Education for Singularitarians?

From: Mitch Howe (
Date: Tue Apr 16 2002 - 00:56:32 MDT

Just thought I'd announce that I now have my own web space and domain at, which is the new permanent home for "Simulations: A Primer", "The Sysop FAQ", and "The Singularity Q & A" (currently under construction.) The index for such works is found at

What is Empowerment Academy? Well, I'm an educator by training, and this website is the culmination of my thoughts to date on education reform for the years ahead. It is, I believe, the first approach to K-12 curriculum that is explicitly Singularity aware, and seeks to provide what may well be the last pre-Singularity generation with tools to help us all navigate these perilous times -- and to flourish regardless of how the future happens to develop. My "Empowerment Academy Manifesto" is not really SL4 material, but anyone with even a passing interest in education reform is strongly encouraged to read it. I've done my best to make it good reading.

Why would I make the first steps to launching an education reform campaign when I am already committed to what is arguably the greatest cause that there can be right now? For a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that so many people are unable to grasp the Singularity, or unable to incorporate it in such a way that it causes them to want to do anything about it. Secondary movements that can indirectly foster the Singularity while serving some other, more tangible public good are ideal places to direct these people. In other words, in the unlikely event that I find myself face-to-face with a potential investor who would be equally willing to fund Empowerment Academy or the Singularity Institute, I will tell them that they could probably have a greater impact on the outcome of the human race through the latter. For those who are not quite ready for that kind of commitment, I will be happy to see that their money is put to good use through the former organization. I actually have a potential job lined up this summer to help start a private school that would work from my curriculum -- if my partner can get the funding (from people who are for sure not ready for SL4 investments). It is as close to a dream job as I could hope to get right now, which is the other main reason I am pursuing this cause. Drawing a salary would at least bring me that much closer to personally contributing to a positive Singularity in ways other than writing.

As for my writing, after sitting on my butt for a month I am redoubling my effort to crank out the multi-layered "Singularity Q & A". My aspiration is for this project to be to websites what The Spike is to books -- a place where you could direct acquaintances with little exposure to technological frontiers and have strong reason to believe that they'll come out with a considerably different and excited outlook on the future. I am especially targeting those who are new converts or possible converts to truly Singularitarian thinking -- the kind that says you should act on the knowledge; I wish to provide these with a very efficient and accessible way to get up to a level where they can meaningfully participate in a variety of SL4 discussions... an attractive alternative to the increasingly onerous expectation that we expect all list newcomers to acquaint themselves with the SL4 archives before posting. (There are now several thousand messages in the archives). It is a big project, and I have let it intimidate me. But I have burned with shame after reading DGI and saying to myself, "Self, how dare you be intimidated out of your project after seeing how complicated Eliezer's Big Project is!" So, I am setting the goal to finish my project by the end of the summer. (I post this goal publicly so as to put my hard-wired face-saving instinct to productive use.)

Thanks to those that have helped already. I am likely to periodically post requests for short reviews and summaries for certain materials, as well as my usual requests for clarification or elaboration of certain terms or concepts.

--Mitch Howe

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