50 Word Bio
Nova Spivack is CEO of Magical, a science & technology venture studio in Los Angeles. He is also Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation, a nonprofit charity that is storing archives of all human knowledge around the solar system for long-term preservation.
Nova Spivack is a technology entrepreneur, investor, innovator and futurist with a career spanning more than two decades of industry-leading breakthroughs. He has helped to build dozens of ventures and nearly 100 patents, collectively generating billions of dollars in market value, including multiple IPOs, and acquisitions by Apple, Facebook, Samsung, Disney, and others.
He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF) which is building a solar-system scale backup of Earth. In 2019, Nova became the first civilian the land something on another planetary body (the Moon).
In April of 2019, the AMF delivered a 30 million page Lunar Library to the Moon, containing the Wikipedia, and many other data sets.
These two libraries are expected to last for up to billions of years, making them the longest-lasting records of human civilization in our solar system.
Nova is ranked among the Top 20 Futurists worldwide and as a Top LA Power Player in Technology. He has advised governments, presidential campaigns, Fortune 10 global corporations, leading consumer brands, venture funds, incubators, and tech startups.
Spivack is also the Founder & CEO of Magical, a science and technology venture studio based in Los Angeles, where he works as a venture producer, to fund and incubate breakthrough companies.
One of the early space tourists and space entrepreneurs, he has had a long interest in helping to facilitate the growth of a spacefaring civilization.
Nova earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, from Oberlin College. During college he also participated in summer research at the MIT Computer Science Department. He received a graduate-level professional degree in Space Life Sciences from The International Space University in 1992.
Facilitating a Spacefaring Civilization
Nova has had a lifelong interest in space and the stars, perhaps in part due to the name his parents gave him, which means “new” in Latin, and also has an astronomical meaning.
At a young age he attended an early Space Shuttle launch with his grandmother and nephews, as a gift from NASA, to his Grandfather, who at that time advised NASA.
Nova conceived of, and is the co-founder and Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation working to backup human civilization.
Nova earned a professional graduate-level certificate degree from The International Space University in Space Life Sciences, under the late Gerry Soffen, who pioneered the Viking Lander search for life on Mars at NASA.
While with ISU he also interned to help design the Space Humanities Program under Overview Effect thought-leader, Frank White and ISU co-founder Todd Hawley, and he worked on The Space Solar Power Program international design project.
In his sophomore year of college, Nova interned as a production assistant at Paramount Studios, working on the popular television show, Star Trek, The Next Generation.
Ventures and Nonprofits
In 1994, with Jack D. Hidary and Murray Hidary, Nova co-founded one of the first Internet companies, EarthWeb, which led to a record-breaking NASDAQ IPO in 1998, and a second IPO of spinout, DICE, in 2007.
EarthWeb began by doing the first online benefit concert for charity, working with dozens of international charities and relief agencies during the Rwanda hunger crisis. The company evolved to become one of the first commercial Web development agencies in the world, and then launched a set of online career, training and certification portals, for IT Professionals under the brands Developer.com and Dice.com.
After EarthWeb he worked with Stanford Research International (SRI), to co-found their technology incubator, nVention (now, SRI Ventures). While working with SRI, he also worked on the DARPA CALO program which was related to the development of SIRI, the intelligent iPhone assistant (sold to Apple).
With Nicholas Slavin and Anton Toutov, he co-founded Fuzionaire, a breakthrough new chemistry platform developed by Anton Toutov under Nobel Laureate, Prof. Bob Grubbs, at Caltech, and Fuzionaire Diagnostics, a new spin-out venture of Fuzionaire that is developing a platform for a disruptive generation of radiomarkers for PET-scan medical imaging, with the help of PET-scan co-inventor, Michael Phelps and a team of researchers at UCLA.
He Co-Founded one of the first consumer applications of the Semantic Web, Radar Networks (funded by Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen, and eventually acquired by Evri), which developed an ontology-driven Web portal for communities of interest called TWINE. He then co-founded Live Matrix with Sanjay Reddy (acquired by OVGuide, which was then acquired by FilmOn), which indexed virtually all live and scheduled events online to form an “interactive program guide” for the Web.
Nova also serves on the board of directors of Gil Elbaz’s Common Crawl Foundation, a 5+ billion page, free and open search index of the Web. Nova has also advised several venture funds and family offices; most recently, EES Ventures and Rewired.ai.
He also helped to start the Earth Dashboard, a non-profit real-time visualization of the state of planet Earth.
Memetics and Social Analytics
Nova is an expert on the subject of memetics and social analytics for trend detection. At the invitation of Secretary Madeleine Albright, he presented a multi-year series of invited talks on applying memetics to Diplomacy, at the Aspen Institute, for senior US Department of State leadership. These strategies were successfully applied by the US government to help combat the spread of violent extremism around the world.
Nova co-founded Bottlenose, an artificial intelligence and big data streaming analytics company, funded by KPMG, that was named a Gartner Cool Vendor for In-Memory Computing in 2016.
At Bottlenose, with co-founder Dominiek ter Heide and team, he developed and patented, Nerve Center, an AI and machine learning engine for memetics.
Nerve Center analyzed real-time linguistic and statistical activity across virtually all worldwide social media, news media, live TV and radio broadcasts to detect the emergence and development of patterns in society. This work was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series and his theory of psychohistory.
Nerve Center was used for detecting and measuring emerging social, political, economic, health and cultural trends by 50+ global brands, governments, advertising agencies, and at major world events such as the Olympics.
After college, he also worked as a trend detection analyst for the pioneering AI-powered news filtering company, Individual. While working there he was responsible filtering several thousand news articles a day, from hundreds of media sources, into ~30 major topics, using a battery of intelligent agents — this generated daily strategic news briefings for the leadership of dozens of Fortune 100 companies.
Supercomputing and Digital Physics
During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, while a senior in high-school and then during several years of college, Nova worked as a software engineer and in technical marketing at two legendary artificial intelligence and supercomputing ventures including Ray Kurzweil‘s, Xerox Kurzweil and Danny Hillis’, Thinking Machines.
At Kurzweil, he built software for interfacing with neural networks originally for a reading machine for the blind, that then were applied to optical character recognition for scanning documents.
At Thinking Machines, he worked on projects related to the Connection Machine supercomputer. Thinking Machines, and Danny Hillis himself, attracted many of the greatest scientific and computing minds of the time for talks and events related to the applications of supercomputing, including physicist Richard Feynman, science and math prodigy (and natural philosopher), Stephen Wolfram, future founder of the Wayback Machine and the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle, and director of research and future Java and cloud computing leader, Lew Tucker — all of whom profoundly shaped Nova’s thinking as he started out, and for the rest of his career in technology.
With Ottavia Bassetti, Nova built an Intranet hypertext knowledge network for the Thinking Machines research community around the world, in Hypercard. This system turned out to be a precursor to what would later be developed into the World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee.
During his free time, Nova also spent hours on nights and weekends hanging around or sneaking into the various labs inside the MIT Media Lab that were working on synthetic holography and virtual reality interfaces, as well as the community around Marvin Minsky, the intelligent agent and human interface community around Pattie Maes, and the interdisciplinary research community connected to artificial life pioneer, Chris Langton at the Santa Fe Institute.
During this time, Nova became intensely interested in cellular automata, agent based software, and chaos and complexity theory. In particular, after reading the book, Three Scientists and Their Gods, he became fascinated by, MIT Computer Science and AI Lab founder, Ed Fredkin, a pioneering thinker in the field of digital physics. Fredkin famously posited that the universe might literally just be software. This idea shaped much of Nova’s thinking and research.
During college, Nova interned and did independent summer research in Fredkin’s lab at MIT, under professors Thommaso Toffoli and Norman Margolus. Thanks to their generosity he was able to spend hundreds of hours running cellular automata experiments on a specialized supercomputer that they had developed for digital physics, described in their book, Cellular automata machines.
Also from his Thinking Machines days, Nova developed a friendship with the science prodigy and natural philosopher, Stephen Wolfram, the creator of Mathematica, and author of A New Kind of Science. Later, Nova participated in the launch of Wolfram Alpha, and Wolfram became an advisor Nova’s Arch Mission Foundation.
Philosophy of Mind
During his studies of cognitive science, AI and physics, Nova became particularly interested in the question of consciousness — particularly “the hard problem of consciousness.”
Finding no satisfactory explanations of consciousness in Western thought, Nova began to explore Eastern thinking. This led to a strong interest in meditation practice and scholarly study, under the guidance of several great Buddhist teachers. After completing more than 20 years of traditional curricula and practice requirements, he was authorized to teach and write about Buddhist philosophy and meditation by his main teacher in China.
Nova has authored hundreds of articles and co-authored several books on Internet strategy and technology, and led the EarthWeb Press publishing imprint with Macmillan Computer Publishing.
Nova has been featured, cited, and has contributed guest articles in numerous media outlets such as: AdWeek, Atlantic Monthly, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0, The BBC, CBS Evening News, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CNBC, CNET, CNN, Der Spiegel, the Discovery Channel, Download Squad, the Economist, Entrepreneur, the Financial Times, Gartner, GigaOm, the Guardian, Guidewire, Industry Standard, Infoworld, Information Week, Interactive Age, International Herald Tribune, the L.A. Times, Mashable, the MIT Technology Review, the New Scientist, Newsweek, the New York Times, NPR, the Observer UK, PC Magazine, PC World, ReadWriteWeb, Red Herring, Reuters, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, SiliconAngle, TechCrunch, the Times Online, Venturebeat, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, WIRED and ZDNet
Nova has keynoted, given talks, moderated, and served as a judge at numerous conferences and industry events, including (partial list, in alphabetical order): AI Showbiz, The Aspen Institute, BlogTalk, Defrag, DEMO, DigitalNow, the Financial Times Digital Media Conference, Future in Review, GigaOm’s Bunker sessions, The Highlands Forum, the International Semantic Web Conference, the Island Forum, the Kleiner Perkins CIO Strategy Exchange, MIT’s Emtech, NextWeb, The Santa Fe Institute, SDForum, the Semantic Technology Conference, the Singularity Summit, Search Engine Strategies, SIBOS, Stanford/MIT’s VLAB, Supernova, SXSW, TTI Vanguard, The US Dept. of State, The Web 2.0 Summit, The White House and numerous government agencies, NGOs, and industry councils.
Nova has also given guest lectures and keynotes for the MBA programs and entrepreneurship programs including Harvard University, Stanford University, Berkeley, Beijing University, and UCLA.
Nova has authored nearly 100 granted, pending and provisional patents in areas including augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, search, advertising, social media, mobile apps, the semantic web, virtual reality, interactive TV, and personalization.
In particular Nova invented what are now among the fundamental patents for augmented reality, in the early 2000’s, while developing an early AR mobile game concept.
In the mid 1990’s Nova co-authored a series of patents for early Web-TV convergence for a product called HyperTV, owned by ACTV. The patents covered simulcasting URLs and metadata on the television vertical blanking interval (VBI) in order to display relevant Web pages next to live television content on suitably instrumented TV’s and PCs. The patents were later sold to Disney.
Nova also has developed and sold many patented inventions in the areas of artificial intelligence, virtual intelligent assistants, search, and the Semantic Web.
Partial List of Patents:
- Machine-based content analysis and user perception tracking of microcontent messages
- System and method for revealing correlations between data streams 1
- System and method for revealing correlations between data streams 2
- Natural language processing optimized for micro content 1
- Natural language processing optimized for micro content 2
- Discovering and ranking trending links about topics 1
- Discovering and ranking trending links about topics 2
- Semantic web portal and platform
- Methods and systems for semantically managing offers and requests over a network
- System and method for providing distributed intelligent assistance
- Generating user-customized search results and building a semantics-enhanced search engine
- Search and search optimization using a pattern of a location identifier
- Semantically representing a target entity using a semantic object
- Automatic mapping of a location identifier pattern of an object to a semantic type using object metadata
- System and method for control of a simulated object that is associated with a physical location in the real world environment
- System and method of simulated objects and applications thereof
- Methods and systems for creating a semantic object
- Semantic web portal and platform
- Methods and systems for semantically managing offers and requests over a network
- System and method of a knowledge management and networking environment 1
- System and method of a knowledge management and networking environment 2
- Harvesting data from page
- Semantic web portal and platform
- Enhanced video programming system and method for incorporating and displaying retrieved integrated Internet information segments
- Method and system for managing and tracking semantic objects
- Methods and systems for managing entities in a computing device using semantic objects
- Methods and systems for managing offers and requests in a network
- Enhanced video programming system and method for incorporating and displaying retrieved integrated Internet information segments 1
- Enhanced video programming system and method for incorporating and displaying retrieved integrated internet information segments 2
- Enhanced video programming system and method for incorporating and displaying retrieved integrated internet information segments 3
- Enhanced video programming system and method for incorporating and displaying retrieved integrated internet information segments 4
- Method, medium, and system for facilitating electronic commercial transactions in an augmented reality environment