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  • I want to start with the story of how I kind of broke the law,

  • and kind of manipulated thousands of people

  • to get what I deserved.

  • It's the mid 1990s, I'm 15 years old,

  • and ever since childhood, I wanted to become a music producer.

  • But I had a big problem:

  • music studios were luxurious and expensive,

  • and to make electronic music, you had to get these modules,

  • each module with a specific purpose.

  • One module would create piano sounds, another one would create echo effects,

  • and a third one would give you synthesizer sounds, and so on.

  • So, to make a full record, you had to get a bunch of these,

  • which quickly exceeded thousands of dollars,

  • money which we didn't have.

  • So, as I was jamming along on my cheap Casio keyboard

  • and surfing the web, something amazing happened.

  • A Swedish software company shows up, and they announce their brand new product.

  • They said, "With our product, you can get as many modules as you want,

  • you can create as many sounds and effects as you want,

  • in you computer."

  • And boy, did I get excited. Things went fast.

  • I quickly learned how to master every button and lever in this program,

  • and after a while, I had a bunch of good tracks in my repertoire.

  • So, I thought to myself, "Wow, my music actually sounds good now.

  • I am as good as the people they play on the radio."

  • So, I wanted to be in the record store.

  • But to get there, I had to get past the gatekeepers,

  • the big record labels deciding who can and who cannot be

  • on the record store shelves.

  • So I did what everyone told me to do: I burned my tracks on CDs,

  • and I sent them to the best labels in the world.

  • Months went by, weeks went by,

  • nobody answered me, and I got devastated.

  • But I happened to know the record industry's worst enemy.

  • Napster had emerged around the same time,

  • a software that let you share your music in mp3 files

  • with anyone in the world.

  • People got to poke around on the folders in your computer

  • and you got to poke around on their computers,

  • and download music from each other.

  • And every day, hundreds of people would come to my computer

  • and download music from me, and I quickly noticed an obvious trend.

  • When a famous artist had just released a new album,

  • people would come in droves to download that album from my computer.

  • So, I got an idea:

  • "What if I take two of my best tracks,

  • and I tuck them gently into the folders of other famous artist's albums?"

  • (Laughter)

  • And I would photoshop the album covers and the backside,

  • and change the track lists, so to avoid suspicion.

  • Brilliant.

  • Nobody noticed a thing,

  • and now, hundreds, thousands of people were downloading my music,

  • without even knowing it and without even wanting it.

  • (Laughter)

  • So my music spread like wildfire, and people started to notice.

  • Discussion forums on the web tried to figure out,

  • "Why are there two tracks the album I downloaded from the web,

  • but in the store, I can't find these tracks on the CD?"

  • They wanted to know, "Who's this guy making this music?"

  • They actually liked my music.

  • So, all of a sudden, I was a semi-famous personality

  • in the underground music world.

  • So, long story short,

  • this little maneuver got me in contact with some important people,

  • and a while later, I got to sign record deals

  • with three of the best companies at that time.

  • Now, here's the irony of it all:

  • the same technologies - the Internet and digital music sharing -

  • that helped me achieve this were the same technologies

  • that would turn the music industry upside down and almost destroy it.

  • Because why would you buy a CD anymore,

  • when the convenient click of a mouse button

  • would give you the same product for a fraction of the price

  • and a fraction of the time?

  • That leads us to one of my favorite quotes, made by Ayn Rand decades ago,

  • but I think it's more relevant than ever.

  • She said, "You can avoid reality,

  • but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

  • And before I tell you what I think this reality is,

  • I'll let these words from a Newsweek article in 1995 speak for themselves:

  • "People predict that we'll soon buy books and newspapers

  • straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.",

  • Clifford Stoll wrote, sarcastically.

  • In 2012, people spent USD $1 billion online per day,

  • during the holiday season,

  • and that was the same year Newsweek had to end its print run

  • and go all digital.

  • So, I know that we're all aware that technology can show up

  • and transform our world overnight,

  • but I still think that we underestimate how fast technology can come

  • and transform everything.

  • So, what if I ask you: what is the speed of technology?

  • Can we actually measure it?

  • Well, I won't be able to give you a number as an answer,

  • but I can tell you this:

  • 25,000 years ago, one of the first human technologies emerged,

  • the art of painting and drawing.

  • >From then until we figured out agriculture,

  • it took astounding 50,000 years,

  • but from agriculture until we figured out writing and the wheel,

  • it only took 5,000 years.

  • >From writing and the wheel

  • till we figured out how to organize our societies into cities and states,

  • it only took 2,500 years.

  • And from city states till we figured out the experimental method,

  • only 1,900 years.

  • And from that to industrialism, only 325 years.

  • And from industrialism till we invented electricity, the telephone and the radio,

  • only 95 years.

  • And from that to the first vacuum tube computers, only 65 years.

  • And from primitive computers to the modern PC, only 38 years.

  • And from modern computing to the Internet, it only took 15 years.

  • And from the Internet to smartphones, the Cloud and mobile computing,

  • it only took 12 years.

  • So, do you see what's happening here?

  • This is what Ray Kurzweil called "The Law of Accelerating Returns,"

  • essentially meaning that the more advanced we become,

  • the faster we become at advancing.

  • So, the answer to "How fast is technology?" -

  • well, technology is an accelerating force.

  • The future approaches us faster and faster all the time.

  • Now, we've looked at technology from a historical perspective,

  • so let's have a quick look at what's been going on just recently.

  • So, scientists have developed a smartphone device

  • that can scan you for HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes.

  • Take a quick blood sample, put it in the device,

  • and the results will on your smartphone displays in just 15 minutes.

  • A research group has developed a new kind of microscope

  • that can give you live 3D images of body organs in live animals.

  • In this example, you see the beating heart of a zebra fish.

  • This research group has developed a handheld laser probe

  • that can scan the brain for brain cancer tumors

  • live during surgery.

  • And finally, NASA together with Microsoft

  • have combined Microsoft's HoloLens technology

  • with images from the Curiosity rover on Mars to give scientists on Earth

  • virtual access to the surface of Mars.

  • So, scientists can walk around, collaborate and experiment,

  • without going to Mars.

  • Now, the things I just showed you, I think they're absolutely amazing,

  • but what I think is almost even more amazing

  • is the fact that the things I just showed you

  • are news announced only during the last 30 days.

  • This is just news from the last 30 days.

  • That's how fast technology is progressing.

  • So, here we are, with the Cloud, mobile computing,

  • and smartphones at our fingertips,

  • smartphones a thousand times faster, a thousand times cheaper,

  • and a thousand times smaller than the computers from the 1950s.

  • That's a billionfold progress in just 65 years.

  • And we have so much more cool stuff ahead of us.

  • Honda is developing humanoid robots that can walk, talk,

  • perform everyday tasks, such as pouring drinks, serving food,

  • and guiding guests around the building.

  • And they can even communicate with three persons at the same time.

  • Companies, with Google on the forefront,

  • are developing cars that can drive themselves,

  • and they drive better than human beings do.

  • And then, we have the mind-blowing, super computer at IBM,

  • by the name of "Watson".

  • Watson was designed to understand, analyze and speak human language fluently.

  • And to test its capabilities,

  • they uploaded to it all of Wikipedia, IMDB and other databases,

  • and then they sent the computer to Jeopardy,

  • to compete against the two humans champions of the day.

  • So, I'd like to show a quick clip of how that went.

  • (Video) Host: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here.

  • What do you say we play Jeopardy? Players: Alright.

  • Host: Let's get right into the Jeopardy round.

  • These categories: a man, a plane, a canal,

  • eerie, chicks dig me, children's book titles,

  • my Michelle, "M.C." 5 and, finally, vocabulary.

  • Ken, you're in the first position. Please make a selection.

  • Ken Jennings: I'm nervous to say this on TV. Chicks dig me, for $200. (Laughter)

  • Host: Kathleen Kenyon's excavation of this city mentioned in Joshua

  • showed the walls had been repaired 17 times.

  • Watson?

  • Watson: What is Jericho? Host: Correct.

  • Watson: $400, same category.

  • Host: This mystery author and her archiologist hubby

  • dug in hopes of finding the lost Syrian city of Urkesh.

  • Watson?

  • Watson: Who is Agatha Christie? Host: Correct.

  • Watson: Same category, $600.

  • Host: At the Olduvai Gorge, in 1959, she and hubby Louis

  • found a 1.75 million-year-old Australopithecus boysy-eyed skull.

  • Watson?

  • Watson: Who is Mary Leakey? Host: You're right.

  • Watson: $800, same category.

  • Host: Harriet Boyd Hawes was the first woman to discover and excavate

  • a Minoan settlement on this island. Watson?

  • Watson: What is Crete? Host: Yes.

  • Watson: Let's finish. Chicks dig me.

  • (Video ends) (Laughter)

  • Ashkan Fardost: So, for the first time in human history,

  • a computer has beaten us at knowledge.

  • And they didn't build Watson to compete on TV,

  • because after the show, they sent Watson to medical school.

  • And today, Watson is working in hospitals,

  • diagnosing cancer better than human doctors.

  • And they've put Watson on the Cloud

  • so that software developers around the world

  • can unleash the power of Watson in their apps.

  • So, artificial intelligence is not around the corner.

  • It's here and it's real, and it's here to stay.

  • So, you can avoid reality,

  • but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.

  • And I believe that reality is this:

  • when knowledge is for free, only your ideas are worth paying for.

  • And wow, do we need ideas now more than ever,

  • because the Internet was just a warm-up phase.

  • There's something much bigger and much more profound emerging.

  • It's what Neil Gross described in his 1999 article, when he said,

  • "In the next century, planet Earth will don an electric skin.

  • It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations."

  • Some call it "The Interne of Things."

  • Others call it "The Internet of Everything."

  • It's going to affect everything from manufacturing to education,

  • to finance and healthcare, and every other aspect of life.

  • Thought leaders are talking about a 14-trillion-dollar value at stake,

  • up for grabs in the coming seven years.

  • That's 23 times the GDP of Sweden, in value in just seven years.

  • I mean, think about it, computers and sensors have become so small

  • that we can basically connect almost everything to the Internet now, already.

  • And we're talking about connecting everything from our highways, our roads,

  • our traffic lights, our traffic signs, street lights,

  • to systems that can detect avalanches and forest fires before they even happen.

  • We're talking about systems that can monitor air pollution,

  • and check the well-being of the soil on our farms.

  • And we will even connect our own bodies using electronic skin patches and sensors

  • that connect directly with our doctors, healthcare institutions, and pharmacies.

  • But the real magic isn't that everything will be connected to the Internet.

  • The real magic is that everything will be able to communicate with each other.

  • Think about sensors in our cars and our roads

  • that can automatically detect a car accident.

  • They could automatically notify the nearest hospital

  • and the emergency services.

  • And they could tell the traffic lights and the traffic signs to redirect traffic

  • to make a clear path for the ambulance.

  • And if I'm a medical doctor and I'm nearby the accident,

  • the sensors could notify me too.

  • All of this within seconds, without human intervention.

  • And we can talk about the everyday, simple things of life,