I Want to Live Forever

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set

(Illustration: David Saracino)

The situation on Alyssa Vance’s couch would have been best described as a cuddle puddle—a tangle of hair-petting and belly-stroking and neck-nuzzling, seven people deep. It was Friday night in late June in the living room of her one-bedroom apartment at The Caroline, a “white-glove service” building in Chelsea. Ms. Vance, a transgender former Google intern with the lips of a Renaissance statue, sat somewhere near the middle next to her girlfriend, Alice. Snuggling up on either end were a neuroscience Ph.D. from Columbia, a Yale grad student in applied mathematics, and a redhead in from Berkeley who “sells drugs on the Internet.” Across the room, a row of white chairs laid out expressly for Ms. Vance’s 21st birthday party stood abandoned in favor of the handsy human octopus.

The Observer hovered near the drinks table. Next to us, a ponytailed programmer from Morgan Stanley nibbled on a family-sized Trader Joe’s chocolate bar as we both stole glances at the pile-on. Read More

Woo, Boy: Singularity U’s Vivek Wadhwa Spreads the Dark Art of ‘Pseudoscience’

(Photo: Wadhwa.com)

We thought the debate over homeopathy had been settled long ago, when several credible academic studies found that the alternative medicine wasn’t proven to work better than a placebo. Turns out we may have just lapse into “closed-mindedness.”

The scientists at Skepticblog are up in arms about an email out of the academic department of Singularity University that seemed to give credence to homeopathy. In case you’re not a Kurzweilan futurist, S.U. is a non-profit institution dedicated to teaching students how to facilitate “the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.” It’s kind of like summer camp, but for people who believe our consciousness will one day merge with robots.

Brian Dunning, a writer at Skepticblog, obtained an email sent from Singularity U.’s VP of Academics, Vivek Wadhwa, which “used hoary fallacious logic to encourage students to give pseudoscience equal consideration, and gave a platform to a homeopath (!!) to promote his business.” The email was sent to a large list of students and staff. Read More