What we need: more social innovation

The reality is that no one is more concerned about the impact of AI on society than the people who are building it. Almost always, the more someone knows, the higher his or her concern level is.

Some might ask, “Isn’t it their fault? Aren’t they the ones building the technology that is going to replace workers?” But technologists, VCs, and entrepreneurs are simply doing all they can to push their companies and products forward. It is not their fault that the gains are being concentrated in the hands of a very few, and it’s nearly impossible for them to know and account for the downstream social and economic impacts. It’s OUR job—that is, it’s the responsibility of our government and leaders to account for the impact of innovation on human well-being.

Unfortunately, we are decades behind. And we need to speed up fast.

One investor said something to me on Tuesday that struck me as profound. “At this point, we don’t even need much more technological innovation. We could be busy for a long time just applying the tech we already have. What we really need is much more social innovation.” He’s on to something. He’s a good man who is supporting my campaign. And there are many others like him.

Andrew Yang – Yang 2020

You Are Not Late

Looking back now it seems as if waves of settlers have since bulldozed and developed every possible venue, leaving only the most difficult and gnarly specks for today’s newcomers. Thirty years later the internet feels saturated, bloated, overstuffed with apps, platforms, devices, and more than enough content to demand our attention for the next million years. Even if you could manage to squeeze in another tiny innovation, who would notice it?

[…]

But, but…here is the thing. In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014. People in the future will look at their holodecks, and wearable virtual reality contact lenses, and downloadable avatars, and AI interfaces, and say, oh, you didn’t really have the internet (or whatever they’ll call it) back then.

Kevin Kelly — You Are Not Late

Status

After spending an hour signing documents this morning, including an affidavit confirming my signature is mine alone, I received a call explaining I needed to resign some documents. Why? Because my signature needed to convey my middle initial.

It took me about 15 minutes of practicing to invent a new signature. Epic.

Fundamentally disruptive services:
+ Docusign
+ car2go
+ Dropbox
+ ?

Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.

It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.

We have several advantages over the recording industry, of course. We are decentralized and mostly non-profit. We employ lots of smart people. We have previous examples to learn from, and our core competence is learning from the past. And armed with these advantages, we’re probably going to screw this up as badly as the music people did.

Clay Shirky – Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

SideCar

Four years ago:

Here’s the problem: I, like many people I know, drive too many places all alone in my car.  One person in a three ton metal vehicle that could easily transport five.  To move all of that mass around, with such unused, waste internal space, is an inefficient use of energy.

Here’s one solution: ad-hoc transportation.  Capitalizing on the triple convergence between location-aware devices (iPhone 2 on June 9th, anyone?), social networking (Facebook, Twitter, et al), and an absurd number of nearly empty cars on the road (suburban America), the goal should be to connect people with people who are pointed in the same destination.

It’s here, and it’s called SideCar. I’m very intrigued to see where this startup goes. Thanks Alex for the tip.