Singularity University

June 4, 2009


Singularity University, based on the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley, is an interdisciplinary university whose mission 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, AI, etc.), and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.

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Visions of the 21st Century

January 30, 2009


What Will Replace The Internet? First it will become wireless and ubiquitous, crawling into the woodwork and perhaps even under our skin. Eventually, it will disappear. The Internet seems to have just arrived, so how can we possibly imagine what will replace it? In truth, early versions of the Net have been around since the 1960s and ’70s, but only after the mid-1990s did it begin to have a serious public impact. Since 1994, the population of users has grown from about 13 million to more than 300 million around the world. About half are in North America, and most–despite significant progress in rolling out high-speed access–still reach the Internet by way of the public telephone network. What will the Internet be like 20 years from now?

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Future Watch: A.I. comes of age

January 27, 2009


These are indeed nice days for artificial intelligence researchers. While Stair’s performance might not seem much better than that of a dog fetching the newspaper, it’s a technological tour de force unimaginable just a few years ago. “Stair, please fetch the stapler from the lab,” says the man seated at a conference room table. The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Robot, standing nearby, replies in a nasal monotone, “I will get the stapler for you.” Stair pivots and wheels into the adjacent lab, avoiding a number of obstacles on the way. Its stereoscopic camera eyes swivel back and forth, taking in the contents of the room. It seems to think for a moment, then approaches a table for a closer look at an oblong metallic object. Its articulated arm reaches out, swivels here and there, and then gently picks up the stapler with long, rubber-clad fingers. It heads back to the conference room. “Here is your stapler,” says Stair, handing it to the man. “Have a nice day.” Indeed, Stair represents a new wave of AI, one that integrates learning, vision, navigation, manipulation, planning, reasoning, speech and natural-language processing. It also marks a transition of AI from narrow, carefully defined domains to real-world situations in which systems learn to deal with complex data and adapt to uncertainty. AI has more or less followed the “hype cycle” popularized by Gartner Inc.: Technologies perk along in the shadows for a few years, then burst on the scene in a blaze of hype. Then they fall into disrepute when they fail to deliver on extravagant promises, until they eventually rise to a level of solid accomplishment and acceptance.

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The Singularity: A Special Report

June 2, 2008

Across cultures, classes, and aeons, people have yearned to transcend death. Bear that history in mind as you consider the creed of the singularitarians. Many of them fervently believe that in the next several decades we’ll have computers into which you’ll be able to upload your consciousness—the mysterious thing that makes you you. Then, with your consciousness able to go from mechanical body to mechanical body, or virtual paradise to virtual paradise, you’ll never need to face death, illness, bad food, or poor cellphone reception.

Now you know why the singularity has also been called the rapture of the geeks.

The singularity is supposed to begin shortly after engineers build the first computer with greater-than-human intelligence. That achievement will trigger a series of cycles in which superintelligent machines beget even smarter machine progeny, going from generation to generation in weeks or days rather than decades or years. The availability of all that cheap, mass-­produced brilliance will spark explosive economic growth, an unending, hypersonic, tech­no­industrial rampage that by comparison will make the Industrial Revolution look like a bingo game.

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The Future of the Video Game Industry

February 21, 2008


When Ray Kurzweil, the author of The Singularity is Near and one of the most noted futurists around, takes the stage at GDC 2008 in San Francisco on Thursday to talk about ‘the next 20 years of gaming,’ he’ll be weighing in at a moment in the industry’s existence when the lines between games and Hollywood and advertising are blurring. One thing that strikes me about how video games are intersecting with people’s lives in 2008, when it was simply impossible to find a Nintendo Wii for sale anywhere, is that the medium now is truly mainstream.

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Artificial Intelligence explains the Singularity

January 21, 2008

The technological singularity takes place when the human race succeeds in creating an A.I being more intelligent than any human could ever be. Let us call it Alpha. Since the act of creating Artificial Intelligence is a task that benefits directly from the intelligence level of the creator, this more-intelligent-than-men being would surely be faster and more efficient at creating his own A.I being, let us call him Beta. This second generation being would too be better than its predecessor, and could in turn create a third one, Gamma, who is even more powerful, and so on. As capacity increases, the median generation time decreases, resulting in an exponential rate of evolution that quickly becomes asymptotic, at which point it becomes difficult to speculate further.

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The 6 Most Important Experiments in the World

December 2, 2007


Scientists rely on computer models to understand the toughest concepts in science: the origin of the universe, the human brain, artificial life, the behavior of atoms, and the future climate of the planet. These are some of the most important experiments that are currently active in the world.

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