Salazar stresses high-tech future


Oscar Salazar the former CTO of Uber talks about his experiences with entrepreneurship, and the AI revolution at the IMU on February 13, 2017. (The Daily Iowan/Osama Khalid)


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Oscar Salazar, an entrepreneur and investor, ended his lecture on Monday with a message of hope, emphasizing the need to look toward the future. He spoke in the IMU as part of the Summerwill Lecture Series.

Salazar, a cofounder of Uber and its one-time CTO, spoke about the technological advancements relating to artificial intelligence, surgery, transportation, education, and strategy.
The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session to engage the audience. He gave advice to many students who may need help achieving their ideas.

“What you learn here is the foundation of the structure; it’s what makes you stronger, education is the foundation,” Salazar said. “If you keep learning and moving, that’s your survival.”

Students came to ask different questions about entering the workforce and what they can do to achieve their goals.

“It’s never too late to start building,” Salazar said. “It’s never too late to start coding. It’s never too late to start building things.”

Hailey Courtney, the communications coordinator for Outreach & Engagement in the Provost’s Office, said during the collaboration process, they wanted to explore the topics relating to technology and the internet.

She said she thought it would be beneficial for Salazar to tell his story and talk about his experience as a tech entrepreneur.

“Oscar’s work as a tech entrepreneur fits really well into the changing technology subtopic and to hear more about his experience with the tech industry and how to change his work,” she said. “And as we continue to live our lives online, today and beyond, just provides great dialogue for the conversation we’re trying to have.”

David Hensley, the executive director of Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, said he believes hearing Salazar’s stories was a great opportunity for students and community members on the entrepreneurial side and to learn some of the strategies that helped his success.

Hensley noted Salazar used his background and education as leverage into a successful business career.

“He is also very interested in the social aspects on how to make the world a better place,” he said. “When you can hear from somebody that has been successful in business and also understanding the importance of giving back to the community and helping others, I think, it is very important and meaningful for our students and community.”

The lecture was made possible through collaboration among the Tippie College of Business, the Office of Outreach and Engagement, the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, and the UI Lecture Committee.

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