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The right presenter with the right idea delivered in the right way can set off a symphony of synapses between your ears that, in turn, can set off yet other ideas that then cascade into still others.

What’s taking place, as Paul King, computational neuroscientist, explains it, is “a highly and deeply orchestrated symphony of quintillions of different interrelated chemical reactions per second.”

Here’s the visual that King uses to describe the process:

“There are probably over 10 quintillion neuroreceptors in the brain distributed across 500 trillion synapses connecting 100 billion neurons. Each neuroreceptor undergoes possibly 100 chemical reactions per second in which it collides with a signaling molecule and reacts in some way…These are electrostatic interactions in which 3D molecules collide with each other like gears, causing "switches" to open and close.”

“Like gears, causing switches to open and close.” Yes, and when the switches open all sorts of crazy things are at play

That’s what happens to the human brain under the influence of Singularity’s Exponential Manufacturing Summit. Popping a few tabs of
OptiMind might get you there as well, but this is way more fun…plus a tad more respectful of your precious gray matter.

So, can the same effect be modeled via streaming video and PowerPoint slides? Not exactly, but close enough is good enough if you are encamped in Hokkaido, Chengdu, Hanoi or Mumbai and want to stock up on a few good tools for thought.

Singularity’s singular buzzkill
The only downside to the entire three days is way not enough of Peter Diamandis. We see him only, from what I can glean from the agenda, for a thirty-minute interview with Will Wiseman called Ask Me Anything.

Diamandis is Singularity’s main protagonist in the tech-drama of things exponential: brilliant, well-spoken, and a passionate exponent of the exponential in everything. He has solid stage presence, a Bronx boy who dresses in California chic, and totally empties his tank on stage for the audience.

The 2016 debut edition of Exponential Manufacturing opened with Diamandis for 35 minutes and 70-plus slides that featured his signature performance style of physical energy combined with unique insights on things exponential, all swimming in outrageous thinking that is totally grounded in fact. Stunning way to kickoff Day One.

Here below is the first twelve minutes of Diamandis from 2016, plus
the link to his entire 35-minute performance.

Instead of Diamandis, kicking things off for 2017 is a Deloitte guy named Geoff Tuff, who obviously has some very large shoes to fill. Especially the designer shoes of a guy who Fortune named as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders (#43, 2014). Deloitte partners with Singularity on the event, and has some excellent speakers joining in with the Singularity crew. Here’s hoping Tuff is one such Deloitte speaker.

The other bookend from last year is still in place:
Dave Roberts, Mr. Smooth, who is the exact opposite of Day One’s energetic opening. Roberts is smooth…and brilliant. Soft spoken and insightful, he went way over his allotted half-hour time slot last year—to the delight of everyone. It was an amazing performance that earned him a standing ovation.

This year Roberts’ closing is titled: Manufacturing Alien Intelligence. See what I mean about this guy?

Once again here’s the
agenda for next Wednesday, May 17:

You’re going to like what you see…and hear, either online or in person. Bon appetit. 

You don’t need a pill to be “limitless” if you spend three days in Boston with the brainiacs from Singularity

Is Singularity’s Exponential Manufacturing Summit a “Smart Drug”?


Tom Green

May 2017


​​​Getting “limitless” in Boston
Barely into its second year of existence,
Singularity University’s  mind-blowing Exponential Manufacturing Summit is returning to Boston (May 17-19) to blow away whose ever mind they missed the last time around; or, to re-blow minds like mine for a second time. Personally, I need it.

In a fascinating 3-day stint on Boston’s waterfront, Singularity University rolls out its finest, top-gun brainiacs for a tour de force on exponential everything, especially on the event's title: Exponential Manufacturing.

For me last May, it was like taking a smart drug for three straight days. Seriously. And I didn’t get to catch every session; maybe if I had I’d still be reeling.

Live streaming to the rescue!
I wish you all could be in Boston for the Summit.  The cumulative resonance of all the elite speakers, power-packed sessions, and meet-ups with a fascinating crew of attendees is quite unforgettable, and unrivaled. There’s nothing quite like Exponential Manufacturing anywhere.

To be realistic, however, it’s highly unlikely that a large swath of our Asia-residing readership will fly the seventeen hours to Boston to take in the event. That’s how long it takes me to go from Boston to Narita, and then another six hours southwest to Bangkok. I stay a month or more whenever I’m off to Asia, just to make the distance covered worthwhile.

The bright spot in this tease is that Singularity University, to its credit and probably also because it’s got lots of bucks, freely live-streams video of speaker sessions as well as provides each speaker’s slide deck.  Last year
Peter Diamandis (Singularity co-founder) was posting his deck’s download link onstage halfway through his session.

With streaming and downloads, you can partake in the Exponential Manufacturing Summit while twelve time zones distant. That’s very cool.

There’s no paywall or lead-gen login between you and your download. Truly quite magnanimous of Singularity.

The video feeds are top quality, three-camera shoots with crisp audio and slides intercut to the video. Can’t ask for much better than that, except that you’ll miss the luncheons.

Post-event, Singularity archives the videos. Again, how great is that. Here’s the link to the
video trove from 2016.

Symphony of synapses
This year we’ll be exposed to a heavy dose of artificial intelligence (AI), IIoT, augmented reality (AR), and the current 3D printing revival, all four of which hit manufacturing in a big way during the intervening twelve months.

Here’s the link to the
list of sessions over the 3-day summit.

Notice on Wednesday the party starts in the afternoon with the superb
Neil Jacobstein on Artificial Intelligence, which is followed by Additive Manufacturing, then comes Exponential Energy, followed by Bio Manufacturing, which is then followed by Advanced Robotics, which is then followed by Augmented Reality. That heady lineup covers most of the hot topics that have seared their way through the tech-sphere over the past six months.

And that’s just Day One! There are two more days of rich content to follow.

In the hands of a bright and skilled presenter, and they all are bright and skilled, the sessions are truly mind expanding. Reminds me of the title of the Howard Rheingold book
Tools for Thought; these sessions are just that: tools for thought. You walk away with a bunch of new “thought tools” that you’ll find yourself thinking about and using in myriad ways until 2018, when you’ll return to Boston for another 3-day fix.

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