Aug 24, 2015

Our chat with Singularity U's David Roberts & Neil Jacobstein

From the Exponentials Team at the OCE Discovery Event in Toronto:


On day one, we snuck a few minutes with Singularity University’s own David Roberts and Neil Jacobstein. Both spoke of the vision it takes to make impactful breakthroughs.


To help one hundred million people, it really (takes) just one or two entrepreneurs. Some of the things that we’ve seen impact really large numbers of people - the idea, the thought always comes from just one or two people to start. Google is an easy example of that. Two people had a different idea of what search in an organization would look like and this might impact six billion people by the end of this decade.


On empowering Canadian entrepreneurs:

There’s a little bit if the failure (mindset). I think for Canada from what I see and hear, there’s a “Oh that kind of thing happens in the Silicone Valley, not really here.” That hasn’t been true for at least several years now but it will be even less true going forward. You’ll be able to create your new startup in Guelph, Canada and keep it there. Because the access to capital has become democratized by crowdsourced funding. Because the access to expertise has become virtualized. There's a whole set of reasons why technology is now enabling these things to happen, anywhere.


Neil Jacobstein on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track: Be bold but be responsible:

We think there’s an opportunity to solve grand challenges that have heretofore seemed intractable. That’s part of the answer of "be bold but responsible". The other part is to recognize all exponential technologies have benefits and risks. We embrace the benefits but we also have to be cognizant of the risks and be proactive about having layered redundant controls to address those risks.


What industries do you think will benefit most from the types of technology you discussed here at Discovery?

I actually think that AI and both 3D printing, and eventually atomically precise manufacturing that we don’t have today will mutually reinforce each another. The improvements in manufacturing will increase our ability to build evermore capable computing devices and machines. Those machines will lead to amazing AI and amazing AI will lead to improved machines and so on, like that.