-Recommendations to Bay Area government from the participants of the Global Solutions Program of the Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center–
The Singularity University (SU) mission is to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies in addressing humanity’s grand challenges.
SU is a global community of entrepreneurs, corporations, development organizations, governments, investors, and academic institutions, which are using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. The academic curriculum of SU empowers individuals and organizations with the mindset, skillset, and network to build breakthrough solutions that leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. With our community we have the necessary ingredients to create a more abundant future for all.
The Global Solutions Program (GSP) is SU’s flagship program serving innovators from a wide diversity of backgrounds, geographies, perspectives, and expertise. At GSP, you get equipped with the mindset, tools, and network to create your own moonshot innovations that will positively transform the future of humanity. Defining metric is to impact positively the lives of at least 1 billion of people.
At this year’s GSP17, we were 90 people from 46 plus countries. Having this abundance of diversity in backgrounds, opinions and mind-sets, as well as culture was in itself a mind blowing experience. The cohort was a unique combination of accomplished scientists, experienced entrepreneurs, warm hearted humanitarians and world renounced domain experts. The faculty, staff and lecturers provided by SU were an amazing addition to our brain game mix, challenging our views and helping us develop even larger view perspectives, I stop seeing the greening of Sahara as my only lives challenge but I started looking into terraforming Mars once I’m make Earth safe and green again. Really life transforming experience
Coming from such a different backgrounds, with divers focus areas and interests it was very interesting observe the different discussions that took place during our summer here at GSP17 over sustainability in the most sustainable country in USA, from transportation, over processed foods and food packaging to homelessness and acute social problems screaming at you from the time you step food from the SF airport.
For myself coming for the first time to USA from Europe I didn’t know what to expect, and as a good nerd I read a few trip advisor webpages and similar, as for the real facts I knew bits of scattered data, from my academic background. A bit about high homelessness, big traffic jams, urban sprawls and overall bad public transport network, but what I saw amazed me all together.
Coming from a small European country both Austria where my home is now and Serbia where I was born, are nothing compares to what I’ve seen in USA. I lived in Serbia during 90’s so a decade of my life was lived in war thorn society, and for me those were the worst images I have and I carry with me, until today. Rarely does it ever happen that something can come close in horror and misery to those days, but the streets of San Francisco are now very close to the top of that ranking. Refugees from Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo all in my home town of only 150 000 people, arriving year after year, no pennies in their pockets, no nothing, yet we never had so many homeless people in Nis, NEVER. During the hyperinflation in Yugoslavia 1993-94 I don’t remember seeing such human misery and despair…
A street in San Francisco, where homeless people where burning garbage to either cook food or just heat it up I am not sure what, but it was truly shocking that in the richest place on earth you can have five minutes apart the most exclusive homes and people living on the street, not even in tents or a camping caravans. It was scary. I talked to a few of them, I was shocked to learn how well educated and nice they were, how much more they knew about Climate Change than certain prominent public figures with the same passport, yet they were homeless, cut off from their families and friends, left to care for themselves.
I don’t know much about the social institutions here, but I was glad to find out that a previous year GSP student is working hard on helping this people reconnect with their dear ones, Kevin F. Adler – Miracle Messages.
For me a super problem was transportation, maybe because Vienna has arguably the best and most advanced public transportation system in the world, but this would be the number one reason to never move here permanently. Being a climate scientist and entrepreneur, I could not sleep at night if I had to drive this much every day for the rest of my life, Tesla or no Tesla, its BAD. Firstly the CO2 emitted by a single commute makes my stomach ache, secondly the mere time loss that you have commuting daily from Palo Alto to SF or Mountain View to San Jose, is unbelievable, when you could have an electric train running every 3-5 minutes connecting all those spots including Berkeley and North bay. Then after a few trips on a very slow, incredible rare to see caltrain that operates only ever 30 min!?! I learned that it is actually diesel fuelled and not electric, you cannot imagine my shock.
Why is it a problem to add additional trains on the already existing tracks, why is it a problem to introduce new lines? Why are there not 10x more electric buses operating the bay area? No tram lines or ferry lines? Why are the Bay Government officials not using the big data readily available to plan better public transport and help commuters? Why aren’t all the transportation systems under one payment scheme?
These are only some of the questions burning in my head. More importantly burning in so many heads from GSP17, here on this link you can see who from GSP17 had what to say in regards to future sustainability and climate resilience of this region. We tried to separate them by are of interest starting from social, environmental, IT and renewable energy suggestions.