How many times have you thought about the changes that have taken place since your grandparents, parents or you were born? For example, when my grandfathers were born only birds could fly. My parents didn’t have indoor plumbing in rural Kansas and Nebraska when they were born. The telephone we had as a kid was part of a “party line” that was shared with other nearby residences. Today’s cell phones are far more powerful than the computers on the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module that were used to navigate to the moon and operate all the spacecraft control systems. Technology truly has transformed our world. In fact, that was my thinking when I chose last year’s holiday book.
Each year I select a book that’s made an impact on me and share it with my clients. For 2013, I chose Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I selected this book because we live in a world of pessimism. Most of the public believe the best days are behind us. This book makes the future exciting.
The authors argue that although technology is often blamed for dire problems such as global warming, it will also be the force that pushes us through the threshold of another major societal evolution. In fact, they insist “abundance” is within everyone’s reach and that technology will be the tool that closes the gap between the world’s haves and have nots.
In examining issues from water and food to healthcare and education, Diamandis and Kotler profile dozens of innovators, including Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, and Craig Venter. And they delve into numerous revolutionary technologies, from algae-based biofuels and genetic engineering to vertical farming and robotic nurses. Progress, they say, will be championed by individual inventors and often supported by wealthy philanthropists.
What’s the timeline for these transformative technologies? Diamandis says twenty-five years, with noticeable change coming much sooner. After you watch Peter Diamandis’ TED Talk read Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think to learn more.