Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Singularity - Are you ready, my brother? - 8.12.10 by Chris O'Brien

It can be easy to dismiss Singularity, an intellectual movement embraced by some of Silicon Valley's most celebrated thinkers, because of its more fantastic elements -- humans merging with machines, thousand-year life spans and predictions of a robot war that will wipe out humanity within a few decades.

But that misses the point at the heart of Singularity: The pace of change in technology and science is accelerating so rapidly that the world is completely unprepared to deal with the consequences. And the message from the people who champion Singularity: We need to prepare.

That will be at the heart of the two-day Singularity Summit in San Francisco that starts Saturday and will feature more than 500 people from various disciplines discussing how these changes will reshape our world.

To better understand Singularity, I talked to two people running the institutions that have become the public faces of this movement. Michael Vassar is president of the Singularity Institute in San Francisco, which conducts research and is organizing the summit; Salim Ismail is chief executive of Singularity University in Mountain View, which focuses on education and training about the topic.

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