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SNS: Fire XV: Breaking Through on a Century Scale

SNS: Fire XV: Breaking Through on a Century Scale


In This Issue
Week of 10/2/2017
Vol. 22 Issue 36

FEATURE: Breaking Through on a Century Scale

  • FiRe 2017 Conference Agenda

Quotes of the Week

Takeout Window

  • CRINK Alliance in Cyber



Every year at this time, we share the complete agenda for our FiRe Conference with our members. The purpose of this is to share our thinking about what’s important in the worlds we track over the next 3- to 5-year period – although, in this case, we’re looking a bit further as well.


The term “Century-Scale Breakthroughs” most likely brings to mind long-term changes, things that only shift over the course of 100 years. But in today’s high-rate-of-change, technology-driven society, this term means something even more important and direct: scale. And by scale, I don’t mean the quick ramp-up of the relatively mindless and science-lite Twitter or Facebook frame, but rather the scale of change initiated by a complete reboot of society’s most critical technologies.

Rebuilding the grid is such a change: hard to do, laden with new innovations, driving change and improvement in all of the related technologies and ecosystems around it, and enabling even larger systemic change in energy production and consumption, transport, building design, lifestyle, societal income levels, and – let’s say it clearly – stopping destruction of the planet.

We call this “Elon’s World,” in honor of the first recipient of our FiRe Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and of Elon Musk’s ongoing contribution to this level of change, in many of these fields.

At FiRe this week, you will have the opportunity to be part of our evolving idea of what this truly creative event has become. Sure, we’ll be talking about commercializing space, using business and technology advances to halt global warming, the nature of AI and its risks, new chips, new medical solution sets, and a full week of discussions with leaders about ideas that are both useful and bleeding-edge.

And, as in recent years past, your involvement may lead you into new directions, joining new initiatives or partnerships, even creating new companies onstage or in the hallway. Whatever the word is for what FiRe has become in this fifteenth year, it’s clearly more than a conference – perhaps an event, crossed with a realtime incubator, added to an institute, combined with increasingly strong academic interests and connections, and finished off with angel and venture investors to make it go.

This year – no surprise, I hope – we have some new surprises for you and your fellow participants. Not just “new” as in, things you might have picked up recently at some other meeting, but “new” as in, things no one has ever heard of before. This year’s FiRe finds us almost finished with a major effort to redesign the whole concept of what it means to compute in an environment overwhelmed by data flows and analytic requirements.

Even more exciting, we’ll add the final step in designing how to do it.

From “Beyond AI” and our “UnDx” efforts to deep dives on Xi Jinping’s secret dreams and plans for global domination, you’ll have heard it at FiRe XV for the very first time.


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