Big Think is once again proud to partner with fellow big thinkers Singularity University to share the news about their 2015 Exponential Finance conference, happening June 2nd and 3rd in New York City. The conference will feature Big Think Experts such as Ray Kurzweil, Chance Barnett, and Brad Templeton. 

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It might shock some of you born after 1995 to learn there was once a time when the Internet wasn't the fulcrum of our social lives. In fact, many voices loudly rejected the idea that online life would become a prevalent social phenomenon. Yet here we are today, a society pretty much chained to an internet connection. How did those poor prognosticators get it so wrong? Why were they so blind? The reasons are myriad, but a succinct summary would be that these folks lacked vision when it came to exponential technology. They saw the Internet as an infertile ground where dorks would dump globs of unsorted data and Star Trek fanfiction. There's no way, they argued, that a media and commerce juggernaut could ever bloom in that soil. 

Well, it did.

The lesson here, and the one conveyed by Singularity University's Peter Diamandis in the video below, is that you can't underestimate exciting new technologies by judging them based on current perceptions. Those who were imaginative enough to foresee the Internet's potential beyond Star Trek fanfiction eventually reaped the benefits. When it comes to exponential technologies like the Internet, social media, and smartphones, you have to keep an open mind and try to perceive outside-the-box modes of disruption.

Take virtual reality, for example. It's obvious Diamandis sees the technology as much more than tools for dorks to act out their Star Trek fanfiction. He imagines, for example, an entire virtual clothing store in which an avatar of the shopper tries on items that then, upon purchase, are constructed via 3D-printing technology and delivered by morning. Diamandis refuses to take virtual reality at face value. Instead, he envisions how emerging technologies could revolutionize industries they're not commonly associated with... sort of like the Internet and shopping for clothes. 

Understanding these kinds of exponential changes in advance is a major advantage for individuals and businesses that want to stay a step (or 100 steps) ahead of their peers. And Singularity University’s 2015 Exponential Finance conference, happening June 2nd and 3rd in New York City, brings together some of the top future-focused entrepreneurs in every field — from finance, to law, to computing, to medicine — to share their discoveries and insights into what’s coming next, and how to turn it to your advantage.

Tickets are going fast. Use the code BIGTHINK500 to lock in your seats now, at a $500 discount.