Geeking Out With Legendary Futurist and Investor Steve Jurvetson
Listen to this week's episode of Capability Amplifier here!
Are you a geek at heart? Do the ideas of autonomous vehicles, robo-taxi fleets and space vacations get you so giddy that you wanna jump up and down like a little kid? Well then sit back and get comfortable because you’re about to get some “one-of-a-kind” insight from the legendary Steve Jurvetson, an early investor in Hotmail, founder at Future Ventures and a current board member of SpaceX and Tesla.
Let’s get one thing straight—we are living in exciting times! There has never been more diversity and opportunity when it comes to technology. Things we only used to see in sci-fi movies and on The Jetsons are now found in reality.
A geek at heart
Recently I attended The Near Future Summit in San Diego, CA. It's an awesome event centered around a community of “Entrepreneurs, activists, inventors and investors who enjoy helping one another achieve lofty goals.” The event is packed with celebrities, Silicon Valley pioneers, heads of state, influencers and royalty.
At the event, I had the incredible opportunity to meet and interview Steve Jurvetson. I was super psyched to speak to Steve and have the chance to pick his brain about the future of technology.
One of the things Steve is blown away by is the diversity and breadth of opportunities for venture capitalism and revolutionary entrepreneurialism. In the '90s, when Steve started as a VC, it was all software, semiconductors and healthcare. That's it. If you invested in automotive, you'd lose your money. If you invested outside of this narrow domain, it was a fool's errand. But today? Almost every industry is going through a massive disruptive revolution, some moving faster than others like automotive and aerospace.
Eventually, everything from agriculture to financial services to you name it, are converting from software-centric businesses to intelligence-centric businesses. Deep learning with AI and neural networks is going to have a major impact.
Quantum computing is weird!
Let’s talk about quantum computing. It’s a big area of interest for Steve and something he’s put a lot of resources into. Quantum computing is as weird as the name implies. It uses quantum mechanics as the fundamental basis of computation in a way that is unlike any computer you've ever heard of before. The important thing to keep in mind is it's not just another supercomputer: it engages the computational resources of parallel universes! David Deutsch described it like this, “If you took the entire matter of the universe, and reconstituted it into the best computer, it still cannot solve certain problems. And these computers could.”
What does the future hold?
I asked Steve one question about how AI will affect the average business owner.
The first effect, he said, would be, “machine learning” or “deep learning.” My advice for a small business owner would be to just spend a little bit of time watching YouTube videos or take a Udacity course on machine learning. It's remarkably simple to learn and if you were starting any new business today, to not have a machine learning element to your business model would be as bizarre as to ignore mobile phones or the internet.
Steve believes that machine learning/deep learning is the most important advance in how we do engineering since the scientific method itself. It's essentially a process of, how do we learn how do we build complex systems? How do we transcend our own intelligence eventually, to build things that are smarter than ourselves?