A History of Silicon Valley

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These are excerpts from Piero Scaruffi's book
"A History of Silicon Valley"


(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi)

The Selfies (2011-16)

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The Hyper-visionaries

The 2010s were also the age of the hyper-visionary institutions. In a sense, Stewart Brand had pioneered this idea too, when in 1996 he had established the "Long Now Foundation"; but the new generation of hyper-visionary thinking was much more practical and, generally, funded by billionaire philanthropists. In 2015 the Future of Life Institute was created by Jaan Tallinn (Skype cofounder), Max Tegmark (MIT mathematician) and Anthony Aguirre (UC Santa Cruz astrophysicist). It mission was "To catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future". The advisors included astrophysicists (Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees of Cambridge University, Saul Perlmutter of UC Berkeley, Alan Guth of the MIT), biologists (Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, George Church of Harvard University), philosophers (Nick Bostrom of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute), economists (Erik Brynjolfsson of the MIT), high-tech entrepreneurs (Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX) and Artificial Intelligence scientists (Stuart Russell of UC Berkeley). Then in 2016 Russian billionaire Yuri Milner launched Breakthrough Starshot to build laser-propelled nano-spacecrafts into space and reach in two decades Alpha Centauri. On the board were Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg and astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Milner hired Pete Worden, former NASA Ames executive, as the director of the project, and assembled a team of advisors that included UC Berkeley's astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, Harvard's astronomer Avi Loeb, Institute for Advanced Study's mathematician Freeman Dyson, and UC Santa Barbara's astrophysicist Philip Lubin. Also in 2016 Elon Musk and Sam Altman of Y Combinator established OpenAI, a non-profit think-tank "to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole" and hired Ilya Sutskever, research scientist at Google, as its director, as well as Greg Brockman, formerly the CTO of Strip, as its CTO. Scientific advisors included Pieter Abbeel, Yoshua Bengio, Alan Kay, Sergey Levine, and Vishal The funding came from Amazon, Infosys, YCombinator, Peter Thiel (cofounder of PayPal), Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Jessica Livingston (cofounder of YCombinator).
click here for the other sections of the chapter "The Selfies (2011-16)"
(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi)

Table of Contents | Timeline of Silicon Valley | A photographic tour | History pages | Editor | Correspondence