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Jack Andraka on Singularity 1 on 1: The Internet Is Not A Distraction

Jack Andraka is the miracle whiz kid that came up with a totally unique pancreatic cancer detection test that takes 5 minutes to administer, costs 3 cents, is non-invasive, has been 100% accurate in blind trials, is 168 times faster and 26,000 times cheaper than the current gold standard.

During my Singularity 1 on 1 interview with Jack Andraka we talk about a variety of topics such as: the inspirational story behind his cancer test; his competing for the Tricorder X-Prize foundation award; his progressive views on education, healthcare, the internet and business.

My favorite quotes from Andraka:

“You don’t need a degree from a pretigious university to have your ideas valued.”

“If a fifteen-year-old, who didn’t even know he had a pancreas at the beginning of this project, could find a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, just imagine what you can do.”

Well done Jack! At 16 you are already a total inspiration. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

Watch out for this whiz kid! We are sure to hear his name again.

(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above, or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.  If you want to help me produce more episodes please make a donation)


Who is Jack Andraka?

Jack Andraka is a 15-year-old Maryland high school student who has invented an inexpensive and sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid and early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. He recently won the Gordon E. Moore top prize at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as well as the Google Thinking Big Award for the project, addressing a large and seemingly impossible problem and finding an elegant solution with broad impact.

Jack is a member of the National Junior Wildwater Kayak team and has won numerous awards in national and international math competitions.

For A World Without Cancer : Jack Andraka at TEDxOrangeCoast

Solutions to complex problems can be simple says Jack Andraka



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  • In the Tweet below Nikola I asked if you could put Jack in contact with Thiel and Kurzweil, surely they have the money to make a difference, surely they could eliminate bureaucratic red tape via their wealth-funding?

    This is what I posted to KurzweilAI:

    The cheap pancreatic cancer test invented by high school student Jack Andraka needs to be accelerated to market. In a Singularity 1 on 1 video by Nikola Danaylov Jack mentions the regulatory delays from prototype to market place. Surely Thiel, Kurzweil and other millionaire Singularity advocates such as Keith Kleiner can do something to ACCELERATE Jack’s progress. As Jack point out, people are dying each day while we wait for the bureaucratic wheels of big business to turn.



  • Yes SU, I was traveling for a few days and had no chance to reply earlier: Jack is already in contact with Singularity University and, in fact, was a special guest to the graduation ceremony for GSP’12. He has met most people there and is already friends with many. So, pretty soon I might be the one asking him to introduce me to someone… 😉

  • I think Ray, Keith, and the two Peters (Thiel and Diamandis) should be doing more to accelerate progress. Collectively these individuals have substantial power, substantial wealth, they are well connected in the business and government world. For example Sir Richard Branson has previously supported Peter Diamanids regarding his shrewd view of the future. Ray Kuzweil is pals with Bill Gates and Ray’s recent job working at Google indicates he could easily influence Larry and Sergey, or Eric. So we have lots of millionaires and billionaires who are all interested in accelerating technology, they want to accelerate things, and Jack has created a life saving invention thus we shouldn’t have to wait until 2045 for this, Jack’s invention exists now, therefore surely more can be done to accelerate inventions, such as Jack’s, to the marketplace?

  • My friend, why are you assuming that they are not already doing their best?! From what I’ve seen all the people that you mention agree with you and are literally working on cranking things up i.e. amplify acceleration as hard as they can. Jack himself started from nowhere and is already good friends with them, getting personal advice and other types of help to get his invention to market ASAP…

  • Lu Lu

    Great to that young talents contributing to the STEM. Open source STEM websites surely would help in making more young people scientists and bring forth the Singularity faster.
    SciAm Feb 1959: “…boys and girls with mathematical or scientific talent spend too many years in ordinary school in view of the fact that [STEM researchers] are often most productive in their early twenties.” If this is true, then this young guy is surely an overachiever.
    Other young stars like David Dalrymple also come to mind.

  • Lu Lu

    Reminds me of the latest (actually has been around for a while) BioPunk movement.

    Let’s hope more people spend their time do STEM researchs using the excellent tool namely the Internet.

    It’s a pity that how much net-space and time is wasted on unproductive, wasteful exploits (sports, dramas and what Prof Hugo de Garis called “Peaker” entertainments). They forgot (or don’t even know in the first place) that the Net was created for research purposes.
    People should remember (via education on human History) that there was a time in the history when only a small fraction of population knows how to read and write and the time when it takes days to find a book from a library and the time when the world’s most advanced computer cost several million dollars to perform the calculation that today people take for granted (and for free) on low-priced electronic calculators and the time when it took several minutes to load a text-only webpage. (I apoloize if anyone of you have difficulty reading this).

    While looking forward to the future, we should also remember the past.

    BTW, this essay looks good:


    I love the quote (from the above essay):”What would surprise him most, I think, is how blase we are about all our
    miracles.) ” How true! What spoiled children we modern people are!

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  • Eugenio Battaglia

    As Jack says, open access papers were the ones who help him figure out the idea, while the paywalled were essentially useless. I guess that open access should be taken in more in consideration by the singularity movement, since it sustain the combinatorial explosion of human possibilitites…

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