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April 25, 2009

Singularity University opens June 29, 2009


That's the good news.

The bad news is that they accepted only 40 people from 1,200 who expressed interest in attending the first nine-week term.

But it's not all bad news for the other 1,160 — they now have an extra $25,000 (the cost of tuition, room and board at SU, whose campus is located at NASA's Silicon Valley-based Ames Research Center in the Bay Area) to fool around with.

Send some my way and I'll enroll you instanter in the first ever summer term at boj University — henceforth known at bojU — here at my Charlottesville, Virginia World Headquarters.

But I digress.

David Gelles' article in today's Financial Times can tell you much more about SU.



Singularity n. A point of infinite density and infinitesimal volume, at which space and time become infinitely distorted according to the theory of General Relativity. According to the big bang theory, a gravitational singularity existed at the beginning of the universe. Singularities are also believed to exist at the centre of black holes.
— The American Heritage Science Dictionary

In a spare one-room office at Nasa’s Silicon Valley campus, a small band of futurists is plotting to save the world. The means are not a revolutionary technology or a new world order (though both may be byproducts). Rather, a new, pseudo-academic institution called Singularity ­University is going to solve our grand challenges: poverty, hunger, energy scarcity and climate change. Among others. Through a combination of techno-optimism, wide-eyed idealism and belief in the perfectibility of human beings, these well-connected geeks are creating an institution meant to legitimise their most extreme thinking.

... Google, the first corporate partner, has contributed $250,000 – and Google co-founder Larry Page attended the first meeting on the university last autumn. As one Singularity staffer said: “Here in Silicon Valley, we’re at the centre of the vortex.”

The office has all the trappings of a technology start-up: frisbees and footballs scattered about, a corner full of free snacks and drinks, and a communal table around which all members of the team work. Salim Ismail (his blog's title: “You’ve Got Ismail!”) is the school’s executive director and a veteran of several technology-based start-ups. Forty-something with a bald pate and an easy smile, Ismail describes himself as “passionate about business, entrepreneurship, technology, skiing, wine [and] tennis” with “a side hobby in metaphysics and philosophy”. In other words, he’s the archetypal Silicon Valley male.

The inaugural class will be a mix of graduate students and businessmen and women with time to spare. Classes are eight hours a day, six days a week.

Before I left Ames, Ismail loaded me up with swag. He gave me a calendar from NASA showing pictures of the cosmos, a copy of "The Singularity Is Near"


signed by Kurzweil, and a handful of Singularity University refrigerator magnets — a refreshingly simple technology, reliable, very human, and timeless.


Note that all applicants to bojU — ultimately successful or not — who enclose an exorbitant handling fee with their application will receive, at no additional charge, a free lifetime subscription to bookofjoe.

Wait a minute....

April 25, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Oh yeah.

Gonna change the world in 9 weeks.

Sounds like an expensive way to network.

Posted by: Doc | Apr 26, 2009 11:14:37 AM

Like the TED series website - http:/www.ted.com/

Robert Kurzweil has had a futuristic forward thinking website for years. I used to have it linked but had to re-Google it. http://www.kurzweilai.net/index.html


Posted by: guest | Apr 25, 2009 7:28:02 PM

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