About the Foresight Institute


The world’s problems are not solved by the same mindset that created them.

Foresight Institute selectively accelerates technologies that can have huge benefits for the world. We believe that the future can be incredibly bright if the right actions are taken today.

Whether it’s nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, or biotechnology, we are at a crucial point in history where we are about to develop tools that are more powerful than anything that came before. Driven with strong values (see below), we guide and support the development of transformative tools that unlock humanity’s potential for a flourishing future.


Examples include:

  • Solar-powered nanostructures for the desalination of ocean water

  • Artificial intelligence for scientific breakthrough

  • Atomically precise structures to fight neurodegenerative disease

  • Nanofactories capable of general-purpose, high throughput atomically precise manufacturing

  • Ability to manufacture practically anything compatible with physical law for the price of agricultural products

  • Automated systems for engineering design powered by machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence

  • MIcroscopic medical nanorobots designed and built to atomic precision and able to repair virtually any damage caused by disease, aging, or trauma




What Activities Does Foresight Do?

Foresight supports beneficial innovation at a systems level.

Our ongoing efforts include public talks, media appearances, advocacy, and engagement with institutions.

Our Technical Workshops attract luminaries and domain experts from diverse fields. We follow a ‘magic’ recipe inspired by design thinking to make ideas and exchanges happen that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. Besides the creation of lifelonglife-long bonds and collaborations, projects hatched at the workshops have attracted millions in funding. Our next technical workshop is Artificial Intelligence for Scientific Progress on September 30 – October 1, 2016.

We have crafted the Foresight Guidelines and the Foresight Nanotech Roadmap which act as a guidepost for the development of beneficial nanotechnology.

Our Conferences and Unconferences are open events where we engage the public on topics related to our mission. We employ a mix of talks and facilitate self-emergent groups and projects. The next unconference is Will Technology Eat The World? Technological progress and the future of our society on November 16, 2016.

In 1986 Foresight was founded on a vision of the emerging field of nanotechnology in which current capabilities in nanotechnology lead eventually to fabrication of complex products with atom-by-atom control of the manufacturing process. This ultimate development of nanotechnology, sometimes termed molecular manufacturing but now more often termed APM (atomically precise manufacturing), was first described by Richard Feynman in 1959 in a visionary talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” Foresight has worked to educate the public, researchers, and policy makers about Feynman’s vision—what advanced nanotechnology would be like, and what it could do. We ground these expectations in the current achievements and applications of nanotechnology, consider how to move from current nanotechnology to advanced nanotechnology, and how to capture the opportunities and avoid the risks of the ultimate manufacturing technology.

Foresight Activities include:


Life should flourish.

Technology is great when it solves more problems for the state of the world than it creates. Its end is to contribute to better lives, a better world, and after that, to expand the light of consciousness throughout the universe. Life is an infinitely valuable system, and everything we do is first and foremost to make life flourish.

Listen, understand, and anticipate.

Einstein allegedly said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Before choosing our initiatives, activities, and workshop topics, we ensure we’re at the edgemake sure to be at the edge of technological progress, knowledgeable about developments in the world, and mindful of consider ways to have an impact. Learning about the latest developments is an ongoing effort that is expected from every member of the organization.

Great power = great responsibility.

Powerful tools can create vastly positive outcomes for the state of the world. But if applied without caution, they also bring potential risks for devastation. Foresight Institute practices transparent advocacy of the responsibility that novel technology brings throughout all levels of society. Along with the development of beneficial technologies, we promote efforts to ensure their safety as well as their contribution to freedom and justice. At the same time, we understand that powerful new technologies are necessary to ensure humanity’s long-term survival and flourishing. Inaction can be just as dangerous as the wrong action.

No excuses.

We are committed to focusing our energy on producing the best possible future, period. This takes honesty, courage, and resourcefulness. We defend our independence from ideology, relentlessly challenge our beliefs and practices for possible bias, retain a start-up attitude, and don’t shy away from the hard questions. We won’t take “well, we tried” for an answer.

“The Foresight Institute”

A 30-slide overview presented in April 2010 (18.3 MB PDF file) addresses Foresight’s history, vision, programs, and accomplishments.

Partners and Sponsors

Foresight works with a wide variety of organizations as partners, sponsors and corporate members. Through Foresight, these organizations reach our members and those visiting our Web site with their message, receive their choice of Foresight publications and information feeds, take advantage of discounts on many goods and services, are invited to special gatherings and events and and receive valuable introductory gifts. For more information on becoming a corporate member, clickhere. Click below to see our past or current partners, sponsors and corporate members.

Contact Information


The Foresight Institute
101A Clay Street, Box 185
San Francisco, CA 94111

+1(415) 265 3052

Voice: (260)-3-FUTURE aka 260.338.8873
Fax: 650.289.0863


Send requests for information about Foresight Institute activities and membership to [email protected].
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