A scientific think-tank in the Silicon Valley, funded by Google, run by thought-leaders in the fields of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics and computing - may be man's answer to Ponce de León 's Fountain of Youth.
Singularity University is an ivory tower of learning that is working on altering man's evolution where human being and machines will meld effortlessly to form new life forms that will transcend illness and even death.
Rayond KurzweilIn a NY Times report, Ashlee Vance interviewed Raymond Kurzweil, one of Singularity's inventors who boasts that he will not only be able to live for hundreds of years, but he will also be able to resurrect the dead, including his own father. “That is what it means to be human — to extend who we are,” notes Kurzweil.
On the flip-side, the naysayers see Singularity as a modern-day version of "Frankenstein" where man is playing at being "God," where technologists fear a world dominated by artificial intelligence that will eventually rule over man.
Others believe Singularity will grow a society of "Haves" and "Have-Nots" -those that can afford this new technology and live forever, and those that have to abide by the 'old school' route of living and dying.
This summer, Kurzeil will begin a cross-country multimedia road show that will promote his documentaries, "Transcendent Man,' and "The Singularity Is Near." The latter is a fictional tale of a virtual being Kurzweil builds that eventually becomes human.
Transcendent Man is Kurzweil's vision of a future in which we will merge with our machines, can live forever, and are billions of times more intelligent - all within the next thirty years. This video shows both sides of the debate, where William Shatner who "doesn't want to die" is in polar opposition to groups that believe Kurzweil is some kind of mad scientist.
This past week, Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google became part-man, part-machine in a Singularity Sergey Brinpresentation to about 40 people gathered at a NASA campus in the Silicon Valley.
While the flesh-and-blood version of Brin sat miles away at a computer lab, he controlled a "BrinBot" gizmo that consisted of a printer-sized base with wheels attached to a boxy, head-height screen glowing with an image of Brin's face. The bot took instructions from Brin and moved around the audience engaging in conversations about Google and various other topics.
Larry Page & Sergey BrinGoogle has not only embraced Singularity's philosophical and scientific beliefs, it has donated more than a $250K and good number of Googlers have attended the 10 week 'graduate' course offered at the University. Brin and Larry Page his co-founder believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world's ills, while also allowing people to seize control of man's evolutionary process.
So, as ubiquitous as Google is in so many aspects of our lives, it appears their more far-reaching goal is not only to search for our keywords but to actually search for our extended existence on this planet. BrinBots might sound like a crazed fad developed by a billionaire Internet industrialist (with too much time on his hands), but one should never discount how effective the Google braintrust is at pushing boundaries (with the possible exception of international diplomacy). If Google was able to seize control of the Internet in a little over a decade, can you imagine what they will be able to accomplish in the next ten years?