Free Forum Q&A – PETER DIAMANDIS Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation author, ABUNDANCE: The Future Is Better Than You ThinkWritten on June 5th, 2015
Originally aired March 2012
Opening day of the 2012 TED conference featured two talks one after the other. The first by Paul Gilding entitled The Earth is Full asked questions like, Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Gilding suggests we have – with the possibility of devastating consequences. In a talk that’s equal parts terrifying and oddly hopeful, he says, “It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.”
That talk was followed by one by this week’s guest, PETER DIAMANDIS, entitled ABUNDANCE IS OUR FUTURE, in which he makes the case for optimism – that we’ll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. “I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems — climate crisis, species extinction, water and energy shortages – we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”
Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But, according to a book by Diamandis and co-author Steven Kotler, it is closing – fast. ABUNDANCE – THE FUTURE IS BETTER THAN YOU THINK documents 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. They believe we will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet.
JEREMY RIFKIN is the bestselling author of The End of Work, The Biotech Century, The Hydrogen Economy and The European Dream. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C. His newest book is THE EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION.