What is Singularity University?
by Tony Cartalucci
April 18, 2012 – A paradigm shift is coming that will change everything about the way people work, learn, and interact – it will be the beginning of a new age and the shape that age takes depends greatly on the number of informed people that take part in it and where they decide to steer it. Already, the top minds across a variety of industries are converging and preparing for the shift. One such group, an educational institute called “Singularity University” comprises of innovators, teachers, scientists, and engineers from both the private and public sector. Some could be considered elitists interested in consolidating power, others are truly forward thinking and interested in a better world for all of mankind.
Video: An introduction as to what “Singularity University” is. It is easy to pick out good and bad people, corporations, and agendas involved in Singularity University, it is much more difficult to determine what its overall agenda is. It may be possible, if average people became informed on a large scale, to steer its agenda toward what benefits humanity as a whole, rather than a handful of corporations.
The battle that will play out depends entirely on the general public becoming informed and active in the coming paradigm shift, guiding it toward a society of solidarity and progress rather than one of disparity between enslavement and superiority. Analyzing Singularity University’s website and video productions, the impression is one of a multitude of ideas and directions – not a predetermined agenda, so far.
One concept that is omnipresent throughout Singularity University’s activities is cutting edge technology and the possible implications it will have on society. This includes everything from 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and radical advances in genetics and biotechnology. The implications range from the ability for every individual on Earth to “print” at will any conceivable object they are able to obtain the blueprints for or design, to gene therapies capable of extending human life to centuries.
While the public is distracted with gritty political ploys, wars, and engineered destabilization, it is hoped that these emerging technologies can be meshed into the existing power structures and preserve the power of elites who have reigned over humanity for generations. Sabotaging education, ruining family and culture, and perpetuating the futile “rat race” also plays a role in keeping the vast majority of humanity out of the debate, and thus at a clear disadvantage.
Video: An amazing presentation given by Singularity University’s Daniel Reda discusses the latest breakthroughs in biotechnology and bioinformatics. While some of these breakthroughs carry with them horrifying implications, they are only horrifying if the knowledge and techniques surrounding them remain monopolized in the hands of a select few. Just as many would argue against gun control and the dangers of an unarmed society subjected to the whims of a brutal dictatorship, the same could be said of a technologically and intellectually disarmed population as well.
Just like Europeans arriving on the shores of the New World – with vastly superior weapons and institutions to perform a campaign of full spectrum domination over natives that has endured ever since, the global elite of today hope to assume a position of vast superiority enabled by quantum leaps in technology while the rest of us, through ploys such as “environmentalism” and “sustainable living” increasingly disarm ourselves industrially and technologically. Polluting our priorities with political issues instead of pragmatism also widens the rift of disparity between the people and the ruling elite.
What many may find as a surprise however, is that not only are there members and guests of Singularity University that are aware of this, but many are very outspoken about this issue and insistent on the masses becoming engaged and participating in the coming paradigm shift.
One comment by entertainer William James (Will I Am), speaking as a guest at a Singularity University event, made the point that progress is moving at such a pace that those not involved in science and technology stand a very real danger of being left behind. James made the point that his reason for coming to Singularity University was to raise awareness of technological advances amongst people from the inner cities and inspire them to become engaged and involved directly. He also made the point that technology stands at a crossroads where it could either doom humanity or produce unthinkable benefits and pressed for caution as humanity moved forward.
Video: A panel featured at a Singularity University event featuring a wide range of views from a Hollywood monopolist, to entertainer William James, to techno-entrepreneur Elon Musk of SpaceX.
The points James brings up are indeed valid and in fact, the very root of the problem we now face – an ignorant population facing a profound paradigm shift that will leave them vulnerable to great exploitation should they fail to “catch up.” This was a point famous astronomer Carl Sagan made during one of his last interviews where he too pointed out that civilization was increasingly built upon science and technology the vast majority of the population did not understand, and warned of the dangers that might result.
Video: One of the last interviews Carl Sagan gave, warning of the consequences of a technologically advanced civilization where the population is vastly ignorant of both science and technology.
Those dangers include the vast majority of decisions being monopolized by very few individuals, a scientific-dictatorship of sorts, that can manipulate, abuse, and exploit the ignorance of the population with devastating results. The future we live in, Sagan explained, will be determined by those who understand the principles our modern, scientific and technological society is built on. In essence, all of the “democratic” trappings any given society may have, or may pose to fight for, are irrelevant where proper education and understanding regarding pragmatism and technical subjects is lacking, sub-par, or worse yet, non-existent.
For a ruling elite who presumes dominion over mankind, providing such education is almost unthinkable. It is not something we will be able to ask our representatives to do for us, but something we must do for ourselves. No amount of “freedom” or “security” can be achieved unless we are fully informed, not simply in terms of history and the functioning of our chosen form of governance, but also in the essential subjects of science and technology that have inevitably achieved supremacy in the administration of human society.
For the population to become informed – it would be best to follow those converging at Singularity University, and by following William James’ advice, being cautious about the progress and achievements showcased there instead of blindly being caught up in the enthusiasm. The Internet is a vast resource available for anyone willing to take on the responsibility of becoming informed regarding these essential topics. Any word or concept mentioned during any of the talks featured on Singularity University’s YouTube channel can easily be looked up and researched. TED Talks are another great resource for finding the very latest topics in science and technology to begin researching and understanding. TED represents another forum where both “good” and “bad” interests converge and compete in the court of opinion.
For those seeking more academic presentations, universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Berkley University provide “open course ware,” or in other words, an entire series of lectures for free on both their own websites and on YouTube.
If one has the money or opportunity to take courses in a technical trade – this too would be highly recommended. The “service economy” and much of the current economic paradigm will be swept away as emerging technologies like 3D printing, personal manufacturing, and biotechnology comes of age. Entire supply chains and even the concept of “logistics” may be radically changed or even effectively ended when all someone has to do is hit a “print” button and an object is produced before their very eyes. Biotechnology has made it possible to create artificial genetic sequences capable of producing raw materials for anything from fuel to construction materials to spare body parts. The speed at which these technologies are being developed and implemented is increasing exponentially.
Video: Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk, discusses the paradigm shift 3D printing is going to have as well as the convergence of disciplines and the need to vastly overhaul the way we approach education.
Becoming aware is the first step of getting involved. Even as just a part-time hobby it would be immensely beneficial to pursue something constructive, either machining, wood working, or studying in an amateur capacity any number of scientific fields. Another topic at Singularity University that is brought up time and time again is the fact that fields of research as well as occupations are beginning to converge. Just as our forefathers were jacks of many trades, technology is once again making it possible, even necessary to have a multitude of talents and pursuits as well as a wider range of knowledge to be productive and successful in society.
As mentioned before, it is essential that people understand the world around them, understand the role large multinational corporations play in maintaining the crippling disparity between themselves and an infinitely ignorant population, and the necessity to reverse this disparity before the paradigm shift unfolds.
We must boycott those corporations, institutions, and individuals that seek to dominate humanity, and support those that believe in a future we all will benefit from. We must be ever vigilant as technology emerges that we both understand it, its benefits and dangers, and examine with due diligence the best way to implement it within our changing society. We must examine, then reexamine the leaders in industry, their motivations and agenda, and help encourage them to do what is right, while penalizing them with boycotts and alternatives when they are demonstratively harming society.
The future is in the hands of whoever reaches out and grabs it. Right now, we as a population are distracted, our heads are down, our eyes fixed to only what is directly before us. The future, no matter how many times we “vote” and no matter how vigorously we “protest,” is demonstratively not in our own hands. We must get informed, we must get pragmatically involved. We must look at what the top minds across industry and innovation are doing at Singularity University, who are preparing themselves for this convergence and acceleration, and likewise prepare ourselves, lest we find ourselves on the wrong divide of an infinitely vast disparity.