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Salim Ismail on Singularity 1on1: We Are Already Gods, We Might As Well Start Acting As Such

During my time at Singularity University I was privileged to get a 30 min interview with Salim Ismail for Singularity 1 on 1.

(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.)

During our conversation we discuss issues such as: Salim’s personal background and early childhood in India; his motivation, goals and aspirations for Singularity University; the term “exponential organisation”; his take on the technological singularity and the surprising fact that he is not a singularitarian; being/becoming gods; our responsibility for what happens to the planet; religion in general and the rapture of the nerds criticism in particular; making money and investing; being Canadian; using technology to address humanity’s grand challenges.

I would like to thank Singularity University for allowing me to use their campus during filming.

Hope you enjoy watching the interview as much as I enjoyed talking to Salim!

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more high-quality episodes like this one please make a donation!)

Who is Salim Ismail?

Salim Ismail is a sought-after speaker, strategist and entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He travels extensively addressing topics including breakthrough technologies and their impact on a variety of industries.

Salim spent the last three years building Singularity University as its founding Executive Director and current Global Ambassador. SU is based at NASA Ames and is training a new generation of leaders to manage exponentially growing technologies. Before that he built and ran Brickhouse, Yahoo’s internal incubator. His last company, Angstro, was sold to Google in August 2010. He has founded or operated seven early-stage companies including PubSub Concepts, which laid some of the foundation for the real-time web. Salim also serves on the board of Breakthrough, a global human rights organization.

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  •  Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Saint Ray publish a book called “The Age of Spiritual Machines” ‘about a dozen odd years ago?Just sayin’.”For no matter how much we may like to pussyfoot around it, all of us who postulate a loving God and really think about it eventually come to a single terrifying idea: God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward godhood. God is the goal of evolution.”M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, 1978

  • Very interesting that he thinks the iPhone was a Singularity, as is waking up in the morning.

    “The iPhone arriving was a Singularity, everything changed” – Salim Ismail

    “You waking up in the morning is a mini-Singularity, you couldn’t predict it, something could have happened when you were asleep” – Salim Ismail

    “It’s fractal, I think you have a fractal continuum of these little mini-Singularities” – Salim Ismail

    I’m observing what people regard as a Singularity become smaller and smaller in scale. It seems what is actually needed is a new word to describe technology that makes an impact (but doesn’t change life as we know it etc. etc.) There is the phrase ‘disruptive technologies’ – but this phrase is more business/economic in implication. Ismail uses ‘mini-Singularity’… but he doesn’t think there are any ‘big Singularities’… are there any medium Singularities? Surely an AGI initiated intelligence explosion is a bigger deal than waking up in the morning or boring apps.

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  • CDuke

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but ins’t the “We are as gods…” quote more accurately attributed to Stewart Brand?

  • You are absolutely correct Conan,

    I think Salim Ismail did mention this fact during his interview too… Salim is not claiming it as his own, I just didn’t think it is so important and didn’t reference is properly on the blog because it is the content, not so much the references, that are important…

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