The Roots of Progress

Speculative Technologies launch and Ben Reinhardt AMA

Last week a new R&D organization launched: Speculative Technologies, a private DARPA-like approach to creating fundamental new technologies. I’ve been following the work of the founder, Ben Reinhardt, for a few years, and I’m very excited about this.

Ben is doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) event on the Progress Forum. Get your questions in now, and upvote the ones you want to see answered. He’ll be answering tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb 21.

I also recommend his launch essay:

We need new institutional structures for research. Today, professors need to publish more, startups need to grow more quickly, and companies need to justify their balance sheets more than in the past. It’s unlikely that Shockley’s work to build the transistor or Engelbart’s to create personal computing would survive today. Karikó’s mRNA vaccines barely did. How many game-changing technologies have died because they couldn’t find a home in our innovation ecosystem? The world has changed and how we enable great discoveries and inventions must change as well. Regardless of whether we’ve picked innovation’s “low-hanging fruit” or even whether invention and discovery has slowed down at all, we can do dramatically better.

The launch got coverage in Forbes as well.

Comment: Progress Forum, LessWrong, Reddit

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