The new institution, known as Singularity University, is to be headed by futurist Ray Kurzweil, who has warned that preparation is needed for when the point is reached that computers are able to improve themselves through artificial intelligence.
Although his views about this so-called technological singularity have attracted controversy, Google and NASA’s involvement indicates there is a growing mainstream acceptance of Kurzweil’s view that before the middle of this century artificial intelligence will outstrip human beings. This, claims Kurzweil, will usher in a new era of civilisation.
The mission of the new university will be to “Prepare humanity for accelerating technological change.”
The university, which opens in June, will be housed at NASA’s Ames Research Center, close to Google’s headquarters, and will offer courses on biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.
At the launch on Tuesday Kurzweil said, “We are now in the steep part of the exponential trajectory of information technologies in a broad variety of fields, including health, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.”
“It is only these accelerating technologies that have the scale to address the major challenges of humanity ranging from energy and the environment, to disease and poverty. With its strong focus on interdisciplinary learning, Singularity University is poised to foster the leaders who will create a uniquely creative and productive future world.”
Learn more about the Singularity University