Rob Nail: a sci fi future now

July 22, 2016

Can you imagine a world where robots do basic jobs and allow people to work only 10 hours a week? Visionary Rob Nail, CEO and associate founder of Singularity University, sees the exponential growth of technology.

In the future, our jobs will disappear because robots will take over most tasks, and energy will be free, irreversibly transforming economic, political, and social systems around the world. The driver? The exponential growth fueled by tech.

“If you forecast that exponential curve for solar out another 15-20 years, you very quickly get to a point — I think it’s 19 more years — that solar can provide an abundance of energy to the entire planet, which means energy is really cheap,” said Rob Nail.

Singularity University’s co-founders are tech rock stars — Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis are authors, technologists and futurists who did pioneering work in artificial intelligence, robotics, and space travel. Ray Kurzweil jumped off Moore’s law, which says computing power on a chip doubles roughly every 18 months, and developed the theory called the law of accelerating returns.

“It’s the idea that as you empower a tech sector with information, you effectively digitize that tech, and it gets locked on an exponential curve,” explained Nail. “When it’s moving on an exponential curve, the variety of possibility is extraordinary. Great opportunities for businesses and to solve problems.”

That insight is embedded in everything done at Singularity University, part think tank, start-up incubator, non-accredited institution. From outer space to molecules, the people here anticipate and build the future. It takes its name from Kurzweil’s best selling book The Singularity Is Near, which predicts a “tech singularity” by 2045, in which machines become so complex they exceed human capacity and control.

It may sound far fetched if you’re not a science fiction fan, but Kurzweil wrote that we’re living at a time of “a tech change so rapid it represents a rupture in the fabric of history.” He’s not alone.