While Israel is widely known for its rich history and culture, it has also become a leading center of health and medical technology, developing cutting-edge breakthroughs in medical devices, robotics and artificial intelligence. In the eight-part online TV docuseries “TrueFuture: Israel,” tech entrepreneur Joe Mullings introduces viewers to the Israeli visionaries whose discoveries are changing the world, while soaking up the local culture in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere. New episodes will post every two weeks at TrueFuture.tv.
“What we tried to do in every episode was demonstrate the old, the new, the future, the prospective, and the humanity in the middle of it,” Mullings told the Journal. “There were so many things to shoot and capture. We had an unbelievable crew and the government was so welcoming to us. The challenge was we didn’t have enough time. I’m pretty sure we’ll go back for a part two of the series after the pandemic, whenever that is.”
Over 10 days in the fall of 2019, Mullings visited a children’s hospital with an on-site medical device development lab; had a seder meal with successful female tech entrepreneurs; learned how a thumbnail-size robot, implanted in the brain, can prevent the need for surgeries; and a how a software app can detect changes in the voice to diagnose health issues.
“ln Israel you’re surrounded by technology. Herzliya is the Silicon Valley of the Middle East,” he said. “Some of it has to do with everyone serving in the military. It’s a country that has had aggressive intent against it since the beginning and they’re always in a surveilled environment: imaging, navigation, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence” is a part of life, he noted.
Mullings, who is not Jewish, said that he grew up in Hicksvillle, N.Y. with friends who were Jewish and Italian. “I might as well be a Landsman,” he joked. He has been to Israel several times on business over the last two decades, and spent time filming at the beach in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem’s old market and the Western Wall. The spirit of the Israeli people never fails to impress him.
“This is a country of proud survivors. No matter what you can’t knock them down,” he said. “It has its governmental, religious and cultural faults. but as a New Yorker, it resonates with me: I grew up lower middle class and fought for everything. and I love that about the culture. Israelis don’t worry about what’s probable but what’s possible. They think big. As long as you give everything to the effort, you’re not judged. It’s OK to fail as long as you gave it your best shot. It’s a culture of perseverance. It’s highly competitive but supportive and generous at the same time.”
“Israelis don’t worry about what’s probable but what’s possible. They think big. As long as you give everything to the effort, you’re not judged. It’s OK to fail as long as you gave it your best shot. It’s a culture of perseverance. It’s highly competitive but supportive and generous at the same time”—Joe Mullings
Mullings also loves “the landscape, the history, the legacy” of Israel, and of course, the food, including “the falafel, the hummus, anything pickled,” he said. “Every morning afternoon and evening I gorged on Israeli salad. It’s breakfast lunch and dessert all in one.”
Mullings, who previously showcased Dublin, Boston, Miami, Germany and Flagstaff, Ariz. in “TrueFuture’s” first three seasons, is the Florida-based CEO of The Mullings Group, a headhunting firm that puts med tech entrepreneurs and investors together to develop and produce diagnostic and therapeutic devices.
“I’ve been at this for 30 years, and every day I’m excited,” he said, citing current projects that involve implantable chips in the brain and technologies that allow surgeons to scrub in remotely via iPhone “and give advice in real time with no bandwidth issues. This increases access, decreases costs and dramatically impacts patient outcomes.”
Mullings believes that a series that shines a light on game-changing innovations that will benefit mankind is even more important as the world struggles to conquer the coronavirus. “As we go through this pandemic, I hope people remember who the real heroes are,” he said. “I think we need to celebrate the scientists, engineers and courageous scientists, entrepreneurs and inventors who move the needle forward in delivering better outcomes to the human race. They’re the real heroes. I hope True Future inspires that idea.”