Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Abundance: The Future is Brighter than You Think

As a teenager back in the 1970s I read apocryphal books such as The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich which prophesied doom for the human race due to resource scarcity. I must admit I bought into the argument for a while, but as I grew older and it became increasingly evident that the predictions were not going to come true I began to realize that this was more an argument about why people needed to cede individual choice and self-determination over to an enlightened set of intellectuals appointed to make wise choices for society as a whole. Abundance is the exact opposite: the democratization of choice, creativity and intelligence. Thank God we seem to be moving more toward a world of abundance and less toward the apocalypse of Ehrlich and other prophets of doom.

In the upcoming book "Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think" (to be released February 21) space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer Peter H. Diamandis (featured in the video above) and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler document how progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, infinite computing, ubiquitous broadband networks, digital manufacturing, nanomaterials, synthetic biology, and many other exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous two hundred years.

Some factoids from the book's website:

1. A Masai warrior in Africa with a smartphone on Google has access to more information than the President of the United States did just 15 years ago.

2. The number of people living in absolute poverty has fallen since the 1950s has dropped by more than half. At the current rate of decline, it would hit zero around 2035.

3. From the very beginning of time until 2003, humankind created five billion gigabytes of digital information. In 2010, the same amount of information is created every two days; by 2013, every 10 minutes.

4. In 15 years, the average $1000 laptop should be computing at the rate of the human brain.

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