Mind Shift

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Mind Shift: “Exponential” Tech and the Abundant Future

“He who wants not does not want weapons of mass destruction.” – Singularity University Workshop Participant

main-qimg-b929495517df66e5d9d3462212698e02Singularity University, a Silicon Valley icon, is on a mission. Founded by artificial intelligence expert Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, founder of the X-Prize and various commercial space exploration companies, SU is using “exponential” technologies to build a bridge to world in which we are able to meet the basic needs of every man, woman and child on earth — including safety from nuclear weapons threat. Now SU is helping nerdist, comedian and podcast giant Chris Hardwick to blow our minds on NBC’s Awesome Show.

220px-chris_hardwick_by_gage_skidmore_2“Nerds. Once a tortured subrace of humans condemned to hiding in dark corners from the brutal hand of social torment … now captains of industry! The explosive popularity of the Internet, videogames, and smartphone technology has made this formerly feeble cluster of pasty virgins ‘cool.’ But I was a nerd when it wasn’t a buzzword yet.”

Now he’ll be working with the Nerdist Elite at Singularity University on The Awesome Show, NBC’s new pilot about innovations in science and technology. His press statement says: “The opportunity to develop a primetime show that celebrates science and technology was too good to pass up. It is very important to me to make something that positively promotes these topics in order to share humanity’s triumphs, to instill hope for our future and to inspire the next generation of young thinkers.”

All of this illustrates what Singularity University, based at the NASA/Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, calls the “abundance mindset.” Based on research into historical and current technology adoption trends, SU makes the case that emerging technologies will enable us to eradicate many of the world’s most pressing threats—if we determine, in advance, to harness those technologies for the common good. Read more about the case for abundance here.


Singularity University—which partners closely with Google, Deloitte, and other global technology firms—is also N Square’s newest partner. SU organizes their educational and investment programs around 12 global challenge areas (which roughly align to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, with some notable additions—space exploration, for example).

One of these challenge areas is “Security”, defined as the “safety of all people from physical and psychological harm, including in virtual worlds; and protection of physical, financial, digital systems.”

We reached out to SU because their impressive international network of innovators, technologists, and social change agents provides an opportunity to engage a significant number of problem-solvers in addressing nuclear weapons threat. But we also noted that their work in the Security challenge area did not address nuclear weapons, focusing mostly on cybersecurity more broadly.

In addition to the two programs you can apply for here, we are working closely with SU leadership to design opportunities to use exponential tech to tackle a spectrum of nuclear threats.

Read what Sir Richard Branson has to say about Singularity University and the The Pace of Innovation.