WebSummit report: Pablos Holman, Intellectual Ventures

Pablos is a dude. We’re talking Bono sunglasses and an entry to the Mission Impossible theme tune sort of dude. He spends his day working with inventing and he wants to talk about cheating at inventing so you can to.

To start with, let’s talk about cars. Cars now have enough electronics to need a system update process, otherwise you get issues such as car keys which are now quite crackable. So looking for places where system upgrades are not common is fertile ground for innovation. At this point Pablo attempts a live demo on how to hack RFID credit cards, which doesn’t go too well, but we’ll take his word for it when he says he is a techno badass.

But there is a serious point here, which is that if you understand the protocol of something like SSL, you can understand the protocol of a malaria lifecycle and start to hack it. There is now a project to track and destroy female Anopheles mosquitoes using lasers, which sounds remarkably sci-fi, but as the cost of processing comes down could become accessible to wider communities.

As Pablos says, if we are entirely focussed on the next app development, we might be missing the opportunities to use our innovation skills for much bigger problems, and opportunities to have a huge impact on the world.