WEEK # 2 – Ethics, Prototypes & Sabor!

GLOBAL GRAND CHALLENGE SPEAKERS

The first two weeks have been intense full of learning and amazing speakers. The photo below shows a few of the speakers that came to share their insights on the Global Grand Challenges we face. Some of the speakers included Ramez Naam, Vince Perez from WWF,  Darin Gunesekera from Ashoka, Women Activist Alaa Murabit, and famous for his TED Talk, Ernesto Sirolli, among many others!!

PROTOTYPING

One of the exercises we did this week was a prototype exercise. We were given a limited amount of materials, 20 minutes, a team of 4 people and an ice cream bar. We had to build something to keep the ice cream cold in the sun for at least 20 minutes. I definitely thought I had this exercise in the bag, as an architect I knew exactly what and how to build it, how to insulate it, how to reflect the sunlight, BUT I learned a big lesson. The rules didn’t mention or prohibit the use of ICE, and we only limited ourselves with the tools we were given, while some other teams went out of their way to find ice. Of course, we didn’t think about it because we were thinking inside the parameters and materials we were given. In the end, our ice cream did pretty good, but it definitely could have done much better… with some ICE! …and yes, we ate all the ice cream afterwards!

MOCK TRIAL

Technological advances can positively impact the lives of many all over the world, but any change can also bring a lot of controversy and the potential of negative change. We are aware of this and it is important to discuss all the ethical and moral implications of exponential technologies in the next few decades. To continue this conversation, we did a mock trial where we were given specific cases involving exponential technologies, we divided in teams that represented both the prosecutor and the defense for each case. Below are some of the cases we discussed. The class was in charge of voting for the best argument and it really opened our perspective to the complexity of this issues.

FIRESIDE CHAT WITH RAY KURZWEIL

Another Highlight of the week was a “Fireside” Evening with one of Singularity U. founders Ray Kurzweil, inventor, artificial intelligence expert and currently Director of Engineering at Google. It was a time for us to ask him questions about anything. A few phrases that stuck with me during his talk…

“People think the world is getting worse, but it is just access to information that is getting better” – Ray Kurzweil

“Evolution is a spiritual process that takes us closer to God” – Ray Kurzweil

Q: How do you activate your creative process? A: “Dream while awake.. still with some rational thoughts but with the dimension of a dream” – Ray Kurzweil

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT – VIRTUAL BRAINSTORMING 

During one of our sessions this week, we participated in a virtual brainstorming session with Field Innovation Team based in San Francisco, who are partnering with Governor of California to find solutions for the drought that California is currently facing. We were able to actively participate through Skype with the teams from FIT that were currently brainstorming different scenarios. It worked surprisingly well, it was a great example of the use of technology for collaboration. Who knows, maybe the Governor will implement some of our ideas!

CULTURE NIGHT: North America, South America and The Caribbean!

One of the traditions of Singularity University is to celebrate our culture! This week we had the first Culture Night featuring North America, South America and the Caribbean! Of course, it was full of dance, drinks and fun! The night was organized by all of us from those countries. Below are some pictures from the night!

FUN FACT:

Did you ever watch Minority Report? We are not far away from reality! See me below trying out the META Augmented Reality Glasses! In the future we will look a little crazy walking down the street if we start pointing to objects only we can see…. 🙂

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