• 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: 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: July 12, 2018 EST

    What’s a Nice Tech Investor Doing in Muskegon, Michigan?

    What’s a nice tech investor like Esther Dyson doing in Muskegon, Michigan? Dyson was an early tech guru, impresario of the highly influential conference PC Forum and newsletter Release 1.0, friendly with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Yet now she’s regularly flying from her base in Manhattan into a handful of small communities in America’s heartland, trying to spread the same message of long-term thinking and learning through trial and error that pervades Silicon Valley. The problems she’s addressing have a lot to do with time. At July’s What’s Now: New York event, presented in partnership with Capgemini at their Applied Innovation Exchange, Dyson will lead a conversation about how we need to rethink private and public behavior by shifting from short-term to longer-term horizons.

    Participants: Esther Dyson
  • 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: June 5, 2018 EST

    The New Technologies of Scent and the Future of Food & Health

    Of all our senses, the sense of smell is probably the least studied and appreciated. However, in recent years our scientific understanding of how we perceive scents and what they do to our brains and immune systems has deepened. It turns out that scent accounts for around 80% of the experience of flavor, a dominant force in the experience and enjoyment of eating. We also are learning how scents clearly and directly affect our emotions. Some scents (even when you hardly perceive them) will pick you up and give you energy while others will help calm you down or take you to a remembered experience. Our deepening understanding has reached the point where a new wave of technologies is being developed by a new crop of startup companies that promise to make an impact on a range of industries from food and restaurants to health and wellness.

    Participants: David Edwards
  • 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: April 24, 2018 EDT

    Popping The Filter Bubble with Eli Pariser

    Way back in 2010, Eli Pariser came up with the term filter bubble, the idea that people on the Internet tend to see only information that agrees with them, and then he published his book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. Since that time, Facebook took off, viral marketing went nuts, fake news appeared, American politics polarized to the extreme, and now we’ve got a huge backlash to globalization and technology companies. Businesses increasingly are caught in between this polarization. If a brand takes a stand that pleases some stakeholders in one bubble, then it risks alienating other stakeholders in another one. The situation is getting untenable.

    Participants: Eli Pariser
  • 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 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: 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: February 20, 2018 EST

    The Moment of Digital Reckoning in Healthcare Has Finally Arrived

    We’re in an extraordinary moment in the healthcare industry—similar to where the web was in the mid-1990s. Just like the Netscape IPO marked the beginning of a boom in 1995, Fitbit recently going public marked a new era in digital health. People in the know can see how the whole industry could be transformed over the next five years.

    Participants: Unity Stoakes
  • Completed: January 30, 2018 EST

    Getting to the Next Successful Media Models

    June Cohen put TED Talks online and scaled their views to 100 million a year. Deron Triff then took TED Talks to 100 million views and listens a month—or 1 billion a year. The two of them are now co-founders of WaitWhat — the first-of-its-kind content incubator that develops and nurtures original media properties aimed at evoking positive emotions thought to be contagious. WaitWhat then turns its successes into diverse media experiences that reach an ever-expanding audience.

    Participants: June Cohen
  • 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: December 18, 2017

    Preparing for the Third Digital Revolution: Fabrication

    We’re in the early stages of the Third Digital Revolution and few people understand what’s about to hit them. The first two digital revolutions – in computers and communications – transformed the world, but the next revolution in fabrication is poised to make an even bigger impact.

  • 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