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The Singularity: Coming this Summer to Rutgers University

The Singularity. Photo: mysite.verizon.net/This summer, Rutgers University (the State University of New Jersey) will offer the first-ever accredited college course on the Singularity and associated technologies. Beginning in 2009, the Singularity University on NASA’s campus in Silicon Valley has offered graduate seminars and summer courses on advanced technology and its implications, providing guest lectures from leading scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs from around the world. Now Rutgers is making it possible to interact with many of these same experts for a fraction of the price just by registering for a three-credit summer course. Online lectures and discussions will be held every Monday and Wednesday evening throughout the summer. Everything will be online, so students can register and participate from anywhere in the world.

The course requires no science or technology background and is recommended for students with an art, humanities or business focus as well as anyone who anticipates working in a high technology or science-based industry or profession.

The course will be taught by a father-son team, Ben and Ted Goertzel. Ben is the Director of Applied Research for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and an External Research Professor at Xiamen University in China and AI columnist for us… h+ magazine. He also heads up two startup companies, Novamente LLC and Biomind LLC, has written several books on artificial intelligence and related topics, and is an advisor to the AI & Robotics Track at Singularity University. Ted, Ben’s father, is a sociology professor at Rutgers who regularly teaches a Cyberspace and Society course — just one step away from the Singularity.

The Singularity is Near. Photo: mysite.verizon.netThe textbook will be The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil, supplemented by online articles appropriate to individual lectures. Not too far in the future, quite possibly, the Singularity will be part of the standard curriculum in universities — and maybe even kindergarten. But for the moment, only at the Singularity University… or Rutgers University summer session!

Guest lecturers for the course will include

— English author, biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, leader of the SENS Foundation, sharing his unique insights on life extension.

— Author and entrepreneur Alex Lightman, Executive Director of Humanity+ and Chief Technology Officer of the United Nations Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization, on “Science Fiction as the Inspiration for Technological Innovation.”

— Lisa Rein, a co-founder of Creative Commons, consultant for Kurzweilai.net and the Digital Librarian for The Archives of Dr. Timothy Leary’s Futique Trust, giving a tour through Tim’s video archives, "Timothy Leary and the Singularity."

— John Smart, the president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation and founder of the Foresight Education and Research Network, on “Evolutionary and Developmental Approaches to Accelerating Change.”

Neuroscientist Todd Huffman, founder of a 3D tissue scanning and reconstruction company, will speak on “Whole Brain Emulation.”

— James J. Hughes, a bioethicist at Trinity College in Connecticut and author of Citizen Cyborg among many other books, on the “Ethical Principles for Evaluating Emerging Technologies.”

— Randal Koene, the director of the Department of Neuroengineering for Technalia, the third largest private research organization in Europe, discussing his work in applying whole brain emulation to patient-specific neuroprostheses.

— Hugo de Garis, inventor of evolvable hardware and leader of the Artificial Brain Lab at Xiamen University in China, will speak on his radical futurist book Artilect War, which asks “do we build gods or do we build our potential exterminators.”

— Media artist and designer Natasha Vita-More, currently a lecturer and researcher of human futures theory at the University of Plymouth, on the many aspects of"Human Enhancement."

— Entrepreneur Bryan Bishop discussing his work on downloadable hardware, open manufacturing and do-it-yourself biohacking andtranshumanism.

— Stephan Bugaj, a computer graphics designer at a major California firm, will discuss “The Path to Posthumanity” based on the book by that name he co-authored with Ben Goertzel

— Anna Salamon, a research fellow with the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, will speak on “Shaping the Intelligence Explosion.”

— Wendell Wallach, a lecturer and consultant at Yale University, will speak on his book "Moral Machines."

— Thom Blake, from the Research Center on Computing and Society in Connecticut, will speak on computer ethics.

— Heather Knight, head of Monrobot Labs and CTO of Humanity+, will speak on “Social Robotics.”

— David Orban, Board member of Humanity+ and Chief Evangelist of WideTag, a high technology start-up company, on “The Ability toImagine and Create New Worlds.”

For further information, check the course web site.

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