I just read about the founding of Singularity University, an effort by NASA, Google,  Ray Kurzweil, and some other really smart people to create a new kind of learning institution. Its mission: “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.”

Words that stand out to me in Singularity U’s description of itself: interdisciplinary, international, intercultural. Check out their description of the ideal student:

  1. We are looking for the smartest and most passionate students from around the world.
  2. We are looking for students with expertise in one of the 10 track areas, but with a passion to learn about the other tracks.
  3. We are looking for proven leaders and entrepreneurs. We are looking for the next generation of CEO’s, University Deans/Presidents and Government leaders.
  4. We are looking for internationalists: people who are bilingual or multilingual with a strong command of English (the language used to teach SU courses) and people who have traveled widely.
  5. We are looking for people interested in understanding and addressing the world’s grand challenges.

Try living up to those criteria.

For more on what singularity stands for, see Kurzweil’s 2005 The Singularity Is Near.

Singularity U. plans to offer a 9-week graduate studies program, along with 10-day and 3-day executive programs. Check out their statement on research:

The GSP and Executive Programs will not conduct traditional research. However, the GSP program will organize detailed student Team Projects that will allow the student body and faculty to look at how to use exponentially growing technologies to solve some of the world’s grand challenges. One could imagine, for example, that issues such as global poverty, hunger, and climate crisis could be studied from an interdisciplinary standpoint where the power of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genomics, and other key technologies are brought to bear in a cooperative fashion to seek solutions.

How’s that for relevance?