Ask Ray | My middle school supported my interest in Ray Kurzweil’s work and teen trip to Singularity University

July 25, 2015

credit | Arduino

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

My middle school was supportive of my interest in your work and my visit to your school Singularity University, as a teenager, to see the program you founded for exploring the future.

Thank you for inviting me, and for the opportunity to audit two days there. I had a fantastic time. Everyone at Singularity University was very nice and welcoming.

My favorite presentation was Technology on Trial, especially when they debated different ethical issues with AI.

It’s interesting that artificial intelligence will have to evaluate situations and decide the values of humans and themselves.

The presentations made me want to continue learning about “exponential technologies” so I can join the teen Singularity University program.

I’m reading Artificial Intelligence by Blay Whitby. I’m also working on the “Arduino nano mousebot project.” My dad is showing me how to solder wires.

I wrote the Arduino sketch that identifies the Arduino as a receiver and I made and programmed the app using MIT’s app inventor. I will keep you posted on my robot projects.

My middle school teachers were supportive saying, “Lucy reached out to Mr. Kurzweil for help with her research project on immortality through genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence, like living in a virtual world as an avatar. The project was part of Lucy’s DaVinci class.”

image | Arduino is an open source electronics platform based on easy to use hardware and software. Even beginners can make interactive electronics projects.

credit | iStock

My teachers said, “When Lucy learned about Kurzweil, who is a leading inventor, thinker and futurist, she watched his documentary Transcendent Man and read his book The Singularity Is Near. She sent him an e-mail. Kurzweil answered each of Lucy’s questions, their conversations lasted several months.

“Kurzweil used Skype to attend Lucy’s class presentation about her research and answer questions from her middle school classmates. Kurzweil invited Lucy and her father to visit the Google offices in Mountain View, California this summer 2015.

“They attended two of his Singularity University fireside chats there with graduate students and audited two days of the Singularity University summer program. The program serves as a startup accelerator for ideas and new technologies that work to positively impact billions of people.”

I told my teachers that I have an invitation from Ray Kurzweil to apply for the Singularity University program when I enter high school. I think it would be fun to learn more about the idea of artificial intelligence.

I told my middle school teachers and students, “I was surprised when Mr. Kurzweil replied. He told me my questions were very different from the questions he normally gets.”

— Lucy

about | Da Vinci Schools provide students a real world, project based curriculum. Students grow in knowledge, develop new skills, and form safe and strong relationships with peers, teachers, parents, and in their neighborhoods.

K-8 schools run a family collaborative instructional model to support children so they can become confident learners in a compassionate community that respects and values different abilities and ethnicities. Resourceful students become college and career prepared, plus productive and respected in the global community.

related reading:
DaVinci Schools | main

credit | Ruilong Maker

Dear Lucy,

That’s great about your middle school!

I’m delighted you had a great time visiting Singularity University. Your question at the fireside chat was compelling and intelligent and you handled the dialog with a great deal of poise. The other students and faculty enjoyed meeting you.

Sounds like you’re making good progress on the mousebot. Your robotics project sounds exciting. Yes, be careful with the soldering iron.I remember burning myself with one when I was your age.

Let me know how the project goes! The Blay Whitby book Artificial Intelligence looks like a very good one for you to read.

Keep me posted on interesting projects or ideas you get involved in.

Ray Kurzweil

image | The Kaku early education robot, by Ruilong Maker, comes with a learning suite. Also includes Arduino micro-controller. Fun, interactive toy kit for kids.

more conversations with Ray Kurzweil + Lucy:
Ask Ray | Living in virtual worlds as an avatar
Ask Ray | Immortality via the singularity

related reading:
book | Artificial Intelligence by Blay Whitby, PhD
book | Arduino Roboto Bonanza by Gordon McComb

Blay Whitby, PhD | main
Gordon McComb | main

Singularity University | main
Instructables | main

Maker Shed | Sparki Arduino compatible robot
Arcbotics | Sparki the easy robot for everyone
Adafruit | Make your own Arduino nano mousebot
Ruilong Maker | Kaku robot

credit | Instructables

image | The Arduino animatronic hand for do it yourself enthusiasts, from Instructables.

about | The Massachusetts Institute of Technology app inventor for Android is a blocks based tool for programming allowing everyone, even novices, to start programming and building fully functional apps for Android devices. Your first app can be up and running in an hour.

It is an open source web application originally from Google. It allows newcomers to programming to create software applications for the Android operating system.

It uses a graphical interface that lets users to drag-and-drop visual objects to create an application that can run on Android devices.

App inventor is part of an ongoing movement in computers and education, drawn from Google’s significant prior research in educational computing, and online development environments.

related reading:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: app inventor for Android | main
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: app inventor for Android | YouTube channel
Wikipedia | app inventor for Android

One way STEM students learn is asking topical help from an expert. — credit | iStock

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