Smarter Than You Think by Moe Abdou

When 15 year-old Jack Andraka stepped on the TED stage to share his discovery of a pancreatic cancer detector, little did he know that he was becoming the voice of a new generation.  To those who know him, Jack is an ordinary high school student whose extraordinary curiosity was ignited when a family friend past away of pancreatic cancer - he was 13 years old, but never stopped asking ‘why?‘  So, as most 13 year-olds would do, he turned to a teenager’s two best friends - Google and Wikipedia.  What he discovered was a six decade old technique that was costly, highly inaccurate and in 85% of the situations, the cancer it detected was in the later stages when the patient has less than a 2% of survival. 

Today, Jack is hailed as modern prodigy; not only did he isolate the protein that’s most prevalent with pancreatic and ovarian cancer, he discovered a paper censor that costs about three cents, takes five minutes to run and is 400x more sensitive to detecting pancreatic cancer in the very early stages.  Ask him how he did it and he’ll tell you it was through the internet, “because through the internet, anything is possible.  Theories can be shared and you don’t have to be a professor with multiple degrees to be valued.  It’s a neutral space where what you look like doesn’t matter; it’s your ideas that count.”  Distinguished Wired journalist Clive Thompson wasn’t always bullish on the internet; but in his latest book, Smarter Than You Think, he convinces us that technology will not degrade our human abilities; quite the opposite.  It will advance us to new levels of human excellence - here’s how!

Further Reading
  • Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
  • Unveils the Future of Artificial Intelligence — When Dennis R. Mortensen hired his founding team members at, he pitched them by illustrating his vision of a world where everyone has a personal assistant to schedule their meetings. Recognizing the complexity of the challenge, he concluded by saying: “We may die trying.”
  • The Power of Explosive Creation: How to Harness Your Creative Callings — If Steve Martocci could give everyone a fortune cookie with a customized saying inside he’d write: “Lost cookie. Please Return” with his name and address. “Imagine if I managed to reach the billions of people in the world. I’d love to see what kinds of letters I’d get back if I gave them a feedback loop,” he says.

back to the blog