Wirefly Coverage From Google’s 2013 Zeitgeist Conference

by Wirefly Buzz on September 24, 2013

Wirefly just got back from Google's annual conference in Phoenix and we are excited. We saw plenty of new mobile phone innovations - from the "always listening" speech rec engine on the new Moto X phones to the remarkable ability to send any video from your mobile Chrome browser to your big screen TV using the new $35 Chromecast. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, talked about how Android phones have emerged as primary tools for global change - driving the mobile news videos and Twitter posts that are helping to challenge violence and corruption around the world.

The most fascinating aspect of the show was Google's incredible cast of speakers who are pushing the envelope in every field of human endeavor - from changing government to social entrepreneurship and from flying robots to engineered jellyfish. Take the time to check out the work done by the 12 speakers listed below - they will reshape your perspective on our near future!

1. Jason Silva - Host of National Geographic's "Braingames", who is addicted to wonder and a spokesperson for the impact of awe on human endeavor. Subscribe to his "Shots of Awe" channel on Youtube. Learn more

2. Maria Eitel - CEO of the Nike Foundation, leads Nike's Girl Effect initiative, fighting to delay child marriage and educate girls worldwide as an enormous untapped source of economic potential. Check out the educational / advertising videos on the girlpower web site that were shown to world leaders at the G20 Conference. Maria's message was that we must "push for transformative seismic Change, be ridiculously ambitious and just get it done." Learn more

3. Kit Parker - An Army Major with two combat tours in Afghanistan who leads a bioengineering lab at Harvard. His lab has made microfiber to heal wounds without scarring using a modified cotton candy machine and built living medusoids (jellyfish) from rat heart cells printed on the membrane from a breast implant as a first step to synthetically constructing heart pumps. Kit's approach to problem solving - "When in doubt, build a tool, build a lab, build something!" You can find 60 minutes footage on Dr. Parker's use of counterinsurgency techniques to help Springfield Mass. Learn more

4. Fawsia Koofi - the Vice President of the Afghan National Assembly and most senior woman politician in that country who told the audience that if we don't have the courage for public service, we will cede control to those who we fear. She told stories of the Taliban measuring the length of men's beards and checking the color of women's socks before administering public beatings to those didn't meet their rules. Her new book is "Favored Daughter". Learn more

5. Chris Anderson - the founder of the GeekDad.com and the DIYDrones.com community for autonomous aircraft enthusiasts. His company, 3D Robotics, sells self-piloted flying drones for less than $1,000 that are controlled by smartphones and are mapping farms to provide early warnings of crop diseases and maximizing the effective application of fertilizer and water. Learn more

6. Representative Gabby Giffords - who spoke haltingly about to her efforts to mount bi-partisan support for legislation to contain gun violence. Her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly discussed the recent shootings at the Washington Navy Yard and their organization - Americans for Responsible Solutions. Rep. Giffords was the only speaker to get a standing ovation on the way on to the stage! Learn more

7. Malcolm Gladwell - author of many books, including Outliers, on his new book David and Goliath which will be released in two weeks. One of his themes is that our behavior is shaped by "Elite Organization Cognitive Disorder" or EOCD. He shared data showing that persistence of college students in completing science and math degrees as well as the rate of graduate student publication of papers are not functions of core talent, but of class standing. The top students in every school have the highest rate of graduation in Science, Engineering and Math (STEM degrees) and of paper publication - even though the worst students at a top university have better Math SAT scores that the best students at an average university. He says that people dramatically underestimate the costs of being at the bottom of a hierarchy, and says there is a strong case for sending your child to their 3rd choice school. Learn more

Malcolm Gladwell

8. Mark Burnett - who came to the U.S. after 5 years as a British Commando, got a job as a nanny in LA, and went on to produce Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice, The Bible and "Are you smarter than a 5th Grader". Mark pointed out that the 26th season of Survivor had higher ratings that American Idol because, in his opinion, the tribe is always the hero and even those voted "off the island" have a final say on who wins. He told all of us to read Joseph Campbell's The Hero of a Thousand Faces which has influenced all of his TV work. Learn more

9. Mathias Giraud - who invented Ski Base Jumping, and Nick Woodman who invented the Go Pro HD camera - now the top selling camera in the world. Watch the amazing Youtube video of Mathias skiing off a cliff in an avalanche at XXXX. Many of the conference speakers discussed the power of "self-documentation" from their use of Go Pro cameras in their work from beneath the ocean to the edge of space. Learn More

10. Cami Anderson - the Superintendent of Newark Schools and Joel Klein, the CEO of Amplify on how tablets, personalized learning and big data analytics are changing the classroom. Their work was covered by the New York Times magazine last Sunday.  Learn more

11. Dr. Carl June - of the University of Pennsylvania who has successfully cured leukemia patients by reprogramming their immune cells using specially engineered HIV virus to hunt and kill their own cancer cells. One of his patients destroyed over 5 pounds of cancer cells in a week. His patient, Dr. Doug Olson, spoke about having no detectable cancer three years after the treatment due to the persistence in his immune system of the ability to fight his disease. Dr. June's prototype method has just been funded for large scale by Novartis. Learn more

12. Taylor Wilson - a 19 year old Nuclear Scientist who built a working reactor in his garage at 14, and won the Intel Science fair for his development of an innovative water based detector to scan for potential nuclear terrorism. He talked about his design for small safe reactors using salt in combination with nuclear feul. Learn more

Google Zeitgeist

There were many other fascinating speakers such as Larry Summers, Jon Huntsman and a Major in the Free Syrian Army who spoke to the audience from the combat zone via a Google video hangout. Thanks to Google for enlarging our perspectives and thanks to all our loyal Wirefly customers - We hope this makes you look at your Android Smartphone in a new way!