Singularity University held its annual summit in Kyalami, with exponential technology advances at the centre of the agenda. Kathy Gibson reported from the event.

How exponential technology will change the world

An exponential mindset is the key to real and meaningful change and innovation.

Laila Pawlak, head of Singularity University Nordic, explains that, in a world of accelerating change, we need to create extraordinary impact.

People spend a lot of time on trivial things, but we have the ability to use our collective intelligence to tackle big issues, she adds.

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The exponential value of connections

Before the singularity (the point where machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence) can happen, we need to all connect.

Ramez Naam, Singularity U chair for energy and environment, calls this the “syncularity”.

This began with the democratisation of reading and writing, which led to a global explosion in the pace of innovation.

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Creating new worlds with AR/VR

A defining feature of humanity is that we are swimming in data.

But information consumes the resource of our attention, says Rachel Sibley, from the augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) faculty at Singularity University

“Your attention is one of your most valuable resources,” she says.

As we increasingly abstract information, its density increases and we have to find new pathways to navigate it. “What is the result of all that? Information overload.”

The dream of AR/VR is to contextualise information so it is available to us in the right place at the right time.

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AI set to impact humanity

Humans harbour a deep-seated fear that artificial intelligence (AI) will negatively impact our lives – to the extent that some people believe it will result in our extinction.

Alex Rubsaam, faculty member in post-human intelligence at Singularity University, believes that the people subscribing to these ideas have a very linear idea of intelligence.

However, Rubsaam points out that visions of technology reflect the time and space in which they originate.

The more interesting question, she asks, is what is the humanity that people believe is under threat?

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