According to WIRED, the world is in for a wave of coming technological revolutions that will propel society forward further. At the root of these innovative ideas are brilliant minds working at startups and for the largest tech firms in the world. In a feature it calls the “Next List,” WIRED has profiled some of these up and coming geniuses who could transform the way people work and play in the future. One such innovator is Richard Craib, developing artificial intellgience to handle trades for his hedge fund. WIRED’s Cade Metz writes of Craib:
Wall Street is capitalism at its fiercest. But Richard Craib believes it can also be a place for friendly collaborations. His hedge fund, San Francisco–based Numerai, relies on artificially intelligent algorithms to handle all trades. But the 29-year-old South African mathematician doesn’t build these algorithms himself. Instead, his fund crowdsources them from thousands of anonymous data scientists who vie for bitcoin rewards by building the most successful trading models. And that isn’t even the strangest part.
Ultimately, Craib doesn’t want these data scientists to get overly competitive. If only the best modelers win, they have little incentive to recruit fresh talent, which could dilute their rewards. Competitors’ self-interest winds up at odds with getting the best minds, no matter who they are, working to improve the fund. To encourage cooperation, Craib developed Numeraire, a kind of digital currency that rewards everyone when the fund does well. Data scientists bet Numeraire on algorithms they think will succeed. When the models work, Numeraire’s value goes up for everyone. “I don’t want to build a company or a startup or even a hedge fund,” Craib says. “I want to build a country—a place where everyone is working openly toward the same end.”
Another innovator helps the military and veterans within the US Digital Service. Issie Lapowsky of WIRED writes of Matt Cutts:
Matt Cutts could easily have left his job at the US Digital Service after Inauguration Day—as many other Obama staffers did. His wife wasn’t in Washington, and neither was his main gig as Google’s chief spam fighter. But when the time came, he couldn’t walk away. “My heart says USDS,” he wrote to his wife, who eventually joined him in DC.
As a member of the government’s tech task force, Cutts oversaw a team that worked on an online portal for veterans. Had he quit in January, he wouldn’t have seen two USDS initiatives—services for the Pentagon and the Army—through to completion. “The organization deserves to have someone who can help preserve its mission,” Cutts says. It also needs someone who can convince Silicon Valley types that managing the president’s Twitter feed isn’t the only tech job in government. Cutts, who avoids talking politics, has begun recruiting friends in the industry, telling them that no matter whom they voted for, “once you see the sorts of issues you can tackle here, it tends to be pretty addictive.” And you really can change the world (slowly).
Read more from WIRED on these innovators here.