Watch (1:14)

A conversation about the many fields exploding in innovation across the region

What’s Now: San Francisco is an event series that consistently features a remarkable person helping reinvent an important field that’s exploding in innovation in the Bay Area right now. These world class thought leaders often present or are interviewed about their latest work before holding a conversation with an invite-only crowd of innovators and intellectuals from many different fields who are doing interesting work in their own right. The entire 90-minute conversation is captured in high-quality video and livestreamed so that the exclusive physical gathering can be viewed by sophisticated audiences interested in the latest thinking about what’s coming in the near future and how we could more fundamentally reinvent our world.

This series, produced by Reinvent in partnership with Capgemini, has been running for more than three years and proved so successful that we now have expanded to New York. The events are free but space in Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange is limited. If you are interested in getting an invite, tell us more about yourself by emailing


Recent Conversations

  • Completed: February 18, 2020 PST

    The Future of Food, Alternative Meats, and Many Materials

    If you take the really big picture view, and look ahead over the coming decades, the biggest technological development of our time could well be synthetic biology, our ability to now engineer biological systems. To catch up, you can start by sinking your teeth into an Impossible Burger. Alternative meats, whether plant-based like the Impossible Burger or cell-based and grown in vats, make up one of the first waves of products that has moved off the speculative drawing boards and into the actual public marketplace to give people some taste of what’s to come. This future of food, which is a harbinger to the future of bio-materials and an entire bio-economy, is the subject of this What’s Now: San Francisco event with Liz Specht, Director of Science and Technology at the Good Food Institute.

    Participants: Liz Specht
  • Completed: November 14, 2019 PST

    A Path to Humane Technology – with Tristan Harris

    Tristan Harris believes that many technology companies have gone too far. They are tapping into base desires and fears hardwired into our primitive animal brains to keep people hooked on social media. The result is what he calls “human downgrading” which is leading to a wide range of social ills, from depression to political polarization. Harris is a world expert on how technology steers us all, the former Design Ethicist at Google who left to co-found the Center for Humane Technology, and he was our featured guest at What’s Now: San Francisco in November.

    Participants: Tristan Harris
  • Completed: September 18, 2019 PST

    The Real Timetable for Robust AI that We can All Trust

    The media world is filled with breathless accounts of how artificial intelligence soon will transform almost all fields, take away countless human jobs, and keep improving until, by some accounts, AI ends up running the planet as our overlords. Gary Marcus is here to reset the conversation with a more realistic assessment of the actual capability of AI today, in the next few years, and in the decades to come too. He’s the co-author of the brand new book Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust, and our featured guest at the September What’s Now: San Francisco.

    Participants: Gary Marcus
  • Completed: June 27, 2019 PST

    The Co-Founder of 23andMe on the Next Phase of Consumer Genetic Testing

    Few people have as much perspective on what average people can know about their genetic makeup both now and in the near future than Linda Avey, the co-founder of the pioneering biotech company 23andMe. That company offered the world’s first personal genetics service and its method of using saliva and working directly with consumers earned the award of Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year in 2008. It also set off a wave of competition and growth in the field throughout the developing world. Ten years later Avey has co-founded a new company that is positioned for the next phase of expanding easy access to genetic testing in the developing world, particularly in India. And this month Avey will share her thoughts on the state of genetic testing in developed and developing world alike as our next featured guest at What’s Now: San Francisco.

    Participants: Linda Avey
  • Completed: March 14, 2019 PST

    Our Best Shot at Creating a Future of Shared, Electric, Autonomous Transport

    Tim Papandreou wants to give everyone a healthy wake-up call that society is on the verge of a once-in-a-lifetime transition to a transportation system that is shared, electric and automated. And all three of these major shifts in 21st century transport are already happening and will be realized in the next 10 years. Papandreou, the former manager of strategic partnerships at Google X and Waymo, key leaders in the development of automated vehicles, will deliver his wake-up call as our featured guest at the next What’s Now: San Francisco at Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange.

    Participants: Timothy Papandreou
  • Completed: November 28, 2018 PST

    Practical Policy Plans for Solving Climate Change Now

    Almost two years ago environmentalist Paul Hawken used a What’s Now: San Francisco event to launch Project Drawdown that identified 100 of the best ways to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and start to reverse global warming. In our November 28th What’s Now event, energy expert Hal Harvey takes the next step by laying out the best policies that could be enacted right now to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with climate change. Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation, is one of the field’s most respected thought leaders who is known for giving practical, realistic advice about climate policy to government officials, cities, states, utilities, and energy-conscious businesses.

    Participants: Hal Harvey
  • Completed: November 14, 2018 PST

    Will China Supersede Silicon Valley in the Next Era of AI?

    Kai-Fu Lee, our guest at the next What’s Now: San Francisco, thinks China is poised to supersede the United States and lead the way into the next era of AI. Lee makes a compelling case that China is better positioned to drive the practical applications of AI through the economy. Lee will be traveling from China to the San Francisco Bay Area and will anchor a conversation with our community, including many locals working in AI who might challenge his argument.

    Participants: Kai-Fu Lee
  • Completed: September 13, 2018 PST

    Could Tech Rethink the Value of Data and Who Profits from It?

    One way to understand the plight of the tech world right now is to pull back and understand the field of economics in the last 400 years. For much of that time the field has debated where value in the economy actually comes from – such as land, labor, capital. According to economist Mariana Mazzucato, our featured guest at our next What’s Now: San Francisco, it is necessary first to publicly debate what is really adding value to our economy so that we can create a new form of capitalism that works for us all, including in the tech industry.

    Participants: Mariana Mazzucato
  • Completed: July 18, 2018 PST

    How the Tech World is now Transforming the Sports World

    What started out as a simple game of shooting a ball through a hoop has turned into a high-tech juggernaut. The NBA, more than any other professional sports league, has attracted owners from the tech world, built super high-tech stadiums, and adopted big-data analytics and other tech tools to run the business. No team is more representative of this trend than the Sacramento Kings – who built a state-of-the-art stadium that won Best Elite Sports Facility in the world by the Sports Technology Awards in 2017. Our July What’s Now: San Francisco will feature Chris Kelly, one of the major owners who bought the Kings in 2013 and who now sits on the Executive Board. Chris also was Facebook’s first Chief Privacy Officer, first General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy who helped take the startup from its college roots to one of the most successful companies in the world.

    Participants: Chris Kelly, Ryan Montoya
  • Completed: June 7, 2018 PST

    Stewart Brand on the Whole Earth Catalog’s Long Legacy over 50 years

    Fifty years ago the Whole Earth Catalog burst onto the cultural scene and helped set in motion waves of innovation that reverberated through the San Francisco Bay Area and the rest of America – and that continue to this day. The one-and-only Stewart Brand was the creative force behind that unique media publication and cultural phenomenon and we’re honored that he talked about the Whole Earth’s intellectual and entrepreneurial legacy at our What’s Now: San Francisco. He also talked the positive side of having to solve a civilizational-scale problem like climate change and why he believes we will solve it. The event also featured a dozen remarkable people give moving testimonials about the legacy of the catalog and Stewart. Be sure to watch this unforgettable evening.

  • Completed: May 22, 2018 PST

    What Responsible Innovation Means in this New Tech Era

    What have we wrought? Many in the tech community are increasingly pondering that question in the past year as public scrutiny roams from election hacking on Facebook to #metoo charges in the Valley. One tech veteran has been thinking about what tech has wrought longer than most and has developed some ideas about what could be done about some of these unintended consequences. Julie Hanna has founded or run five venture-backed startups (including Healtheon, formerly WebMD), and currently is an advisor to X (formerly Google X) and Executive Chairwoman of Kiva, to name just some of what she does. She has spent a lot of time thinking about purpose-driven profit, values-based leadership and responsible innovation.

    Participants: Julie Hanna
  • Completed: April 26, 2018 PST

    Funding the Blockchain Revolution to Build More Momentum

    Interest in new blockchain technologies has exploded in the last year as the possibilities for applications keep rapidly expanding. One way to understand the blockchain revolution is through a technical discussion – something we did early in our What’s Now: San Francisco series with Brian Behlendorf. This month we will look at the financial side of blockchain – how those with money are wading into the space and how the revolution can get funded better and really scale up.

    Participants: E. David Ellington
  • Completed: March 28, 2018 PST

    A Positive Vision of the Future of Work

    What the world needs now is a positive vision of the future of work. We’ve got plenty of dystopian visions of the rise of the robots, the race to the bottom of globalization, and the loss of myriad jobs on the horizon. Enough already. Marco Zappacosta, the young co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack, one of the most successful startups in the sharing economy, thinks we now need more positive thinking about how the next economy could work better for everyone.

    Participants: Marco Zappacosta
  • Completed: March 1, 2018 PST

    The VC-Funded Dotcom Disruption of Outer Space

    Here we go again. We’ve got another dotcom disruption taking place in—of all places—outer space. There was a time, not long ago, when space was the exclusive domain of nation states. Driven by national imperatives (and funded accordingly), the early space age truly was “rocket science”.

    Participants: Jonny Dyer, Ed Lu
  • Completed: January 25, 2018 PST

    The Millennial Generation’s Work/Life Fusion and How It Will Affect Us All

    Each month at What’s Now: San Francisco we explore cutting edge innovation that’s happening in a different field in the region. In January, we looked at innovation happening not in a field but a scene that most people don’t know about. San Francisco has many examples of physical buildings, often old homes, that provide both work and living spaces for groups of people who are collaborating together and want to fuse these two sides of their lives.

  • Completed: November 6, 2017

    WTF? What’s the Future of Platforms and Silicon Valley?

    We were thrilled that our November edition of What’s Now: San Francisco served Tim O’Reilly’s official book launch party, hosted in conjunction with Bloomberg Beta. At What’s Now, the founder of O’Reilly Media laid out his thoughts on the future of work, and in particular, the role that platforms will play in this future.

    Participants: Tim O’Reilly
  • Completed: September 28, 2017

    Applied Neuroscience and Ramping Up Human Potential

    When Vivienne Ming began her neuroscience PhD program in the early 2000s, she wanted to learn how to build cyborgs. Her classmates thought the idea was crazy. Fast forward fifteen years, and the idea doesn’t sound so crazy anymore.

    Participants: Vivienne Ming
  • Completed: July 27, 2017

    Singularity or Multiplicity? Envisioning a Benign Robot Future

    At July’s What’s Now: San Francisco, Ken Goldberg took on those who are churning up fears of a near future where half of all current jobs are taken over by robots and powerful AI—let alone a slightly more distant future where robots rule over us.

    Participants: Ken Goldberg
  • Completed: June 20, 2017

    Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Transportation

    Sunil Paul co-founded Sidecar, where he also served as CEO, in 2011. Sidecar was one of the earliest pioneers of the modern ride-sharing model and collected numerous ride-sharing and ride-hailing patents during the course of its five-year run. Now an unencumbered thought leader in the transportation space, Paul has devoted his time to thinking about the future of AVs and transportation in general.

    Participants: Sunil Paul
  • Completed: May 24, 2017

    Just for You: 3D-Printed Tissues & Other Biotech Wonders

    New biomedical technologies are on the cusp of dramatically impacting not only healthcare and how we treat disease, but life itself. Join visionary biologist Andrew Hessel at What’s Now: San Francisco as he explores the extraordinary potential—and potential drawbacks—of gene editing and 3D printing in the field of biotech.

  • Completed: April 20, 2017

    Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin with Brian Behlendorf

    Many people have heard of bitcoin and might know something about blockchain, the technology system underlying the crypto currency. Yet few people understand how important blockchain technology could be not just for financial tech, but also for almost every other field.

    Participants: Brian Behlendorf
  • Completed: March 29, 2017

    The World’s First Comprehensive Plan to Reverse Global Warming

    Can we stop global warming in the next 30 years? This is the burning question of the 21st century and renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken used our March What’s Now: San Francisco gathering to give his answer: Yes we can.

    Participants: Paul Hawken
  • Completed: February 9, 2017

    Improving Long-term Decision-Making in Tweet Time

    Humans are bad at long-term decision-making – yet we need it more today than ever before. Dealing with climate change is just one of many examples. Steven Johnson, the bestselling author of ten books on science, tech, and the history of innovation including Ghost Map, Where Good Ideas Come From, and How We Got To Now, is now applying his mind toward helping drive innovation into long-term decision-making.

    Participants: Steven Johnson
  • Completed: January 19, 2017

    Reimagining the Digital Reform of Government in the Trump Era

    The Bay Area tech community, like much of the rest of the country, is still grappling with what Trump’s election will mean for the future of the United States. The future of many digital efforts—including the United States Digital Service, created by President Obama in 2014 to encourage people with tech expertise to do a tour of duty improving government—is one looming question.

    Participants: Jen Pahlka, Tim O’Reilly
  • Completed: November 15, 2016

    The Election’s Impact on Innovation with Gavin Newsom

    The results of the 2016 election will have many repercussions for the San Francisco Bay Area, the tech sector, the innovation economy, California, not to mention the nation and world. One week after the election, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom analyzed what really happened, what opportunities have now opened up, and what the best strategies are going forward.

    Participants: Gavin Newsom
  • Completed: October 18, 2016

    The Maker Movement and the Next Manufacturing Revolution

    The digital revolution has thoroughly transformed everything to do with information, and we’re now in the early stages of the digital revolution transforming the world of material things. In our October What’s Now: San Francisco event, Nick Pinkston, co-founder of one of San Francisco’s most intriguing next-generation manufacturing firms, Plethora, explained what’s happening in this new industrial revolution and reflected on the coming repercussions.

    Participants: Nick Pinkston
  • Completed: September 22, 2016

    Gaming Our Way to a Better Future

    Jane McGonigal, the world-renowned game designer and bestselling author, believes in the power of games to enact change. She’s spent the last decade proving how interactive digital games can transform both individuals and societies. At the fourth What’s Now gathering, Jane shared the latest in her ground-breaking body of work related to creating super-empowered hopeful individuals.

    Participants: Jane McGonigal
  • Completed: July 28, 2016

    1,000 Cheeseburgers: A New Map of America’s Daily Energy Use

    Every day, the average American uses the same amount of energy that he or she would get from eating 1,000 cheeseburgers. That’s the equivalent of all Americans consuming 320 billion burgers worth of energy every 24 hours.

  • Completed: June 16, 2016

    The Inevitable: The Next 30 Years in Tech

    Kevin Kelly is one of the most original thinkers in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he has spent much of his life seeking out other cutting edge innovators in the region. Join us in our second gathering of What’s Now: San Francisco, which will double as a book party for Kevin and those who have come to know him over the years.

    Participants: Kevin Kelly, Peter Leyden
  • Completed: May 19, 2016

    From Startups to NewCos

    John Battelle is the perfect person to kick off the series What’s Now: San Francisco. John can not only tell the big-picture story of the Bay Area tech boom, but he also has new insights into one of the region’s key drivers of innovation – startups. His most recent startup is launching NewCo Shift, a new media brand covering the rise of NewCos and the biggest shift in business and society since the Industrial Revolution.

Featured Media