Steve Jurvetson: Forecasting the Future of Technology [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

October 12, 2015
Stanford eCorner
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Steve Jurvetson: Forecasting the Future of Technology [Entire Talk]

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This is a panel discussion with Steve, Astro, and Christina about their perspectives on the past, present, and future. They discuss their past predictions, what they got wrong and what they got right. They also talk about the future technologies they find exciting, the importance of a broad education for engineers, and their responsibilities regarding societal implications of their work.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is one thing that didn't happen 10 years ago that you were sure was going to happen?

Steve reflects on several mistakes he made in predicting the future, such as thinking Amazon would be obsolete and that Netflix would fail.

Q: What did you predict 10 years ago that is happening now?

Astro shares his belief in the future of artificial intelligence and how it has continued to steadily progress in various areas.

Q: What is something that has happened and is changing the world that you couldn't have even imagined?

Christina mentions de-extinction as a topic that people are seriously working on, as well as the concept of cloud laboratories within biology.

Q: What is the coolest thing in the pipeline right now?

Steve discusses the transformations happening in various industries through deep learning and machine learning techniques. He also talks about the revolution of learning in life sciences and its impact on the future of engineering.

Q: How do you choose what to focus on and work on in the lab?

Christina emphasizes the importance of passion and choosing problems that will make transformative changes in the world. She also mentions the value of interdisciplinary teams and the freedom to explore new directions.

Q: How does policy play into future innovations?

Steve mentions the role of government in sponsoring projects but also states that they rarely rely on policy to make investments work. He sees government grants to universities as a way of helping the tech world.

Q: How do you educate the engineer of the 21st century?

Christina highlights the importance of teaching students how to choose what to work on and focusing on foundational research. She also mentions interdisciplinary collaboration and the need for broad literacy in biology.

Q: How important is domain expertise in today's rapidly changing world?

Astro believes that the ability to learn quickly and adapt is more important than specific domain expertise. He encourages the development of skills such as teamwork and communication.

Q: How do you think about linking technology, innovation, and societal responsibility?

Steve discusses the responsibility of engineers to be transparent and educate the public sector about the implications of their technologies. He also emphasizes the importance of anticipating and solving future problems.

Q: To what extent does technology drive our value system?

Steve discusses how technology can have an impact on our values and societal norms, but also mentions the importance of investors aligning their values with the technologies they support.


The panelists emphasize the need for continuous learning and adaptation in a rapidly changing world. They discuss the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and the responsibility of engineers to consider the societal implications of their work. They also highlight the importance of transparency and education in shaping the future. Overall, they see technology as a driver of progress and innovation, but acknowledge the need for careful consideration of ethical and societal impacts.

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