Posted by: crudbasher | August 16, 2010

The Singularity is Coming

One of the main focuses of this blog is advanced technology.  I try limit my focus to the next 10 years however, a glimpse beyond that shows a possible future that is difficult to comprehend.  This past weekend there was a conference in San Fransisco called the Singularity Summit.  Hosted by Ray Kurzweil, this gathers scientists and futurists from around the world to discuss the ramifications of a possible future event called the Singularity.  So what is the Singularity and why does it matter for education?

Our grandparents saw some amazing technological advancements in their time.  The 20th century saw both the invention of the airplane, and the space program.  We forget but electricity wasn’t even that widespread in 1900.  However, as mind blowing as the 20th century was in terms of technology, the 21st century will make it look like the middle ages.

Based on the current rate of technological progress, computers will get faster and more powerful every year.  It has been established how much computation power the human brain has. The Singularity is what happens when computers reach and then surpass human intelligence. This term was first coined by writer Vernor Vinge in 1993.

This graph from Ray Kurzweil that illustrates this acceleration and the timeline we might reach it.

Exponential Growth of Computing

That’s just math.  This acceleration of computing has been happening for hundreds of year.  It’s only about 15-20 years off until computers surpass human intelligence.

How does this apply to Education?  These are the sorts of issues our children will have to be prepared to deal with.  It hopefully starts to show how the education system in this country is getting more obsolete each day.  I don’t care about Interactive Whiteboards, 1:1 computing, NCLB, RTT, or any of the other things we are dealing with right now.  Those are just details.

I think we should setup an education system that lets each child reach their full potential, as determined by the child and parent.

Here is Ray Kurzweil’s TED talk. Watch this and then see if it changes your prospective on the current education issues.

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Responses

  1. This is interesting, I wonder if we will get to the point where technology is able to increase at a much greater rate than humans are able to accept. In other words it is able to do more than we are comfortable with it doing and at a faster rate than we have time to get used to the changes? (already happening for some!)

    • Yeah I have been pondering something like that. It’s almost like innovation on demand. A company needs a certain product and they can just contract someone to invent it rapidly. Automated factories or nanotech assembly can create it. It would be quite a wondrous time! Also a bit scary.

  2. […] The Singularity is Coming […]

  3. […] incredibly short amount of time, and what this means for our future.  One of the resources I read (Education Stormfront) focused on Ray Kurzweil’s attempts to model computational growth and extrapolate to predict […]

  4. […] people to guide me  on this journey of learning. One of them is Ray Kurzweil. I have written about him before. The reason I find his work fascinating is it changed my way of thinking about the rate of […]

  5. […] (Image via Education StormFront) […]


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