Intellectual Ventures – Pablos Holman

19 June 2015 – Intellectual Ventures

pablos holman

Pablos is a futurist, inventor, and notorious hacker with a unique view into breaking and building new technologies.  He works on invention and design projects that assimilate new technologies – making wild ideas a bit more practical and vice versa. He helped create the world’s smallest PC; 3D printers at Makerbot; spaceships with Jeff Bezos; artificial intelligence agent systems; and the Hackerbot, a Wi-Fi seeking robot. He works at Intellectual Ventures.

Pablos described a number of bizarre inventions that his company is working on including a nuclear reactor that uses waste from other reactors, an entire book on scientifically produced food recipes, a tracking system that detects female mosquitos and kills them with lasers, and an attempt to eradicate malaria by detecting waste products of parasites in humans.

More importantly, Pablos described how a mis-spent youth was the best preparation for this work- that he was able to teach himself to make technology do things that it was never designed to do, to learn from failure, to pursue a passion and to think beyond the boundaries of school.

Key learnings:

For many people, school as we know it is not the best way to learn

Specific considerations for DoE Tasmania

  •  we need to consider processes that can link students with their passion. Mentoring, better use of available online resources, etc
  • Pablos referred to anti-tutors: people who help students do things outside of the normal “everyone does the same thing” model of some schooling approaches
  • Invention and innovation require “T Shaped people” – people with a deep knowledge in one field, but a broad knowledge across many fields. And the ability for these people to interact with others without conflict or miscommunication.


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