Singularity Uni to boost Silicon Valley R&D

University of Reading's Professor of Cybernetics, Kevin Warwick heaps praise on the Google and Nasa funded Singularity University
University of Reading's Professor of Cybernetics, Kevin Warwick heaps praise on the Google and Nasa funded Singularity University

A leading British Professor of Cybernetics has heaped praise on Google and Nasa's latest 'Singularity University' project.

"Ray Kurzweil has been running his 'Singularity Summits' now for some time and they appear to have been very well received with good attendance," says Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading.

"The Singularity University therefore appears to be a natural progression of this," adds Warwick.

"The concept of group sessions with more of a workshop focus with break-outs is very much in-tune with the way companies are facing up to the challenges of the future. If you are a company exec of today, this workshop framework is the sort of thing you will be used to by now."

Warwick heads up a leading research team in artificial intelligence (AI), control, robotics and biomedical engineering, and is perhaps best-known among tech-obsessives for having graced the cover of Wired magazine, while being remembered by many Brits for presenting "The Rise of The Robots" Royal Institution Christmas Lectures back in 2000.

An untypical Uni for Silicon Valley

The Singularity University is not, in Warwick's opinion, "a typical sort of University in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a centre for focus sessions for the movers and shakers of today".

So Google and Nasa's latest venture is not the "type of University that you would go to to take an Undergraduate programme".

Warwick is excited about the possibilities of what the Singularity University might be able to achieve. "Apart from Ray himself, an exciting selection of faculty have been recruited and therefore I think enough execs will be happy to pay the session fees demanded.

"Overall I see this as an exciting, innovative method of presenting (near present) futuristic material that will fit well with Silicon Valley companies at this time. It is the sort of innovative approach I would expect from Ray."

Minor reservations

However, Professor Warwick does express a few minor reservations with Kurzweil's approach, telling TechRadar:

"Personally I find Ray's technical message a little too obvious and present day - it's probably what a lot of folk want to hear - after all nowadays he is a presenter rather than a doer - I wish he would be a little more out there and speculative.

"But I guess that wouldn't pull in the punters that he needs to finance ventures such as this. We must be clear this [the Singularity University] is a financial enterprise that has been well thought out. I think it will succeed, in the short term future at least."

For more on Kevin Warwick's current research interests, check out his website at And for more on Google and Nasa's new Singularity University initiative, head over to

Adam Hartley