While each talk presents vital insights and information about the future of computer-related technology, the talks are not dry. I created rec.humor.funny/netfunny.com, which from 1988 to 1994 was the most widely read publication on the internet, devoted to jokes. I know how to make an audience laugh with my talks and workshops. That’s important, because research shows that unless you generate emotion during a talk, people don’t remember what you taught. People will come away informed, but I will also keep their attention and see the lighter side.
This talk covers a range of subjects about computing and networks, including some special subset talks that can be broken out individually
(This is my most popular talk.)
With my history as a writer, consultant and advisor to the Google car team, this is one of my most popular talks. I cover the technology of cars that drive themselves, and their incredible consequences for saving lives, energy, cities, retailing, food, industry and many other aspects of life. Short versions are available, but with questions this topic can fill an evening. Includes some videos and is always engaging with the audience.
In this workshop, students break into groups to role-play various interests in the future of transportation, such as car companies, police, safety agencies, insurance companies, truck driving unions and the disabled. They then speak to the group in a town hall to discuss how to regulate the technology.
For audiences who are beyond the entry-level talk, I can discuss a wide variety of topics in this area. I can also add special segments to the main talk aimed at particular audiences.
For advanced audiences on self-driving cars, an examination of the big issues and myths frequently seen in the industry and the press.
We can go deep into various sub-topics including insurance, real estate, energy and the nature and future of our cities and workplaces.
Using themes from the above talks, I explore topics with a focus on changes to how we live and work, including what’s under threat and what will thrive, the future of real estate when “location, location, location” changes meaning, the future of retail and walkability, the future of commuting and many other related topics. I describe what a “smart city” really is and why the “stupid city” may be better.
Covering robocars, I briefly touch on the nascent industry for electric vertical takeoff, and the potential to move people efficiently in the air. Where we’re going we don’t need roads. I can go into more depth on the various teams working on this and their projects, and the implications.
Singularity University programs always begin with an introduction to the general thinking behind the whole institution, the idea of learning from the computer revolution to break habits of linear thinking and move into exponential thinking. This is the story of how exponential change is rewriting the world and every industry and how companies can deal with this disruption. It includes some key lessons from computers and networks on how to have an exponential revolution. I also have the ability to do general introductions to all the exponential topics, such as digital biology, medicine, energy, new business models & disruption, AI, robotics, forecasting, the future of work, open source, policy and ethics and much more.
A key part of this talk (and which can be in any talk) is discussion of the “secret” of Silicon Valley -- what ingredients it, and the digital industries, have which have made it the world capital of innovation and technology.
Some audiences may appreciate pure open Q&A or an interview from a moderator followed by Q&A. I can cover my topics of expertise, of course, but can also do quite well on most of the Singularity University talks on the future of AI, Robotics, Biotechnology, Energy, the Singularity itself and related topics like Nanotechnology, technology history, philosophy, ethical implications, EFF Issues (free speech, privacy, surveillance, network policy, etc.) and more. With an audience fluent in English I will be entertaining as well as informative.
This talk (still in development) explores what the computer and internet industries have had to learn and understand to live in a world where everything is exponential, a world where products go obsolete in 2 years and everything is half-price before you know it. Many of the lessons learned in this incredible revolution apply to most of the non-computer sectors of the world who must now compete in the digital age. Topics include:
More depth on what Moore’s law really is and how it progressed, in the interests of understanding the archetype of exponential revolutions which is driving all the others.
(I also often have a guest speaker from the chip industry cover Moore’s Law.)
A brief introduction to computer security and why and where it fails, as well as an introduction to the important concepts of public key cryptography and signature that underlie all the world’s financial and data security. Often paired with the Privacy talk for a Security+Privacy session at 45 minutes. Understanding of public key crypto is also useful in understanding Bitcoin.
With my background as Chairman of the EFF from 2000 to 2010 I present an analysis of privacy in the digital age, including an understanding of why privacy is important. This is followed by the story of what’s been revealed by Edward Snowden about the activities of spy agencies like the NSA. I also cover the risks involved in moving all our data to the cloud and building surveillance in from the ground up in our computers, and the risks to privacy of future AI technologies. This talk can generate lots of questions and debate (which also can be moved to the workshop.)
Participants are placed in a city of the future which is debating installing a giant surveillance system with cameras everywhere and AIs that spot all the faces and tie all movements to data collected from social networks and online activity to reduce crime and terrorism. They split into groups to role-play stakeholders like police, spies, the poor, the counterculture and the mafia to debate whether the town should install the system. People generally have fun playing these roles before the crowd and come to understand other viewpoints.
A new digital money named Bitcoin is sweeping the world. Bitcoin is a digital money that decentralizes banking, a currency that can cross borders, allows mostly anonymous payment, but works without banks or nations. In the longer version, an understanding of how Bitcoin works and the issues behind it is presented, and in the workshop, participants are given a small amount of bitcoin and get to transact and exchange bitcoin with other participants, and if suitable, use it to buy prizes or “shwag” from the conference organizer. Typically participants should receive $5 to $20 worth of bitcoin as part of the budget, which they will keep afterwards unless they spend it there.
In addition, of participants receive 3 to 4 six-sided dice each, we can do a simulation of how the Bitcoin system actually works -- something that’s fairly difficult to understand.
Audiences are full of questions on Bitcoin and expect Q&A to go as long as you let it.
A much shorter introduction to why people care about Bitcoin can be done in 5-10 minutes and is done as part of the “Future of Computing” session.
New in 2019, I have been talking about how technology will change us and society, and the backlash against technology, what how we might try to understand it, and (attempt to) manage it.
Making money from creativity by selling copies is failing as a business model. This talk surveys all the different alternate methods being discussed for an economy of creativity, from patronage and advertising to whole new styles of economics. Particularly of interest to media groups and futurists.
I can present Singularity University’s investigation into the business techniques being used by the world’s fast-growing, industry-changing companies that we call “exponential organizations” and how other companies might leverage them. What are the surprises learned from the internet and computing that can apply to the rest of the world as it goes digital?
This talk on the philosophy of AI -- on the edge of science fiction (which is not part of the mainstream SU curriculum) has been presented in evening talks and as a lecture at Stanford University. Going farther into the future into a world where there are either uploaded people or AIs as smart as humans, this talk examines the issues of having thinking beings which, being like computer programs, can be copied. The talk examines what mind and consciousness are, and the emerging philosophy of “patternism” which says it’s acceptable to be Captain Kirk and get into the Transporter beam which vapourizes your body and creates an exact duplicate down on the planet.
I have spoken on various other topics outside of Singularity University. Some of these talks are much more technical. With effort, talks on these subject areas are possible.
I can naturally make talks that combine any of the above topics as long as time is available. But it’s also possible to build brand-new talks for your interests and audience on a wide variety of topics related to what you see above, and many more. Naturally that requires more preparation.