David Papp Blog

The Singularity University: An Eye Towards the Future

In the early 1900s, several postcards depicting futuristic images of people in flying machines circulated around Germany.

What’s interesting about the flying machines is the materials they appear to be made of. The artist didn’t have any inkling of things like jet fuel, engines, or other propulsion systems, he rendered his own version of the airplane using technology available during that era: pedals, pulleys, ropes and other simple mechanisms.

The flying devices in the postcards are far from the actual vehicles we use today to move through the air. They probably look funny to most of you. But here’s a thought:

After a hundred years, won’t wireless devices, “high-speed” Internet, and other cutting-edge gadgets seem as primitive as pedals, pulleys, and ropes?

Like the German artist who made the postcards, none of us has any idea about the kind of technology that will exist in our future and how it will affect the human race. This is where the Singularity University comes in.

What is the Singularity University?

The Singularity University is a California Benefit Corporation based at NASA’s research center in California. It aims to help individuals, businesses, institutions, governments, and other entities gain a better understanding of technology, and how we can harness it to create a positive impact on the human race. By connecting the dots between technology and global change, the Singularity University aims to create solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

The university was jointly founded by two of the great minds in the world, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis and the Transcendent Man himself, Dr. Ray Kurzweil. It takes its name from the technological singularity, which Kurzweil is a big public advocate of. The singularity explained very simply is an era wherein humanity transcends its biological limitations and where artificial intelligence may start to reach unknown boundaries, leading to the dawn of a completely new civilization – a “point of no return” in history. Yes it sounds like a sci-fi movie, and it’s a concept that’s not only difficult but pretty unsettling to wrap your mind around. It’s one of the main reasons why the Singularity University exists.

Like the German artist who drew flying machines more than a hundred years ago, perhaps the students and professors at the university are taking a look at our current technology and figuring out how to propel the human race higher. Unlike those rickety contraptions though, they might actually be onto something that will keep humanity from crashing and burning to the ground.

You can read more about the Singularity University at their official site.

2 thoughts on “The Singularity University: An Eye Towards the Future”

  1. Some sci-fi writers accurately predicted some things that would happen in the future. I believe that with the right guidance people can actually figure out what the future might hold and they can prepare the rest of the world for the changes. And if The Singularity University can do it, that’s great.

  2. Yes, it kind of sounds like a sci fi movie, but a really interesting one. It’s amazing that there are actually people making these types of projects in the world, sometimes, I feel like companies are too focused about making communication more effective and easy, but in my opinion, that’s not directly related to making progress as a race, I really like the humanistic side of it.

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