Brian was recently featured on the Break it Down Show podcast with Pete Turner. Pete has a great ability to uncover interesting nuggets about his guests, and we got to learn so much more about our founder and CEO in this conversation. Beyond being a cyberneticist, mathematician, and serial entrepreneur, Brian is also a dedicated family man, musician, and ice hockey player.
Brian is a naturally curious person who loves to indulge in all kinds of sciences, especially biology and mathematics. For Brian, each new scientific interest brings an opportunity to perform value-driven tasks that can positively impact the world through Verdant’s AI-driven, social impact work. Most recently, this curiosity has led him to the world of agricultural tech and applying mathematical models to create a more dynamic supply chain that will open up market liquidity for biomass, an otherwise unused farming byproduct that can significantly impact climate change through increased carbon sequestration. This soon-to-be-announced product launch is one of the new ventures born from Verdant’s startup studio.
Sacrificing Science for Politics
Using math to solve complex problems is what Brian and the Verdant team do on the regular, but every now and then in the public sphere, such as with Covid, we witness bad models being used to serve a political purpose. Nothing makes Brian more indignant than the irresponsible and incorrect use of mathematics, especially when the mathematics around how to model an epidemic are well studied, with documented working models. The original John Snow, often credited as the founder of modern epidemiology, used modeling to trace the source of a cholera outbreak in London in 1854. Snow’s model can be aptly applied to the Corona virus pandemic currently affecting today’s world.
The current populist turn away from science is frustrating because the solutions have been hard won through hundreds of years of study and practice. These include the studious application of differential equations, epidemiological models, and dynamical systems to figure out how a pandemic might spread and provide clear guidelines for action. Brian’s “math wrath!” response to the Trump administration’s incorrect covid-19 modeling can be read here.
The Power of Math
The Verdant team is made up of individuals with rare and valuable skills, not readily accessible to much of the population, such as advanced math and AI. These skills take years of higher academic study to acquire. Brian acknowledges these skills also come with great responsibilities and, for Brian, that means leaving the world a better place.
We’re a values-driven organization and we strive to effect change in a positive way.Brian Dolan, Founder Verdant.AI
These values are reflected directly in the organization, with the team actively working on projects that address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals like clean-tech, developing markets to better address eco waste, and building digital health systems.
A Change is Gonna Come
Recent events, especially in the United States, have brought to light many of our underlying social issues and institutionalized racial biases. Brian presents a point of view illuminating how these complex cultural issues can be solved through behavioral changes. As human beings have a natural primal instinct that causes us to distrust other people., This innate distrust is a manifestation of our genetic pre-programming. As an evolved species, we can abolish those beliefs and hold ourselves to a higher consciousness that does not accept racial or other types of discrimination. Behavioral psychology lends itself to this mental shift. Brian cites Alcoholics Anonymous as a group that has successfully channeled this type of behavioral change through psychology.
AA is great, and one of the central tenets of AA is: I can’t think my way into better acting but I can act my way into better thinkingBrian Dolan
Changing habits causes changes in behavior. So, it is possible to readjust our thinking and behavior to become more socially inclusive and tolerant.
As always, we love hearing about the topics Brian is passionate about and this conversation was truly enlightening! Have a listen to the full Break it Down Show interview here!