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Jason Silva: Transcendant Man
Jason Silva says he is trying to share his techno-optimistic views in ways that inspire people with awe and wonder, and spark conversation within the greater “marketplace of ideas”.
Jason Silva is a transcendent man. As a filmmaker, philosopher, and futurist, Silva is always thinking big. Currently in the process of creating a feature length documentary, Silva has released a series of short clips that are attracting attention. The videos are sometimes under 2 minutes long, and show Jason during an ecstatic meditation covering some specific idea related to the future. Silva says he is trying to share his techno-optimistic views in ways that inspire people with awe and wonder, and spark conversation within the greater “marketplace of ideas”. His most recent video centered around Abundance: The Future is Better Thank You Think.
Watch the video here:
Big Think interviewed Silva to find out about his inspiration for the video, and what we can expect from him in the future.
Big Think: You seem so optimistic about the future, why are you so convinced?
Jason Silva: When I came across Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, I began to understand the unlimited creative potential of the human species, to not just transcend our biological limitations by upgrading our biological software, but also to impregnate the universe with intelligence. The exponential growth curves of information technology spilling over into the domestication of biotechnology and nanotechnology coupled with the possibilities of artificial intelligence were dazzlingly seductive.
I couldn’t get enough, and often felt that these ideas were bigger than their usual dry, academic packaging. Where did aesthetic presentation fall into this? And so I decided to launch my own answer to this question. The Beginning of Infinity video, shown recently at The Economist World in 2012 Conference and The Singularity Summit, is part of a series of short form “ecstatic meditations” exploring this co-evolution of humans and technology that simultaneously epiphanizes and inspires. The goal was to animate and reverse engineer rapturous awe. Think of them as shots of philosophical espresso. My latest, ABUNDANCE, was inspired by Peter Diamandis' book of the same name.
Big Think: What about Abundance inspired you and why is it such an important book for people to read?
Jason Silva: What's exciting about Abundance is that it does a marvelous job of articulating precisely how the exponential growth curves of technology can be leveraged to solve humanity's grand challenges. In a world of "doom and gloom", Its nice to have an alternate vision, and one based on data-drive facts and extrapolations.
Big Think: How did you get the idea to create these videos? What was your creative inspiration?
Jason Silva: My short videos are an attempt at communicating genuine inspiration: they seek to transmute epiphanies in real time. In an age saturated in media, how do we infect people with optimism and excitement? My videos aim to do that--- they are capsules of passion and curiosity.
Big Think: How has technology enabled you to become one of these “do-it-yourself innovators” as mentioned in the book?
Jason Silva: The fact that I can shoot, edit, and produce these videos independently is a testament to the exponential growth curves of technology. 20 years ago the camera alone would have been 25 thousand dollars. For under 1000 dollars today you can shoot, edit, and post your vision in the world.
Big Think: Where does this video fit into the larger context of your work, and what can we expect from you in the future?
Jason Silva: I'm working on multiple levels of content so that people have multiple points of entry to these ideas. The short films of philosophical espresso will live online and hopefully continue to spread. I'm also raising financing for a feature length documentary-- (working with a talented Oscar Winning producer on that)... I'm in talks on some TV projects as well... and will be speaking at several places over the next few months including Google, The Economist Ideas Fest, Next Berlin, UPenn, and MIT.
More videos and information on Jason can be found on his website at www.thisisJasonSilva.com and make sure you follow him on Twitter @Jason_Silva.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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