Steve Jurvetson on why the digital divide needs to be addressed now

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Steve Jurvetson took possession of the fifth Model 3 to roll off the assembly line at the end of July. That kind of pull isn’t surprising. The powerful co-founder of DFJ was among the first investors in Tesla Motors. And SpaceX. And more billion-dollar bets than nearly any other venture capitalist working today.

In fact, most in Silicon Valley would agree that Jurvetson, who graduated from Stanford at the top of his class — in just two-and-a-half years, no less — has been ahead of many tech trends over the course of his 30-plus years as an investor. (It’s no accident that Jurvetson is still on the board of both Tesla and SpaceX and that he generally remains close with another renowned futurist, Elon Musk.)

These are but a few reasons we’re excited to have Jurvetson speak at Disrupt SF this coming September in what we expect to be a great chat.

While space and autonomous driving are longtime areas of interest for Jurvetson, another, broader trend he has been watching closely with both fascination and alarm is the digital divide that technology has helped create between the haves and the have-nots, both in the U.S. and the world.

Jurvetson’s concern: that the divide will expand well beyond access to technological resources — and to very negative effect — unless more focus is directed at addressing it.

As he told this editor during a separate interview: “There are two possible futures. The first is the path of abundance that [serial tech entrepreneur] Peter Diamandis paints, where you basically don’t have to work.” The other, more likely scenario, says Jurvetson, is where “there will be a Google; there will be a Facebook. But there won’t be thousands of companies, and they won’t be in every single small town [and] if you’re not into doing that kind of stuff — if you’re not a Googler or a Facebooker or you don’t want to program for a living — what the hell are you going to do?”

We’re delighted to be able to explore the issue with Jurvetson — along with a range of other, related topics — during a fireside chat at our upcoming Disrupt show. It’s a conversation you won’t want to miss, particularly if you’re focused on what’s happening in government, and where the U.S., and the world, may be headed.

Grab your ticket today for Disrupt, taking place September 18 through September 20 in beautiful San Francisco. As a bonus, you’ll also hear from Adi Tatarko (Houzz), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Kirsten Green (Forerunner Ventures), Sebastian Thrun (Udacity) and dozens of other top-notch speakers.

Photo courtesy of DFJ.

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