The Singularity meme gained some huge press this weekend with a piece in the New York Times titled In the Singularity Movement, Humans Are So Yesterday. The story by Times writer Ashlee Vance represents one of the most comprehensive and authoritative Singularity focused articles in recent memory. In the course of his multi-month investigation into the singularity Vance interviewed dozens of the biggest names in the field and even attended the most recent nine day Executive Program at Singularity University. And yes – he eventually found his way over to Singularity Hub and met with me for an interview, the results of which appear in the last third or so of the story. So what sort of picture of the singularity has Vance painted for the masses?
Ultimately, Vance seems to have taken a mostly positive view of the singularity and its proponents. Similar to what we try to do here at the Hub, Vance takes a measured approach to the singularity – refusing to hype it up too much, but also giving credence to the idea that accelerating technology is poised to radically change the future of mankind. Is Kurzweil a little crazy or overoptimistic? Perhaps. But on the other hand the guy is on to something. Technology is advancing at an incredible pace and big changes for mankind are in store. The only question is how big it will be and how soon it will all come.
The twittersphere was alive with some choice comments about the New York Times coverage. Here are a few tweets from both sides of the debate:
@jayrosen_nyu I’m having trouble believing this article in the New York Times on the Singularity movement. It seems like a parody
@jimmargo What’s not to believe? Kurzweil’s been pitching this for yrs. May not happen in 20 yrs, but you think we’re not headed there?
@blprnt The mixture of arrogance and ignorance in some of the people this article about the singularity movement is striking
Singularity University in particular is given some major coverage in the story with numerous quotes from its faculty and founders. For those that are still trying to digest what Singularity University is all about, Vance does an excellent job of showcasing what is going on over there.
One of my favorite parts of the story has to be the last few paragraphs in which Kurzweil’s 31 year old son Ethan is quoted. Rarely have I seen Kurzweil’s family brought into the singularity discussion, and this rare glimpse into the thoughts of Kurzweil’s son is one of several gems sprinkled throughout the story.
For a quick primer on what the singularity is and who is involved, I can’t think of a better place to go than Vance’s article in the New York Times. As for where to go after that, here at the Hub we are focused everyday on providing the best singularity coverage on the planet. Technological advances are poised to radically impact the future of mankind and it is going to be a crazy ride. Our about page says it all:
The impossible is becoming possible. The future that you thought would not come in your lifetime is coming sooner than you thought. Singularity Hub is here to tell you about it.