Many of Google parent company Alphabet's newest innovations come out of its secretive research-and-development company X.
Ventures at X, which previously was known as Google [X], include global internet access division Project Loon, its self-driving car Waymo, smart glasses Google Glass, and its delivery drone service Project Wing. The company calls itself a "moonshot factory" because it works on technologies to solve some of the world's biggest problems.
CNBC spoke with X's "Captain of Moonshots" and leader Dr. Astro Teller at the 2017 Goalkeepers event in New York to get updates on X's projects, his thoughts on Silicon Valley's culture and the need for diversity, and what he really thinks of the HBO show "Silicon Valley."
How can global internet access help the most impoverished people in the world?
When an individual or a group of farmers goes from not having the internet to having the internet, crop yields go up, based on U.N. data. They don't always go up as high as 50 percent, but that's not uncommon. That's an incredible boost in the productivity and livelihood for these people.
If you don't have mobile banking, how are you going to set up and run a business? In lots of places around the world, mobile banking is increasingly the only mechanism for interacting in large cities. We can't ask the developing world to be entrepreneurs. They don't have the basic tools.
We heard reports X was investing in satellite data and other technologies, but is Project Loon going to be your main mechanism to provide global internet access?
It is right now. The future is uncertain, and I'm not being cute about that. The way that we try to do things is we run experiments. We're right some of the time, and we're wrong most of the time. Having tried a bunch of things, stratosphere balloons was the best way that we can see to try and bring the internet to the 4 billion people in the planet that don't have it.