NASA, Google team to train future futurists

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca.

A who's-who of futurists and science and technology heavyweights, with backing from NASA and Google, are teaming up to start what they are calling Singularity University.

The school is founded by futurist Ray Kurzweil - best known for his book The Singularity is Near - and Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X Prize Foundation. Salim Ismail, the former head of Yahoo's innovative Brickhouse unit, will be the university's executive director.

The school will be housed at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

The aim is to admit 30 students for a summer program in June and expand to 120 students thereafter. The group plans to offer 10-week, 10-day or three-day programs and seminars in areas such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive computing.

Among the faculty are Sims video game creator Will Wright, Vint Cerf, Google's chief internet evangelist, and Stephanie Langhoff, NASA Ames' chief scientist.

What does it cost to become the next Alvin Toffler or, ahem, perhaps play a role in a Terminator-like future? $25,000 US per term for the 10-week program.