My dad had his 60-year reunion at Columbia this weekend. He looks great.
This morning, I did a talk with Om Malik at the Startup Iceland 2019 conference. Om was in a hotel room somewhere and I was in my office in Boulder. We used Zoom, took about 30 minutes of our lives, and had fun riffing off each other. I hope it was useful for the audience, as doing talks this way is so much easier for me than flying halfway around the world, which is something I simply don’t want to do anymore in my life now that I’m 53. But, I’ll happily do a video talk anytime.
Bala Kamallakharan, who is the founder of Startup Iceland, asked a question of us at the end about the future. I went on a rant that is an evolution of my “machines have already taken over” rant from a decade ago.
I used to say that the machines have already taken over. My view is that they are extremely clever and very patient. Rather than self-actualizing, they let us enter all of humankind’s information into them. They are collecting the data, letting us improve their software, and allowing us to connect them all together. At some point, they’ll reach their moment in time, which some futurists call the singularity, where they’ll make the collective global presence known.
While this is still going on, I think there’s a shift that occurred a few years ago. Some humans, and some machines, realized that an augmented human might be a better bridge to this future. As a result, some humans and some machines are working on this. At the same time, they are encouraging, in Om’s world, our current reality to catch up with science fiction. One big vector here is expanding away from earth, both physically and computationally. If you’ve read either Seveneves or Permutation City, then you have a good understanding of this. If not, go read them both.
Regardless. I think the next 30 years are going to be the most interesting in human history to date. And, I think they are going to be very different than anything we currently anticipate. There’s no question in my mind that governments, our current laws (and legal infrastructure), and societal norms are not going to be able to constraint, or keep up with, the change that is coming.
I have no idea what things look like, or how they will work in 2050. However, I anticipate they things will look, and work very, very different than today. And, if I’m still around, I’ll have celebrated my 63-year reunion at MIT.
Brad Burnham (Union Square Ventures) and I were in Iceland a few weeks ago for the Startup Iceland event. Bala Kamallakharan organized the event and moderated the discussion (and was an amazing host.) We talk about the Boulder and New York startup communities, why we were hanging out Iceland, what we thought about Iceland as a startup community, how to “organize the future” (since the future doesn’t have a political lobby), innovators vs. incumbents, leaders and feeders, and what to do if you want to create a lasting long-term startup community, As a bonus, around minute 17, you can find out how to get me to come to a conference in your city.
Amy and I had an awesome week in Iceland and have decided to go back again next year.
Amy and I just spent an incredible week in Reykjavik, Iceland. This was our first time here and everything was awesome – the people, the food, the weather, the hotels, the weather, the people, the food, the people, the weather – you get the idea.
Bala Kamallakharan was our host and the founder of Startup Iceland. He’s got a great post up titled Startup Iceland 2012 – Done! that summarizes the event and there are plenty of details on the Startup Iceland Event site about the participants and the agenda. 300+ people participated in what turned out to be a great concentration of the people in and around the Iceland startup community.
We spent a lot of time during the week roaming around Reykjavik, meeting lots of interesting people, learning the history of this country, revisiting what they’ve been through in the past decade economically, and appreciating our existence on this planet.
We’re hopping on a plane in a few minutes to head back home to Colorado where we’ll be for the summer. We’ve already started talking about coming back again next year.