Our attention is collapsing. In the US, college students are only able to focus on a task for 65 seconds…. And office workers can manage just 3 minutes. Our inability to focus isn’t a personal failing… nor is it a flaw… our focus has been stolen by powerful, external forces. Johann Hari is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, and the Executive Producer of an Oscar-nominated movie and an eight-part TV series starring Samuel L. Jackson. His books have been translated into 38 languages, and been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah to Noam Chomsky, from Elton John to Naomi Klein. Johann’s TED talks have been viewed more than 80 million times. In His latest book, ‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’, Johann Hari talks about his three-year journey, interviewing more than 200 of the world’s foremost experts on why our attention spans have shortened, and who stole our focus. Hillary Clinton (former US Secretary of State) says, “In his unique voice, Johann Hari tackles the profound dangers facing humanity from information technology and rings the alarm bell for what all of us must do to protect ourselves, our children, and our democracies…” In this interview, I speak to Johann Hari about how our focus has been stolen, the devastating consequences to each of us, our society, and what we can do to reclaim our attention.

Thought Economics

OpenSea is the largest marketplace for NFTs and user-owned digital items. The platform’s more than 600,000 users collectively have 2 million collections containing over 80 million NFTs. The platform is now valued at over $13.3billion and has attracted many of the world’s most prominent investors including: Mark Cuban, Tim Ferris, Ben Silberman, Alexis Ohanian, Balaji Srinivasan, Naval Ravikant, Justin Kan and Ashton Kutcher alongside funds including Andreesen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Founders Fund. In this interview, I speak to Devin Finzer, Co-Founder & CEO of OpenSea. We talk about the potential of blockchain, crypto technologies and NFTs. We discuss the NFT revolution, the potential use cases of NFTs, how they’re transforming the creator economy and creating opportunities for collectors and makers. We also talk about the technology behind NFTs, and Devin’s life as one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in the world.

Thought Economics

What trapped humanity in poverty for most of our existence? What sparked the massive metamorphosis in living standards over the past two centuries? And what led to the emergence of vast inequality across the globe? The answers to these questions have the power to transform how we view our past and how we shape our futures. Professor Oded Galor (Herbert Goldberger Professor of Economics, Brown University) is an intellectual detective who has spent his entire career investigating the deep determinants of humanity’s development process. He is the founder of “unified growth theory,” which revolutionized our understanding of the forces that have governed the journey of humanity, and the impact that adaptation, diversity, and inequality have had on human development throughout the entire course of human existence. In this interview I speak to Professor Oded Galor about his book The Journey of Humanity; The Origins of Wealth and Inequality. We discuss why humans are the only species to have escaped the subsistence trap. We discuss the reasons for the astonishing progress of human civilisation, why wealth and inequality came to be, and how understanding our past could give us a better future.

Thought Economics

Every year, the world eats more meat than ever before. There is an increasing demand for animal protein and rising concerns about the serious, adverse environmental effects and impacts of the conventional meat industry. Prof. Yaakov “Koby” Nahmias is a bioengineer and innovator, whose breakthroughs ranged from the first 3D printing of cells to the first commercial human-on-chip technology. He is the President & Founder of Future Meat, the Israeli company who recently raised an incredible $347million funding round to scale-up their pioneering cultivated meat technology which uses lines of animal cells that grow forever without the need for genetic modifications. Future Meat creates real meat free of animal slaughter, and with 80% less greenhouse emissions, 99% less land use, 96% less freshwater use and 100% of the nutritional value of conventional meat. In this interview, I speak to Professor Yaakov Nahmias about the science and technology behind cultivated meats, the health, economic and environmental benefits and how Future Meat is transforming the global food system.

Thought Economics

AI is transforming society. Not since the Age of Reason have we re-envisioned our approach to economics, order, security, and even knowledge itself. Now, the Age of AI is changing nearly everything about how we navigate the world- and what it means to be human. Daniel Huttenlocher is the inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. Currently, he serves as the chair of the board of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and as a member of the boards of Amazon and Corning. In his recent book, The Age of AI, co-authored with Eric Schmidt and Henry A. Kissinger, he explores what AI will mean for us all. In this interview, I speak to Daniel Huttenlocher about the role of AI in the present, and future of our species, how it will transform our lives, and how we- as humans- need to prepare for the Age of AI.

Thought Economics

In 2009, a St. Louis glassblowing artist and recovering computer scientist named Jim McKelvey lost a sale because he couldn’t accept American Express cards. Frustrated by the high costs and difficulty of accepting credit card payments, McKelvey joined his friend Jack Dorsey (the cofounder of Twitter) to launch Square, a start-up that would enable small merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile phones. With no expertise or experience in the world of payments, they approached the problem of credit cards with a new perspective, questioning the industry’s assumptions, experimenting and innovating their way through early challenges, and achieving widespread adoption from merchants small and large. But just as Square was taking off, Amazon launched a similar product, marketed it aggressively, and undercut Square on price. For most ordinary start-ups, this would have spelled the end. Instead, less than a year later, Amazon was in retreat and soon discontinued its service. How did Square beat the most dangerous company on the planet? Was it just luck? These questions motivated McKelvey to study what Square had done differently from all the other companies Amazon had killed. He eventually found the key: a strategy he calls the Innovation Stack. In this interview I speak to Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder of Square and author of The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. We talk about how to build a pattern of ground-breaking, competition-proof entrepreneurship that is rare but repeatable. And how we can find the entrepreneur within ourselves and identify and fix unsolved problems–one crazy idea at a time.

Thought Economics

Colonel Terry Virts (ret) served in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Harvard Business School. On Feb. 8, 2010, he made his first spaceflight as the pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavor during mission STS-130. His next launch was onboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-15M on Nov. 23, 2014, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. In March of the following year, Terry assumed command of the International Space Station (ISS) as Commander of Expedition 43. Virts has spent more than seven months in space. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Colonel Terry Virts about what it’s really like to be an astronaut, his experience of spaceflight, faith, aliens, and whether we will ever become a multiplanetary species.

Thought Economics

Justin Sun is the founder of TRON, one of the world’s largest decentralized blockchain ecosystems and CEO of BitTorrent, the leader in peer-to-peer software and services. A protege of Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Sun in 2017 was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for China and 30 under 30 Asia in the Consumer Technology category. Sun is an avid gamer, investor, and philanthropist. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Justin Sun about why we need a decentralised web, how blockchain and crypto currencies will transform our world and the future of digital identity.

Thought Economics

In her new book THE LONELY CENTURY: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart, renowned thinker and economist Noreena Hertz investigates how radical changes to the workplace, mass migration to cities, technology’s ever greater dominance of our lives, and decades of neoliberal policies that placed self-interest above the collective good have coalesced to  create a society in which loneliness, atomisation and isolation prevail – which COVID has only amplified. Hertz provides an empowering and inspiring vision for how to mitigate this, reconnect with each other and come together again. Hertz combines a decade of research with first-hand reporting that takes her from ‘renting a friend’ in New York to family-friendly Belgian far-right festivals, from elderly women knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan to Ivy League colleges running ‘How to Read a Face in Real Life’ remedial classes. What she uncovers is a global population feeling more and more alienated and isolated. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Noreena Hertz about the causes of our loneliness epidemic, the consequences for each and every one of us, and what we can do to restore human connection in a world that’s pulling us apart.

Thought Economics

Steve Jurvetson is the Co-Founder of Future Ventures. He is an early-stage venture capitalist with a focus on founder-led, mission-driven companies at the cutting edge of disruptive technology and new industry formation. Steve was the early VC investor in SpaceX, Tesla, Planet, Memphis Meats, Hotmail, D-Wave, The Boring Company, Zoox and the deep learning companies Mythic and Nervana. He also led founding investments in five companies that went public in successful IPOs and several others that became billion-dollar acquisitions. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Steve Jurvetson– one of the world’s most successful venture capitalists – about disruptive entrepreneurship, the technologies and concepts changing our world, and how to invest in the most innovative entrepreneurs in the world.

Thought Economics

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