Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a lengthy profile on Singularity University, an incubator for futurists of all stripe founded by Ray Kurzweil. On the highly exclusive school's curriculum: nanotechnology, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and of course, immortality.
Established by Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize, the University serves as a meeting place for a variety of powerful, future-minded individuals, including Googlers Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Defence Department officials, scientists and venture capitalists.
And what they're getting instruction on? The Singularity, of course - the not-so-distant moment when humanity and technology are inexorably intertwined, allowing us to conquer illnesses and expand the limits of human intelligence. The Times piece runs through a typical Singularity U session, which includes discussions on various brainy topics and general high-level hobnobbing. But it also touches on how the University's concerns - how the increasingly advanced technology we create will change the course of humanity - are becoming increasingly mainstream, with formerly eccentric futurists like Ray Kurzweil looking, as his son says, "much less weird" as our society becomes ever more dependent on technology.
Anyway, the full article is a fascinating read - basically some of the smartest people on the planet having the same discussions you did when you were stoned in university. But at this school, the participants in that conversation are the rare individuals with the intellect and wherewithal to make those ideas a reality. [NYT]