Peter Diamandis

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The Singularitarians’ time frames are largely risible, but attention should be paid to their goals. What they suggest is often only a furthering what we already have. Looking at their predictions for tomorrow can tell us something about today.

For better or worse, humans are more united by technology than they ever have been before, and for some this is merely prelude. A new Futurism article looks at Peter Diamandis’ dream of “meta-intelligence,” which would require far more radical person-to-person connectedness as well as humans being tethered brain to cloud. His overly ambitious ETA may prove false, but paramount concerns about such an arrangement go far beyond hacking and privacy. Marshall McLuhan dreaded the Global Village he predicted, believing it could be our downfall.

Gary Wolf wrote in Wired in 1996:

McLuhan did not want to live in the global village. The prospect frightened him. Print culture had produced rational man, in whom vision was the dominant sense. Print man lived in a world that was secular rather than sacred, specialized rather than holistic.

But when information travels at electronic speeds, the linear clarity of the print age is replaced by a feeling of “all-at-onceness.” Everything everywhere happens simultaneously. There is no clear order or sequence. This sudden collapse of space into a single unified field ‘dethrones the visual sense.’ This is what the global village means: we are all within reach of a single voice or the sound of tribal drums. For McLuhan, this future held a profound risk of mass terror and sudden panic.•

Print has certainly been eclipsed, and the Internet and its social media have presented specific outsize problems even a visionary could never have seen coming. These tools can help topple regimes, and all the closeness has allowed those with good or evil intentions to pool their resources and mobilize.

Garry Kasparov is relatively hopeful about what this new normal means for us, but would his arch-nemesis Vladimir Putin have been able to effect the U.S. election without the wires that now run through us all? We have to accept at least the possibility that a highly technological society will be an endlessly chaotic one.

From Futurism:


Diamandis outlines the next stages of humanity’s evolution in four steps, each a parallel to his four evolutionary stages of life on Earth. There are four driving forces behind this evolution: our interconnected or wired world, the emergence of brain-computer interface (BCI), the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), and man reaching for the final frontier of space.

In the next 30 years, humanity will move from the first stage—where we are today—to the fourth stage. From simple humans dependent on one another, humanity will incorporate technology into our bodies to allow for more efficient use of information and energy. This is already happening today.

The third stage is a crucial point.

Enabled with BCI and AI, humans will become massively connected with each other and billions of AIs (computers) via the cloud, analogous to the first multicellular lifeforms 1.5 billion years ago. Such a massive interconnection will lead to the emergence of a new global consciousness, and a new organism I call the Meta-Intelligence.•

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Raymond Orterg check presented to Lindbergh.

In 1919, New York City immigrant hotelier and restaurateur Raymond Orteig had an inspiring if dangerous idea to speed up the development of aviation. He established a $25,000 prize to go to the first pilot to complete a successful solo flight between New York and Paris. The businessman received a great return on his investment as numerous aviators individually poured time and resources into the endeavor. The first six attempts ended in failure and death, before Charles Lindbergh collected the check from Orteig, who had flown to Paris for the occasion.

I was reminded of Orteig by a recent Vivek Wadhwa column in the Washington Post which compared him to Peter Diamandis, who 20 years ago established the $10,000,000 X Prize to similarly stimulate space travel. Below is a Brooklyn Daily Eagle feature published a few months after Lindbergh’s 1927 triumph, which told of Orteig’s unlikely rags-to-riches story and how he sparked one of history’s great moments.






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Peter Diamandis, who dreams of the world’s first trillionaire, believes we’ll become a “world of haves and super-haves.” On some levels, that would be great: a chance for no more poverty, disease greatly reduced, more opportunity and education for even those of us who have the least.

But there are some problems with that thinking. One is that even if there was some level of prosperity for everyone, great wealth inequality would still allow some to rig the system for themselves. Also if you look at America, a rich country in which everyone could certainly have food, shelter, a decent standard of living and good education and health care, that isn’t the case, and our infant mortality rate is shockingly high. I mean, we already have abundance. Distribution is really the challenge.

Post-scarcity would be wonderful, but it must be managed well. Diamandis seems a good-hearted person who would likely agree with that sentiment, but his macro vision for the future seems as flawed as his belief that he has a good shot at a mutli-century life. Much of his dreams for tomorrow seem driven by Silicon Valley insularity and irrational exuberance.

An excerpt from Leia Parker’s excellent Business Journals Q&A with the Singularitarian:


How old are you today?

Peter Diamandis:



With longevity, are we at a point now with medicine that people alive today could live far longer than the average current life expectancy?

Peter Diamandis:

I think I’ve got a shot at living a multi-hundred-year lifespan. For me, it’s living long enough to live forever. We have incredible discoveries going on. There are incredible breakthroughs going on right now in stem cell science, so there’s no reason to believe that we will not see a longevity revolution coming our way.


You have written that we will enter an age of abundance because of exponential technological progress. If many people’s jobs are replaced by automation in this era of abundance, you have suggested people could receive a basic income so everyone could then work on their passions. Do you anticipate that happening in our lifetime? Oh yeah, I mean, you’ve got multiple countries working on that or testing it right now. Canada’s passed that.

Peter Diamandis:

Two things are going on in that regard. One is, we don’t realize it, but we’re very rapidly demonetizing the cost of living. The cost of things are dropping rapidly as we digitize, demonetize and democratize. So autonomous Ubers will be five to 10 times cheaper than owning and driving a car. Solar energy — we just set a record low of solar energy at 2.91 cents per kilowatt hour out of South America, and so we are going to see solar dropping in cost precipitously.

Imagine a world where our basic needs — energy and water, healthcare and education — are effectively free.

So the cost of living is dropping. Not that you wouldn’t be able to spend money on all kinds of things if you had it, but the fundamental Maslow’s needs are going to be met through what you can call a sort of technological socialism, where technology is taking care of those things for you.

And, it’s going to be interesting to see where humanity spends its time. Is it going to be in the virtual world, the gaming world?


Who would pay the basic income? Would it be governments or wealthy individuals?

Peter Diamandis:

I think it’s going to be governments through wealthy individuals. I think we’re going to see–


Like a taxing and redistribution?

Peter Diamandis:

Ultimately, I think that is likely to be what happens.•

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Utopians tend to overpromise. 

Techno-utopians go even further. It’s not that Singularitarians with bold plans for transforming medicine or transportation are making theoretically impossible claims, but they sure have aggressive timeframes and seem to think tomorrow will be smooth as can be. But it’s a world with wrinkles and probably needs to be.

Perhaps by the end of the century, we’ll live in a post-scarcity society with robot assistants and miraculous medicine, though there’ll still be problems–stubborn old ones, new ones, ones we can’t yet imagine. We’re far from perfect, and our machines won’t be flawless, either. Progress is wonderful, but it’s not an arrow pointed toward the heavens.

From Nick Romeo’s Daily Beast piece about Singularity University:

It’s common for tech industry rhetoric to invoke the ideal of a better world, but since its 2008 inception, Singularity University has articulated an astonishingly ambitious series of goals and projects that use technological progress for philanthropic ends. Medicine is just one of many domains that [co-founder Peter] Diamandis wants to fundamentally change. He and others at Singularity are also working to develop and support initiatives that will provide universal access to high-quality education, restore and protect polluted environments, and transition the economy to entirely sustainable energy sources.

His audience was a group of 98 executives from 44 countries around the world; each had paid $14,000 to attend the weeklong program at Singularity University’s NASA Research Park campus in Mountain View, California. As Diamandis moved through the sectors of the economy that artificial intelligence would soon dominate—medicine, law, finance, academia, engineering—the crowd seemed strangely energized by the prospect of its imminent irrelevance. Singularity University was generating more than $1 million of revenue by telling its prosperous guests that they would soon be surpassed by machines.

But his vision of the future was nonetheless optimistic. Diamandis believes that solar energy will soon satisfy the demands of the entire planet and replace the market for fossil fuels. This will mean fewer wars and cleaner air. Systems for converting atmospheric humidity into clean drinking water will become cheap and ubiquitous. The industrial meat industry will also vanish, replaced by tastier and healthier laboratory-grown products with no environmental downsides. He also predicts that exponential increases in the power of AI would soon render teachers and universities superfluous. The best education in the world will become freely available to anyone.•

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Ray Kurzweil, who will never die, is a brilliant and amusing inventor and thinker, but I believe he’s wrong in predicting that in 20 years or so we’re going to have nanobots introduced into our systems that allow us to directly plug our brains into the Internet. In what appears to be a Singularitarian circle jerk, some other futurists, including his associate Peter Diamandis, are very excited by his pronouncement, though let’s remember that Kurzweil has sometimes been wildly off in his prognostications. Remember when computers disappeared in 2009 because information was written directly onto our retinae by eyeglasses and contact lenses? Neither do I.

Such developments aren’t theoretically impossible, but such an aggressive timeline and so little attention to the downsides is puzzling. From Diamandis at Singularity Hub:

The implications of a connected neocortex are quite literally unfathomable. As such, any list I can come up with will pale in comparison to reality…but here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.

Brain-to-Brain Communication

This will deliver a new level of human intimacy, where you can truly know what your lover, friend or child is feeling. Intimacy far beyond what we experience today by mere human conversation. Forget email, texting, phone calls, and so on — you’ll be able to send your thoughts to someone simply by thinking them.

Google on the Brain

You’ll have the ability to “know” anything you desire, at the moment you want to know it. You’ll have access to the world’s information at the tip of your neurons. You’ll be able to calculate complex math equations in seconds. You’ll be able to navigate the streets of any cities, intuitively. You’ll be able to hop into a fighter jet and fly it perfectly. You’ll be able to speak and translate any language effortlessly.

Scalable Intelligence

Just imagine that you’re in a bind and you need to solve a problem (quickly). In this future world, you’ll be able to scale up the computational power of your brain on demand, 10x or 1,000x…in much the same way that algorithms today can spool up 1,000 processor cores on Amazon Web Service servers.•

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Peter Diamandis is privy to much more cutting-edge technological information than I am, but he’s also more prone to irrational exuberance. I have little doubt driverless cars will be perfected for all climates and conditions at some point in the future, but will there really be more than 50 million autonomous cars on the road by 2035? Well, it is the kind of technology likely to spread rapidly when completed. From a Diamandis Singularity Hub post about the future of transportation, agriculture, and healthcare/elder care:

By 2035 there will be more than 54 million autonomous cars on the road, and this will change everything:

  • Saved Lives: Autonomous cars don’t drive drunk, don’t text and don’t fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Reclaiming Land: You can fit eight times more autonomous cars on our roads, plus you no longer need parking spaces. Today, in the U.S. we devote 10% of the urban land to ~600 million parking spaces, and countless more to our paved highways and roads. In Los Angeles, it’s estimated that more than half of the land in the city belongs to cars in the form of garages, driveways, roads, and parking lots.
  • Saved Energy: Today we give close to 25 percent of all of our energy to personal transportation, and 25 percent of our greenhouse gases are going to the car. If cars don’t crash, you don’t need a 5,000-lb SUV driving around a 100-lb passenger (where 2% of the energy is moving the person, and 98% is to move the metal womb wrapped around them).
  • Saved Money/Higher Productivity: Get rid of needing to own a car, paying for insurance and parking, trade out 4,000-lb. cars for lighter electric cars that don’t crash, and you can expect to save 90% on your local automotive transportation bill. Plus regain 1 to 2 hours of productivity in your life (work as you are driven around), reclaiming hundreds of billions of dollars in the US economy.

Best of all, you can call any kind of car you need. Need a nap? Order a car with a bed. Want to party? Order one with a fully-stocked bar. Need a business meeting? Up drives a conference room on wheels.•


At the Singularity Hub, Peter Diamandis has published “The World in 2025: 8 Predictions for the Next 10 Years,” an excited, perhaps excitable, look at technology in a decade. I’ve excerpted two prognostications below. On the first one, a “world of perfect knowledge,” I agree that more information is better in many ways, but people still have a stubborn tendency to see what they want to see regardless of data. On the second one, I think the futurist is too ambitious in thinking digital personal assistants on a ubiquitous scale will be here in a few years. In both cases, the problem of surveillance by governments and corporations is a real issue.

The excerpt:

3. Perfect Knowledge

We’re heading towards a world of perfect knowledge. With a trillion sensors gathering data everywhere (autonomous cars, satellite systems, drones, wearables, cameras), you’ll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights.

7. Early Days of JARVIS

Artificial intelligence research will make strides in the next decade. If you think Siri is useful now, the next decade’s generation of Siri will be much more like JARVIS from Iron Man, with expanded capabilities to understand and answer. Companies like IBM Watson, DeepMind and Vicarious continue to hunker down and develop next-generation AI systems. In a decade, it will be normal for you to give your AI access to listen to all of your conversations, read your emails and scan your biometric data because the upside and convenience will be so immense.•


“We live in the most exciting time ever,” writes Peter Diamandis, and I don’t disagree. But we probably should recall the sly, old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Great opportunities and upheaval and ethical challenges are within reach, so extend your arms, embrace fully, and hold on for dear life.

Here are two items from Diamandis’ list of eight areas of near-term transformation included in his post “The World in 2025“:

3. Perfect Knowledge: We’re heading towards a world of perfect knowledge. With a trillion sensors gathering data everywhere (autonomous cars, satellite systems, drones, wearables, cameras), you’ll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights.

7. Early Days of JARVIS: Artificial intelligence research will make strides in the next decade. If you think Siri is useful now, the next decade’s generation of Siri will be much more like JARVIS from Iron Man, with expanded capabilities to understand and answer. Companies like IBM Watson, DeepMind and Vicarious continue to hunker down and develop next-generation AI systems. In a decade, it will be normal for you to give your AI access to listen to all of your conversations, read your emails and scan your biometric data because the upside and convenience will be so immense.•



Peter Diamandis, a valued employee of Spacely Sprockets, just did an Ask Me Anything at Reddit about automation, media and economics, among other topics. A few exchanges follow.



What are your thoughts on the increasing effect of automation on society? Do you think that we’ll see dramatic changes in employment, and if so, how will we cope with them?

Peter Diamandis:

The idea of having a job is actually a recent invention. Oxford predicts 48% of U.S. jobs will be decimated by AI and robots. I recently held a meeting of Silicon Valley CEOs at Singularity University to chat about this. The group fell into three camps:

  1. Technology will increase jobs (Mark Andreessen)
  2. Society will have a near-term loss of jobs, but society will accommodate with shorter workweeks, guaranteed income.
  3. We’re fucked.

I fall somewhere between #1 and #2.



My question is about fear mongering news media and their role in conflicts. We know that despite all these terrorist attacks, violence and situation in The Middle-East, the world is getting more peaceful (less wars, less battle deaths, etc). But to me the 24/7 coverage of terrorism, ISIS and other extremists by global news media seems to be counterproductive in the long run. I personally think that makes average people more depressed, angry and indirectly increases the hatred between religious and non-religious people, between nations and countries. And this may lead to more conflicts. Do you think news media is partly responsible for ongoing conflicts and how do we solve it?

Peter Diamandis:

YES, YES, YES!!! The news media is a drug pusher, and negative news is their drug. They are taking advantage of our amygdala, which pays 10x more attention to negative news than positive news. I for one refuse to watch television news anymore, and I step over the newspaper in hotel rooms. They can’t pay me enough to abuse me in the way they do the general public.

My recommendation is to go on a Media Diet. You don’t need to be wasting time watching. You can get what you need from social networks and Google News filters.



It seems to me like one of the most important, yet most intractably difficult, part of adapting to humanity’s potential as new technologies change the way our society operates is our existing political structures. So much of current power exists to protect entrenched interests, and it all boils down to the rich trying to hold on to what they have. But how will they, and our existing political structures, adapt to the potential of a post-scarcity economy? How will our governments adapt so that the bountiful surpluses of everything that will be possible are made available to all, equitably, and not only to the current elite, as is the case? How will even the concept of “rich people” adapt, and how will they react to protect their privileged position in society?

Peter Diamandis:

I think we are heading from a world of “haves” and “have nots” to a world of “haves” and “super-haves.” Meaning, while the wealth gap may be increasing, we are massively reducing poverty and have the potential to meet the basic needs of every man, woman and child on this planet. Personally, that’s what I’m working towards. That is the goal of XPRIZE and Singularity University.



Can you tell us something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Peter Diamandis:

Everything we hold of value on Earth is in near-infinite quantities in space. The first trillionaires will be made as we open the space frontier. Access to these resources will increase abundance for everyone on the home world.•


Robert Reich, complete mensch, asking Peter Diamandis of Singularity University about technological unemployment and how such a thing, if it were to become widespread, would shape political systems. Like a lot of Singularitarians, Diamandis is a Libertarian and capitalist at heart but a realist by nature.

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From a blog post about longevity by Peter Diamandis, one of the true believers behind Singularity University, who thinks humans may soon outlive all their troubles–or at least their old ones:

“One of the companies I co-founded earlier this year Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), is working on increasing the healthy, active human lifespan even further.

Our goal is to make 100 years old the ‘new 60.’

Imagine being able to maintain esthetics, mobility and cognition for an extra 40 years. I co-founded HLI along with Dr. Craig Venter (the first person to sequence the human genome and create the first synthetic life form) and Bob Hariri, MD/Ph.D, one of the world’s leading pioneers in stem cells.

What decisions would you make differently today if you knew you would most likely live to be 150? How would you think about your 50s, or 60s? How would you evaluate your career arcs, or investments, or even the area in which you live?”


In his 1970 Apollo 11 account, Of a Fire on the Moon, Norman Mailer realized that his rocket wasn’t the biggest after all, that the mission was a passing of the torch, that technology, an expression of the human mind, had diminished its creators. “Space travel proposed a future world of brains attached to wires,” Mailer wrote, his ego having suffered a TKO. And just as the Space Race ended the greater race began, the one between carbon and silicon, and it’s really just a matter of time before the pace grows too brisk for humans.

Supercomputers will ultimately be a threat to us, but we’re certainly doomed without them, so we have to navigate the future the best we can, even if it’s one not of our control. Gary Marcus addresses this and other issues in his latest New Yorker blog piece, “Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence.” An excerpt:

“It’s likely that machines will be smarter than us before the end of the century—not just at chess or trivia questions but at just about everything, from mathematics and engineering to science and medicine. There might be a few jobs left for entertainers, writers, and other creative types, but computers will eventually be able to program themselves, absorb vast quantities of new information, and reason in ways that we carbon-based units can only dimly imagine. And they will be able to do it every second of every day, without sleep or coffee breaks.

For some people, that future is a wonderful thing. [Ray] Kurzweil has written about a rapturous singularity in which we merge with machines and upload our souls for immortality; Peter Diamandis has argued that advances in A.I. will be one key to ushering in a new era of ‘abundance,’ with enough food, water, and consumer gadgets for all. Skeptics like Eric Brynjolfsson and I have worried about the consequences of A.I. and robotics for employment. But even if you put aside the sort of worries about what super-advanced A.I. might do to the labor market, there’s another concern, too: that powerful A.I. might threaten us more directly, by battling us for resources.

Most people see that sort of fear as silly science-fiction drivel—the stuff of The Terminator and The Matrix. To the extent that we plan for our medium-term future, we worry about asteroids, the decline of fossil fuels, and global warming, not robots. But a dark new book by James Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, lays out a strong case for why we should be at least a little worried.

Barrat’s core argument, which he borrows from the A.I. researcher Steve Omohundro, is that the drive for self-preservation and resource acquisition may be inherent in all goal-driven systems of a certain degree of intelligence. In Omohundro’s words, ‘if it is smart enough, a robot that is designed to play chess might also want to build a spaceship,’ in order to obtain more resources for whatever goals it might have.”

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Peter Diamandis, founder of Singularity University and author of Abundance, is a true believer in technology, one who sees a near-term future filled with nanobots, asteroid mining, transparency and immortality. He thinks tomorrow will be largely wonderful. Diamandis just did an Ask Me Anything at Reddit. A few exchanges follow.



(1) If abundance and amazing technology is our future, what will be the motivation for anyone to disconnect from Matrix-like, fully immersive, virtual worlds (where anything imaginable might be possible)? Also, considering that advanced alien civilizations probably reach the technological ability to create virtual reality like this before interstellar space travel, would this be a valid explanation for the Fermi Paradox?

(2) Being in medical school I am extremely interested in what being a physician will actually entail two decades from now. You have a unique perspective since you actually went to Harvard Medical School (and somehow started you own space company and university while attending) but decided not do your residency afterwards. If you were graduating today, what residency would you choose (i.e., has the greatest potential)?

Peter Diamandis:

(1) The human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells working together… i think we are heading towards the transformation of humanity being a collection of 9 billion human brains working together… towards a “Meta-INtelligence” where you can know the thoughts, feelings and knowledge of anyone. that’s where tech is driving us… As such, i don’t know that i would want to live outside of this, just like any one of your human cells has a disadvantage living outside of your body.

(2) Wow, Medicine is going to change ALOT. I can imagine a time in the near future where the patient is saying “NO WAY… I don’t want that human doctor doing the surgery, he/she makes mistakes… i only want the robot… its done 300,000 perfect surgeries in a row.”



What exactly do you feel will be the greatest contribution in the next 4-5 decades in regards to both Earth-domestic technological advancements and in space exploration/colonization?

Peter Diamandis:

Over the next 30 – 40 years (not 40 – 50) humanity will establish itself in space, independent of Earth. We finally have the technology at hand to do this… and the wealth… and the will. That is HUGE. Millions of years from now, as people look back at these next few decades, it will be the moment in time that we broke away irreversibly and became a multiplanetary species. Not since lung fish crawled out of the oceans onto land has this happened!



Do you feel that our potential to reach a future of abundance faces significant threats from these sorts of negative factors? (environmental damage and resource depletion, and the unrest that has potential to ferment in such conditions) Are there any areas that you feel need critical attention to avoid derailing a successful future?

Peter Diamandis:

I actually am an optimist about human nature and people usually do “bad things” in the shadows. As tech continues to drive towards MASSIVE Transparency, where you can’t hide, it will actually cause us to be safer in society and allow us to take action more quickly when things are heading in a negaive direction. Knowledge is the Bright light we need.



A year ago someone brought up the question of abundance and its implication on labor. As technology takes over more complex tasks (via automation) less labor is needed. However, if we reach a critical point where labor needs decrease dramatically there is no economic population to purchase the output (as they would have no jobs). While total “abundance” is perhaps unreachable there has to be a tipping point where labor markets and automation balance each other out. Would you mind commenting on this concept, its implications and perhaps limitations? Thank You. 

Peter Diamandis:

GREAT question…. There is a race to the bottom. What you say above is true. It is also true that were we spend our money… Health, education, energy etc is “Demonetizing” i.e. tech is making it effectively FREE, so we will need less money. ALSO, and ultimately we will partner with technology. I’m an engineer and i look at boundary conditions… the final result is nanotech.. and if i have a nanobot, i don’t need any money.•


Future shock in the present tense, Singularity University in Mountain View, California, is a Moore’s Law-loving educational institution and business incubator that may be expensive folly or the future–or perhaps a little of both. Eric Benson of Buzzfeed graduated from Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis’ school, which promises abundant energy, the end of illness and even immortality, and filed a report. The opening:

“It was the final night of classes at Singularity University’s March 2013 Executive Program, and we, the students, had been given a valedictory assignment: Predict the future.

For the past six days, the 63 of us had been immersed in lectures on the nearly limitless potential of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and bioinformatics, and now the moment had arrived for us to figure out what we really believed and ponder the big questions. Was a transhuman future — the Singularity — really only three decades away, as SU’s chancellor and co-founder Ray Kurzweil had prophesied? Were we really on the brink of a cure for all viruses and an era of radical energy abundance? Would we soon be able to choose to live forever? How many glasses of wine would it take until our group of entrepreneurs, executives, and hippie mystics got impatient and just resolved to build a time machine?

Inside Singularity University’s airy classroom on the campus of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, the SU staff distributed about 50 sheets of paper, many bearing newspaper headlines from this radical but not-too-distant future. (A future that, shockingly, still included a print newspaper industry.) We were instructed to break up into small groups to decide when in the next 20 years these world-changing milestones would come to pass.

‘LIFE EXPECTANCY REACHES 150 IN AMERICA’ blared the first headline. I stared at it incredulously. Life expectancy in the United States was currently 79. For the life expectancy to hit 150, that would mean… I started to do some back-of-the-napkin calculations. One of my fellow classmates, the 66-year-old chairman of an international law firm, was quicker to formulate his answer. ‘According to a gerontologist in England, the first person to live to 1,000 has already been born,’ he told us. ‘I’m not sure I believe that, but everyone thinks that the first person to live to 150 has already been born. I’d even say the first person to live to 200 has been born.’ The other five of us nodded our heads. We collectively decided that U.S. life expectancy would reach 150 within the next 10 to 15 years.”


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Speaking of the Singularity, a passage from Carole Cadwalladr’s new Guardian article about Peter Diamandis’ ultra-expensive Singularity University:

“There’s a neat circularity to this. Peter Diamandis grew up in Brooklyn, the son of Greek immigrant parents, and was himself inspired to become a scientist by the Apollo mission, doing degrees in medicine and molecular biology and finally a PhD in aerospace engineering at MIT. The Singularity University isn’t even the first university he’s founded. He set up the International Space University while he was still in his 20s and which has now trained an entire generation of NASA scientists. It’s why Buzz Aldrin has come along, and why another astronaut, Dan Barry, teaches the SU’s robotics course (Barry’s big prediction: cyberdildonics. Robot sex. ‘You think it’s funny, right? But I’m also a rehabilitation physician, and sex is a basic human drive robots will be able to fulfil for the disabled, the widowed, the elderly. It’s going to happen. You might as well accept it and get in on the ground floor.’)

The future isn’t all thrilling robo-sex and free solar energy though. Barry’s talk also includes video of some of the other robots in development. If you think drones are scary, it’s because you haven’t yet seen the video on YouTube of autonomous swarming quadrocoptors. Or the hummingbird-shaped drone that can hover in the air and then fly in through a window, or Big Dog, which looks like something from Blade Runner, or, just last week, a new one with legs that can go where no Dalek ever could: up stairs.

None of these are being developed to help with meals on wheels or palliative care nursing, though. They’re war machines, most of which are being developed with funding or support from DARPA.”


“Preparing humanity for accelerating technological change”:

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