Google unveiled hints early Monday to a project called Solve For X, which it later revealed represents an event held last week for experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists. The event follows similar guidelines to those established at the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference, also known as TED. It focused on discussing technology solutions to some of the world's greatest problems.
It might seem like science fiction, but Google wants to change the meaning of "X" in equations. Rather than define X as a problem similar to climate change or cancer, the tech company wants to present it through opportunities for "radical thinking," "breakthrough ideas," and "cutting edge technology."
The event, co-hosted with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, champions a concept known as technology moonshots, defined as efforts that take on global-scale problems, define radical solutions to those problems, and involve some form of breakthrough technology that could actually make them happen, explain Astro Teller and Megan Smith, co-hosts of Solve for X, in a blog post.
That ideology for the conference focuses on the positive influences for change, which might require some guidelines. The invitation-only event attracted innovators to deliver 12-minute presentations on their topic of choice. Some of the videos can now be seen on the Solve for X YouTube Channel. For example, Adrien Treuille, an assistant professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon, talked about collaborative science. Treuille's talk describes Foldit and EteRNA, a series of new scientific discovery games that he has helped create.
X continues to become a popular letter for Google since Google Co-founder Larry Page found his way back to the C-level executive suite. Last year, The New York Times disclosed information about a top-secret lab in the Bay area where "robots run free," suggesting that some of the hundred or so projects going on at the Google X lab were pie-in-the-sky ideas.