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Q/A with Peter and Steven

Inspired by Abundance

Jason Silva (Host/Producer for Current TV, Filmmaker, Storyteller and self-described “philosophical performer”) was one of the earliest readers of Abundance. Jason was so inspired by Abundance that he made this video mash-up.

Abundance Book Trailer

Abundance vs. Scarcity debate at TED 2012

Watch Peter’s 2012 TED talk and weigh in on the debate for “Abundance vs. Scarcity” at http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_abundance_is_our_future.html

An Awesome Adventure to the Future

By Patrick Tucker, THE FUTURIST magazine, 2012.02.24

…The story of the future as told by Diamandis and Kotler is a hopeful one. The cost of photovoltaic solar energy has fallen through the floor from $25 just a couple of decades ago to less than $5 per watt. The number of active community foundations has quadrupled since 1980. Internet adoption rates have advanced at a staggering clip and all of this is enabling smart people to do a lot more with a lot less. Tomorrow’s billion-dollar companies are springing up in places that we today dismiss as wastelands. In the next few years, breakthroughs in genetics, crop creation and distribution, educational gaming, nanomanufacturing, and artificial intelligence will allow humanity to rethink how we do everything, from how we raise food to how we teach the complicated skills necessary to succeed in this, humanity’s transitional century.

Diamandis and Kotler have already done a lot of thinking along those lines. They got to the future just a few steps before the rest of us. Their adventure jumps off the pages of Abundance.

Read the complete post on THE FUTURIST magazine

The Future is Much Better Than You Think

By Lucy Bernholz at Philanthropy 2173

There are certain debates that seem defined as much by their polarization as by their substance. The pro-choice, pro-life divide comes to mind. Technology as utopia/dystopia is another. These kinds of arguments have a special component to them – the tactic of disarming your opponent first, then making your own point. Peter Diamindis and Steve Kolter’s forthcoming Abundance: Why the Future will be Much Better Than You Think is a masterwork of this approach.

Read the complete post on Philanthropy 2173

Our Future of Abundance

By Daniel Honan at BigThink.com, 2012.02.08

It’s not easy being an optimist in 2012. There’s just too much to worry about: a global economic downturn, climate change, overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, failing education systems, you name it.

We are bombarded with bad news all the time, and we eagerly eat it up because our brains are gluttons for fear and danger.

As Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler note in their important and captivating new book, Abundance: Why the Future Will Be Much Better Than You Think, our pessimism is generated by a set of neurons located deep in the brain called the amygdala which collectively function as ”an early warning system, an organ always on high alert,” whose job is basically to prevent us from becoming some large carnivore’s lunch.

Read the complete post on BigThink.com

The Economist: A godsend for those who suffer from Armageddon fatigue

– The Economist Magazine, March 3, 2012

THE lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a small device with a huge potential. It can run dozens of diagnostic tests on human DNA in a few minutes. Give the device a gob of spit or a drop of blood and it will tell you whether or not you are sick without any need to send your DNA to a laboratory. In poor countries LOCs could offer diagnostics to millions who lack access to expensive laboratories. In the rich world they may curb rising medical costs.

The world has been so dogged by bad news of late that it is almost possible to forget about tiny miracles like the LOC. But [Abundance] remind[s] us that boffins continue to make the world a better place even as politicians strive to do the opposite. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler make a breezy case for optimism in “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think”…a godsend for those who suffer from Armageddon fatigue. They also remind us that technology keeps improving despite economic gloom…

Read the complete review on the Economist

Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think

I was in a coffee shop recently and overheard a young couple discussing whether or not it was morally responsible to bring a child into today’s world given all of the global challenges we face.
What’s curious about their question and the dark contemporary mood it represents is that in a very measurable way, the world is better off than its ever been.

I’ll start with poverty, which has declined more the in the past 50 years than the previous 500. Over the last 50 years, in fact, even while the population on Earth has doubled, the average per capita income globally (adjusted for inflation) has tripled.

We’re not just richer than ever before, we’re healthier as well. During the past century, maternal mortality has decreased by 90 percent, child mortality has decreased by 99 percent, while the length of the average human lifespan has more than doubled.

As Steven Pinker has lately made clear, since the middle ages, violence on Earth has been in constant decline. Homicide rates are a hundred-fold less than they were when they peaked 500 years ago. So we’re not only healthier, we’re safer as well.

If your measure of prosperity is tilted towards the availability of goods and services, consider that even the poorest American’s today (those below the poverty line) have access to phones, toilets, running water, air conditioning and even a car. Go back 150 years and the wealthiest robber barons couldn’t have never hoped for such wealth.

Right now, a Maasai Warrior on mobile phone has better mobile communications than the president did 25 years ago; And, if they’re on Google, they have access to more information than the president did just 15 years ago. They are effectively living in a world of communications and information abundance.

Even more impressive are the vast array of tools and services now disguised as free mobile apps that this same Maasai Warrior can access: a GPS locator, video teleconferencing hardware and software, an HD video camera, a regular camera, a stereo system, a vast library of books, films, games and music. Go back 20 years and add the cost of these goods and services together — you’ll get a total well in excess of a million dollars. Today, they come standard with a smart phone.

So this brings us back to the question of our contemporary mood. If this is really the true picture of the world, why are so many of us convinced otherwise?

Turns out there are about a dozen reasons. Alongside my co-author Steven Kotler, I have a new book coming out (Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think) in which we address all of them. There isn’t time for that here, but I do want to mention a few.

For starters, the amygdala. Every second our brains are bombarded with a deluge of data, working continuously to sift through and sort the information, trying to tease apart the critical from the casual. And since nothing is more critical to the brain than survival, the first filter most of this incoming information encounters is the amygdala.

The amygdala is the part of the temporal lobe responsible for primal emotions like rage, hate, and fear. It’s our early warning system, an organ always on high alert, whose job is to find anything in our environment that could threaten survival. So potent is the amygdala’s response to potential threats that once turned on, it’s almost impossible to shut off, and this is a problem in the modern world.

These days, we are saturated with information. We have millions of news outlets competing for our mind share. And how do they compete? By vying for the amygdala’s attention. The old newspaper saw “If it bleeds, it leads” works because the first stop that all incoming information encounters is an organ already primed to look for danger. We’re feeding a fiend. Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.

Compounding this, our early warning system evolved in an era of immediacy, when threats were of the tiger-in-the-bush variety. Things have changed since. Many of today’s dangers are probabilistic — the economy might nose-dive, there could be a terrorist attack — and the amygdala can’t tell the difference. Worse, the system is also designed not to shut off until the potential danger has vanished completely, but probabilistic dangers never vanish completely. Add in an impossible-to-avoid media continuously scaring us in an attempt to capture market share, and you have a brain convinced that it’s living in a state of siege and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. Today the average citizen is more empowered to change the world than ever before.

A wide range of very powerful exponentially growing technologies (infinite computing, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, robotics, digital medicine, etc.) are now allowing small teams of dedicated individuals to take on the kinds of challenges that were once the sole province of governments. A global communications network has arisen where individuals can problem solve together, like never before. Lastly, thanks to the continual spread of the Internet and smart phones into the developing world, over the next decade, our collective meta-intelligence, is set to expand from 2 billion to 5 billion people on line, adding 3 billion news minds into the global conversation.

Nothing like this has ever happened before in the history of the world. So while I can’t tell you if bringing a child into this world is the morally-responsible to do, I can say that the future, much like the present, is going to be a whole lot better than you think.

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