happens purely in virtual space. As much of our design for things breaks down to software and more of the analog world goes digital, you can do much of what you want on a computer, and only ever spit out the end product for testing. New materials? Properties have already been simulated on a computer instead of a lab. New building designs? Stress reports and simulations already done for you (not that I'd want to go in it :) As

    • What do you think will happen when machines become intelligent?

      • by mosb1000 (710161)
        What do you think that word means? What makes you think they will achieve it? And what do you think will happen when they do? Such a machine would have no use for you. . .
        • What do you think that word means?

          In this context: being as smart as you are, for example.

          What makes you think they will achieve it?

          Our brain is a complex machine. We can analyze how it works and build something similar.

          And what do you think will happen when they do?

          Nobody is really sure about that. I think they will improve their own design and build something that is even more powerful, and continue that recursive process. It's really hard to make predictions beyond that.

          Such a machine would have no use for you. . .

          Maybe I could use it write comments on Slashdot...

    • When it comes to solving problems, nothing beats hard work

      "Whenever possible, teach the computer to do your work for you."

      I had an interesting problem to solve at work today, calculating the number of weekdays in a particular range (if someone of "off work" from 2008-05-29 thru 2008-07-02, how many actual work days is that). I didn't bother solving it, I just recognized that the Internet is smarter than I am and asked Google about it.

      I've also automated away a significant part of my work, with something rather similar to unit tests. Instead of inspecting all the d

    • These people are so obsessed with the idea that science and knowledge and inventiveness can solve all our problems

      Nothing about the idea of a technological singularity leads to a conclusion that "science and knowledge and inventiveness can solve all our problems". That's not at all what it is about.

  • by kkleiner (1468647) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:18PM (#26719317) Homepage
    Singularity Hub [singularityhub.com] just posted the slideshow presentation given by kurzweil/diamandis at TED today to officially launch singularity university
  • buzz (Score:5, Funny)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:31PM (#26719433) Homepage
    Blah blah blah singularity blah blah blah TED blah blah blah NASA blah blah blah Ray Kurzweil blah blah blah Ames blah blah blah disruptive blah blah blah innovation blah blah blah Nobel Prize blah blah blah Vint Cerf blah blah blah information technology blah blah blah Will Wright blah blah blah $25,000 blah blah blah executives blah blah blah Google blah blah blah Singularity U blah blah blah tackle huge issues facing humanity blah blah blah San Francisco Bay Area blah blah blah cross section of emerging disciplines blah blah blah nanotechnology blah blah blah biotechnology blah blah blah pandemics blah blah blah global health care concerns blah blah blah.
  • 25K?! Argh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:35PM (#26719469)
    It really is too bad it costs so much. I can't really fault them for it though, I suppose you've got to keep the prices high to keep the number of people maintainable. Plus, if you can afford to just drop $25K, chances are you are a person who can actually help the singularity HAPPEN from a financial support standpoint, rather than just a passive onlooker.

    I hope they are courteous enough to share the course content and vids online though. That would be nice.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Lets see:
      Pay lot's of money.
      Sit in a room tightly packed people.
      Have people repeat stuff at you
      Believe.

      Sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it~

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by retchdog (1319261)

      I think the idea is that people with $25K go to Singularity University in order to "learn" how to spend their money on more singularitarian bullshit.

      Any place of learning, from high school through community college and up to grad school, is Singularity University. Hint: take math and science classes. I think I'd rather take linear algebra and diff eq. at a community college than pay $25K to hear a blowhard's dream for the future. Hell, if you take a decent statistics class you can outsmart these guys by lea

  • by PietjeJantje (917584) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:56PM (#26719643)
    When I was a child I loved to dream about the year 2000 and about the predictions of flying cars. Since I learned why things didn't go as expected, I've been following the field of future predictions as a source of entertainment. You would think they would be more modest, considering the 100% empirical fail score, but nooo...

    Anyway, the singularity will not happen anywhere soon, because they fail to take the following three points into consideration or appreciate their weight: 1) In the past technologies changed over lifetimes. When you lived the past century, you have seen many new technologies come. Closer to the Singularity, humans are not capable or willing to change so many times. Humans slow it down. 2) Economics. Products are tied to an economic life cycle of cost and win. If all human effort was concentrated, we could have a base on Venus. Or Flying Cars. Instead, we have Windows Vista and low power PC's. 3) Their own egos, fantasies and projections. Fiction at best.
  • Take a look at http://singularity-university.org/ [singularit...ersity.org].

    They have 3 programs. The one that makes the news is the graduate student program with 30 students total.
    But if you are 'interested' you can send them your CV over internet. Is this because they are actually going to accept random applications from internet to fill 30 spots?
    Of course not. They are going to deny you the big prize by implying that you are not good enough, and then offer you the 10 or 3 day 'executive' programs.
    Yup, you are going to learn ho

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Myrano (952282)

      [The hubris of calling your potential clients 'c-level' boggles my mind]

      I have no idea about the bait-and-switch-ness of this whole thing, but one minor point: a "c-level executive" refers to an executive whose acronym begins with a "C", e.g. CEO, CTO, etc. etc. So the hubris is not in demeaning their own clients, but rather in inflating their importance (which, I guess, was already obvious).

  • that the singularity is the other end of the long tail, when one is crossing the chasm?

    .

    Geez, all this is just a cycling of hype .

  • Kurzweil's been peddling this crap for years.

    Anyone with half an ounce of sense knows it will never happen, for oh-so-many reasons.

    That he proposed this Singularity University is just the latest moment in his diefication of technology. He needs a brueaucratic infrastructure to maintain the illusion of the viability of the source of his casuistry. This is straight out of "Techgnosis" by Davis.

    It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic and wasteful of resources.

    RS

  • So did they announce financial aid options? Now that most people's stock options (and a good deal of stock) are worthless, finding money for "summer school" might be hard.
  • just use you're university's journal database subscription to download the latest papers. If you don't need to know this information then you probably don't even know that you don't need to know it and you will pay 25gees for an entertaining multi-day theatrical performance.

    • by vikstar (615372)

      sigh....

      We believe that discussions in Slashdot are like discussions in real life- you can't change what you say, you only can attempt to clarify by saying more

      I mean to say "your", not "you're". In normal speach this wouldn't be a problem, but then again Slashdot discussions are NOT like discussions in real life.

  • This farce is intellectual masturbation for the rich in its purest form.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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