The tired legs of 80 jetlagged students shuffle to their seats of Mountain View California’s Computer History Museum, in preparation for a summer that will change their lives and perhaps the world. “What unites all of you here together,” remarked keynote speaker Dr. Regina Dugan, “is that you have committed to believing in something. 10 weeks, then 1 billion lives. You are here to change the world.”
Dr. Dugan is referring to Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program (GSP) which kicked off last week in Mountain View California. The GSP gathers 80 talented students, this year from 33 countries, for the purpose of creating start up companies that will positively impact the lives of 1 billion people within ten years. Previous GSP participants have started dozens of companies that are now making an impact as part of Singularity Labs, and more are sure to come out of this year’s class. Over the course of the next ten weeks, students will hear over 500 hours of lectures from nobel prize winners, CEO’s, serial entrepreneurs, government leaders, and leading edge researchers.
Now in its 5th year, each GSP begins with a “Global Grand Challenge Week,” an introductory seminar to introduce a range of problem areas including poverty, global health, education, security, environmental issues, water, and energy. Next, students spend several weeks learning across several exponential technologies seeing massive improvements in price in performance; areas like biotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, medicine, and computing. The goal is to leverage these technologies in a favorable way and create companies that change the world for the better.
“Today a guy or a gal in a garage with access to one of these exponential technologies can touch the lives of billions on our planet,” pointed out Singularity University co-founder Peter Diamandis. “We have a moral obligation to create a world of opportunity for everyone on earth.”
Dr. Ray Kurzweil, co-founder and chancellor of Singularity University, was on hand to share his unique perspectives on exponential growth as well. Kurzweil has built a sterling reputation for precision accuracy in futures forecasting and technology predictions. “The world of information technology moves exponentially, and this gives me great reason for optimism,” said Kurzweil. “The world today looks nothing like it did 40 years ago and the world in 10 years will look nothing like it looks today. You all have an opportunity to create that world.”
“You all are doer dreamers, and I love doer dreamers,” Dr Dugan said in her closing remarks. Dr. Dugan’s final words, greeted with a standing ovation and booming applause capture the essence of the evening and offer appropriate guidance to this summer’s Graduate Studies Class. “The world has enough doers who aren’t able to dream and dreamers who are afraid to build. You all have chosen to build. Now go out and build some epic shit!”