Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler have a winner with Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. If you’re one to listen to the 24 hour news cycle, then you might think the world is burning. It’s not often we hear about the technology being developed which will change our future for the better. When we do, it is often limited to electric vehicles and battery storage, which dominates the news. Visionary business leaders like Elon Musk suck up a lot of the air in the room. However, there is so much more going on.
The Future Is Bright
Diamandis and Kotler break up their book into topics of concern in the future; from water, food, energy, and healthcare to education and freedom. Within each major category the authors bring to light technologies which aren’t as well known. These technologies, however, have an opportunity to rock their respective industries. Topics like aeroponics, vertical farming, and lab grown organs are highlighted and explained. Something the authors do well is to extrapolate how technologies in progress today could impact a number of industries in the future. For instance, how could AI influence patient diagnosis? With all of these topics, the main theme is discovering how to create abundance. They seek to expand the pie rather than get creative with how to divide up the current pie. What a novel idea!
Grow the Pie
Using that last analogy, I think it’s important to realize that we need both. We should simultaneously devise new ways to grow efficiencies in our current technology and processes as well as seek new technologies which provide exponential upgrades. While Diamandis and Kotler advocate exponential thinking, I believe the future lies at the crossroads of exponential and incremental thinking. If you look at history, scientific fields often play this game. Most of the scientists who have ever lived have made only incremental improvements to their respective fields. Occassionally, we’ll get an Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein who take a giant leap forward. Some of those leaps truly are giant.
It’s hard to measure how much total improvement in technology came from the few exponential thinkers and how many from the masses of incremental thinkers. I do think it would be foolish to overlook either one if our goal is abundance for all of humanity.
Abundance is an excellent read to get you thinking about future technologies. If you are an entrepreneur looking for a new startup venture this book could help get the juices flowing. Diamandis and Kotler provided a convincing argument for expanding our thinking and looking for ways to grow the pie for everyone. I ‘read’ the audiobook of Abundance using my library’s Overdrive app. Check with your local library to see if they use Overdrive. I love their platform and have found that I can listen to a ton of books during my daily tasks: driving, working out, etc. Support your library to ensure their continued existence!
If you’re interested in this topic and are looking for more books to dive into, try out Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity. If you’re interested in genetics and bioethics, try our Siddhartha Murkherjee’s The Gene.