OnQ

Filmmaker, futurist, and host Jason Silva takes on a new challenge in this season’s Invent-Off: Judge

14. Sept. 2016

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Jason Silva, host of National Geographic Channel’s “Brain Games,” is fascinated by how the mind works, to say the least. In each episode of the Emmy-nominated show, the filmmaker and futurist “gets inside your head,” helping explain the science behind thinking. As one of the judges for this season’s Qualcomm #WhyWait Invent-Off, Silva (who hosted Season 1) was able to explore another one of his passions — the Internet of Things.

In Season 2 of the Web documentary, two teams were tasked with using the IoT to invent something that can save a life. Here’s what Silva had to say about the competition, the challenge, and the beauty of invention.

What were you most surprised by in Season 2 of the Invent-Off?

It was really cool to see the teams face the challenges and difficulties of competition. Everything just seemed bigger in season 2. I was surprised by the level of passion and sense of purpose of the participants. I felt that both teams were committed and impassioned. The framing of using the “IoT to save a life” was effective and it raised the stakes. Both presentations were effective.

Ultimately, our decision was based on what we found to be the more solid case. It wasn’t easy!

What's the biggest takeaway for the inventors?

My advice to the winners is to be relentless. Don’t give up. All great leaders create a “reality distortion field” — that is, they are effective in making others see the world through their eyes. Once you make the public see why this invention matters and how it works, the rest is easy.

We raised the stakes this time. The idea of using the internet of things to “save a life” was very powerful.

Jason Silva on Season 2 of the Qualcomm #WhyWait Invent-Off

What's your take on the biggest difference between the challenges in Season 1 and Season 2?

We raised the stakes this time. The idea of using the internet of things to “save a life” was very powerful.

We’re already living in the Internet of Things. What are some examples of how the IoT has impacted your daily life? What are you looking forward to seeing in the next few years?

I love the on-demand car service Uber, which has already changed my life, and I’m a fan of Airbnb. I use HotelTonight, and have used some dating apps. In the next few years, I hope to see radical progress in this space — the on-demand economy. It’s really a new world. A world in your pocket.

Within the IoT, what do you think are the greatest areas of potential for today’s inventors and makers?

I think it's boundless. The best ideas are the ones we haven't thought of yet.

If you could decide the challenge for Season 3 of Invent-Off, what would it be?

I’d like to see how we can use a smartphone as a medical diagnostic device. The Qualcomm Foundation has sponsored the ongoing Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize competition and I’m incredibly excited about this. It could revolutionize medical diagnostics. I can’t wait to see the results. Bring it on!

What do you consider the greatest invention of all time?

It would be harnessing electricity. Or maybe antibiotics.

What invention is rattling around in your head, just waiting for its day?

A machine that can help humans cure aging!

Thanks Jason!

Be sure to watch Season 2 of the Why Wait Invent-Off, now live at qualcomm.com/inventoff.