William Nelson Joy, commonly known as Bill Joy, is an American computer scientist. Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003. He is widely known for having written the essay “Why the future doesn’t need us”, where he expresses deep concerns over the development of modern technologies. He played an integral role in the early development of BSD UNIX while a graduate student at Berkeley, and he is the original author of the vi text editor. In 2000 Joy gained notoriety with the publication of his article in Wired Magazine, “Why the future doesn’t need us”, in which he declared, in what some have described as a “neo-Luddite” position, that he was convinced that growing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology would bring risks to humanity. He argued that intelligent robots would replace humanity, at the very least in intellectual and social dominance, in the relatively near future. He advocates a position of relinquishment of GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics) technologies, rather than going into an arms race between negative uses of the technology and defense against those negative uses (good nano-machines patrolling and defending against Grey Goo “bad” nano-machines). Many of his arguments have been addressed by Ray Kurzweil and by others.
Jerry Yang is a Taiwanese-born American internet entrepreneur, the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc. While Yang studied in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, he co-created in April 1994 with David Filo an Internet website called “Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web” consisting of a directory of other websites. It was renamed “Yahoo!” (an exclamation). Yahoo! became very popular, and Yang and Filo realized the business potential and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. They took leaves of absence and postponed their doctoral programs indefinitely. Yahoo! started off as a web portal with a web directory providing an extensive range of products and services for online activities. It is now one of the leading internet brands and, due to partnerships with telecommunications firms, has the most trafficked network on the internet. In 1999, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
Dick DeBartolo is an American writer. He has most notably written for Mad. He is occasionally referred to as “Mad’s Maddest Writer,” this being a twist on Don Martin’s former status as “Mad’s Maddest Artist.” DeBartolo served as the magazine’s “Creative Consultant” from 1984 to 2009. In February 2006, Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte began producing a podcast called The Daily Giz Wiz, a short, daily discussion about technology and gadgets. Each episode features one gadget chosen by DeBartolo, except for Tuesdays, when Laporte chooses it. Many times, the gadget is not a fancy mainstream one, but a weird, odd, or extremely simple device. For the Friday’s episode, DeBartolo picks the gadget from his Gadget Warehouse, an actual storage facility in NYC he rents for keeping his old gadgets.
Randall Patrick Munroe is an American webcomic author and former NASA roboticist as well as a programmer, best known as the creator of the webcomic xkcd. He and the webcomic have developed a cult following, and he is one of a small but growing group of professional webcomic artists. Munroe was a fan of the funny pages from an early age, starting off with Calvin and Hobbes. After graduating from the Chesterfield County Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill: A Renaissance Program, he graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2006 with a degree in physics. Munroe worked as an independent contractor for NASA at the Langley Research Center before and after his graduation. In October 2006 NASA did not renew his contract and he began to write xkcd full-time. He now supports himself by the sale of xkcd related merchandise. The webcomic quickly became very popular, garnering up to 70 million hits a month by October 2007.
Sarah Christina Lane is an American television and Internet personality. She is most notably known for her appearances on TechTV’s The Screen Savers, G4’s Attack of the Show!, and Revision3’s popSiren. In 2009 she was the co-host of the This WEEK in FUN podcast, currently on hiatus, with Martin Sargent, part of the TWiT.tv network. She currently appears on a number of podcasts on the TWiT.tv network. Lane co-hosts the daily technology podcast Tech News Today with Tom Merritt, Iyaz Akhtar, and Jason Howell which airs live Monday through Friday. She also co-hosts the weekly Apple iPad podcast iPad Today with Leo Laporte and the weekly social media podcast The Social Hour with Amber MacArthur.
Andreas (Andy) von Bechtolsheim is an electrical engineer who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 and was its chief hardware designer. He later became an investor, writing the first major check to fund Google, and starting several computer networking companies. Bechtolsheim was born near Ammersee, in the German state of Bavaria. He grew up on a farm with the Alps in the distance, the second of four children. Since the isolated house had no television and distant neighbors, he experimented with electronics as a child. In 1963 the family moved to Rome, Italy and then in 1968 to Nonnenhorn on Lake Constance in Germany. When he was only 16, he designed an industrial controller based on the Intel 8008 for a nearby company. Royalties from the product supported much of his education. As an engineering student at University of Technology Munich Bechtolsheim entered the jugend forscht contest for young researchers, and after entering for three years, won the physics prize in 1974. Bechtolsheim received a Fulbright Award and moved to the US in 1975 to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his master’s degree in computer engineering in 1976. In 1977 Bechtolsheim moved to Silicon Valley to work for Intel, but quit when they transferred him to Oregon the first week. He took a summer job at Stanford University and became a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering.
James Franklin “Jamie” Hyneman is an American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of the television series MythBusters. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry, Blendo, which, for a time, was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is one of the designers of the aerial robotic camera system Wavecam, used in sports and entertainment events. On May 16, 2010, he delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctorate of Engineering, from Villanova University. Hyneman was born in Marshall, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Indiana. Describing his early life, Hyneman said “I was a problematic kid, to be sure. I left home when I was 14 and hitchhiked all over the country.” He earned a degree in Russian linguistics from Indiana University. He has since received honorary doctorate degrees from Villanova University and the University of Twente. A variety of careers fill his resume, including scuba diver, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist, concrete inspector, and chef. He apparently has a mild case of acrophobia (fear of heights), as mentioned in the “Hammer Drop” episode segment of Mythbusters.