We’re encountering some of the greatest transitions that any generation has ever had to face. Technological disruption is already affecting every part of our lives; every business, every industry, every society — even what it means to be “human.” These changes show no signs of slowing down; in fact, they’re accelerating rapidly.
But the ever-increasing pace of change doesn’t just hold challenges – it holds opportunity. We are shifting from an economic model based on scarcity to one of abundance. What are the strategic implications? What kinds of policies do we need? What is the impact on our economy? What are the ethical considerations? None of the old rules apply.
“Your mindset is your biggest weapon. Technology can take things that are scarce and make them abundant.”
You’ll learn about artificial intelligence – but it’s not a computing conference. You’ll learn about self-driving cars and networks – but it’s not a tech conference. You’ll learn about medicine and biotechnology – but it’s not a health conference. You’ll learn about the future of crime and the future of work – but it’s not a public policy conference.
Named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist, and entrepreneur. She co-founded Socos, where machine learning and cognitive neuroscience combine to maximize students’ life outcomes. Vivienne is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, where she pursues her research in neuroprosthetics.
In her free time, Vivienne has developed a predictive model of diabetes to better manage the glucose levels of her diabetic son and systems to predict manic episodes in bipolar suffers. She sits on the boards of StartOut, The Palm Center, Emozia, Engender, and Genderis Inc., and is a Chief Science Advisor to Cornerstone Capital, Platypus Institute, Shiftgig, and Bayes Impact. Dr. Ming also speaks frequently on issues of LGBT inclusion and gender in technology.
Vivienne lives in Berkeley, CA, with her wife (and co-founder) and their two children.
Ramez Naam is a computer scientist, futurist, and award-winning author. Ramez spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams developing early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, and the Bing search engine. His career has focused on bringing advanced collaboration, communication, and information retrieval capabilities to roughly one billion people around the world, and took him to the role of Partner and Director of Program Management within Microsoft, with deep experience leading teams working on cutting edge technologies such as machine learning, search, massive scale services, and artificial intelligence.
Between stints at Microsoft, Ramez founded and ran Apex NanoTechnologies, the world first company devoted entirely to software tools to accelerate molecular design. He holds 19 patents related to search engines, information retrieval, web browsing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
Ramez is also the H.G. Wells Award-winning author of four books: The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet (non-fiction), which looks at the environmental and natural resource challenges of climate change, energy, water, and food, and charts a course to meet those challenges by investing in the scientific and technological innovation needed to overcome them, and by changing our policies to encourage both conservation and critical innovations.
He’s a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy at Aurora Illinois. In his leisure, Ramez has climbed mountains, descended into icy crevasses, chased sharks through their native domain, backpacked through remote corners of China, and ridden his bicycle down hundreds of miles of the Vietnam coast. He lives in Seattle, where he writes and speaks full time.
Dr. Chander is a physician and neuroscientist who trained at Harvard, UCSD, UCSF, and the Salk Institute. She has been on the Anesthesiology Faculty at Stanford University since 2008 and Neuromedicine Faculty at Singularity University since 2010. Her postdoctoral training in optogenetic technology was conducted in the laboratories of Karl Deisseroth and Luis de Lecea at Stanford, where she used light-activated ion channels inserted in DNA to study sleep and consciousness switches in brains. In the operating room, she applies EEG technology to understand what human brains look like when they lose and regain consciousness, and has recently developed a precision medicine initiative aimed at understanding genetic variability in responses to anesthetic drugs. Her goal is to understand neural mechanisms of consciousness and eventually utilize this knowledge to develop improved algorithms to create better brain monitors. She is currently working on applications of neural wearable devices to crossover consumer and medical markets.
Dr. Chander shares a parallel passion for space exploration. During her lifetime, it is her deepest desire to see a well-developed architecture to sustain human and robotic exploration of our solar system and beyond. An alumnus of the International Space University, Dr. Chander has performed remote simulations of trauma rescues, anesthesia and surgery in Mars analogue settings with physicians in the US, France, and the Concordia base in Antarctica. Currently, she is involved with a consortium that is studying the effect of microgravity and radiation on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, cognition and sleep. Dr. Chander anticipates using many of the brain read-out technologies applied to her clinical practice to understanding nervous system development and plasticity within the space microgravity environment to better enable short and long-duration space missions.
She welcomes collaborations and joint ventures in the domains of neuroscience/consciousness studies and space neurophysiology.
Nathaniel Calhoun helps guide Singularity University’s approach to changemaking and impact as a founding member of its Global Grand Challenge Faculty. He moderates Executive Programs for SU and is the Director of Global Grand Challenges for SU’s 10-week Global Solutions Program. Nathaniel closely tracks innovations in governance technologies, emerging decentralized and cooperative business models as well as the highly disruptive trend of platform cooperatives. He specializes in helping businesses and governments to understand how to leverage and prepare for the growth of these and related trends.
Nathaniel is actively creating and implementing digital technologies at a global scale to help alleviate poverty and to drive business literacy and digital and financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. He does this work through CODE Innovation, a consulting company he founded in 2007 to help development work organizations like UNICEF and DfID to use web and mobile technologies more effectively in their education programming. Code Innovation has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop their Self Help Group digital platform. This project is scaling its user base by 9000% in 2017.
Nathaniel has two decades of experience in the field of education, training, facilitation, moderation and teaching. He takes particular interest in the threat of technological unemployment and in the differing forecasts and solutions that humanity is offering around this issue. After living and working in Africa for nearly a decade, Nathaniel enjoys helping organizations to think through their strategies with new and emerging markets.
Jeffrey Rogers is a facilitator, speaker, and program designer who creates interactive educational experiences driven by storytelling, engagement and play. He’s an academically trained social scientist (UC Berkeley, University of Texas-Austin) with a knack for future-thinking and a deep belief in the transformative potential of exponential technologies as tools to de-risk experimentation, accelerate learning, and create change.
Jeffrey speaks frequently across the US and abroad on exponential thinking and leads workshops on creative problem solving and storytelling. He’s connected dots, ideas, and people as a moderator recently for the SU Executive Program and Exponential Tech and Strategy programs for Oracle, Google, Roche, NBC, Aegon and other global brands.
Prior to joining SU, Jeffrey spent a decade building learning and development solutions across sectors and designing and delivering award-winning educational and training programs. He currently serves as Singularity University’s Director of Faculty & Facilitator Development, working closely with our faculty to discover their unique strengths as communicators and teachers and to co-create rave-worthy, learner-centered experiences at SU and on the web worldwide.
Elvira Fortunato is a full professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology of NOVA University. She is Vice-Rector at NOVA and Director of the Materials Research Center (CENIMAT) of the Associated Laboratory i3N, the Institute of Nanostructures, Nanomodeling, and Nanofabrication.
She has received her Bachelor degree in Physics and Materials Engineering in 1987, obtaining, in 1995, the Ph.D. in Microelectronics and Optoelectronics. Since 1998, alongside with her husband Rodrigo Martins, she leads the research team of the Materials Research Center (CENIMAT) which has been distinguished for the important discovery of the paper transistor.
In 2008, the European Research Council awarded her with the 1st Prize of 2.25 million euros with the highest score in the league table. In 2018, she has received the second Advanced Grant of the European Research Council with a maximum amount of 3.5 million euros, being the highest prize ever awarded to a researcher in Portugal. She has also received the Czochralski Medal (Science of Materials) assigned by the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Blaise Pascal Medal conferred by the European Academy of Sciences. She has been distinguished with several National and International Prizes, among those it is worth mentioning the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, in 2009, by University of Galați, and the denomination of Grand Officer of Order of Prince Henry the Navigator, acknowledged by the President of the Republic of Portugal in 2010.
Since 2016, she is part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advisory Board and, since 2018, she is a member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.
Amin is the CEO of T Labs. He was formerly the director of Strategy and Vice President of Strategic Relations at Singularity University. He brings a unique set of technological, entrepreneurial and policy perspectives to the dialogue of innovation on campus.
Before Singularity, Amin founded for-profit and social impact organizations in a range of domains including artificial intelligence, peer to peer lending, bitcoin, human rights, international development, carbon offsetting, and solar energy.
Google Search ranks him as the world’s best guitar player – a title he readily rejects. In addition to his work at Singularity, he is building the World’s first hedge fund for the poor, as well as Reversopedia – a reverse encyclopedia composed of things we know we don’t know.
Amin has a degree in artificial intelligence from the University of British Columbia, an MBA from Stanford, and an MPA in economic policy from Harvard. He attended Harvard and Stanford concurrently and graduated an Arjay Miller Scholar.
Sílvia Curado, Ph.D. is Faculty and Research Director at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. She carried out her Ph.D. thesis in Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Developmental Biology, at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, following her MSc. in Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, in Portugal, in collaboration with the Hammersmith Hospital in London, United Kingdom.
During her postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) she worked on regenerative medicine, focusing on heart and liver regeneration using zebrafish as a genetic model system. Silvia then joined the NYU School of Medicine as Faculty to co-direct a Research Center on Nanomedicine. She is currently directing a Multidisciplinary Research Program at the NYU School of Medicine focused on Obesity and related pathologies, bringing together basic science, clinical research, population health, and data science.
She is the author of the book Engenharia Genética – O Futuro Já Começou [Genetic Engineering – The Future Has Already Begun], published in 2017. She is also President of PAPS (Portuguese American Postgraduate Society), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the Portuguese graduate community in North America.
Cristina Fonseca is an investor and tech entrepreneur that co-founded Talkdesk, a platform that allows companies to create their call center in the cloud. The company raised almost $25 million in the last years and Cristina was distinguished as “30 under 30” by Forbes in 2016.
She studied Telecommunications and Networks engineering and recently specialized in Artificial Intelligence, after graduating from the Singularity University Global Solutions Program – a program where 80 people from science and technology fields get together to use the latest technologies and solve the world’s biggest challenges.
Cristina is actually Venture Partner at Indico Capital Partners where she invests and helps tech-based startups to launch and scale global products.
Robin Teigland (Ph.D.) is Professor of Digitalization at Chalmers University of Technology and at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden as well as a Fellow of the KIN Center for Digital Innovation at VU University in Amsterdam.
Robin’s research resides at the intersection of strategy, technology, entrepreneurship, and social networks, and she has a special interest in how the Internet and exponential technologies enable new forms of value creation. Robin has published numerous articles in international books and academic journals as well as books on topics such as virtual reality, the sharing economy, and fintech.
Currently, she is co-leading Peniche Ocean Watch, an inter-disciplinary, coastal community development initiative focused on enabling an ocean-based circular economy through entrepreneurship and disruptive technologies. Robin would love to hear your ideas and she welcomes collaboration on Peniche Ocean Watch! Robin is a sought-after speaker by Fortune 500 multinationals and government ministries, and she was nominated one of the Global Top 50 Business Professors on Twitter and in 2017 and in 2018 as one of the 125 most influential women in Sweden, especially within technology.
Robin is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and currently lives in Stockholm, Oslo, and Peniche. She has previously worked as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, a consultant for McKinsey & Company, Inc. in Sweden and Spain, a medtech entrepreneur in Norway, and a marketing analyst in Chile. She holds a B.A. in Economics with Distinction from Stanford University, an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, (the Lauder Institute), and a Ph.D. in International Business from the Stockholm School of Economics. In her free-time Robin enjoys playing with and learning from her five children as well as surfing longboard waves in Peniche and other sunny places around the world. More information can be found at www.robinteigland.com or by googling her.
Bohdanna is the Director of International Summits at Singularity University. She oversees the execution of Global Licensing SU’s International Summits, impacting and educating over 40,000 people on exponential technology and how to use that technology to solve the world’s largest challenges.
Bohdanna works with partners from all over the globe, including South Africa, India, Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Central America, and South America. Her talent lies in her ability to build strong relationships, respect regional traditions, and customs, all the while empowering her partners to produce impactful summits for thousands of participants in their country. Stakeholders who attend the SU International Summits include all sections of government officials, including Presidents and Prime Ministers, C suite management of Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, and students.
Prior to Singularity University, Bohdanna worked for Peter Thiel and The Thiel Foundation as their Event Curator, managing dozens of projects including CNBC Transforming Tomorrow, a documentary focused on the Thiel Fellowship and the Wired.com series ‘Teen Technorati’ showcasing Fellows from The Thiel Fellowship. Bohdanna was also one of the architects of The Thiel Foundation Summit; a bi-annual assembly of young entrepreneurs and visionaries from around the world. And, while working at SU, Bohdanna devotes time to her painting career, exhibiting her work in the US and internationally. Bohdanna holds an M.F.A from San Francisco State University, a Post-Baccalaureate certificate from California College of the Arts, and a B.S. from Indiana University – Bloomington.
Co-founder and Board Member of Beta-i. Based in Lisbon, Beta-i is one of the main entrepreneurship and innovation organizations in Europe. Beta-i helps new and established businesses grow the startup way, by running acceleration and innovation programs, organizing events, promoting investment and creating great workspaces at our hub.
Co-founder & CEO of Evolve Space Solutions (Germany and Portugal) since 2004, developing software products for the Aerospace Industry, with clients like ESA, Thales, Astrium, Inmarsat, Eumetsat, Airbus, Boeing, Embraer (acquired by Novabase (NBA) in 2011, Euronext company since 2000, Portugal’s Nr.1 IT company specialized in the Telecommunications sector, with over 3000 employees, offices in Portugal, Spain, Germany, UK, the Middle East, Mozambique Angola, South Africa, and Ghana).
David Roberts is one of the world’s top experts on technology disruption, innovation, and exponential leadership. His passion is to help improve the lives of a billion people in the world by helping leaders create new intentions for global good and through technology disruption.
David is a Distinguished Faculty member at Singularity University where he previously served as Vice President and the two-time Director (and alum) of the University’s Graduate Studies Program. He is an M.I.T. Computer Scientist & Engineer, and majored in Artificial Intelligence and Bio-Computer Engineering where he was also a Distinguished Graduate and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is an award-winning CEO and serial entrepreneur and has started ventures with over $100 million dollars of investment from Kleiner Perkins, Vinod Khosla, Cisco, Oracle, Accenture, and In-Q-Tel. Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley’s Business schools have all written and taught case studies on David’s leadership, management, and decision-making.
He is the founder of Exponential Leadership, an organization dedicated to transforming leadership potential through character, integrity, compassion, courage, and happiness. He started his career as a decorated Special Agent and Air Force Officer. After working as an Investment Banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Goldman Sachs Headquarters he returned to public service for multiple roles in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government where he served as a senior executive or military officer in multiple national agencies where he led the development of some of the most complex, state-of-the-art systems ever built, to include revolutionary persistent spy satellites, the U.S. Global Drone Program, and fusion centers.
He is the recipient of numerous national awards and medals. David is Chairman at the world’s leading Quantum Computing software company 1QBit and a formal adviser to Made-In-Space, who manufactured the first object in Space with a 3D printer on the International Space Station. He is now seeking investors for a new passenger drone company to revolutionize safe human transport. David angel invests or mentors coachable founders in the space of human longevity, Artificial General Intelligence, and mobile productivity applications. He has been featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, and in USA Today, The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune Magazine, and CNN.
His personally led startups have received multiple awards to include Internet World’s Net Rising Stars, Red Herring’s Catch, Top 50 Private Companies in the World, Red Herring Top 100 Private Companies in the World, USA Today’s Tech Reviews Best Picks, Internet Outlook’s Investors Choice Award, Enterprise Outlook Investors Choice, Best of the Web from PC World, and Apple Computer’s Premier Systems Integrator Award.
His fascination with technology began in the fourth grade after building hovercraft (early drone), to carry his younger sister to the bus stop, powered by what was formerly his mother’s vacuum cleaner, and fortunately limited by the length of an electric power cord.
Alex is Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation. He has served as Vice President of Strategy for the Oslo Freedom Forum since its inception in 2009. Alex’s writing and views on dissidents and dictators have appeared in ABC, The Atlantic, BBC News, CNN, Fast Company, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, NPR, TIME, The Wall Street Journal and WIRED. He has spoken at UC Berkeley, MIT, Parsons School of Design; the School of Visual Arts, Stanford, and the European Parliament. Before joining HRF, he served as a foreign policy advisor in the British Parliament. In his work at HRF, he has helped connect hundreds of human rights defenders and civil society groups with business leaders, technologists, journalists, philanthropists, policymakers, and others to supercharge their important advocacy.
Alex is a magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University where he majored in International Relations and Middle Eastern studies. He currently lives in San Francisco.
Robert Poynton is a designer and facilitator of learning experiences. He is particularly interested in complexity and has developed an innovative approach, based on improvisational theatre, to give people a direct, personal experience of the key ideas in this field. He is is an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford where he has Directed the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.
In 2017 he was a contributor to the Skoll World Forum and Singularity University Global Summit. He has also led courses on leadership, change, and complexity at IE in Madrid, Ashridge Business School, and Schumacher College. His own clients include Chanel, Natura Bissé, BBC, and PwC. He also leads creative retreats in Spain, where he lives – such as the ‘Praxis Reading Retreats’ or the ‘Creative Tapas Experience’. He studied Psychology and Philosophy at New College, Oxford and worked in advertising in London, Madrid and Buenos Aires.
Robert has authored two books on improvisation: ‘Everything’s an Offer’ and ‘Do Improvise’. He is currently working on a new book about playing with time, entitled ‘Do – Pause’. He is married with three sons and lives in an off-grid house in the Sierra de Gredos in Central Spain just outside a small town that no-one has heard of.
Manuel Tanger holds an MSc in Physics from Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon which he concluded with a top graded final thesis supervised by Physics Nobel Prize Winner 1999 Gerard t’Hooft at the University of Utrecht.
Manuel lived in many different countries during is life like Brazil, China, India, Holland, Italy, Canada, Belgium and, of course, Portugal. This international exposure has been formative and character building in important aspects of his life. He started his professional career at Mercer HR Consulting as CRM designer and manager. Following this experience was invited to work for Danone in Italy (Saiwa) as a Strategic Planner for the Western Europe Zone for a couple of years and then Brand Manager of Vitasnella (Taillefine, Corpos Danone). With the support of a great team, he was able to bring back a defaulting brand to +20% growth year-on-year. After Italy came Qbian, a training company that used training as a frontline marketing tool and developed Global programs for Nokia. There, he was European Marketing Manager.
In 2009, Manuel co-founded Beta-i, an organization actively promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal, where he is a board member and Head of the Innovation and Corporate Acceleration team.
Technology futurist, information designer and founder of Envisioning, a technology foresight institute. His work aims to illustrate the implications of accelerating change and facilitate a higher level of awareness about our relationship to technology.
Michell founded Envisioning in 2011 after publishing a series of speculative infographics. He has supported its development since day one. He devised Envisioning’s initial methodologies and research frameworks. Today he is mainly responsible for global partnerships. Michell has collaborated on projects on all continents. He is a renowned public speaker and frequently consults on technological strategy. He works with people in government agencies, corporations and academic institutions. His work has been featured in WIRED and TASCHEN. Responsible for the technology thinking module at THNK School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam. Frequently lectures about patterns of technological transformation at major events. Member of the Association of Professional Futurists and World Future Society. Holds a BA in Communications.
Born in Stockholm, raised in São Paulo. Fluent in three languages, currently learning Italian. Has lived in five countries and worked in over 30. Oversaw design and platform development at Trendwatching in London and Amsterdam before launching Envisioning. Michell cares intensely about our future and encourages people to do the same. Through his work, he helps people prepare for and build better futures.
Zita Martins is a Portuguese Astrobiologist and Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico. Her research explores how life may have begun on Earth by looking for organic compounds in meteorite samples. She holds a Chemistry degree from Instituto Superior Técnico and a Ph.D. in Astrobiology from Leiden University. She was an Invited Scientist at NASA Goddard and an Invited Professor at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis. In 2009, while working at Imperial College London she was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship worth 1 Million British Pounds.
Zita worked for the ExoMars space mission. She is currently a Co-Investigator of the OREOcube and EXOcube missions scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS), and she is a member of the Organic macromolecules sub-team of the Japanese space mission Hayabusa2.
She has an active involvement with public outreach activities, including several international media interviews, public talks at museums, Science festivals and schools.
She had her portrait sketched for the Royal Society exhibit about successful women in science. She was selected by the BBC as a “BBC Expert Woman Scientist”, and as one of “100 Women in Science in Portugal” by the Portuguese Agency of Science and Technology Ciência Viva. In 2018 she was mentioned as one of the world’s leading specialists in Astrobiology by Portuguese Magazine Executiva, and as one of the “8 Women in STEM who are changing the space game” by American magazine Bustle. In 2015 Zita Martins was appointed by the President of Portugal as “Officer of the Order of Saint James of the Sword” for exceptional and outstanding merits in science.
Wojcicki is a leading American educator, journalist, and mother. Leader in Blending Learning and the integration of technology into education, she is the founder of the Media Arts program at Palo Alto High School, where she built a journalism program from a small group of 20 students in 1984 to one of the largest in the nation including 600 students, five additional journalism teachers, and nine award-winning journalism publications. Wojcicki serves as Vice Chair of Creative Commons and has previously worked as a professional journalist for multiple publications and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post.
Esther has been intimately involved with Google and GoogleEdu since its inception, where she was one of the leaders in setting up the Google Teacher Academy and remains a guiding force.
With two Honorary Doctorate Degrees – Palo Alto University (2013) and Rhode Island School of Design (2016). She was California Teacher of the Year in 2002 by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; a recipient of the Gold Key by Columbia Scholastic Press Association in recognition of her outstanding devotion to the cause of the school press; a board member of Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, DC, and on the Board of Newseum in DC; and a has been consultant for the U.S Department of Education, Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, Google, Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Time Magazine Education.
“Everyone takes the limits of his [or her] own vision for the limits of the world.”
Singularity University (SU) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. Our global community spans 119 countries and includes entrepreneurs, corporations, impact organizations, governments, investors, and academic institutions.
With over 431 impact initiatives, the SU community is driving positive change in the areas of health, environment, security, education, energy, food, prosperity, water, space, disaster resilience, shelter, and governance.
Peter Diamandis is an entrepreneur, business executive and the founder and Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. He is the co-author of BOLD, How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, and Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think. As a futurist, visionary, author and distinguished speaker, he counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives. Dr. Diamandis attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D.
Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a 30-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS selected him as one of the “sixteen revolutionaries who made America.” Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents. Ray has written five national best-selling books, including The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Singularity is Near, and How to Create a Mind. He is currently a director of engineering at Google.