John Smart

I am a futures scholar and systems theorist who studies science and technological culture with an emphasis on accelerating change, evolutionary development, computational autonomy (human-independent machine learning) and a hypothesis known in futurist circles as the technological singularity (increasingly generalized human-surpassing machine intelligence).

I am Program Champion for the Master of Science in Emerging Technologies at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, AZ, a technology foresight degree program, and founder and president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF, a nonprofit community that seeks to help individuals better understand and manage continuous accelerating change.

I have a B.S. in business from U.C. Berkeley, an M.S.-equivalency in physiology and medicine (two years of medical school and the USMLE-I) from U.C. San Diego School of Medicine, and an M.S. in Futures Studies from the University of Houston, and have done additional undergraduate work in biological, cognitive, computer, and physical sciences at U.C. San Diego, U.C.L.A., and U.C. Berkeley. I have authored one book, Planning a Life in Medicine, 2005 (Random House), for premedical students, and am presently writing my second on the topic of accelerating change.

I co-produce Accelerating Change (Stanford University, September 16-18, 2005) an occasional conference where 350 science, technology, business and social activist speakers and attendees debate and explicate the topic of accelerating change, and Evo Devo Universe (EDU 2008, Ecole Normale Superiere, October 8-9, 2008), an international interdisciplinary research community where scholars critique models and hypotheses of evolutionary and developmental process, considered at universal and subsystem scales.

I am an advisor in Futures Studies & Forecasting at Singularity University, Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis's educational program in exponential technologies, an affiliate scholar in the Evolution, Complexity, and Cognition (ECCO) group at the Free University of Brussels, and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, the FBI Futures Working Group, the International Technology Education Association, and the IEEE. Prior to ASF I was co-founder and CEO of Hyperlearning, a 50-employee tutorial and test preparation company, sold to The Princeton Review in 1996.

It is said we each journey as far as our environment and networks allow us. I became a systems thinker at an early age primarily due to loving parents and supportive friends. I'm one of three children (John, Leslie, and Paul) of John Edward Smart and Beatrice Lyyli Smart, two wonderful individuals who met as employees of IBM in the mid-1950's, the pioneering years of "big iron" computing. My uncle, Bill Smart, did time and motion efficiency studies for firms in the UK.

To make wise decisions in the present, we must strive to deeply understand where we are in relation to both the known past and our probable futures. This will require the support of global communities like the World Future Society, which make the disciplined development of the field of foresight their top priority. In particular, one of my long-term professional goals is to find passionate financial sponsors interested in the development of more world-leading academic programs in technology foresight, acceleration studies, and evolutionary development studies. If you are interested in helping with the latter task, please email me at the address below. I live in Mountain View, California, and can be reached at