TEAMTALK | Based on the idea that “the singularity is near”, American futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil kickstarted Singularity thinking, culminating in Singularity University. In 2010, I was fortunate enough to attend, which turned out to be a lifechanging experience: the wealth of new information, the peeks into entirely new worlds by a series of field and company visits, as well as the conversations turned my life upside down.
The visionary idea behind Singularity is all about the fact that, although change is often extremely hard to anticipate in today’s complex world, the exponential scale of progress of technological development is in fact predictable—and represents a quantity that is infinite. Advanced technologies, such as biotechnology, robotics and nanotechnology, are accelerating at a dizzying speed. All of these can ultimately be applied to a wide variety of sectors ranging from defense, to public health, to finance, and even our future supplies of energy and raw materials.
Nonetheless, the value of technological singularity is being very seriously underestimated. By the nature of its added value, it deserves to receive much more attention than it currently does: because of the consistent pace of technological advancement, great developments are simply inevitable. Although we may not know the details yet, the bigger picture is clear: great, perhaps even inconceivable, technological developments are waiting to happen that will fundamentally alter the way in which we live on our planet. A lot more people should become aware of this, rather than merely the elite that is informed about it today, and a much wider public debate on the added value of technology should come into being—in the Netherlands as well as the world over.
As THNK's Head of Emerging Technologies, my role will be to identify the most ground-breaking but relevant technology to launch at THNK and help students and faculty discover how to harness it to solve business and social challenges.