• 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: January 16, 2019 PST

    Fixing our Broken Online Advertising Ecosystem from Facebook to Amazon

    America’s got a fundamental problem with how information flows through its  economy and society. Encouraged by a light touch regulatory framework, early internet business models – from Amazon to Facebook –  have metastasized, in the process creating an information architecture that’s proven toxic to our society. As John Battelle, our guest at the January What’s Now: New York event, sees it, the problem comes down to who controls the flow of information in our increasingly interconnected world. But to understand that flow, we first have to visualize it, then we must imagine alternatives.

    Participants: John Battelle
  • 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: August 7, 2018 EST

    How Machine Learning Will Accelerate Innovation in New Ways

    First the good news: the world is going through an explosion of knowledge in pretty much every industry and field. Every day 10,000 new scientific papers are published, just in English, to give just one example. Now the bad news: No human being in any field can possibly keep up with all that new knowledge production. Most authors are aware of less than 1 percent of information related to their topic. Here’s the even worse news: Most innovation comes from connecting up insights across multiple fields. But now for the really good news: Artificial Intelligence has arrived just in time to augment our human brains and help us master that explosion of knowledge and consequently accelerate innovation in every industry and every field.

    Participants: Brian Sager
  • 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 28, 2018 PST

    The Author of The Lean Startup Has a New Project: Reinventing the Stock Exchange

    Eric Ries, the bestselling author of Silicon Valley bible The Lean Startup, wants to accomplish something that many in the business world think will be harder than nuclear reactors: reinventing the stock exchange to prioritize long-term, rather than short-term, gains. The problems with our economy are so obvious that for the most part we don’t talk…

    Participants: Eric Ries
  • Completed: March 20, 2018 PST

    Collaboration, Consensus, and Code: Building Trust One Block(chain) at a Time

    Alex Tapscott, a blockchain investor, entrepreneur, and author, launched The Blockchain Research Institute with his father in 2017. The Institute, which is comprised of more than 50 companies and governments—including Tencent, IBM, and the government of Canada—employs more than 40 research associates around the world, all of whom are researching “the way blockchain is going to change everything,” in Tapscott’s words.

    Participants: Alex Tapscott
  • Completed: March 15, 2018 EST

    A Facebook Co-Founder Rethinks How to Solve Economic Inequality

    Chris Hughes considers himself lucky—too lucky. Chris was born into a modest family in North Carolina before getting a scholarship to Harvard University, where he was the freshman roommate to a guy named Mark Zuckerberg. That led to him becoming one of the co-founders of Facebook, core to the startup in the early days, including being the spokesperson for the company. That alone made him a very lucky man, and a very, very wealthy one—too wealthy.

    Participants: Chris Hughes
  • Completed: January 25, 2018 PST

    Aligning Our Policies with Where the Economy Is Going, Instead of Where It Is

    Lenny Mendonca, Chair of the New America Foundation, sees strong parallels between our current economic moment and the tail-end of the Industrial Revolution, which coincided with the progressive movement of the late 20th century.

    Participants: Lenny Mendonca
  • Completed: January 23, 2018 PST

    Revamping Our Education System to Be More Customized and More Playful

    Niels Nielsen, Managing Director of the World Refugee School, is on a mission to make sure that the roughly 32 million refugee children around the world receive an education. If you add to this the number forcefully displayed children and people in fragile economies, the number of children who don’t receive an education is as high as 600 million, says Nielsen. The World Refugee School aims to provide high-quality, inexpensive education to these children using technology.

    Participants: Niels Nielsen
  • Completed: January 11, 2018 PST

    Navigating a Potentially Precarious Future: How to Make the Most of Our Economy and Technology

    Susan Lund, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, co-authored a December 2017 report titled “Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation.” The report analyzes the future destruction and creation of jobs, as well as the rise of independent workers, thus making Lund an authority—or at least, as much of an authority as it’s possible to be when forecasting the future—on the future of workers.

    Participants: Susan Lund
  • Completed: January 11, 2018 PST

    Creating Tech That Improves Lives, and Doesn’t Just Displace Workers

    Chief Scientist of Schmidt Futures and long-time technologist Stuart Feldman believes there are plenty of upsides to the technological advances of the last few decades, especially better products and better services, from new drugs to Google search. The threat of automation is far from new, Feldman points out, though the magnitude of this disruption is bigger than previous periods of disruption, like the 1880s or the 1950s.

    Participants: Stuart Feldman
  • Completed: December 20, 2017

    California is the Future—of American Politics

    At the inaugural TEDxOakland event in October, Reinvent Founder Peter Leyden explained how California sets the precedent for what happens in the rest of the nation—only 15 years early. From anti-immigrant backlash to corporate tax cuts, California has experienced many of the challenges and missteps that now face the United States as a whole, and…

    Participants: Peter Leyden
  • Completed: December 5, 2017

    Aligning Today’s Learning with Tomorrow’s Economic Reality

    How can we better prepare everyone from teens to Millennials for a more decentralized and increasingly independent future of work? The skills needed to thrive in the 21st century workforce are substantively different than those needed in the 20th century, as we shift to a more digital, entrepreneurial and flexible society. Yet both educational institutions and workforce development programs have largely failed to keep pace with these changes. By 2027, more than half of all U.S. workers are expected to be self-employed.