I was lucky enough to catch up recently with Fabrice Grinda, co-founder of OLX Inc. (one of the world’s largest classified sites, employs over 300 people). Previously CEO and founder of Zingy Inc. (wireless communications, sold for $80M), and Aucland S.A (auction site in Europe), Fabrice is currently a major angel investor and respected thinker in the domain of technology and entrepreneurship.
Our conversation treaded two major paths, the development and progression of emerging technology, and it’s potential moral underpinnings and ramifications.
The Future of Emerging Technology
Though I’m passionate about catching up with philosophers and researchers on topics like 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and brain implants (visit Sentient Potential from the perspectives of thinkers and academics), it’s also particularly insightful to glean the thoughts of someone who’s been completely immersed in the business of technology for as many years as Fabrice.
He believes (as do I) that Google Glass is just one quick stepping-stone to a more seamless transition between man and machine, with the next steps potentially being “smart contact lenses” or eye/brain implants. Though many people believe that significant portions of the population will not have any desire for this kind of technology, the same might be said for Google Glass (just as the same was said of cell phones).
Other developments within the next ten years include more accurate machine diagnostics than human diagnostics. Just as cars are “plugged in” to determine their various issues, Fabrice believes that humans will have a similar opportunity to detect and treat disease with intelligent machines. Leveraging the feedback, treatment records, and data of a global community, intelligent computer systems will be predictably and significantly better than human doctors within the decade, predicts Grinda, stating “Doctors get bored, and won’t look at every Micron… whereas a computer will.” Communities such a the X-Prize are paving the way for aggressive progress in this domain as we speak (the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize site is no longer available).
Other predictions include the adoption of 3-D printers (see more about Makerbot, an NYC 3-D printing company that Fabrice mentions in our interview) by around half the households in the USA within the next 10 years (which Fabrice states is more aggressive than most may guess… but he believes that he’ll be right about this), as well as Big Data’s applications in improving everything from fire fighting to criminal detection to governmental systems.
Technology as Amoral
In speaking on the topic of Google Glass, I mentioned the potentially “scary” consequences of technology that becomes embedded into our brains. Obviously concerns arise around any technological developments, which are normally referred to as “double-edged swords.” Fabrice points out “Technology is not immoral, it is amoral.” His general belief is that technology is leveraged for good, and that most people are well-intending. Though there will always be a small population who intends evil, such a vast majority of the human population does not, and he’s optimistic about technology continuing to have an aggregately positive effect on the world.
I’d like to thank Fabrice for taking the time for our interview. If you’d like to learn more about him, the best place to look is his blog called “Musings of an Entrepreneur,” and you can check out his relatively recent article on 3-D printing here. I’ve included the video from this post below:
Best intentions for a brilliant future,