When it comes to information technology, Jason Silva is a much-needed breath of fresh air. The Venezuelan-American approaches our rapidly changing world with a glass half full mentality free of doom and gloom. And with a standout CV including TED talks, presenting and writing on Al Gore’s Emmy award-winning network Current TV and creating successful digital films and documentaries, he has good reason to be pro-technology.
Now Sydneysiders will have the chance to see the fast-talking, passionate techno-philosopher work his magic at this year’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
“When you consider a young person in Africa with a smart phone has better communication and technology than the US president did 25 years ago you start to see the rate of change and progress that we’re making,” he explains.
The 30-year-old self-confessed futurist and truth lover (according to his Twitter) has also been described as the, ‘Timothy Leary of the digital age’ or the ‘new Carl Sagan’ and has been influenced by Buckminster Fuller and Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer prize-winning Denial of Death.
“Immortality causes so much cognitive anxiety. It pushes us to create things and transcend our mortality,” he continues.
When it comes to Silva’s ideas, audiences might find they are more inspirational than dangerous.
“A lot of people are scared about the future and scared of disruption because it challenges status quo. I’m trying to create a different narrative where we marvel at ourselves and look at how astonishing being online is. This technology allows us to do what only governments and billionaires used to be able to do. Mankind is playing with the software of life. Having invented the gods we can now turn into them.”
Sep 30, Sydney Opera House, Macquarie St, Sydney, $25, 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com