Mark Hatch is the CEO of TechShop – a membership based “maker space” that provides machine tools and other resources to individuals to create products and prototypes. He showed videos and photos of told many stories of designers and entrepreneurs who have created products and businesses. He noted that the cost of machine tools has dropped by 90% in the last 15 years, presaging a creative revolution as innovation essentially becomes free.
Jessica Scorpio discussed her new company that arose out of a Singularity University project–the Gettaround P2P csr sharing service. It improves on the Zipcar model because you don’t need to be in the densest population areas to find cars. It takes advantage of the fact that most cars sit idle most of the time. It covers things like payment, insurance and screening so people can confidently share their cars.
Joseph Jackson talked about open source and DIY biology and the importance of that in changing the structure of the drug and biotech industries. He is hosting a summit on this topic in late July–see Opensciencesummit.com.
Ray Kurzweil was the final keynote speaker and definitely the rock star of the gathering. Sandwiching this appearance in between his premiere in Denver and a trip to LA, he was on a tight schedule. While he spent some of his time summarizing his usual basics, he skipped over a lot of that and talked about a variety of things he has been doing lately and recent developments:
–Regarding SETI and the lack of results from that project, Ray (softly) concludes that we may be the first civilization in our galaxy to reach this point. If that is true, we have a doubly important stewardship role, not just of the planet, but also of technological progress in general.
–Regarding the idea that the economy will collapse as stuff becomes cheaper and cheaper due to the law of accelerating returns, he says it won’t happen because as things progress, new products and applications become feasible.
–He notes how quickly humans adapt to new technologies, even as they come faster and faster; in terms of people who are philosophically against various types of progress in theory, when the products come out, they are all for it (gee, do you want this life extension product now that it’s available?).
–He discussed the hard problems of consciousness and free will, and said that we still can’t even imagine a scientific experiment that could prove or disprove any theory or philosophy.
–He talked a bit about brain research and the projects of reverse engineering the brain–thinks that we are about halfway through that project, which means that we know only 1% of what we need according to the acceleration curves.
–”The brain is a probabilistic fractal”
–Technologies coming soon to display directly to your retina which will eliminate the need for huge screens.
–Lots more but I will have to watch the replay…..it was great to see him in person.