Archive for the ‘Singularity’ Category

Meet the Avengers of Science: Earth’s Mightiest Brains Assembled (Also Ashton Kutcher)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Singularity University.jpg

They meet at school.

Singularity University to be exact. A who’s who of future makers with a collected resume that would make Alexander the Great offer to bus tables in their presence.

Singularity University_ meet the people who are building our future | Technology | The Observer.jpgMusk. Page. Aldrin. Cerf. Valley start-up billionaires. Hollywood big wigs. Those who have shattered scientific barriers. And Ashton Kutcher and and Lady Gaga’s PR strategist.

But hell, even the Avengers could make use of Ant Man.

Together they hold blue sky brainstorming sessions that could change the world. United under the vision of X Prize founder (and recently announced Asteroid Miner) Peter Diamandis, the match an unprecedented amount of human computing power with the money and ambition to tackle nearly any problem.

The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr was lucky enough to sit in on a session and wrote a fantastic piece about it.

But first, the co-founder of the Singularity University, Peter Diamandis, gives us our instructions for the day. Your task, he says, is to pick one of the “grand challenges of humanity” – the lack of clean drinking water, say. And then come up with an idea that “can positively impact the lives of a billion people”.

It’s 9.30 in the morning. Some of us haven’t even had coffee yet. There’s about 50 of us present and the room has been divided up into tables, one for education, another for poverty, another for water, and I’m not sure where I should sit. Diane Murphy, the university’s PR executive, hesitates for a moment and then directs me over to the table marked “food”. “Tell you what,” she says. “Why don’t you take Ashton Kutcher’s chair over there. He’s not coming until later.” (When he does arrive, he pulls up a chair at the next table over. What can I say? If Ashton Kutcher fails to solve global hunger, it will be my fault.)

Avengers assemble.