I email every so often about future literacy, human improvement, science investing and other related things.
I look forward to staying in touch!

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Can you believe we used to live like this?!

October 16, 2018

Hello, When future generations look back on our current behavior, what will they say? “Can you believe people used to…?!?!” * For example, can you believe that people used to…drive cars themselves, communicate by tapping fingers, use wires to transmit energy, eat meat that was farmed rather than grown, or be unaided in their thinking? … Continued

What will our minds be like in 20, 50, and 100 years?

October 9, 2018

Hello, I’m consumed with inquiring about what our cognitive existence could be like in 20, 50, and 100 years. My take on where we’re heading: an evolutionary transition on a scale like the planet experienced from early hominids 2 million years ago to us today. Just like that last leap, this next evolutionary chapter will … Continued

Don’t be basic

September 6, 2018

Hello, My two teen boys just finished another summer internship at Kernel. While they learned new ways to physically interface with the brain, I learned new ways to verbally interface with teenagers. I took some notes to pass along: “lit” = cool/chill “extra” = overly dramatic/overbearing, or more than what is typical “basic” = boring … Continued

Saying No to Moonshots

August 17, 2018

Hello, “So…you’re doing moonshots at OS Fund? Awesome!” was a common response to last week’s announcement of OS Fund II. I appreciate the aspirational high fives, but actually, it’s not what we’re doing. Many people hear “science investments” and immediately think of “moonshot” hype and failure stories, i.e. fantastic possibility, decade-plus time scales, excessive risk, … Continued

If you didn’t need permission…

August 7, 2018

Hello, What do you wish you could do—but can’t—because it requires the permission of others…a boss, an investor, or society? In 2013, fresh after selling my company Braintree, I finally had enough resources to pursue nearly any endeavor, no permission needed. One problem I saw was that not enough money was being invested in deep … Continued

Step 1: dent the universe.
Step 2: rewrite the universe.

July 26, 2018

Hello, Steve Jobs once famously said to Pepsi CEO John Sculley, in an attempt to lure him to Apple: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Or, as he later put it, “We’re here to put a … Continued

Becoming a zero detective

July 20, 2018

Hello, I recently finished Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by Charles Seife. He chronicles how hard it was for humanity to come up with and hold onto the concept of zero. No zero, no math. No zero, no engineering. No zero, no modern world as we know it.. Since reading this book, I … Continued

You own your thoughts. But maybe not for long.

July 11, 2018

Hello, This will take 4 minutes to read, but I promise it’s worth your attention. Imagine you had a brain interface that could read all of your thoughts, conscious and subconscious. Who would own that data? Who would you give access to? Who could make money on it? Given that we’re building brain interfacing technology … Continued

Engineering the building blocks of the future

June 29, 2018

Hello, What are the coolest, most consequential, yet least-known technologies coming online in the world?  The kind that give you hope that we can tackle our most daunting challenges, such as running out of scarce resources or solving pollution and climate change? The kind that are out of the research lab and poised to radically change … Continued

How would you save humanity with $17.7 billion dollars?

June 22, 2018

Hello, If you had $17.7 billion dollars, what one thing would you do to maximally increase the probability that the human race would thrive? Last week, Bridgewater Founder Ray Dalio chose to focus on oceans. I obsessed about a similar question after I sold Braintree in 2013. With an entire life of thriftiness, I finally … Continued