• 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: July 18, 2019 EST

    The Many Ways We Will Soon Be Talking to Robots

    What if in the near future the must-have gift for a one-year-old was a robot Teddy Bear that could be playmate, teacher, security guard – all in one? Would it be lauded as the wonder tool of early childhood development and childcare? Or would it be feared as way too creepy? And who would program what the robot said every day in every situation to that young mind – parents or some engineer? These are the kinds of questions that David Ewing Duncan explores in his new book Talking to Robots, Tales from Our Human-Robot Futures, and that he will lay out in conversation as our featured guest at our next What’s Next: New York.

    Participants: David Ewing Duncan
  • 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: May 16, 2019 EST

    How the World of Hardware Will Soon Transform Like Software

    Hardware is the new software – or will be soon. Working in the world of software today is relatively easy and fluid compared to a decade or two ago. Many basic software components are modular, are freely shared through open source, and can make use of standardized interfaces and APIs that allow easy interoperability. That is not the case in the world of hardware today. Tools in the manufacturing process do not link together like software. Companies actually work to prevent others from quickly and easily building off their hardware tools and products. Yet that may soon change. That’s the message of Nick Pinkston, the young founder of two successful startups that applied advanced software to accelerate the manufacturing of hardware, and who will be our featured guest of the next What’s Now: New York event.

    Participants: Nick Pinkston
  • 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: December 6, 2018 EST

    The Future of Mass Consumer Desires Via Millennial Hipsters Today

    Almost all businesses – from early stage investors to small firms to multinational corporations – wrestle with some form of trying to figure out what leading consumers really want now, and what the bulk of consumers will obviously want tomorrow. Soraya Darabi, our next guest at What’s Now: New York, is a bonafide expert in figuring out what’s cool now that’s coming next. The relatively young entrepreneur co-founded a couple highly successful venture-backed businesses, the retail startup Zady, one of Fast Company’s top 10 most innovative retail companies in 2014, and the Foodspotting app, acquired by OpenTable.

    Participants: Soraya Darabi
  • 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 24, 2018 EST

    From Today’s Traffic Congestion to the Future of Urban Mobility

    Traffic congestion in New York City is bad, but it soon could be much better. Really. Take it from Robin Chase, the co-founder of Zipcar who now leads NUMo, the New Urban Mobility Alliance, our featured guest at September’s What’s Now: New York. One way to understand the current urban mobility problem in New York City and many cities around the world is to see our transportation system trapped between two paradigms. The old paradigm was organized for the last century around personal cars, while the new paradigm that’s emerging will be based on shared modalities, newly easy and convenient because of  technology.

    Participants: Robin Chase
  • 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: July 5, 2018 PST

    How AI will Master Super-big Data and Connect Innovators Around the World

    Brian Sager is a polymath and serial entrepreneur who has taken on fields as varied as biotechnology, clean energy and music. He most recent venture, Omnity, uses machine learning, and is in position to take on the challenge of searching and connecting the rush of data being produced in our digital world. Every day 10,000 new scientific papers are published, just in English, and other fields are also producing data at an extraordinary rate. No human being in any field can possibly keep up with all that new knowledge production.

    Participants: Brian Sager
  • 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 30, 2018 PST

    The President and CEO of New America Discusses a Better Way to Solving Civic Problems

    Ann-Marie Slaughter heads the nearly 20 year old New America – a think tank that considers itself “a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media hub and public forum.” Her wide-ranging and energizing conversation touched on many of the challenges and downsides of the new era of tech as as well as her optimism relating to how communities throughout the US are finding solutions.

    Participants: Ann-Marie Slaughter