Invention and Innovation: Emerging Technologies that Will Change the World: The Inventor View
Moderator: Spencer Reiss
September 30, 2004
When Steve Wozniak was young, he found his first transistor radio inspiring. He has channeled his passion for useful, convenient machines into a new company that makes global positioning satellite (GPS) locators for everyday purposes. He imagines tagging a child or dog with a GPS device, so you can “find out if it gets to where it shouldn’t.” Another goal for his portable GPS: as an aide to emergency first responders, who often must find people trapped in buildings.
Kari Stefannson has archived the genealogy of Icelanders going back 1100 years, in order to track down common inherited diseases and potentially cure them. There are “genes that predispose and genes that protect,” and Stefannson hopes to manipulate the function of disease genes so as to prevent the onset of such illnesses as myocardial infarction.
“The golden age of invention is right now,” claims Edward Jung, because of recent discoveries in science, and fundamental technological change. He points to materials that can “bend light backwards, or optically resolve things at sub-wavelengths,” which will lead to powerful new inventions such as diagnostics that can see into the body at any depth. With the help of efficient capital movement, and a rise in global education levels, we’ll see a rise in the “the ability to manufacture ideas” rapidly.
Avid sailor Craig Venter has trawled for microbes in the Sargasso Sea and discovered more than a million new genes and 1,800 new species. Among them are organisms that thrive on carbon dioxide. Venter hopes to re-engineer some of these unique microbes genetically, into “designed species” that may reduce environmental CO2 levels, as well as provide new foods and energy sources. “Biology can do much more sophisticated chemistry than the best chemists,” says Venter.
About the Speakers
Moderator: Spencer Reiss
Contributing Editor, Technology Review
is a writer and editor specializing in technology and its broader impact on culture and society. A long-time foreign correspondent for Newsweek and contributing editor at Wired, he writes regularly for a variety of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and MIT Technology Review. He graduated from Dartmouth College with an A.B. in history, and received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.
CEO, deCODE genetics, Inc.
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Intellectual Ventures
President, The Venter Institute Group Leader, Sorcerer 2 Expedition
Co-Founder, Apple Computer Founder, Chairman and CEO of Wheels of Zeus (wOz)
Steve Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1985, the highest honor bestowed America's leading innovators. In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for “single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.”
Wozniak founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.
Wozniak recently published iWoz From Computer Geek to Culture Icon: How I invented the personal compter, co-founded Apple, and had fun doing it., (2006 Norton).