Editor note: This is a guest post by Virpal Singh – the winner of Urban Resilience Challenge 2014 organized by Singularity University. As a part of the prize, he’s now spending the summer in California where he experiences futuristic technologies and meets visionary individuals from all around the world.
Singularity University is an institution at NASA Research Park which aims to educate future leaders with the aim of positively impacting the lives of one billion people by working on the global grand challenges. These grand challenges include education, poverty, environment, food and water shortage, energy, healthcare, space and security. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley it creates a platform for the attendees to tie contacts with leaders in various fields of technology and collaborate with major companies in the area.
When we start printing toys or iPhone covers using our home 3D printers, we have a situation where the future of Chinese factories or the enormous transport industry becomes increasingly uncertain.
What about the job security for professional drivers – taxi as well as truck drivers – when self-driving cars like those developed by Google and Scania are introduced on the roads? Although they will probably reduce the energy consumption as well as eliminating the human link, which causes most accidents, we will be in a situation where many people realise they need to find new jobs.
Although they will probably reduce the energy consumption as well as eliminating the human link, which causes most accidents, we will be in a situation where many people realise they need to find new jobs
It is questions, and disruptive technologies, like these that we study at Singularity University. We get to dive into future technologies as well as how these can be used to solve global challenges. We discuss the challenges that lie ahead as well as the ethical implications of these technologies.
At Singularity University we learn about Exponential Technologies, and realize that technology, and
our devices, are becoming cheaper, faster and smaller (my iPhone has a stronger processor and larger memory than my first desktop computer). We also know that the solution to many global world challenges such as global warming and the chronic lack of food lie in utilizing technology. We live in a time where we are able to instantly measure a patient and use 3D printers to produce medical prosthetics for patients suffering from various orthopedic conditions.
We live in a time where we are able to instantly measure a patient and use 3D printers to produce medical prosthetics for patients suffering from various orthopedic conditions
Singularity University is located at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley where we get in contact with not only cutting edge technology in space research, but are also able to visit numerous start ups such as META, producing glasses for augmented reality and other major actors bringing about change for humanity such as Google and Tesla Motors (Yes! I’ve test driven the Tesla and it IS incredibly smooth!). We’ve managed to visit Stanford Medical School to get a better understanding in the future of medical research and education. We attend lectures on nanotechnology, environmental systems, artificial intelligence and computer networks by pioneers in the field.
Silicon Valley is an incredibly stimulating environment which has become a melting pot where entrepreneurs from all corners of the planet voyage to seek career development and start up their own enterprises. The regular start-up weekends with teams working, many times none stop, for 54 hours in order to build products, share ideas and build teams, provide an incredibly inspiring environment for budding entrepreneurs and leaders.
My time at here has been packed with learning about exponential technologies, global grand challenges, visiting exciting companies and accelerators as well as discovering California’s beautiful nature with 79 other passionate individuals from around the world. These driven future leaders all come from exciting background including Medicine, Engineering, Business and Strategy Consulting – we even have a Comedian and TV Producer among us – all with the aim of making the world a better place. Needless to say – my time here has so far been incredibly educational, inspiring and enjoyable!
We are now in the middle of a startup weekend at Singularity University which means that we have formed teams and will be spending the coming 4-5 weeks developing an idea, and product, that aims at solving one of the major grand challenges, but more on that to come in the next edition!