Jason Silva

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Jason Silva
Jason Luis Silva Mishkin

(1982-02-06) February 6, 1982 (age 42)[citation needed]
Caracas, Venezuela
Alma materUniversity of Miami
  • television personality
  • filmmaker
  • futurist
  • speaker

Jason Luis Silva Mishkin (born February 6, 1982)[not verified in body] is a Venezuelan-American television personality, short filmmaker, futurist, and public speaker. He is known for hosting the National Geographic documentaries Brain Games and Origins. He has stated that his goal is to use technology to excite people about philosophy and science.[1] The Atlantic describes Silva as "A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age".[2] Silva writes and produces short films, is a former presenter on Current TV, and lectures internationally on such topics as creativity, spirituality, technology, and humanity.[2]

He believes in transhumanism and that biology will eventually "become...an information technology".[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Silva was born on February 6, 1982[citation needed] in Caracas, Venezuela.[2][4] His mother, Linda Mishkin,[citation needed] an artist, is Ashkenazi Jewish. His father, Luis Manuel Silva,[citation needed] converted to Judaism, but, according to Silva, they were secular and lived in a household "more akin to a Woody Allen film" with "a lot of humor, a love of art... and theater".[5] He is also brother to Jordan Silva and Paulina Silva.[citation needed]

As described by Silva in interview, he was inspired by Charles Baudelaire's Hashish House to host "salons" at his house as a teenager to discuss ideas, and it was there that his obsession with filmmaking and documentation began. As he describes it, video rather than pen became his preferred way to memorialize what, in that time, he saw as "ecstatic moments". In response to criticism that he has received "for being overly expository... the equivalent of a voice-over narrator", it's Silva's expressed view that "it's not enough to feel the experience; it needs to be narrated in real time".[4]

Silva earned a degree in film and philosophy from the University of Miami.[when?][2] There, he and Max Lugavere produced and starred in a video documentary/performance piece entitled Textures of Selfhood.[6] The short film is "an experimental film about hedonism and spirituality"[6]—described as being based on Silva's and Lugavere's lives in Miami[according to whom?]—and it gained the attention of the Al Gore-Joel Hyatt station, Current TV, who, in Silva's words, were looking for "passionate storytellers".[7]


Silva is television personality, filmmaker, futurist, and public speaker; he uses television, online media, and lecture halls to share his perspectives.[2] For example, in the video The Mirroring Mind, Silva "explores human consciousness and the creation of that consciousness through self-reference."[8] He describes himself as a "wonder junkie"[1] and as a "performance philosopher",[9] a term he first heard on a website called Space Collective by Rene Daalder.[4]

Public speaking[edit]

An active and prolific speaker, Silva has spoken at Google,[4] The Economist Ideas Festival,[4] the prestigious DLD Digital Life Design Conference in Munich,[10] TEDGlobal,[11] the Singularity Summit,[4] the PSFK Conference,[12] and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.[10][13]

At TEDGlobal in June 2012, Jason premiered a short video entitled "Radical Openness".[8][14] In September 2012, Silva presented his Radical Openness videos at the opening keynote at Microsoft TechEd Australia.[15] Radical Openness was also featured in his presentation at La Ciudad de las Ideas conference on November 10, 2012.[citation needed]

In September 2012, he presented "We Are the Gods Now" at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.[16]


Current TV[edit]

From 2005 to 2011, Silva was a presenter and producer on Al Gore's cable network Current TV.[4][9][17]

Brain Games[edit]

In 2013, Silva and Apollo Robbins became the hosts of Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel. The show explores the brain through interactive games that look at perception, decision-making, and patterning, as well as how easily the brain can be fooled.[18][19] Experts in psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience appear on the show, as Silva states, "to make sure we're doing the science right."[20] The show, which premiered in 2011, received 1.5 million viewers for episodes one and two and set a National Geographic record as the highest rated series launch in that channel's history.[9][21]

The experience of being tricked or fooled or made aware of a shortcoming makes you curious. It makes you kind of get up from your seat a little bit and be like 'How did that work?'

— Jason Silva[22]

Origins: The Journey of Humankind[edit]

Released in 2017 as a part of the National Geographic Channel, Jason Silva hosted this short series. Origins explores the very beginning of mankind and rewinds all the way back to the beginning, tracing the innovations that made us modern. The series features 8 episodes of approximately 45 minutes running time each, and as of this date,[when?] only a commitment to one season of Origins has been reported.[citation needed][23]

Guest appearances[edit]

In August 2012, he appeared on CBS This Morning.[24] In September 2012, he appeared on Australian ABC program Q&A.[25] He has appeared as a guest on Season 2 of StarTalk.[26][27]

Original internet content[edit]

"Shots of Awe"[edit]

In May 2013, Jason began "Shots of Awe", a YouTube channel on the Discovery Digital Networks TestTube, presenting weekly "micro-documentaries" on creativity, innovation, exponential technology, futurism, metaphysics, existentialism and the human condition.[28] Zoltan Istvan, editor for the Huffington Post, wrote that Shots of Awe is a blend of philosophy and art and has been massively popular to the younger generation.[29]

Other appearances[edit]

In October 2013, Silva appeared on YouTube for Google and NASA's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.[30] He has appeared multiple times as a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.[citation needed]

In March 2014, he was a guest in an episode of SourceFed's Tabletalk.[31] In December 2017, he appeared as a guest host on the trivia app HQ Trivia.[citation needed]

Other accomplishments[edit]

Silva has been featured in The Atlantic,[2] The Economist,[32] Vanity Fair,[33] Forbes,[34][35][36] Wired,[37] and many others.[citation needed]

In 2011, he became a fellow at the Hybrid Reality Institute, examining the symbiosis between man and machine.[9][38]

His film Attention: The Immersive Power of Cinema[39] was part of the exhibition 'Kino und der kinamatografische Blick' ('Cinema and the cinematographic gaze'), 20 March - 2 June 2013, at MEWO Kunsthalle in Memmingen (Germany).[40]

In 2014, Silva served as advisor for National Geographic Channel's Expedition Granted competition in which finalists are chosen based on their project's originality, viability and potential impact on either the local or global community.[41]

Silva has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.[full citation needed]

Conferences and lectures[edit]

  • "Critical Crossroads" at the TEDGlobal 2012 "Radical Openness" Conference, Edinburgh Scotland (June 2012)[11]
  • "Radical Openness" at the Zeitgeist Media Festival 2012, Los Angeles, with James Cromwell and Rutger Hauer[42][43]
  • The Mirroring Mind SXSW, Austin, Texas (March 2013)[8]
  • Jason Silva: Technologies of Immersion Tribeca Film Festival "Future of Film Series", New York, NY (2014)[44][45]
  • "Innovation and Thinking Differently" at the Rockwell Lecture Series, Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston (October 2015) [2]
  • Keynote at the LiNC'16 (Lithium Networking Conference), San Francisco (June 2016)[46]
  • Teradata Partners 2017, General Session Keynote, October 25, 2017, Anaheim, California.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Silva currently lives in Amsterdam.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b King, Gayle; Mason, Anthony; Otter, Jack (August 15, 2012). "For August 15, 2012, CBS". CBS This Morning. New York, NY.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Emery, Mike (September 22, 2015). "TV personality, Jason Silva to deliver Rockwell Lecture at UH October 22". University of Houston. Houston, Texas. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  3. ^ Tyson, Neil deGrasse; Liu, Charles; Simons, Jeffrey Lee; Nye, Bill; Mirman, Eugene; Nice, Chuck; Lord, Leighann (2016). StarTalk: Everything You Ever Need to Know About Space Travel, Sci-Fi, the Human Race, the Universe, and Beyond. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Books. p. 230. ISBN 9781426217272.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Andersen, Ross & Silva, Jason (April 12, 2012). "A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age" (interview). The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 October 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Miller, Gerri (3 February 2016). "The Jewish Stars, Creators and Themes of Winter TV". JewishJournal.com. Tribe Media. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b Heller, Sabine (May 20, 2011). "Jason Silva and Max Lugavere". vogue.it. Archived from the original (text intro to video) on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  7. ^ Smith, Lynn (July 5, 2006). "Programmers on Current: Your 15 Minutes Start Now". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Regional ed.). Pittsburgh, PA. p. B-4. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  8. ^ a b c Kolawale, Emi (March 13, 2013). "Jason Silva on what it takes to be a 'wonder junkie'". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Volmers, Eric (August 26, 2013). "Brain Games show demands heady host; Illusions, tests reveal how the mind plays tricks". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. D.5.
  10. ^ a b Khamis, Jumana (September 14, 2012). "Filmmaker-philosopher makes a stop at Dubai school". Gulf News. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  11. ^ a b "TED Announces Speaker Program for TEDGlobal 2012 Conference "Radical Openness"". PR Newswire. New York. May 8, 2012. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  12. ^ Gould, Dan (February 20, 2012). "Jason Silva to speak at PSFK Conference NYC 2012". PSFK.com. New York: PSFK, LLC. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  13. ^ Silva, Jason. "Jason Silva Bio". CAA Speakers. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  14. ^ Silva, Jason. "Radical Openness". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  15. ^ Silva, Jason. "Radical Openness". Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  16. ^ Silva, Jason. "We Are The Gods Now". Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  17. ^ Silva, Jason & NGC Staff (December 17, 2014). "Jason Silva: Futurist, Philosopher, Host of Brain Games". National Geographic Channel (NGC). Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  18. ^ "Lessons in how the brain works". The York Dispatch. York, PA. May 24, 2013.
  19. ^ Stasi, Linda (April 22, 2013). "50 shades of grey matter. Think you're pretty smart, wisely? Check out 'Brain Games'". New York Post. p. 74.
  20. ^ Croot, James (June 18, 2013). "Working the grey matter hard". Dominion Post. Wellington, New Zealand.
  21. ^ "Brain Games is National Geographic's Highest-Rated Series Premiere Ever". BroadwayWorld.com. Wisdom Digital Media. 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  22. ^ Donkin, Karissa (August 17, 2013). "Brain Games will send your mind off to work: National Geographic Canada's new show inspires as it exercises viewers' minds". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario. p. E.7.
  23. ^ Origins: The Journey of Humankind, archived from the original on February 15, 2017, retrieved 2017-03-18
  24. ^ "Jason Silva: Wonder junkie". CBS. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  25. ^ "Q&A - Tanya Plibersek, Kelly O'Dwyer, Mark Carnegie, Elliot Perlman & Jason Silva". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Brian Cox". nationalgeographic.com. Archived from the original on December 6, 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Season 2 of StarTalk TV on National Geographic Channel Schedule". startalkradio.net. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  28. ^ Silva, Jason. "Shots of Awe". YouTube. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  29. ^ Istvan, Zoltan (5 June 2014). "Transhumanist Art Will Help Guide People to Becoming Masterpieces". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Google and NASA's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab". YouTube. 11 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2021-12-14.
  31. ^ SourceFedNERD (18 March 2014). "Steve's New Best Friend and Why Movies Are Dreams on #TableTalk!". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved 26 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "Jason Silva speaking at the Ideas Economy Conference in Innovation". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  33. ^ "Why We Could All Use a Heavy Dose of Techno-optimism". Vanity Fair. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  34. ^ "Radical Openness: A Trip Through Our Next Frontier". Forbes. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  35. ^ "Four Steps To Finding Inspiration, From An Idea DJ". Forbes. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  36. ^ Alex Knapp, Jason Silva Muses on Humans Turning Into Gods, Forbes, (Aug. 5, 2011).
  37. ^ Millikan, Arikia. "Jason Silva's Captivating Videos Deliver a Dose of 'Techno-Optimism'". Wired. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  38. ^ "Hybrid Reality Fellows". Hybrid Reality Institute. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  39. ^ Jason Silva (12 December 2012). "Attention: The Immersive Power of Cinema". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved 26 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  40. ^ "MEWO Kunsthalle Memmingen :: Kino und der kinematografische Blick". www.mewo-kunsthalle.de. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  41. ^ "National Geographic Channel selects 10 next-Generation explorers as Expedition Granted finalists: from health care to the environment to bio-energy, 10 finalists have defined their ultimate dream expeditions for public consideration". PR Newswire. New York. September 16, 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  42. ^ "2012 Zeitgeist Media Festival". Zeitgeist Media Festival. North Hollywood, CA. Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  43. ^ "Announcing Open Call for Talent in Los Angeles for 3rd Annual Zeitgeist Media Festival". PR Newswire. New York. December 7, 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  44. ^ Silva, Jason (April 26, 2014). "On Transhumanism and Why Technology is our Silicon Nervous System". The Daily Beast. New York. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  45. ^ "Future of Film Series to include Aaron Sorkin, Bryan Cranston, Terence Winter, Jason Silva & More". Tribeca Film. March 17, 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  46. ^ "Lithium announces Jason Silva as LiNC'16 Keynote". PR Newswire. New York. April 13, 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.

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