A new mindset for the SDGs? Top takeaways from Singularity University’s Global Summit
David Katz, the CEO of Plastic Bank, said the idea for his company came from an “aha!” moment that took place at Singularity University — the institution that started as a Silicon Valley think tank, but has evolved into a global community, with a unique approach to applying “exponential technologies” to global challenges.
Katz realized during an additive manufacturing lecture the value that recycled plastic might have for applications such as 3D printing. Since then, his Plastic Bank has launched recycling centers in developing countries, where people can exchange plastic waste for things they need to purchase. The plastic that’s collected is labeled as “Social Plastic,” and sold to participating companies. More recently, blockchain is bringing supply chain authenticity to what Katz calls the largest convenience store for the ultra poor.
Singularity University faculty explain how exponentially growing technologies — such as artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing and synthetic biology — will enable us to make dramatic gains in the years ahead. Through online courses and the university’s annual Global Summit, among other examples, they challenge leaders to consider how they can positively impact the world and contribute to what they describe as an “abundant” future.