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Convergence Lessons from Silicon Valley
In 2015, UNICEF wanted to know if teachers in Liberia were abusing their positions and forcing students to trade sex for grades. They could have done a complex and expensive study, but instead, they simply asked every student “U-Reporter” in the country if this was a problem in their school. In one day they had a heat map of trouble zones. In 2010 three NASA scientists wanted to launch smart satellites that didn’t cost hundreds of millions each. They built a new generation of inexpensive satellites using mobile phone technology and now are a major satellite data provider. Nonprofits use their data to protect fisheries and forests.
This new mindset of problem-solving — based on rapidly changing technology and interdisciplinary thinking — lets small teams accomplish large-scale results and change the world. We sit at the cusp of addressing the Sustainable Development Goals in ways experts couldn’t predict, in part through emulating the secrets that led to Silicon Valley becoming the world’s capital of technology. In this talk, you’ll see examples of this taking place, learn patterns that differentiate 20th from 21st-century mindsets, and apply these themes to the discussion of a new grand challenge, the “economic climate change” which may occur as technology displaces jobs.
SYNTHESIS & CONVERGENCE FACULTY LEAD SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY
Named one of CNN’s Top 7 Tech Heroes to Watch in 2015, Kathryn Myronuk is an expert on accelerating technologies and how they empower teams to create world-changing ideas. A founding team member, staff, and then faculty at Singularity University, she’s worked closely with the international, interdisciplinary and highly innovative participants and teams in SU’s flagship Global Solutions Programs. She’s also led SU’s Synthesis and Convergence curriculum track. Her areas of interest include the value of synthesis, the power of the beginner and effective interdisciplinary teams, and the complex factors affecting the future of jobs. Her research was featured in Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near (2005) and Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler’s Abundance (2012).
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