Imagination as Technology: Jason Silva’s Optimism Unleashed at CES 2020

More than 175,000 people descended on the Las Vegas strip over the course of this year’s CES. As countless devices glowed, folded, hovered, or otherwise demanded wide-eyed attention, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. Even just within the Lenovo experience at CES, the range of innovation on display—from the reimagined Motorola razr to the first-ever foldable PC—was staggering.

As crowds surged through and countless bloggers documented every detail, few likely considered the underlying magic of our technological age. Fortunately, renowned futurist Jason Silva was there to connect the dots.

“I believe that fundamentally tech is human imagination literalized,” he said, sitting in the restaurant Lenovo transformed into a showcase for our vision of the future. “It’s the human mind turned inside out.”

Jason Silva

This comes across, somehow, as both radical and unpretentious—the sort of elegant statement one wants to be true, particularly if you happen to work for a tech company. There’s a deeper, more meaningful promise just behind all the buzz about unprecedented resolutions, exponentially greater computing power, and manufacturing precision.

Silva was almost inhumanly at-ease amidst the maelstrom. He greeted folks with warmth and intimacy, even as they raced over for a selfie with the host of National Geographic’s Brain Games. For Silva, technology creates new opportunities to be present and engaged—a position that can seem at first to rail against the device deluge of CES. But technology can be used to reflect and share something otherwise ineffable, he said, like photographers preserving a passing moment.

Truly, opulent casinos and dazzling CES installations were an odd place for philosophizing, but where better to reckon with our complex relationship to technology? As Silva put it, “The world is increasingly tech-centric and tech-loathing.” That schism creates a challenge and opportunity, so he creates work with emotional and philosophical resonance designed to change the way people think about tech. Lenovo invited Silva to CES for precisely this perspective—the broad lens on how technology can brighten our futures.

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