“Navigating the technologies of the future” – Interview with Nichol Bradford


Nichol Bradford recently hosted Joy Ventures CEO Avi Yaron at the “Evolution of TransTech Investing” panel at the Transformative Technologies conference in Palo Alto.  We spoke with Nichol about the fascinating trends in the Transformative Technology (TransTech) arena, which is progressing at breakneck speeds.

Most people in the world were caught off guard by the power and impact of new technologies, such as the effect of social media on the US elections.  There are a number of new technologies in various arenas developing at exponential speeds.  If we don’t prepare now, we will again be caught unprepared, with potentially disastrous consequences.  However, if we lay the right ethical framework for these technologies, they could have a hugely positive impact on our lives, according the Nichol Bradford, CEO/Founder of Willow and Executive Director of Trans Tech Labs & Conference.

“I was at a conference recently, at a panel of the leading neuroscientists in the world,” says Bradford.  “When they were asked what the biggest barrier in their research is, they said ‘computing power.’  That’s mindboggling!  We know the pace at which computing power is advancing, can you imagine the implications for neuroscience?”

What Bradford labels Transformative Technologies includes both Neuro-Wellness, and other arenas which have great potential to impact human wellness, such as gut microbiome (the ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria that live in our digestive pipes, which recent research has shown can impact everything from depression to PTSD), and the heart, which is sometimes called “the second brain.”

“It’s great to see players like Joy Ventures enter the TransTech arena – we’re seeing more and more of this type of specific, focused capital entering the space.  Bill Gates is pouring money into Alzheimer’s research, and longevity is also an arena that is capturing the attention – and funding – of thought leaders in the tech world,” says Bradford.

Neuro-wellness and TransTech will fulfill the different needs of people, according the Bradford.  Products can be relevant for three categories of needs: “support” which focuses on people suffering from mental health problems, “The Human Condition” in which products improve well-being, and “Exponential Wellbeing” which offers enhancement.

“The wellness arena in all its forms, and Neuro-Wellness in particular, are growing rapidly,” says Avi Yaron, CEO of Joy Ventures. “We at Joy Ventures are focused on providing fun-to-use products that help people simply feel good. We were glad for the opportunity to participate in the recent conference and look forward to greater collaboration with Nichol and her team.”

So what are the latest trends in the TransTech arena?  “First, sensors are moving into the background,” says Bradford. “In the very near future a product will be able to know our heart rate, even our mood, from across the room.  Another fascinating thing happening is that ‘storytellers’ – like leaders in advertising – are becoming fascinated with the space, and bringing their abilities to it.  We need them to effectively communicate to the public, so this is great news.”

Clearly in order to navigate the future of transformative technologies, we need to get prepared.  Bradford estimates we have 15 years to lay the groundwork for the use of these technologies for good, before they completely transform our lives. If we do this wisely, the positive impact for humanity will be great.