Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler - Abundance

“Humanity, is now entering a period of radical transformation in which technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman and child on the planet.”

By a future of abundance, they do not mean luxury. They mean a future that will be “providing all with a life of possibility.”

They describe in detail some of the new technologies and advancements in a variety of critical areas, such as clean water, food, energy, health care and how innovative solutions are emerging to solve the world’s biggest problems.

The Abundance Pyramid

The goal of abundance may be best understood as a pyramid with 3 hierarchically arranged tiers of goods, where everyone on the planet is given the opportunity to achieve each of the goods in the 3 tiers.

Achieving Abundance

In any fields of technology innovation is advancing at an exponential pace. While some believe that exponentials hold the promise of securing abundance on their own, this is not the author’s position. Diamandis maintains that these exponentials are going to need some help:

  • DIY Innovation
  • The Techphilanthropists (like Bill Gates)
  • The Rising Billion

The new (and upcoming) technology


Cheap, energy-efficient desalinated water with nano technology.

The Smart Grid for Water: “the plan is to embed all sorts of sensors, smart meters, and AI-driven automation into our pipes, sewers, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, harbors, and, even our oceans”. The plan, it is thought, will initially save 30% to 50% of water use."

Revolutionize waste and sanitation, i.e. high-tech toilets that will completely eliminate the need to transport and treat sewage, and rather than wasting anything water, these toilets give back: packets of urea (for fertilizer), table salt, volumes of freshwater, and enough power that you can charge your cell phone while taking a crap.


Vertical farming

GE crops, in-vitro meat


Solar power, algal biofuel, nuclear technology


Educational computer games, to online lectures, to computer programs that keep track of correct solutions and student progress


Lab-on-a-Chip technology, quick and inexpensive diagnosing

As speaking of the shortage of doctors and health-care professionals, services that these professionals provide could be performed by robots.

Genomic medicine promises to allow us to tailor our healthcare solutions to our individual genomes: “in short, each of us will know what diseases our genes have in store for us, what to do to prevent their onset, and, should we become ill, which drugs are most effective for our unique inheritance”

Stem cell technology, “the potential for this technology is immense. In the next five to ten years, we’re going to be able to use stem cells to correct chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and scleroderma. After that, I think neurodegenerative diseases will be the next big frontier; this is when we’ll reverse the effects of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, even stroke. And it’ll be affordable too”


"Economic freedom, human rights, political liberty, transparency, the free flow of information, freedom of speech, and, empowerment of the individual” ICT has been shown to be a potent force in defending human rights, exposing government corruption, helping stage fair elections, and advancing freedom of speech and expression.


Solving Problems Anywhere, Solves Problems Everywhere “Our days of isolation are behind us. In today’s world, what happens ‘over there’ impacts ‘over here.’”

"In a world of material goods and material exchange, trade is a zero-sum game, but if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange them, then we both have two ideas. It’s nonzero.”

Abundance contains a plethora of research and success stories to demonstrate that cutting edge technologies and methods are now being used to make dramatic advances in the areas of clean water, food, health care, education, energy, and freedom. The authors show us the real possibility of a world where every human has their basic needs of humanity met, and as we approach this goal, an even further acceleration of progress will occur.


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