Futurist Kurzweil's Singularity University Opens in Silicon Valley

By February 11, 2009

A new technology school is opening in Silicon Valley, headed by futurist Ray Kurzweil and based at NASA’s Moffet Field in Mountain View. Its goal? Solving the world’s biggest problems. Unveiled last week at TED, 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,” according to the school’s website. "We are reaching out across the globe to gather the smartest and most passionate future leaders and arm them with the tools and network they need to wrestle with the grand challenges of our day," said Singularity University co-founder Peter Diamandis.

The nine-week graduate program costs $25,000. Its first class will be thirty students, but it will expand to 120 in the near future. The university will also hold shorter executive sessions.

Students will spend three immersed in classes ranging from computing, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and energy to law and finance. Three weeks after that will be devoted to the in-depth study of one of these areas. The final three weeks will be devoted to student projects.

Academic tracks include Future Studies & Forecasting; Networks & Computing Systems; Biotechnology & Bioinformatics; Nanotechnology; Medicine, Neuroscience & Human Enhancement; AI, Robotics, & Cognitive Computing; Energy & Ecological Systems; Space & Physical Sciences; Policy, Law & Ethics; and Finance & Entrepreneurship.

The university takes its name from Kurzweil’s book “The Singularity is Near” (2005). The book popularized the idea of the Singularity, a future techno-evolutionary event in which machines will become more capable than humans. This theory is the core of the University’s mission.

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