Thursday, February 05, 2009

Singularity University

Today's Did You Know?/2020 Vision combo sighting of the day - Singularity University.
Singularity University aims to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.

With Ray Kurzweil himself and Peter Diamandis (co-founder of Space Adventures and the CEO of the X Prize Foundation) on board, with support from Google and NASA, it combines both a graduate program and three and ten-day executive programs. These two quotes from the video stood out for me:
Every University needs a chief visionary.
I would add that every K-12 district and school needs one as well.
The most key thing you'll get is this global network. By coming to SU you are going to get connected with the top thinkers in this community.
Nice, but I would like to see them add an educator track, and hear how they are going to work with K-12 schools. Mr. Kurzweil and Mr. Diamandis, I'm volunteering (along with my PLN) to help with that. Seriously, please contact me. I think we could use our global network of educators to help get you connected to K-12 teachers and students.


  1. Didn't it bother anyone that only 7 out of the "Top 50 Thinkers" appear to be female? Unless I missed something.....

  2. @Amy That depends, of course, on how they were selected/who chose to come. It doesn't necessarily bother me that only 7 out of 50 were women if those were the 50 people best positioned to have this discussion and were willing to come.

    It bothers me very much if only 7 of the 50 were women because of fewer opportunities (currently or in the past) to be among the 50 best positioned, or if it's due to gender bias in the selection.

  3. I think SU is an amazing concept, but I would challenge them, in this era of cultural diversity, to be a bit more diverse.

    I agree that you can only take at value who comes, who presents, who teaches... Science has always been predominantly male. I work in a large University setting, where the whole Biology dept is an "old boys club."

    SU seems to be marketed as a networking/informational opportunity, but the only people who would know about this opportunity would be science professionals and computer geeks - of which I am both. I would love to go.

    It is just the frame of mind I am in at the moment. I came across your blog while researching equity, democracy, and science education for an article I am writing. I have enjoyed your thoughts, and think your blog is great!

  4. @Amy I think folks who go will be limited more by the cost than by their gender!

    If you'd like to be involved on the University side (as opposed to being involved as a student), I'd suggest contacting them and offering your expertise. It's at least worth a shot . . .

  5. Love the comments about equity
    I agree we need the united nations approach to sole problems and from every perspective. I do not accept the top 50 to be so clearly limited in diversity and see it as limited vision. It a math statement "the whole is stronger than the sum of parts". That said
    I love the concept of beginning to parallel our learning processes with the use of technology. I would not forget to ask why are we doing this and also ask the problem of overpopulation and sustainable development and getting our heads around the fact that the solutions may create more problems that they solve. We need to think holistically as there is more to the world that science.

  6. Before I saw your comment about "where's K-12 education strand?" I thought the same thing. Thanks for offering your involvement.

  7. This is a great concept, but as you said what about K-12? this way of looking at universities as the only important level of education is so elitist! How are we going to be sure that we have these high quality minds in the future? The only way is through educating the little ones to get them there, integrating subjects, with inquiry, and building creativity, thinking like the experts just the way they are proposing. Why is this limited to that the upper echelon? Elitists in so many ways, right Amy?

  8. I just think education would be so much more interesting and real if the people attending this university got to see people present from all different kinds of backgrounds, and all different races, genders, ages... how boring would it be to go to this university and see 50 presentations by 50 white, middle age guys? That's not really inspiring.

    I began my career as a high school Biology teacher on the Mexican border. My students were 100% Mexican, and very creative. Due to their socio-economic circumstances, however, none of them could ever attend something like this, which is sad.