Evidence of Abundance - The Future is Better than you Think

Courtesy of : Peter Diamandis (Abundance 360 community)

Your mindset matters — now more than ever.

We are in the midst of a drug epidemic.

The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media.

As I wrote in Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, we pay 10x more attention to negative news than positive news. 

We are being barraged with negative news on every device. This constant onslaught distorts your perspective on the future, and inhibits your ability to make a positive impact. 

In this blog, I’ll share new “evidence for abundance” -- charts and data that show the world is getting better. I’ll also share positive news and technological breakthroughs, all of which occurred in 2017 so far.

Note: This isn’t about ignoring or minimizing the major issues we still face around the world. It’s about countering our romanticized views of the world in centuries past with data.

My hope is that you’re able to see the world as it is — a world that is still getting better. My goal here is to help you protect your abundance mindset despite this barrage of negative news.

If you have a negative-minded person in your life, forward this blog to them so they can look at the actual data.

Let’s dive in...

1. Global Economy

The first area to explore is our global economy. Over the last 200 years, the world’s GDP has *skyrocketed* 100-fold. Humankind has never been more prosperous and productive.

World GDP Over the Last Two Millennia

 

The graph above depicts the economic output per person around the world over the last 2,000 years. Here we see exponential growth independent of war, famine or disease.

Technology drove much of this economic growth, and there’s no signs of slowing. 

Banking the Unbanked: One especially promising area of economic growth involves empowering the “unbanked” — the 2 billion people worldwide who lack access to a bank account or financial institution via a digital device. In September 2017, the government of Finland announced a partnership with MONI to create a digital money system for refugees.

The system effectively eliminates some of the logistical barriers to financial transactions, enabling displaced people to participate in the economy and rebuild their lives.

Refugees will be able to loan money to friends, receive paychecks and access funds using prepaid debit cards linked to digital identities on the blockchain -- without a bank.

Blockchain & Government: Governments are investing aggressively in digitization themselves. The small country of Estonia, for example, already has an e-Residency program. The digital citizenship lets residents get government services and even start companies in the EU without ever traveling or living there.

In late August 2017, Kaspar Korjus, who heads up that e-Residency program, revealed the Estonian government’s exploration of creating an initial coin offering (ICO) and issuing crypto tokens to citizens to raise government funds.

That same month, the Chinese government announced its intent to use blockchain technology for collecting taxes and issuing invoices. This builds on previous experiments China’s central bank is conducting with its own cryptocurrency.

2. Health

No matter where in the world you are, mortality rates have dropped precipitously over the last 300 years.

The following chart shows life expectancy at birth in various countries. Just 100 years ago, a child born in India or South Korea was only expected to live to 23. Fast forward to today, and India’s life expectancy has tripled. South Korea’s life expectancy has quadrupled, and now is higher than in the U.K.

Global Life Expectancy

 

 

Plummeting Teen Births: Another measure of a nation’s health is how it responds to preventable public health issues. Here in the U.S., teen births are down an impressive 51 percent over the last decade, going from from 41.5 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 2007 to 20.3 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 2016.

I share the following graph because, by the numbers, teen girls who have babies will have a harder life than their peers who delay motherhood. 

As the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services notes, they’re more likely to drop out of high school, rely on public assistance, and have children with “poorer educational, behavioral and health outcomes over the course of their life than kids born to older parents.”

Since these statistics were first compiled in 1991, teen births have dropped 67 percent.

U.S. Birth Rates, by Age Group (1991 - 2015)

 

As exponential technologies continue to advance, we’ll see even more healthcare breakthroughs. Here’s a sampling from this year:

Exponential Tech Impact on Health: Most exciting these days is the tremendous impact that exponential technologies are having on Health.

  • Robotics: Last month, a robot dentist in China successfully implanted 3D-printed teeth into a female patient’s mouth with “high precision.” The only human medical staff involvement was to conduct light setup and a pre-test. Imagine when such robots are in every healthcare facility on the planet, delivering service for the cost of electricity.
  • Virtual Reality: VR is also entering the operating room. In July 2017, University of Minnesota doctors used VR to prepare for a challenging non-routine surgery -- separating a pair of twins conjoined at the heart. Not only was the life-saving surgery a success, the VR prep gave doctors unforeseen insights that prompted them to accelerate the surgery by several months. It won’t be long until we refuse to have surgery completed by any human who hasn’t prepared in virtual reality using a personalized 3D model.
  • CRISPR/Gene Editing: Finally, in August 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever treatment that uses gene editing to transform a patient’s own cells into a “living drug.” Kymriah, a one-time treatment made by Novartis, was approved to treat B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- an aggressive form of leukemia that the FDA calls “devastating and deadly.” The FDA is currently considering over 550 additional experimental gene therapies. What happens to our healthy human lifespan as these life-saving treatments demonetize and become universally accessible?

3. Environment

Thirty years ago, the world signed the Montreal Protocol to prevent the depletion of the Ozone Layer. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) credits that agreement with preventing an estimated 280 million additional cases of skin cancer, 45 million cataracts, and 1.5 million skin cancer deaths between its signing in 1987 and the year 2050. Without the Montreal Protocol, the planet would have been about 4 degrees warmer by 2050 (...resulting in more extreme weather events like droughts, floods and hurricanes). 

As the graph below clearly depicts, the global annual death rate from natural disasters has plummeted over the past century.

Global Annual Death Rate From Natural Disasters

 

Why has this happened?  It’s the impact of exponential technologies (satellites, sensors, networks, machine learning), which enable humans to better image, predict and model disasters. These models provide early warning systems, enabling citizens to flee to safety and for first responders to send supplies and food to remote areas in time.

Drones & the Environment: Previously, animals were counted manually by researchers who had to spot them from helicopter or prepositioned camera footage. Now, a drone captures footage, the machine learning system counts different types of animals, and human volunteers help train the algorithm by verifying detections.

Faster, cheaper, easier, and more accurate.

And in Bengaluru, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science are fighting deforestation with camera-equipped drones that drop seeds in areas they otherwise wouldn’t be able to explore. Their goal is to seed 10,000 acres in the region.

What becomes possible when thousands of teams — not simply individuals and a handful of research teams — leverage these tools to protect the environment?

4. Energy

A key measure of economic growth, living standards and poverty alleviation is access to electricity.

This graph uses data from the World Bank and the International Energy Agency’s definition of electricity access, which is delivery and use of at least 250 kilowatt-hours per year in rural households and 500 kilowatt-hours per year in rural households.

Simply put, more people around the world have access to electricity than ever, and the absolute number of those without access to electricity is dropping (despite population growth).

Take a look at the chart below to see how various regions of the world are meeting their energy needs.

Share of the Population With Access to Electricity

 

As you see above, India has gone from 45 percent access to electricity in 1990 to nearly 80 percent in 2014.

Afghanistan has seen an even more dramatic improvement, going from 0.16 percent of the population in 2000 to 89.5 percent of the population in 2014.

As renewable energy sources become cheaper and more accessible, we’ll reach total electrification.

Here too, we’re making great progress. In 2016, solar power grew faster than any other fuel source for the first time ever. Around the world, solar prices are still dropping.

The latest forecast from GTM Research reports prices of $2.07 per watt in Japan to $.65 per watt in India, with prices dropping across hard and soft costs.

Historical and Forecasted Utility PV System Pricing, 2013 - 2022E

 

In 2017 alone, we saw wind power become cheaper than nuclear in the U.K., with the cost of subsidies slashed in half since 2015.

As the BBC reports, during the U.K.’s 2015 subsidy auction, “offshore wind farm projects won subsidies between £114 and £120 per megawatt hour.” Just two years later, two firms committed to a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour.

Looking stateside, the U.S. Department of Energy announced in September 2017 that utility-scale solar has officially hit its 2020 cost targets three years early — with generation costs of $1 per watt and energy consumption costs of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.

US Commercial & Residential Solar Costs

 

5. Food

Despite the headlines, we’re making steady progress in the realm of food scarcity and hunger.

This graph features World Bank data on the percentage of the population that has an inadequate caloric intake. Globally, 18.6 percent of the population was undernourished in 1991; by 2015, it dropped to 10.8 percent.

Prevalence of Undernourishment in Developing Countries

 

Time and again, technology is making scarce resources abundant. I’ve written about bioprinted meat, genetically engineered crops, vertical farming, and agriculture robots and drones. Two more examples from 2017 so far:

  • Human-Free Farms: In a 1.5-acre remote farm in the U.K., Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions recently harvested their first crop of barley. The twist? The farm is run autonomously. Instead of human farm workers, Hands Free Hectare uses autonomous vehicles, machine learning algorithms and drones to plant, tend and harvest.  
  • Food From Electricity: Another big idea in the fight against food scarcity and undernourishment comes out of Finland, where researchers are creating food from electricity. The team, formed of researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, have created a machine that runs on renewable energy to produce nutritious, single-cell proteins. The system is deployable in a variety of environments hostile to traditional agriculture, and future iterations will be able to produce food anywhere, from famine-stricken deserts to space.

Looking at the data, we truly live in the most exciting time to be alive.

And if your mindset enables you to see problems as opportunities, the future is even more exciting than the present.

Resources

  • U.S.: More wealthy people, fewer poor people. (Axiom)
  • Economic output per person around the world over the last 2,000 years (Our World in Data)
  • Finland: Digital money system for refugees (Medium)
  • China to experiment with collecting taxes via blockchain (MIT Technology Review)
  • Estonia considers ICO (Medium)
  • Mortality inequality by nation (inequality of life expectancy) drops (Sam Peltzman)
  • Teen births down 51% over last 10 years (Vox)
  • Vital Statistics - Teen Births, 2016 (CDC)
  • Teen pregnancy and childbearing (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
  • First robot dental surgery (Engadget)
  • FDA-Approved Gene Altering Treatment (NYTimes)
  • Doctors use VR in life-saving treatment for conjoined twins (Washington Post)
  • The Montreal Protocol is working (National Geographic)
  • Impact of the Montreal Protocol (EPA)
  • Annual number of deaths from natural disasters (Our World in Data)
  • Wildlife - Drones used to track wild animal populations (MIT Technology Review)
  • Reforestation - Bengaluru: Using Drones to plant forests (Your Story)
  • Share of the population with access to electricity (Our World in Data)
  • UK: Wind power cheaper than nuclear (BBC)
  • US: Solar costs beat government goals by three years (Quartz)
  • Solar costs are hitting jaw-dropping lows in every region of the world (Green Tech Media)
  • Prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries (Our World in Data)
  • Scientists make food from electricity (Futurism)
  • UK: “Hands-Free Hectare” robot farm plants, oversees harvests barley without humans (Digital Trends)
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The Future

An interesting  concept of what could lay ahead. .

In a recent interview the MD of Daimler Benz (Mercedes Benz) said their competitors are no longer other car companies but Tesla (obvious), Google, Apple, Amazon 'et al' are……  There have always been the 3 constants ...    Death, Taxes and CHANGE!

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world,  10 years earlier than expected.

In the US, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.

So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You  don't want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will  never get a driver's licence and will never own a car.

It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking spaces into parks. 1.2 million people die  each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 6 million miles (10 million km). That will save a million lives each year.

Most car companies will probably become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model  will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can't last. Technology will take care of that strategy.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents). We don't have  scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health:    The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek)  that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.

It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free. Goodbye, medical establishment.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All  major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.

Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities.    You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.

In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building.    By 2027, 10% of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: "in the future, do you think we will have that?" and if the answer  is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?

If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

Work:  70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture:   There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.

Aeroponics will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal, is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don't need that space anymore. There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labelled as "alternative protein source" (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

There is an app called "moodies" which can already tell in which mood you're in.  By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions, if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it's being displayed when they're telling the truth and when they're not.

Bitcoin may even become the default reserve currency ... Of the world!

Longevity:  Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it's 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than one year increase per year. So we all might live for a long long time, probably way more than 100.

Education:  The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone  has the same access to world class education.

Every child can use Khan academy for everything a child needs to learn at school in First World countries. There have already been releases of software in Indonesia and soon there will be releases in Arabic, Suaheli and Chinese this summer. I can see enormous potential if we give the English app for free, so that children in Africa and everywhere else can become fluent in English and that could happen within half a year.

GCI Master Plan - 2016

The GCI master plan is modeled after Elon Musk's Tesla Master Plan from 2006. 

TESLA Master Plan ~ Elon Musk
1. Build sports car (Roadster)

2. Use that money to build an affordable car (Model S)

3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car (Model 3)

4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

5. Don't tell anyone

GCI Master Plan ~ Kal Aras

1. Excel in Corporate America 

2. Use that money to build a successful educational platform (The Seven Symphonies)

3. Use that money to build on GCI initiatives (Human Consciousness, Human Rights, Human Privileges)

4. While doing above, work on turning GCI into a foundation that continues to serve humanity

5. Don't tell anyone

Artificial Intelligence - The AI Revolution

“By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” 
― Eliezer Yudkowsky

A brilliant TED Talk by Nick Bostrom

For more details on AI - Read the brilliant post here

  • Three types of AI in the works - Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI); and Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)

  • The misconception about AI is that they are robots - not true

  • Robots are only external containers, AI is the computer chip inside

  • ANI- works today i.e. Siri, Integrated home solutions, Traffic signals, IBM Watson, Self Driving cars are examples

  • AGI - is where the computational power equals that of the brain. Currently this is difficult to do because it costs 390 million USD, and is currently exist only in China (Tianhe-2) Google is investing billions in optimizing AGI

  • The other challenge is replicating human intelligence - three ways to go about it - 1. Plagiarize the Brain 2.Teach it and feed it which humans naturally evolved over the years, 3. Simulate the environment for it to learn on its own, It reaches its critical point and picks up on its own

  • When there is an inflection point where the AGI turns into ASI and that is the scary part, which it will surpass human intelligence at an accelerating rate

  • The law of accelerated return - the amount of technological growth that we are seeing is exponential i.e. what took 100 years in the past is being done in a decade and in the future it will be headed to being done in a month - eventually reaching a point of singularity

Electric Cars - Fossil Fuels - Global Warming

Why Elon Musk is really revolutionizing the Automobile Industry? An amazing blog by tim urban who does a brilliant analysis on the state of affairs afflicting our planet. Below is a synopsis:

  • We get our energy from the Sun - and Plants are what absorbs the energy

  • Plants absorb and retain CO2 and release oxygen; by burning wood we release CO2 INTO EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE and generate energy

  • Coals, Natural Gas and Petroleum also called Fossil Fuels (generated by species that died and were buried in the swamps with their remains) is what we found in the underbelly of mother earth - which is a source of energy

  • The problem with burning fossil fuels is that it generates energy but releases CO2 emissions into the earth’s atmosphere and there might be a limited supply of it. Natural Gas is the lesser of the two evils

  • The two major categories which consumes energy in today’s world is electricity and transportation

  • The two major issues we are dealing with here is

    a. A release of CO2 emissions has a significant impact on temperature - even a 1 degree of temperature increase will melt ice glaciers and cities will submerge under water 

    • b. We may eventually run out of fossil fuels 

  • Technological breakthroughs happen when there are five factors present -

    • Greed - To ACQUIRE MORE

    • Raging Ambition - A DRIVE FOR SUCCESS

    • Survival - of your existence

    • Accountability - reputation is at stake

    • Competition - to one up your competitors

  • Otherwise there are incremental improvements -and nobody is trying to breakthrough, but make changes to maintain status quo.

  • In order for a revolution to happen - we need breakthroughs and when there is a breakthrough - industries collapse and survival instinct kicks in - and industries are forced to adapt or perish

  • The biggest factor that causes a performance to go up or down is the environment we are in. Human beings adapt to our environment (We are the average of 5 people we hang out with).

    • Tobacco industry was in a status quo like situation making money and no accountability until special interest groups started causing an uproar about health risks, then they adopted the strategy of misinformation

  • Similarly coal, gas and oil industries including auto industries are scared of disruption and ARE looking to kill the EV vehicles

  • Elon Musk is the crusader who is beginning to cause the disruption for the greater good of humanity - by building battery charged vehicles

  • and that's why we need to invest and support electric vehicles