February 21, 2012
Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing – fast.
In Abundance, space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer Peter H. Diamandis 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 that we have in the previous two hundred years. We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.
Breaking down human needs by category – water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom – Diamandis and Kotler introduce us to dozens of innovators and industry captains making tremendous strides in each area: Dean Kamen’s Slingshot, a technology that can transform polluted water, salt water or even raw sewage into high-quality drinking water for less than one cent a liter; the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE which promises a low-cost, hand-held medical device that allows anyone to diagnose themselves better than a board certified-doctor; Dickson Despommier’s “vertical farms,” which replaces traditional agriculture with a system that uses 80 percent less land, 90 percent less water, 100 percent fewer pesticides, and zero transportation costs. The authors also provide a detailed reference section filled with ninety graphs, charts and graphics offering much of the source data underpinning their conclusions.
In this thrilling antidote to today’s pessimism, the authors explore how for emerging forces – exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion – are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Diamandis and Kotler examine the stunning impact of these forces while establishing hard targets for change; laying out a strategic road map for governments, industry, and entrepreneurs, and giving us plenty of reason for optimism.
Peter H. Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, the co-founder and Chairman of Singularity University and co-founder of the International Space University. He is the founder of more than a dozen space and high-tech companies. Diamandis has degrees in molecular biology and aerospace engineering from MIT, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Steven Kotler is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. His books include A Small Furry Prayer, West of Jesus and The Angle Quickest for Flight. His articles have appeared in more than sixty publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Discover, Popular Science, GQ, and Outside. He also writes a regular blog for PsychologyToday.com.