Update 25/9/2010: some good news! @khanacademy awarded $2m from Google as part of 10^100 project http://is.gd/fqTy6 Sal, you deserve it! ♥
The internets is full of surprises. Every day something interesting comes out, and you feel like sharing links and stories. Facebook, Twitter, Google reader and alike have made this process fairly easy, so we do it quite often. But every now and then, you stumble upon something extraordinary, and boy you feel like taking the time to write a blog post about it.
In this case, it's not just a blog post. I shared this story everywhere I could possibly imagine: I posted it online, I talked with all my friends about it, and I presented it during my weekly podcast. Gather round children, this is the story of a man who is devoting his life for the benefit of all humanity.
In late 2004, Salman Khan began tutoring his cousin Nadia over the internet in mathematics using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutelage, he decided it would be more practical and beneficial to distribute the tutorials on YouTube which he joined on 16 November 2006. At the time he was a Hedge Fund analyst, making quite a lot of money and in the process of becoming a successful businessman.
Money, power, stability. What more could anyone ask for?
Purpose. The conscience and the realisation that we are helping other people, building an emphatic civilisation, based on the sharing of scientific knowledge, for the betterment of humankind. Now, that's something worth waking up for in the morning.
He quit his job in late 2009 to focus on developing his YouTube channel, 'Khan Academy', full-time. Salman Khan is now considered internationally as an educator, who has produced (as of 2010) over 1600 videos elucidating a wide spectrum concepts in mathematics and the sciences in his home studio. His official channel, 'Khan Academy' has, as of July 2010, attracted more than 17 million views.
During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in December 2009, delineated his motive: 'With so little effort on my own part, I can empower an unlimited amount of people for all time. I can't imagine a better use of my time.' Programmes are being undertaken to use Khan's videos to teach those in isolated areas of Africa and Asia.
His videos proved popular, attracting, on average, more than 20,000 hits each. Students from around the world have been attracted to Khan's concise, practical and relaxed teaching method.
I bet you remember those times back in college, when you and your friends tried to figure out the intuition behind a concept, or how to solve a specific problem. It would take hours, four minds working non stop to find a solution, and a considerable number of headaches, when finally somebody screams "Eureka!" (or "Fuck yeah!", in some cases). He then explains the solution to the riddle to everybody else, which typically takes 10 minutes. Wouldn't it be great if you could just skip the 2 hours and have the teacher explain it in an intuitive and practical manner? I thought it was a mere dream, until I saw Khan's videos.
The whole story is absurd and fascinating at the same time. One guy who takes on MIT, Stanford, and Harvard, becoming more popular and appreciated than those established institution throughout the world? One person who wants to build the biggest online university, center for reason and science, by himself? Yep, apparently he's really doing it.
It's been a couple of years since I decided I wanted to learn chemistry. When I discovered MIT opencourseware and iTunes U I was blown away. Lessons from Stanford, Harvard and MIT recorded, available for free on the internet? Wow. I need to take some time off to learn a ton of subjects, I thought. But of course, that time never comes. I get back form work at 8 PM I feel exhausted, and while I enjoy keeping my brain working, I usually watch a TED talk or a conference from the Singularity University, but it's difficult to follow a course on Quantum Entanglement or Biochemistry at 11PM. With Khan's videos, in their 13 minutes format, I can enjoy learning any time of the day. At lunchbreak, on the train, after dinner, you name it.
The concepts are easy, very well presented, and I cannot stress this enough: it's intuitive. I've always been interested in why something happens, how does it work, what makes it work, what are the conditions under which it doesn't and so on. Anybody can apply a formula, especially computers. But can you derive the formula? Can you explain how did they came up with it? With the advent of Wolfram alpha, it becomes clear the inadequacy of the educational system. What matters most is the idea behind, the concept, the intuition.
I immediately started to follow the chemistry lessons, and I feel the excitement of discovery and understanding every time I watch one of his videos.
It all seems quite strange, but it makes a whole lot of sense if you contextualise it. The exponential growth of information technology and the advent of the free software movement lead to a groundbreaking shift in our mental paradigm: information is ever more accessible, reliable, and most of all free to all. GNU, Linux, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Opencourseware, and now the Khan academy. It's a logical consequence of the exponential growth.
Salman expressed his desire to teach as many subjects as possible, possibly every subject. It surely crossed your mind the following question: who is this guy? What qualifies him to teach such a variety of subjects? Khan was valedictorian of his high school class and attained a perfect score in the math portion of his SATs. He has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, another Bachelor in electrical engineering and computer science, and an Master of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, he also holds an Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. And he's 33. He knows what he's talking about.
All I can say for to Salman now is: thank you, thank you, thank you. Don't ever stop, I will support you in any way I can.
To all of you: spread the word. It's really something that deserves everybody's attention.
Federico Pistono is a writer, entrepreneur, researcher, and public speaker. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Verona, and he's a graduate of Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Park.
He has co-founded four startups—two in Italy and two in the US—in the fields of e-learning, media production and distribution, wireless communication technology, and has consulted on technology and innovation for governments and Fortune 500 companies across the world.
In 2012 he wrote the book "Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and be Happy", which became an international success, published in English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, and Chinese. Since then he continued his research, focusing on actionable solutions to the problems of technological unemployment and inequality.
His work has also been cited and utilized by major economic institutions, universities, and think tanks, such as The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Italian Government, Google EU Public Policy and the European Commission.
Federico routinely tours around the world, lecturing on exponential technologies and their economic impact on society at universities, Fortune 500 companies, conferences and symposia; such as the University of San Paolo, Qualcomm, Telenor, Allianz, the University of Oslo, the International Education and Resource Network Summit, TEDxVienna, and Singularity University. He was interviewed by several newspapers, radios, TVs, and magazines, among which are the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Vice Magazine, The Huffington Post, Folha de S. Paulo, Canale 5 and Rai 3 (Italian National TV); while he wrote for CNBC, WIRED, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Corriere della Sera, and Forbes Magazine.
In addition to his work as author and researcher, Federico has more than a decade of professional experience in a variety of difference fields—IT Management, System Administration with Unix and Linux systems, Web Development, Product Management, UX design, Human Machine Interaction, Editing, Screenwriting, and Directing.
- Sometimes I post on Facebook.
- I think out loud on Twitter.
- I make educational videos and ramble on YouTube.
- I do work stuff on LinkedIn.
High Resolution Headshot (for download): https://secure.flickr.com/photos/4v4l0n42/15595916185/sizes/l
Honors and Awards
- 2014: Awarded $40,000 prize for entrepreneurship by the Chilean government and acceptance into the program Start Up Chile
- 2012: Awarded the Young Italian Knights Award for his outstanding achievements and Social Impact
- 2012: Awarded Full Scholarship for the Graduate Study Program at Singularity University, NASA Ames Search Park, Silicon Valley.
- 2009: Winner of the International Journalism Competition on Climate Change for the COP15, European Journalism Centre.
- 2007: Winner of the "Linux-Mega-Quiz" at LinuxTag, 2007.
- 2004: Awarded Full Scholarship for the UWC (United World Colleges) Baccalaureate Programme
Articles I wrote
- Umano - How A Nerdy Kid From Nowhere Self-published A Best-seller And Got Noticed By Google CEO Larry Page And The Wall Street Journal, Narrated by Larry Rice (November 10, 2014)
- CNBC - Get ready, robots are going to steal your job (June 10, 2014)
- Corriere Innovazione (Italian), part of "Corriere della Sera", largest newspaper in Italy. (February 2014 edition)
- Forbes and The Huffington Post - Machines Will Outsmart Humans. We Better Be Ready (April 12, 2013)
- IEET Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and io9.com - Robots will steal your job, but that’s okay: How to Survive the Coming Economic Collapse (Feb 10, 2012)
Citations and Papers/Publications
- Federico Pistono, Roman V. YampolskiyUnethical Research: How to Create a Malevolent Artificial Intelligence , arXiv:1605.02817 [cs.AI]
- R. Joseph, Educating for an Abundant Future (2014), State University of New York College at Cortland.
- Marques, Nuno and Ildefonso, Tiago,Notas Leitura / Recensão Crítica, Revista de Ciências da Computação, (2013), nº8.
- Society for Human Resource Management, The Changing Nature of Work and the Worker, 2013.
- Miller, Ben and Atkinson, Robert D., Are Robots Taking Our Jobs, or Making Them?, (2013), The Information technology and Innovation Foundation
- European Commission - Open Education 2030 Visionary Papers (April 2013)
- Alissa Shethar and Joan I. Heller Heller Research Associates, Developing Rigorous Education in the Arts to Motivate Students (DREAMS): Improving Academic Literacy in the Arts (May 5, 2010)
- Paul Connett, Zero Waste: A Key Move towards a Sustainable Society (April 2007)
Articles about me and interviews
- Vice Magazine Why the Tech Elite Is Getting Behind Universal Basic Income, January 6, 2015
- Prisma (German) - Roboter sind die neuen Ausländer (Robots are the new Aliens), November 10, 2014
- The Speaker “In the End, Evidence Is All That Matters” – Pistono on “Free Money”, November 10, 2014
- Huffington Post (Italian) I robot ci ruberanno il lavoro?
- Cosmos Magazine Learning to live with robots October 2014
- Wired (Italian) Singularity University, perché ci si va e che cosa si porta a casa, October 2014
- Lettera43 (Italian) Movimento 5 stelle, Federico Pistono: il metodo è il messaggio (Five Star Movement: the method is the message) March 11, 2014
- Focus Finance (Video, DE) Kühne Zukunftsvision Müssen wir bald nur noch 10 Stunden pro Woche arbeiten? (Bold vision for the future Must we soon only work 10 hours a week?)
- La Nuova Provincia (Italian) Un biellese nella casa dei Nobel (A Biellese in the house of Nobels)
- RadioNova (Norwegian) Make your job. The robots come.
- QuinternaLab (Italian) Robot al posto di uomini
- Spoke at 657 Oslo, a co-working space in downtown Oslo, Norway.
- Spoke at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences Oslo, Norway.
- Long interview in 6 parts with Tom's Hardware (Italian) "I robot ci ruberanno il lavoro ma ci ridaranno la vita" (Robots Will Steal Your Job, But Also Give Your Life Back).
- Review of “Robots Will Steal Your Jobs, But That's OK” at the Sturbridge Times.
- Interview with Computerworld (Dutch) Esplori: all video education in any language
- Interview with Computerworld (Dutch) "The Pitfalls of Innovation"
- TG1 (Italian National TV) TEDxTransmedia, ecco il manifesto etico dei media
- Wired (Italian) TEDxTransmedia 2013, quattro italiani a Roma per l'etica dei nuovi media
- Webwereld (Dutch) "Innovation is between your ears' (video)
- Qatar Foundation (English) "ROTA Helps Qatar Take The Lead In Education' (Aug 20, 2013)
- El Universal Interview (Spanish) "Los robots robarán tu empleo, pero está bien"
- VINT (Vision, Inspiration, Navigation, Technology) - Vint Symposium. @federicopistono: Exponential Innovation (June 14, 2013)
- The Socialist Party of Great Britain - Will Robots Cause Capitalism to Collapse? (June 1, 2013)
- Jornal do Comércio (Portuguese) - Você vai perder seu emprego (May 20, 2013)
- Tudo+ (Portuguese, Video) - Interview on Brazilian TV Tudo+ (May 15, 2013)
- Free Software Association - Interview with Free Software Association Brazil (May 15, 2013)
- GLOBAL BITS (Portuguese) - Homens terão que reprogramar pensamento para competir com robôs (May 15, 2013)
- Giornalettismo (Italian) - M5S, l’attivista che chiede democrazia a Grillo (March 4, 2013)
- Republic+Queen (Italian) - Zeitgeist, il cambiamento utopico che spinge a fare (May 16, 2013)
- Huffington Post (Italian) - Quirinarie: "l'hackeraggio come uno schiacciasassi". Lo staff M5S e la Dnv Business Assurance spiegano cosa è successo (Apr 12, 2013)
- Giornalettissimo (Italian) - Movimento 5 Stelle, le dieci gaffe del dopo-voto (March 26, 2013)
- Barbadillo (Italian) - Il caso. Federico Pistono, attivista grillino: “Nessuna democrazia partecipata nel M5S” (March 6, 2013)
- Huffington Post (Italian) - Movimento 5 Stelle, blog e meetup non bastano più. Un videoappello e un documento dei grillini Pistono e Barillari agitano il M5S (March 6, 2013)
- C-Realm Drive, Flow & Purpose (video podcast) (March 6, 2013)
- Linkiesta (Italian) - M5S, a livello nazionale manca ancora la democrazia (March 5, 2013)
- Debate with the Socialist Party of Great Britain (Video)Robots Will Steal Your Jobs - Is that OK? (Apr 5, 2013)
- Huffington Post (Video) - A Future Of Unemployment (Jan 28, 2013)
- Wall Street Journal (Video) - X Prize Chairman: Will Robots Do Jobs of the Future? (Jan 15, 2013)
- The Zeitgeist Movement - Federico Pistono at TZM Interviews (Jan 25, 2013)
- Public Policy (Italian) - M5s, l'attivista Federico Pistono, "Grillo risponde solo a chi lo insulta" (Dec 21, 2012)
- GSP--人生的一个单点 (Chinese Blog, English interview) - Inteview with Liang Yiqing (Dec 21, 2012)
- Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italian) - ‘Beppe, fai un bel respiro e ascolta i consigli dei tuoi amici’ (Dec 15, 2012)
- Quotidiano Piemonte (Italian) - Federico Pistono, fondatore dei Grilli Biellesi, propone a Beppe Grillo le ricette per salvare il Movimento 5 Stelle (Dec 13, 2012)
- 33rd Square - Federico Pistono Shares Why It Is OK For Robots To Steal Your Job (Dec 12, 2012)
- Piero Scaruffi (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies) - (Dec 7, 2012)
- Folha de S. Paulo (Portuguese) - 'Não vamos conseguir manter o ritmo das máquinas', diz autor (Nov 25, 2012)
- Brasil Economico (Portuguese) - O admirável mundo novo da tecnologia não está longe (Nov 19, 2012)
- Startupi (Portuguese, Video) - Robôs vão roubar seu emprego, mas tudo bem: entrevista com jovem que analisa alternativas a um colapso econômico (Nov 13, 2012)
- Der Mensch, das faszinierende Wesen (German) - Nachlese: Roboter werden Deinen Job vernichten – Federico Pistono (Nov 9, 2012)
- Perestroika - Interview (Nov 14, 2012)
- ChangeTV (Video) - A different way of living (Nov 4, 2012)
- Singularity Hub - Interview: Federico Pistono, Author Of “robots Will Steal Your Job But That’s Ok” (Aug 14, 2012)
- Singularity Weblog - Federico Pistono on Singularity 1 on 1: Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK! (June 12, 2012)
- Transparency Revolution - Some People Think I'm Crazy for Believing This... (Feb 13, 2012)
- Singularity Hub - Meet The Author Of “Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK” (Feb 10, 2012)
- IEET - Robots will steal your job, but that’s OK: how to survive the economic collapse and be happy (Feb 10, 2012)
- GazetaOnline (Albanese) - Intervistë me Federik Pistono – koordinator i Lëvizjes Zeitgeist Italia, versione italiana (Feb 16, 2011)
- Radio Wave International (Italian) - Intervista con Federico Pistono (Nov 27, 2010)
- Movimiento Zeitgeist España (Spanish) - Entrevista con Federico Pistono, coordinator chapter Italia del Movimiento Zeitgeist y autor de la conferencia "Cos'è il Movimento Zeitgeist?" (May, 2011)
- Beppe Grillo (Italian) - Copenhagen, cronaca di un accordo fallito (Dec 24, 2009)
- La Nuova Provincia di Biella - Federico Pistono tra gli 82 blogger in sfida a Copenhagen (Aug 27, 2009)
My life - an infographic
Tired of boring text and resumes? Try this infographic.
Biography, Work and Education
Federico Pistono is a scientific educator, social activist, computer scientist, blogger, media expert, and aspiring filmmaker. In 2002, at age 16, he won a scholarship to UWCAD International College, where he received an education aimed on the sharing of ideas amongst different cultures, living away from home along with 200 students from 82 countries.
In 2007 he founded the "Grilli biellesi", a non-profit volunteer association with civic engagement and the protection of the rights of citizens whose topics of interest are energy, information, waste, connectivity and protection of water as a right to life.
From 2008 to 2012 he worked in a media company in Verona, as Project Manager, Media Strategist, Developer, Screenwriter, and Director, focusing on new media and the role of technology in the society.
In 2009 he received his degree in computer science from the University of Verona, Department of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, with a thesis on "Open Source Implementations of Encoding Algorithms for Video Distribution in the HTML5 Era”.
In 2009 he also won an international competition for blogging and journalism organized by the European Centre for Journalism and was sent to the COP15 in Copenhagen to cover the events on the conference on climate.
On May 2009, he founded The Zeitgeist Movement Italy, a global Sustainability Advocacy Organization which conducts community based activism and awareness actions through a network of Global/Regional Chapters, Project Teams, Annual Events, Media and Charity Work to promote a shift towards a Resource Based Economic model, where the solutions arrived at and promoted are in the interest to help everyone on the planet Earth, not a select group. He held the position of national coordinator and spokesperson for about three years -- until January 2012.
On October 2011 he started writing his first book, "Robots will steal your job, but that's OK: how to survive the economic collapse and be happy "
In 2012 he won a scholarship for the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley. Singularity University is a unique interdisciplinary, international and intercultural experience, whose aim is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.