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The Christian Science Monitor: “A Riveting Page-Turner”

-A review by the Christian Science Monitor

Hoping for a better world – quickly? “Abundance” promises to take you there.

By Kate Vander Wiede / February 28, 2012

…There is no hype in the pages of “Abundance.” Instead, Kotler and Diamandis patiently and carefully answer the skeptical thoughts they know you will have. They keenly dismantle your defenses through their presentation of research and facts. Not only is “Abundance” a riveting page-turner (hasn’t soothsaying always been popular?), but it’s a book that values your intelligence by being honest and shooting straight.

With so much information packed into so few pages, “Abundance” can be an overwhelming read. But perhaps that’s the point. Your mind fills with so much good news, so much progress, so much innovation, that by the book’s end, there seems to be no question as to whether we are headed down the path toward abundance. Of course we are.

“Abundance” is more than an interesting account of new-fangled technologies is because it gives us a vision of the future that is not just bright, but attainable. It gives us reason not just to hope, but to act.

“Abundance” gives us a future worth fighting for. And even more than that, it shows us our place in that fight…

Read the complete review on the Christian Science Monitor




Radio interview of co-author Steven Kotler

Listen to the interview of Steven Kotler on News Talk Radio 710

Wall Street Journal Review

on Wall Street Journal (wsj.com) By MICHAEL SHERMER

Defying the Doomsayers

“Abundance” argues that growing technologies have the potential not only to spread information but to solve some of humanity’s most vexing problems.


If every image made and every word written from the earliest stirring of civilization to the year 2003 were converted to digital information, the total would come to five exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes—or just think of it as the number one followed by 18 zeros. That’s a lot of digital data, but it’s nothing compared with what happened from 2003 through 2010: We created five exabytes of digital information every two days. Get ready for what’s coming: By next year, we’ll be producing five exabytes every 10 minutes. How much information is that? The total for 2010 of 912 exabytes is the equivalent of 18 times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written. The world is not just changing, and the change is not just accelerating; the rate of the acceleration of change is itself accelerating.

The exabyte story and many other examples of accelerating returns are chronicled in “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Mr. Diamandis is the chairman and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation and the founder of more than a dozen high-tech companies. With his journalist co-author, he has produced a manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions addressing the world’s most pressing concerns: overpopulation, food, water, energy, education, health care and freedom. The authors suggest that “humanity is now entering a period of radical transformation where technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standard of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet.”

Read the complete review on WSJ.com


Making solar power competitive with coal

By the end of the decade, U.S. manufacturers could make solar panels that are less than half as expensive as the ones they make now.

At 52 cents per watt, that would be cheap enough for solar power to compete with electricity from fossil fuels, according to a new study by MIT researchers in Energy & Environmental Science. Assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S. — less than the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour average cost of electricity in the U.S. today.

Improvements would include an alternative to the wasteful process now used to make silicon wafers, methods of handling thin wafers to avoid breaking, installation cost-reduction, and improved light absorption, such as using nanostructured layers.

– From Kurzweil AI

Huffington Post Review

– On Huffington Post by Arianna Huffington

Abundance: A Reminder of the Need to Focus on Our Surpluses and Not Just Our Shortages

As we move further into the presidential campaign, we’re going to hear a lot about the ways we’re lacking and where we fall short. And though the conversation has rightly and finally shifted to the need to grow the economy, much of it is still dominated by hysterical and destructive demands to impose deficit-cutting austerity even before the economy gets back on its feet (which would only increase, not cut, the deficit).

Of course, it’s only right that we should focus on where we’re coming up short. Those of us in the media focus too much on autopsies and not enough on biopsies of our problems. So, yes, let’s talk about our shortages — of jobs and revenue and good ideas coming from our leaders. But let’s start talking much more about our surpluses.

With unemployment still over 8 percent, we currently have more ingenuity, energy, spirit, and expertise than we have jobs — and definitely more time on our hands. And the story of how this abundance is being put to use, of what is working and how we can scale it, has been part of HuffPost’s mission from the very beginning — and was the guiding principle behind the recent launch of our Good News section.

That’s why I was so drawn to a new book by Peter Diamandis, who has been a friend for many years and is the CEO and chairman of the X Prize Foundation (of which I am a board member). Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, co-written by Steven Kotler, arrives in a world facing multiple crises and awash in pessimism. And it offers three things in short supply: solutions, perspective and, just as important, optimism.

Arguing, as Diamandis and Kotler do, that the world is getting steadily, demonstrably better carries multiple hazards: of tone-deafness; of giving short shrift to suffering, corruption, and the parts of the world — including many parts of America — that are in steady, demonstrable decline.

But Abundance is not a work of Pollyannaism. The portraits of brilliant and empathetic minds at work improving the human condition are not an excuse to ignore the many areas in which our leaders and institutions are failing us. Rather, they are a reminder of the possibility of doing good by tapping into our collective intelligence and wisdom — and into game-changing advances in technology. As Diamandis and Kotler point out, a Maasai tribesman living in Kenya today with a cellphone has better mobile communications than President Reagan had 25 years ago. And if it’s a smartphone with an Internet connection, the tribesman has instant access to more knowledge and information than President Clinton had just 15 years ago…

Read the complete review on Huffington Post

DIY Bio: A Growing Movement Takes on Aging

A movement is growing quietly, steadily, and with great speed. In basements, attics, garages, and living rooms, amateurs and professionals alike are moving steadily towards disparate though unified goals. They come home from work or school and transform into biologists: do-it-yourself biologists, to be exact.

DIYbiology (“DIYbio”) is a homegrown synthesis of software, hardware, and wetware. In the tradition of homebrew computing and in the spirit of the Make space (best typified by o‘Reilly‘s Make Magazine), these DIYers hack much more than software and electronics. These biohackers build their own laboratory equipment, write their own code (computer and genetic) and design their own biological systems. They engineer tissue, purify proteins, extract nucleic acids and alter the genome itself. Whereas typical laboratory experiments can run from tens-of-thousands to millions of dollars, many DIYers knowledge of these fields is so complete that the best among them design and conduct their own experiments at stunningly low costs. With adequate knowledge and ingenuity, DIYbiologists can build equipment and run experiments on a hobbyist‘s budget. As the movement evolves, cooperatives are also springing up where hobbyists are pooling resources and creating “hacker spaces” and clubs to further reduce costs, share knowledge and boost morale.

This movement, still embryonic, could become a monster — a proper rival to industry, government, and academic labs. The expertise needed to make serious breakthroughs on a regular basis at home hasn‘t yet reached a critical mass, but there are good reasons to believe that this day will soon come…

Read more on h+ Magazine

Abundance Fan sending 45 copies to Norwegian Politicians

A big shout out to Tor Barstad who blew our minds when he purchased 45 copies to send to high-ranking government official in Norway!

Tor Okland Barstad is currently a student of Computer Science in Norway, planning to specialize in Artificial Intelligence.
He said: “I´m just a 21 year old guy from Norway who believes that even small contributions towards hastening technological progress today might reap benefits beyond our wildest dreams in the future. I think technology not only will enable us to solve the challenges facing this one planet we´re living on, but also ensure that the gift of life eventually can be enjoyed on billions upon billions of planets.”

Forbes Magazine: Peter Diamandis – Rocket Man

Peter Diamandis’ $10 million X Prize bounty sparked a boom in commercial space tourism. You won’t believe what he wants to do next.

It’s not easy to follow Grover from Sesame Street, especially when the throng of hungover Consumer Electronics Show attendees packed into the cavernous Palazzo Ballroom of the Venetian in Las Vegas endured product pitches from Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs and Nokia’s Stephen Elop even before the fuzzy ­purple Muppet’s demo of an augmented reality app for kids.

But this is Peter Diamandis, the fast-talking, hand-chopping impresario of the tech and space worlds. “The system is broken, access to health care is inconvenient, inefficient, bureaucratic—at worst, it’s even inaccurate,” he intones, striding on the stage in the standard tech mogul uniform—white shirt, blue jacket and jeans—as MRI-like images dance behind him on a gigantic screen. Stats roll off his tongue: an average 21-day wait for a doctor’s appointment; the 2-hour delay in the office; a coming shortage of 91,000 doctors. That’s just in America.

The crowd listens keenly, less for Diamandis’ subject matter—a deadly topic, even at an electronics show—or his matter-of-fact style than this track record and his cash. Diamandis is launching his latest payload: a $10 million X Prize, his seventh contest, to whoever develops the first medical tricorder—yes, that all-purpose handheld that was standard equipment among Star Trek medics. “The good news is we do have incredible technologies like wireless sensors, cloud computing, lab-on-a-chip technologies and digital imaging,” he says. “Our goal is to revolutionize health care, to provide it literally in the palm of your hand.”

Read more on Forbes.com

Our Future of Abundance on BigThink.com

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.

Our present-day concerns about survival are less immediate, and more probabilistic, the authors argue. As our senses today are assaulted by “a gargantuan avalanche of data,” it becomes very difficult to distinguish “the critical from the casual.” As a result, “bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.”

What’s the Big Idea? If our brains are programmed to make us all nervous wrecks, then life in the 21st century further exacerbates this problem…

Read more on Bigthink.com

A review by Ronald Bailey on Reason.com

Woe is us! Our overpopulated and overheated world is running out of water, food, and nonrenewable resources, all the while menaced by natural and bioterror pandemics. As The Limits to Growth famously predicted 40 years ago, exponential growth in population, resource depletion, and pollution are leading inexorably to civilizational collapse. Most readers will be familiar with this conventional lament of impending doom.

Now comes X Prize guru Peter Diamandis and journalist Steven Kotler with their new book, Abundance: Why the Future Will Be Much Better Than You Think. Are they insane? Everyone knows that things are getting worse in this worst of all times.

“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,” assert Diamandis and Kotler. “Abundance for all is within our grasp.” How? The way to beat doomy exponentials is to outrun them with boomy exponentials. Diamandis and Kotler argue that radical progress in overcoming scarcity will be driven chiefly by the transformative application of information and communication technologies to the world’s hardest problems.

Read more on Reason.com

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