I don’t even know where to start.
Let’s do a list. This week I have…
- … gotten to know at least 120 new, amazing and brilliant people. And I don’t mean like a formal introduction and a hi. While I do not know everyone equally deep I have laughed, I have cried, I have talked business and I have talked personal life. I have opened up about very personal issues and have received the same sharing. I have received some intensely appreciated compliments and I have dared being vulnerable with people. It feels like I’ve known these people for months. I have gotten an incredible amount of solid hugs.
- … met the following incredible humans:
- Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and inventor of micro finance
- Ray Kurzweil, inventor with 20 honorary doctorates and 3 presidential honors, coined “the rightful heir to Edison” by Forbes.
- Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Price and 2*New York Times bestseller.
- Plus a long list of inspirational people ranging from the founder of UNICEF’s Innovation unit to the guy who develops (in vitro) cultured meat, the person who built Explorer and Outlook, a member of the board of directors for the WWF, a Stanford Technology forecaster and one of the inventors of key cryptography.
- … had lectures from these leading experts about the following topics:
- Networks and Computing
- … and how infinitely powerful a computer will be in just a few years. Imagine a computer costing $1000 that is as powerful as the brains of all humans on earth…! (Okay, that is a little more than a few years ahead, but still…)
- AI & Robotics
- AI is already all around us, and while the superintelligence in human form which we usually associate it with from Terminator and other fun little movies are a few years into the future…. The next few years will see an amazing progress in this field.
- Policy, Law and Ethics
- How to use the boundaries of our countries to our advantage, and find ways around those who are in our way.
- Food Production
- Personally, I changed the way I look at genetically modified organisms (GMO), and it is clear that more work needs to be done if we are to feed all of us – but not only through improving production but also reducing food waste.
- So many people die from unclean drinking water every year – for no reason, as cleaning it is a simple process. New distribution and business models are needed!
- There are so many interesting emerging technologies in the energy field! It is pretty clear that solar, in a variety of shapes and forms, will be where the future is. Every second the earth is hit with 10.000 times the energy we need – we just need to better learn how to harvest it. And we’re not that far away!
- We do live in a world of abundance, to use the words of Singularity Founder Peter Diamandis. Now, how can we ensure that this ensures prosperity for everyone?
- So, we’re probably gonna be mining asteroids within the next 15 years. Commercial space exploration has already started and it’ll grow – fast. Welcome to the future!
- Imagine what we could do if we could rearrange the lego bricks of our universe! It might be a while until we have nanofactories, but until then there’s plenty if interesting areas to be explored.
- Networks and Computing
- … and from my classmates about:
- How to give the best hugs
- How to build a drone
- How we are becoming gods
- I have seen a Virtual Reality video from a Syrian refugee camp, and then got to cry in the arms of a class mate.
- … laughed my ass off running around the NASA campus in costumes for a scavenger hunt.
- … played with Oculus Rift, Google glass, and a Noa robot – yet I have only made it through the first door of our lab so far.
- … received some intensely meaningful compliments and been able to give some back.
- … given an enormous amount of hugs, both one on one and group hugs.
- … curled up in bean bags for intimate late night talks
- … had a laser fueled dance party in an overcrowded staff storage room
- … been repeatedly and thoroughly impressed by my class mates’ professional accomplishments
- … been even more impressed by my class mates’ personal accomplishments.
As I am writing this, it is Sunday afternoon and I’m still recovering from the impromptu 4am staff storage room laser dance party. There’s only a few people left on campus and the quiet is very much needed. I am overwhelmed, grateful and absolutely sure that I am in the right place.