4 min read

3D printing & the future of retail

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 19, 2020

Forget costly prototypes, traditional textile manufacturing, product recalls, and the like… 3D printing is about to turn the entire retail industry on its head.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Abundance Entrepreneurship AI Exponentials Mindset Abundance 360 future of retail exponential technology electric vehicles future tech
6 min read

Proof of exponential tech growth

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 15, 2020

Exponential growth is happening all around us, but it can be hard to see.

Topics: Robotics Abundance Entrepreneurship AI Exponentials Mindset Abundance 360 machine learning internet of things exponential technology electric vehicles future tech
9 min read

Metatrends shaping the next decade

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 12, 2020

Over the next decade, waves of exponential technological advancements are stacking atop one another, eclipsing decades of breakthroughs in scale and impact.

Topics: Abundance Entrepreneurship AI Exponentials Mindset Abundance 360 machine learning healthcare exponential technology agtech future tech
12 min read

the next data-driven Healthtech Revolution

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 5, 2020

Increasing your healthspan (i.e. making 100 years old the new 60) will depend to a large degree on artificial intelligence.

Topics: Abundance Data Sensors AI Medicine/Health Longevity health healthcare mobile health preventive medicine digital devices aging mHealth
8 min read

Longevity & Vitality - A Renaissance of Drugs and Genomics

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 21, 2020

The causes of aging are extremely complex and unclear.

Topics: Abundance AI Medicine/Health Longevity health healthcare preventive medicine Stem Cells protein-folding aging
6 min read

why we age....

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 14, 2020

Healthcare today is reactive, retrospective, bureaucratic and expensive. It's sick care, not healthcare.

Topics: Abundance AI Medicine/Health Longevity health healthcare preventive medicine Stem Cells protein-folding aging
5 min read

The Future of Technological (Un)Employment

By Peter H. Diamandis on Feb 23, 2020

Headline after headline tells us technological unemployment is on its way.

Topics: Future of Work Robotics Abundance Manufacturing Entrepreneurship AI Exponentials Amazon the Internet retooling automation workplace automation unemployment employment human-machine collaboration
10 min read

20 Metatrends for the Roaring 20s

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jan 5, 2020

In the decade ahead, waves of exponential technological advancements are stacking atop one another, eclipsing decades of breakthroughs in scale and impact.

Topics: 3D Printing AR/VR Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Finance AI Exponentials Exponential Organizations space exploration Singularity machine learning networks 5G Augmented Reality trillion sensor economy Business Models Brain computer interface internet of things Spatial Web exponential technology bci brain machine interface energy abundance future of energy smart economy trends 2020s 2020 sustainability
7 min read

Abundance Insider: January 4th, 2020

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jan 4, 2020

In this week's Abundance Insider: 2020’s top space missions, first-ever quantum teleportation, and AI’s novel applications in real estate.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

P.P.P.S. Want a chance to read Peter’s upcoming book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Peter and Steven, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

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The seven most exciting space missions of 2020.

What it is: Following a year of countless rocket launches and new space targets, the decade ahead is set to witness a boom in space exploration. And 2020 is giving us a head start, from robot-manned Mars missions, to private crewed missions into orbit.

What’s in store for 2020: Among this year’s four planned Mars missions––all aiming for summer launches––are NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which will leverage new instruments to probe the possibilities of extraterrestrial life; China’s Huoxing-1, slated to study the Martian atmosphere and terrain for 90 days; the UAE’s Hope Mars Mission orbiter, which will study Mars’ atmospheric chemistry from above; and Rosalind Franklin, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos’ joint Mars rover. In the realm of private spaceflight, both SpaceX and Boeing are amidst final preparations before launching NASA astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner, respectively, destined for the ISS. While both these missions are targeting Q1 launch dates, others––like that of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin––aim to launch crewed capsules later in the year. In the case of Blue Origin’s New Shepard, for instance, the vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing suborbital rocket is expected to take humans into space by year’s end. And when it comes to lunar missions, both NASA and China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) are racing ahead, NASA with a first (more limited) iteration of its Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion deep-space capsule, and CNSA with its Chang’e 5 lunar mission.

Physicists Just Achieved The First-Ever Quantum Teleportation Between Computer Chips.

What it is: For the first time ever, a research team led by physicists at the University of Bristol has now demonstrated quantum teleportation of information between two micrometer-scale silicon chips. Instead of relying on the flow of electrons for data transfer (as occurs in a typical computer), information was passed between the two computer chips using a quantum effect known as entanglement. In entanglement, the state of one particle is inextricably tied to the state of the other. Measuring one particle, in turn, immediately reveals information about the other. In this way, entanglement has now proved an effective method teleporting, or transmitting, data between devices without a physical electronic connection. And while still relegated to a controlled lab environment, the research team ultimately achieved high-fidelity quantum teleportation of 91 percent.

Why it’s important: While still a poorly understood phenomenon, quantum entanglement shows promising and highly consequential applications for the future of computing. As explained by Beijing University scientist and one of the study’s authors, Dr. Jianwei Wang, “In the future, a single silicon-chip integration of quantum photonic devices and classical electronic controls will open the door for fully chip-based CMOS-compatible quantum communication and information processing networks.” In effect, these early demonstrations of quantum entanglement’s utility will soon pave the way for a new generation of chips, processors, and networks, not to mention extraordinarily powerful computers.

New Tomato Ideal for Urban Gardens and Even Outer Space Created Through Genetic Editing.

What it is: A new batch of tomatoes, genetically engineered to thrive in urban landscapes, could redefine contemporary agriculture. These crops, grown by a team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, were modified using CRISPR to mature at an accelerated pace and produce vines more densely packed with fruit. Ready to harvest in less than 40 days, these tomatoes can grow in tiered farming warehouses or converted storage units in urban settings. To achieve this feat, the SELF PRUNING (SP) and SP5G genes, which control reproductive growth and plant size, were altered to make the plants blossom and produce fruit sooner. The SIER gene, which controls stem length, was also modified to make the plants as compact as possible–– ideal for limited space in urban settings. In success, this careful curation of gene edits has yielded optimal crop growth characteristics while preserving the tomato's flavor.

Why it’s important: Over 500 million people live on land already degraded by deforestation, changing weather patterns, and agricultural overuse, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Decoupling food production from land will reduce the harmful environmental impacts of mass farming, including land degradation and fertilizer runoff into water sources. At the same time, these plants will provide city dwellers with far fresher, more nutritious food, while generating a fraction of the transportation footprint. And from an economic standpoint, the genetically engineered crops win out as well, capable of yielding more fruit, operating year-round in climate-controlled conditions, and thereby offering unprecedented control in the food production process. Beyond the implications of this new plant on Earth, however, even NASA has now expressed interest in the technology, allowing us to envision a future wherein urbanized tomatoes (and other crops) may soon travel not only into our cities, but also beyond our atmosphere.

How AI Is Really Going To Change Real Estate In 2020 And Beyond.

What it is: By 2030, AI is estimated to add over $15 trillion to the global GDP, according to PwC. And among industries most affected, real estate holds a plethora of AI opportunities over the next decade. While many real estate firms already use virtual reality, smart contracts, virtual assistants, and voice bots to assist customers, countless unrealized opportunities remain. Susanne Eickermann-Riepe, Head of Real Estate at PwC Germany, points to four main applications of AI in real estate: (1) automating routine tasks; (2) augmenting intelligence to help people accomplish tasks more efficiently and productively; (3) expanding business intelligence to inform better human decisions; and (4) fully autonomous AI decision-making. In the wake of surging data collection, AI algorithms will also inform more effective marketing efforts, for instance predicting when a prospect might sell or purchase a property, and at what price.

Why it’s important: As AI’s early pitfalls continue to be identified and adjusted for, the time is now for real estate (typically a late-mover industry) to take advantage of the technology. Already, numerous real estate startups are jumping on the bandwagon. Take Nobbas, for instance, which offers a Tinder-like property search interface, or PropertyNest, which matches customers with listings based on their credit scores. By reducing time spent on routine tasks and offering more information about customer behavior, AI can provide considerable assistance to real estate brokers and investors in established firms as well. Key pain points to improve upon over the next decade include data availability, data quality, and standardization, yet many of these are already lessening in importance as the data-driven revolution takes hold. A meta-trend we are beginning to witness across the board, AI tools and Software as a service (SaaS) are fast becoming the most vital collaborators to human employees and entrepreneurs, whether in real estate, retail, finance, or health.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com.

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider AI space exploration Real Estate Artificial Intellegence Private Space SpaceX future of real estate vertical farming genetic engineering
8 min read

Abundance Insider: December 21st, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Dec 21, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: AI-induced super resolution, robotic safety inspectors, and Lamborghini’s inroads in 3D printing.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

P.P.P.S. Want a chance to read Peter’s upcoming book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Peter and Steven, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

Share Abundance Insider on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.

It’s Not You. Clothing Sizes Are Broken.

What it is: Size and fit are two of the leading reasons for online returns, according to e-commerce software company Narvar Inc., translating to costs that further reduce retailers’ already slim profit margins. From 3D body-scanning apps like MTailer and My Size, to startup Shima Seiki’s machines that knit garments with less than 1% variation, a plethora of companies has recently emerged to combat the issue of inconsistent sizing. Women’s sizes in the U.S. range from 00 to 18, yet there are no standardized body metrics across these sizes. This type of variation is not represented in online sizing guides, and few explain the stretch or texture of the fabric, which may also affect fit. Solutions like those offered by True Fit Corp.—which uses a data platform and AI-driven personalized recommendation engine to help consumers find their right size and taste-tailored items—are growing in demand from major retailers. Others, like RedThread, use 3D mobile body scanning and tailoring algorithms to best determine fit.

Why it’s important: Some executives, like Levi Strauss & Co.’s CEO Chip Bergh, believe sizes will become obsolete in the next decade. Smartphone-conducted body scans will offer precise measurements that automatically populate online retail platforms. From there, fits can be matched with existing designs or tailored with programmed sewing machines. Offering an even more personalized fit, 3D-printed garments are also on the rise, changing the economics of mass manufacturing. As retail sales continue to migrate to online platforms, virtual try-on software is slated to decimate returns—now a major pain point for both the retailer and the consumer. Yet the convergence of these technologies will not only cut costs, but will also dramatically reduce the environmental toll of shipping, packaging, and textile waste.

AI super resolution lets you “zoom and enhance” in Pixelmator Pro.

What it is: For just $60, Pixelmator is making the “zoom and enhance” trope seen in movies (the ability to zoom into images and retain sharpness) a reality. Using AI algorithms, Pixelmator’s “ML Super Resolution” is a novel function that allows users to scale an image up to 3X its original resolution without pixelation or blurriness. Similar to Google’s and Nvidia’s algorithms, Pixelmator’s software is trained on a dataset containing pairs of low-resolution and high-resolution images and thereby generates rules for how the pixels change from image to image. Pixelmator, however, is about 50 times smaller (than its Google and Nvidia counterparts) at just 5MB, which is lightweight enough to run on a device and needs merely 15,000 sample images to create the tool.

Why it’s important: In just the past 12 months, we’ve seen an explosion in AI and machine learning tool sets newly democratized for accessible consumer use. Yet many have required significant computing resources for top performance. Now, however, products like Pixelmator’s “ML Super Resolution” have achieved powerful algorithms trained on significantly lighter data sets that require far less memory and power. Particularly in the art and imaging realm, the availability of such algorithms to end users will lower the barrier for artists, filmmakers, and small firms in everything from design to marketing.

Lamborghini places emphasis on additive manufacturing, extends partnership with Carbon.

What it is: 3D printing company Carbon has just expanded its partnership with Lamborghini. Famous for its Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology—which prints components using a photochemical process leveraging oxygen and light—Carbon plans to use DLS to manufacture the dashboard air vents for Lamborghini’s first hybrid production car, the Sián FKP 37. This development follows Carbon’s earlier work in partnership with the car maker, whereby it produced textured fuel caps and air duct clips for the Urus Super Vehicles. Successful in reducing Lamborghini’s production time to just 12 weeks, Carbon’s DLS can produce geometric shapes that are extraordinarily difficult to mold using traditional processes, which often include multiple iterations on the design.

Why it’s important: 3D printing is transforming the manufacturing industry (literally) from the bottom-up, whether in production of minute, customized and complex automotive parts to rocket engine parts and organ tissues. We’re rapidly entering an era of programmable production, allowing for far cheaper, more versatile, and quickly prototyped goods. As 3D printing technologies move from deceptive to disruptive, what potential uses might you experiment with in your own business?

Building robotic safety inspectors nabs Gecko Robotics $40 million.

What it is: Pittsburgh-based Gecko Robotics has just landed US$40 million in additional financing, which it will use to add an additional 40 robots to its 60-bot fleet, helping meet demand for the company’s safety and infrastructure monitoring services. Gecko’s wall-climbing robots perform non-destructive testing on industrial machinery like tanks and boilers, assessing metrics like wall thickness, cracking, and pitting. Gecko’s robots can even predictively detect other issues likely to result in downtime or more serious hazards, such as explosions and emissions leaks.

Why it’s important: While much of today’s public debate on robotics centers around the replacement of human labor, one emerging phenomenon in the industry involves preventative, automated approaches to safety and compliance use cases. In many of these cases, robotics and software services like that of Gecko are augmenting human experts’ capabilities by granting them new data, which would otherwise be extremely difficult or hazardous to collect manually. Increasingly a collaborator for human practitioners, robotics and AI are beginning to tackle industrial monitoring tasks that have never before been possible, preventing infrastructural and machinery damage before it occurs.

How artificial intelligence is making health care more human.

What it is: MIT Technology Review Insights, in association with GE Healthcare, recently released survey results of over 900 healthcare professionals, revealing the ways in which AI is already being used in healthcare. Nearly 80% of respondents are set to increase their budgets on AI applications in 2020. And today, the key areas in which AI is already being deployed include: (1) AI for patient flow optimization; (2) medical imaging and diagnostics; (3) automation of electronic health records via natural language processing tools; (4) AI for predictive analytics; and (5) patient data and risk  analytics. In terms of outcomes, 78% of medical staffers report that AI deployments have already improved workflows, reducing time spent on mundane administrative tasks and thus unlocking more time for procedures and patient interactions. Even more importantly, AI is reducing clinical errors, and 75% of AI-using medical staff agree that the technology has bettered predictions in disease treatment.

Why it’s important: AI is transforming the healthcare system as we know it, touching everything from diagnostics to drug discovery. In the wake of “smart” patient scheduling tools, even the number of patients seen by doctors per day has been maximized. And AI is even helping optimize outcomes of the appointments themselves. Medical professionals typically spend 10% of their workweek taking notes or updating electronic health records. As AI begins to systematize these repetitive tasks, doctors are freed to dedicate more time to procedures and patient relations. Applying AI algorithms to medical imaging has also already improved clinical decision-making. For reference, surveyed doctors who have yet to adopt AI report clinical error as their key challenge two-thirds of the time (more than double the figure for those who have adopted AI tools). Moving forward, doctors and healthcare workers must continue to collaborate with machines, leveraging comprehensive pools of AI-mediated data to make important medical decisions. An invaluable new collaborator, AI is helping doctors and clinicians focus on what they do best, helping humanize the healthcare industry and improve the patient experience.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com.

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider AR/VR AI machine learning Artificial Intellegence Batteries solar energy drone technology social responsibility
8 min read

Abundance Insider: December 13th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Dec 13, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Coca-Cola’s autonomous truck pilot, a new approach to computer vision, and the mysterious ‘X17 particle.’

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

P.P.P.S. Want a chance to read Peter’s upcoming book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Peter and Steven, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

Share Abundance Insider on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.

High-Tech Planes, Supercomputers and Helitankers Help Fight Wildfires.

What it is: Firefighters are increasingly adopting sophisticated technologies in the fight against blazes. Fire departments across Southern California have now partnered with Dr. llkay Altintas, head of the WIFIRE Lab and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (part of UCSD). WIFIRE combines weather data, topography, and information about the dryness of brush to model in near-real time how a wildfire might spread and at what speeds. This, in turn, helps local leaders create evacuation plans and determine where departments might deploy fire crews. Until recently, mapping fires has been a laborious, hard-drawn process that often requires as much as a day of work. Yet armed with far more accurate data, firefighters and partners such as Coulson Aviation are now using military-grade night-vision goggles to operate at night, when winds often die down and give teams an advantage over the fire. The night vision goggles allow teams to determine key geographic targets as well as hover for water refills without having to land their helitankers.

Why it’s important: As the cost of computing power plummets, converging technologies are beginning to aid in disaster relief at price tags now affordable for budget-strapped state and local governments. While AI grants fire departments far more predictive capacity and higher mapping speeds, its hardware counterparts (whether drones, sensors, or the like) are finding their way into other realms of disaster relief, and even disaster prevention.

Coca-Cola test-drives Einride’s autonomous truck in Sweden.

What it is: Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) will soon release a fleet of Einride autonomous electric transport vehicles onto the streets of Jordbro, Sweden. Founded in 2016, Einride has produced sleek “T-Pod” electric propulsion trucks that do not require a driver, though there are still remote drivers who can take control if needed. Currently, the T-Pods carry 200kWh batteries that allow for 124 miles of travel between charges. The fleet will transport goods from two warehouses, operated by CCEP and leading food retailer Axfood, just outside of Stockholm. Some will remain in fenced regions while others will interact on public roads.

Why it’s important: Road freight transport contributes about 7 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions each year. CCEP aims to use these Einride vehicles to meet its sustainability and efficiency goals. The company projects it could cut its carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90 percent with these new vehicles. After a hoped-for success of this pilot test, the fleet could even potentially scale across the nation of Sweden, throughout which CCEP distributes Coca-Cola products. Sustainable supply chains will grow increasingly important as consumers desire greater transparency in their purchasing decisions and place more emphasis on environmentally responsible goods.

Observe.ai raises $26 million for AI that monitors and coaches call center agents.

What it is: While numerous Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms are beginning to disrupt the customer service realm, some SaaS products are designed to augment human customer care workers. One example involves U.S.-Indian startup and Y Combinator alum Observe.ai, which just announced a $26 million series A funding round. Observe.ai uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze conversations between human agents and customers. After transcribing each call, Observe’s platform runs sentiment analysis, draws correlations between the support agent’s verbal and behavioral data and the customer’s happiness level, and then ultimately determines overall customer satisfaction. This data is then used to benchmark top performers and find best practices across teams. Results can even be applied to other discrete use cases, such as monitoring compliance in the healthcare industry, where conversations involve sensitive and often legally protected information.

Why it’s important: Observe and a number of other companies—NICE, Verint, Cogito, Gong, Chorus.ai, among others—make up a growing number of companies using AI improve the connection between humans, as opposed to replacing it outright. While many fear the encroachment of AI and automation on our contemporary job market, in what areas might we flip this concern? How might we leverage AIs to help augment our social and professional skills, provide a better service, or gain common ground with our clients?

Machine vision that sees things more the way we do is easier for us to understand.

What it is: Researchers have devised a new method for training neural networks in image recognition. Rather than training their model on full images of birds, scientists from Duke University and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory trained a network specifically on features of birds: beak shape, head shape, feather coloration and the like. When the algorithm is then presented with a new picture of a bird, it searches for specific features, generates predictions about the bird’s species, and uses the cumulative evidence to come to a final conclusion.

Why it’s important: Recently, the push to make neural networks more explainable and transparent has gained significant traction in both the private sector and academia. Especially in the case of high-stakes applications—such as medical image recognition—AIs that can demonstrate which features contributed to its decision will help to solve the longstanding “black box” problem associated with today’s algorithms. By engineering neural networks to devise predictions in a manner more akin to our own human thought processes, AI engineers will also be able to more easily diagnose problems when networks make incorrect predictions.

A nanotube material conducts heat in just one direction.

What it is: Scientists at the University of Tokyo have now developed a method of synthesizing aligned carbon nanotubes. Normally, producing nanotubes in a bulk material results in poorly aligned configurations of individual tubes. Yet in order to take advantage of the thermal properties of the tube, it is necessary to align the tubes end-to-end. To achieve this, the researchers used a technique known as controlled vacuum filtration, a procedure whereby nanotubes are mixed with a liquid solution whose properties induce a natural self-organization of the tubes. The liquid is then carefully removed with a vacuum, leaving a thin sheet of highly-aligned nanotubes. This sheet has some extraordinary properties: perhaps most importantly, it has one-way thermal conductivity. This means that the sheet can conduct heat about 1,000 times more efficiently in the direction of the alignment than perpendicular to the alignment.

Why it’s important: Heat leakage is a tremendous problem for electrical engineers and circuit designers. This one-way thermal conduction material could serve as a game-changing solution, as it mitigates the need for large cooling systems and can interact at the nanoscale (the size of modern-day transistors). Needless to say, more efficient cooling systems will open tremendous new possibilities in design for computer hardware engineers.

Mysterious ‘Particle X17’ Could Carry a Newfound Fifth Force of Nature, But Most Experts Are Skeptical.

What it is: Four fundamental forces—gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force—govern the universe as we know it. Yet the reported discovery of a particle dubbed X17 could add a fifth force to this list. Researchers at the Institute of Nuclear Research in Hungary first reported evidence of the particle in 2016, when they noticed radioactive beryllium atoms releasing pairs of electrons and their antimatter counterparts (positrons) at specific angles. Based on this evidence, the team concluded that there must be an intermediary “particle X” that the beryllium atom converts into before emitting the electron-positron pairs. With a mass of 17 megaelectronvolts, the particle earned its name X17. More recently, the team even detected a similar X17 particle of the same mass in the radioactive decay of helium. While most matter is made up of fermion particles, the X17 particle is considered a boson, meaning it carries energy and sometimes forces.

Why it’s important: Studying the X17 boson-type particle could unlock important insights into the nature of dark matter and potentially even a fifth force. Dark matter constitutes 85 percent of matter in the universe, yet is only detectable through gravity and does not react to light. The globally held Standard Model of particle physics could be revolutionized by this finding. Most research in the past fifty years has relied heavily on high-energy accelerators to collide particles at rapid speeds, but this team’s work offers a lower-cost alternative to understanding our universe. While findings have not yet been peer-reviewed, several groups are working to verify the Hungarian research institute’s work, driving progress towards a more accurate understanding of the matter that makes up our universe.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com.

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider AR/VR AI machine learning Artificial Intellegence Batteries solar energy drone technology social responsibility
8 min read

Abundance Insider: December 6th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Dec 6, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: DeepMind’s latest AI win, a promising treatment candidate for pancreatic cancer, and 5 emerging energy technologies.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

P.P.P.S. Want a chance to read Peter’s upcoming book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Peter and Steven, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

Share Abundance Insider on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.

Google DeepMind gamifies memory with its latest AI work.

What it is: If you’ve ever wished you could go back in time to tell your younger self a critical piece of advice, AIs may soon be able to do just that within their own networks. Google’s DeepMind unit recently announced a program that resembles the human capacity to mentally time travel by incorporating long-term consequences into machine learning. AI programs typically rely on reinforcement learning with short-term, immediate “rewards.” DeepMind’s new program, called Temporal Value Transport (TVT), transforms reinforcement learning by sending reward signals backwards from far in the future as an alternative form of neural networks. The program operates in simulated worlds, and it might “explore” a path to a certain target. If the program uses its memory of this path in a future pursuit to the same target, it is rewarded. This process, termed the “Reconstructive Memory Agent,” marks the first time memories of past events have been “encoded.”

Why it’s important: Many sociologists and economists have explored the realm of long-term human decision-making. While DeepMind’s TVT is not entirely representative of human thought, the cognitive mechanisms of the program could greatly impact human thought processes. We easily learn to avoid hot stoves after accidentally burning our hand once. Yet many of us fall into the long-term pattern of following an unfulfilling career path. Because long-term decisions lack immediate feedback, the signs pointing us in the “right direction” are difficult to detect and learn from early on. With the help of AIs that generate future pathways and then inform us of consequences in the present, humans could learn in entirely new ways. From investment decisions to government policy, wisdom from the future will undoubtedly aid our present choices.entertainment, and human interaction.

Jet-powered VTOL drone is like a quadcopter on steroids.

What it is: Texas-based FusionFlight has just invented a jet-powered drone capable of vertical take-off and landing operations. Yet rather than using propellers and electric motors like traditional drones, this drone ups the ante, using four diesel-powered microturbine jet engines and a proprietary vectoring system. Known as the H-Configuration, this latter component enables the drone to direct its engines’ thrust either vertically (for take-off and landing) or horizontally (while in flight). Reportedly capable of reaching a top speed of over 300 mph, the aircraft’s final production version includes a fuel tank sufficient for 30 minutes of hovering and 15 minutes of cruising. Down the line, FusionFlight aims to boost speed and performance with afterburners and other components.

Why it’s important: Drones are rapidly permeating our airspace. They are now used for crop monitoring, military combat, delivery services, and viral YouTube videos. FusionFlight’s newest iteration expands the range of possibilities for drones, especially in the case of time-sensitive tasks, where speed is key. Furthermore, enabled by its jets’ production of a combined 200 horsepower, the drone can carry up to 40 pounds of cargo, making it an ideal candidate for shipping and delivery applications.

Israeli scientists find a way to treat deadly pancreatic cancer in 14 days.

What it is: After just two weeks of daily injections, a new treatment reduced the number of cancerous pancreatic cells in mice by up to 90 percent. Led by Professor Malka Cohen-Armonat at Tel Aviv University, the team used a molecule called PJ34, one originally developed to treat stroke patients. After implanting human pancreatic cancer into immune-suppressed mice, the team intravenously injected the PJ34 treatment for fourteen days. During the cell replication process known as mitosis, the PJ34 molecule causes an anomaly that triggers the cell to self-destruct. In cancer cells that are duplicating uncontrollably, this type of stop signal is critical to controlling the tumor. Only 30 days after the treatment ended, an 80-90 percent reduction in cancer cells was observed, accompanied by zero negative impacts to healthy cells.

Why it’s important: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, and few patients survive more than five years after diagnosis. Today, most treatment options involve chemotherapy, a systemic approach aimed at halting cell division in the entire body. Yet because this form of therapy lacks discriminatory targeting, cell replication slows across the entire body, causing many patients to experience negative side effects like hair loss, inflammation of the digestive tract, and decreased blood cell production. A solution like PJ34, which specifically targets only cancer cells, could revolutionize cancer therapy and significantly enhance patient quality of life. Venturing beyond pancreatic cancer, the team even successfully tested the treatment on cell cultures of aggressive forms of breast, lung, brain and ovarian cancer. According to the team, this treatment is about two years away from human trials, potentially promising a major boost to healthy human lifespans.

5 Emerging Energy Technologies to Watch Out For in 2020.

The story: This year, technologies in solar, wind, and battery storage have achieved remarkable economies of scale and now compete almost at parity with fossil fuels. In the coming year, breakthrough after breakthrough may finally usher in a watershed moment for the energy sector, and experts recommend keeping an eye on several key areas.

What to watch: (1) Floating solar arrays have surged in popularity for use on freshwater bodies, but photovoltaic solar panels are now moving to the open ocean. (2) Static compressors, which help to maintain the constant frequency of electric power grids, are starting to see an uptick in certain countries and should help with overall incorporation of renewables into the power grid. (3) Several companies are now working to increase the power capacity of dynamic export cables. These are critical to bringing power from offshore floating wind turbines (as opposed to static turbines fixed to the seafloor) back to shore. (4) Now backed by significant funding, molten salt reactors are a new form of nuclear power that promise to emit less radiation than traditional nuclear. (5) Renewably produced hydrogen has witnessed considerable growth in at least 10 countries, with projected utility in everything from industrial heating and cooling to the integration of renewables into the grid. As plummeting renewable energy costs and improved grid storage propel us into 2020, we may soon expect dramatic shifts in the global energy economy.

SLAC scientists invent a way to see attosecond electron motions with an X-ray laser.

What it is: Researchers at Stanford University have developed a method to measure electrons at an unfathomable timescale: 280 attoseconds, to be precise. For reference, an attosecond is to a second what a second is to roughly 31.71 billion years, longer than the age of the universe. To achieve this, the researchers developed a procedure involving X-ray bursts generated by fast-moving electron bursts. To see at smaller and smaller timescales, scientists needed to create shorter and more intense bursts. These bursts, in turn, create the requisite intense and fast X-rays when they are passed through a magnet. Ultimately, the Stanford scientists were able to develop a more capable beam using a technique called XLEAP, first proposed about 14 years ago but now finally coming to fruition.

Why it’s important: This is a tremendous boost for ultrafast science. “Until now, we could precisely observe the motions of atomic nuclei, but the much faster electron motions that actually drive chemical reactions were blurred out,” explained SLAC scientist James Cryan, one of the paper’s lead authors and an investigator with the Stanford PULSE Institute (a joint institute of SLAC and Stanford University). “With this advance, we’ll be able to use an X-ray laser to see how electrons move around and how that sets the stage for the chemistry that follows. It pushes the frontiers of ultrafast science.” What does this mean? Now capable of observing at infinitesimal scales, we may soon probe some of the world’s most fundamental mysteries, particularly in photosynthesis and biochemistry.

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Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com.

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

The Future is Faster Than You Think: Want a chance to read my new book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Steven and me, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

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Topics: Abundance Insider AR/VR AI machine learning Artificial Intellegence Batteries solar energy drone technology social responsibility
7 min read

Abundance Insider: November 29th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 29, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: New haptic device for VR, socially aware algorithms, and NASA’s supermassive black hole finding.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

P.P.P.S. Want a chance to read Peter’s upcoming book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Peter and Steven, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

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New virtual reality interface enables “touch” across long distances.

What it is: A Northwestern University team has created a lightweight wearable patch that vibrates when activated by another user’s touch— from miles away. Using this technology, a mother was able to remotely “pat” her son on the back while video chatting him. As she touched a screen interface, this data was communicated through a haptic device on her son’s back, stimulating identical touch patterns. Most of today’s haptic feedback devices rely on batteries, requiring bulky containers that cannot fit snugly against the skin. By contrast, this new patch consists of a vibrating disk—only a few millimeters thick—that is powered by near-field communication, a wireless power transfer typically used in ID card locks. External silicone sheets protect the two inner layers of the device: one containing the near-field communication technology to power the device, and another holding miniature actuators that simulate various degrees of touch pressure. Led by physical chemist and materials scientist John A. Rogers, the team now aims to make the patch more flexible and lightweight before commercializing the device through their newly established startup.

Why it’s important: While today’s audiovisual interfaces have long captured our eyes and ears, incorporating the dimension of touch into our devices will add another layer of immersion in tomorrow’s digitally augmented world. For VR and AR devices, this haptic technology could transform virtual simulations into tactile physical environments—without any real materials. The Northwestern team’s device currently conveys only perpendicular pressure against the skin, but eventually the patch may be able to simulate even twisting motions or temperature changes. The technology will also likely expand beyond simple patches into full body suits, capable of translating touch interactions between individuals, or between game worlds and reality. The ability to see, hear, and feel in a digital simulation will drastically disrupt travel, entertainment, and human interaction.

New Amazon capabilities put machine learning in reach of more developers.

What it is: Amazon has just announced a new approach that will make machine learning models more accessible to both developers and business users. By taking advantage of tools like Amazon QuickSight, Aurora and Athena, anyone who can write in basic SQL can now make and use predictions in one’s applications without having to generate custom code. To make the process even easier, these machine learning models themselves can come pre-built from Amazon Web Services (AWS), be developed by an in-house data science team, or purchased in AWS’s ML marketplace.

Why it’s important: As explained by AWS cloud and open source executive Matt Asay, “there is often a large amount of fiddly, manual work required to take these predictions and make them part of a broader application, process or analytics dashboard.” Amazon’s initiative marks a significant step towards machine learning’s User Interface moment, removing friction and making AI’s predictive power more accessible to a large set of users. Keep on the lookout for a surge in easy-to-build applications and experiments as sophisticated Software as a Service (SaaS) products hit the marketplace.

Socially aware algorithms are ready to help.

What it is: In light of growing concern about AI’s obscure inner workings, software engineers and data scientists responsible for many of the algorithms involved in our everyday online activity have increasingly used more socially aware algorithmic structures. For instance, data scientists now use a technique known as “differential privacy” to add random “noise” to data sets, preserving the overall structure whilst obscuring individual data. This, in turn, helps to anonymize our data and thereby protect user privacy. Other techniques include the addition of fairness criteria, such that predictive models’ output—from creditworthiness to insurance-related decisions—minimize bias where possible.

Why it’s important: As machine learning algorithms are granted greater responsibility over socially consequential decisions (think: our ability to take out loans or a legal decision to grant bail), problems of privacy, bias, disinformation, filter bubbles, and transparency abound. As a result, AI engineers have begun working on algorithms’ ability to explain their decisions, overcoming their status as mysterious “black boxes.” Meanwhile, the above fairness conditions are a promising start in our pursuit to build equitable, unbiased, and evidence-based algorithms: predictive models that prove accurate without perpetuating “fake news,” racial inequalities, and a slew of other social challenges. Differential privacy, fairness conditions, and similar tweaks do result in some costs to algorithmic “utility” and error rate in the short-term. However, such initiatives will be essential for a future wherein machine learning helps safeguard equitable, systemic decision-making and privacy, while protecting against some of today’s worst institutional tendencies.

NASA finds supermassive black hole birthing stars at “furious rate.”

What it is: Scientists have now discovered a supermassive blackhole at the center of a distant galaxy cluster “furiously” birthing stars at a rate about 500 times that of the Milky Way Galaxy. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the team of astronomers was able to observe the equivalent of trillions of Suns’ worth of hot gas cooling around the black hole within the Phoenix Cluster, some 5.8 billion light years away.

Why it’s important: Typically, the supermassive blackholes at the center of galaxy clusters are too active for star formation. They usually blow powerful streams of gas around the region, heating up interstellar hydrogen and preventing the gas from cooling down enough to trigger the creation of new stars. However, as this blackhole in the Phoenix Cluster is smaller than others, its jets are not as powerful, allowing for prolific star formation. From a scientific perspective, observations like this enable us to better understand and characterize the lifecycle of galaxy clusters and the role that blackholes play in both preclusion and creation of new stars.

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Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com.

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

The Future is Faster Than You Think: Want a chance to read my new book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team (applications close on December 6th)! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Steven and me, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

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(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider AR/VR AI space exploration machine learning Artificial Intellegence Batteries nasa social responsibility haptic devices
9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 23rd, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 23, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Heliogen's concentrated solar power breakthrough, AI bots inventing new tools, and Lenovo's use of VR as an anesthesia alternative.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Lenovo pilots VR as an alternative to general anesthesia for kids.

What it is: As doctors realize the immense potential of VR in medical training, practitioners are now exploring equally profound medical applications of VR, namely its use for distraction of patients during surgical procedures. In partnership with the Starlight Children’s Foundation and (mobile device management provider) SOTI, Lenovo is now testing VR headsets as an alternative to general anesthetics for kids. Using largely off-the-shelf headgear and software—Lenovo Mirage Solo headsets and games curated by Starlight—participating hospitals, such as Children’s Hospital Colorado, have already seen impressive results. Whether in alleviating panic, pain, or similar side effects, the VR distraction aid has proved successful in everything from lumbar punctures and dressing of damaged limbs to endoscopies when combined with a local anesthetic.

Why it’s important: While virtual reality’s use cases in entertainment and even education are fairly obvious, a slew of niche applications across medicine are only now beginning to surface. Particularly as VR grows ever more hyper-realistic, thanks to surging bandwidth and resolution, resulting virtual experience products will soon be capable of addressing immersive distraction (in medical and other contexts) and even potentially long-term pain relief in adults.

Lab-grown meat gains muscle as it moves from petri dish to dinner plate.

What it is: A Harvard research team has now created lab-grown rabbit and cow muscle cells that resemble the texture and consistency of their animal counterparts. By applying regenerative medicine to food, the team at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) created an edible gelatin scaffold that could transform the scalability of lab-grown meat. Animal meat is primarily composed of skeletal muscle fibers that must adhere to a structure to grow. The team decided to create this structure out of gelatin using immersion Rotary Jet-Spinning (iRJS), which uses centrifugal force to spin long nanofibers of specific shapes and sizes. The gelatin fibers resemble the extracellular matrix and promote muscle cell growth. Eventually, the team hopes to design meats with defined textures, tastes, and nutritional profiles— all at an affordable price.

Why it’s important: Livestock contributes 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Yet the global market for meat is worth upwards of US$1.8 trillion. One third of human-consumed calories come from meat products, and the average American today eats 220 pounds of red meat and poultry each year (up from 167 pounds in 1990). To curb the detrimental environmental damage associated with these consumption habits, we need an alternative that tastes just as good. While many lab-grown meat companies have mastered texture, issues of price and scale still hinder widespread adoption of their products. The SEAS team’s gelatin scaffold technology could solve both challenges, as it allows muscle cells to quickly grow and can be ingested alongside meat. Now increasingly price-competitive, numerous lab-grown products, like Clara’s egg substitute and Memphis Meats’ meatballs, will soon begin to undercut plant-based products on the market today. But beyond economics, a host of new food tech advancements are allowing us to customize nutritional content, flavor profiles, and texture.

Bill Gates-backed solar startup announces major breakthrough.

What it is: Bill Gates-backed startup Heliogen recently unveiled its solar concentration technology, one expected to “commercially replace fuels with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun.” Founder Bill Gross (who also founded Idealab) has been working on the company in his very own incubator, alongside numerous other clean energy startups. The first of its kind, Heliogen’s system consists of a computer vision software that coordinates a large array of mirrors to reflect sunlight at a single target, which can then supply up to 1,000 degrees C of heat. This extreme amount of heat is necessary for industrial processes like those used to make cement, steel, and other materials, the production of which contributes to one-fifth of global fossil fuel emissions, according to Bill Gates. If companies purchase Heliogen’s system outright, however, Gross claims the technology could pay for itself within 2-3 years, reducing firms’ fossil fuel emissions by up to 60%.

Why it’s important: Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of global energy demand. Heliogen’s technology addresses a large chunk of the remaining 75% by providing an alternative energy supply for large industrial needs. Sunshine is a free commodity, and this simple fact offers a tremendous economic incentive for businesses to invest in effective concentrated solar power. Although our individual daily energy decisions impact the environment, large corporations can stand to both gain from and contribute to the shared pursuit of a zero-emissions future. While most heavy industry players rely solely on fossil fuels to achieve high temperatures, systems like that of Heliogen could provide long-term energy alternatives, capitalizing on an essentially free asset: the Sun.

Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools.

What it is: Programming researchers at OpenAI recently taught a group of AI bots to play hide-and-seek, unleashing them in teams of up to three agents on hundreds of millions of back-to-back games. While the AI hiders and seekers began with a clean slate and no play instructions, they soon learned to chase and hide, build fortifications (at about the 25 million-game mark), and even uncover unexpected uses of unusual tools. Engaged in a cat-and-mouse battle, OpenAI’s bots gradually learned increasingly complex attack and defense strategies. After nearly 390 million games, for instance, seeker bots learned to use virtual boxes to “surf” around the arena and gain visibility— a strategy quickly stymied by hiders, which learned to lock these boxes and prevent surfing after about 458 million games.

Why it’s important: The rapid progression of OpenAI bots’ game-playing strategies over millions of iterations, yielding advantageous traits, has been likened by some to the evolution of human intelligence. Yet more importantly, OpenAI’s algorithms demonstrated the remarkable ability to identify creative uses for undefined tools, paving the way for AIs that might soon solve far more complex strategy-related problems in unstructured contexts. According to Danny Lange, VP of AI at Unity Technologies (a game engine company), “There’s nothing here that prevents this from [...] going on a path where tool usage gets more and more complex.” Such complex tool usage (a hallmark of human intelligence) appears to be further spurred on by AI game play, as competitive environments prompt algorithms to learn from and circumvent their own mistakes over time.

Quantum computers learn to mark their own work.

What it is: Researchers at the University of Warwick have now devised a method to check answers output by a quantum computer. By using problems for which answers are already known, the team is able to quantify the effect of noise within the computer, creating two percentage metrics for determining accuracy. The first metric is an estimate of how close the quantum computer’s answer is to the real answer, while the second is a confidence score of that closeness. In this way, quantum computer engineers can further refine the machines, identifying sources of error and paving the way for future applications.

Why it’s important: By definition, quantum computers are designed for problems that would take classical computers an exponential amount of time to solve. Thus, in the past, researchers required exorbitant classical computing resources to error-check their answers—a task that quickly becomes infeasible in the case of applications designed for quantum computers. Yet with the researchers’ newly developed protocol, quantum computing systems can check themselves, independent of large servers, and thereby provide far more utility.

South Australia household batteries keeps lights on in Queensland after coal unit fails.

Story contributed by Tom Connor.

What it is: Last month, after a large power plant suddenly went offline in Queensland, Australia, an unlikely renewable contender came to the rescue. A distributed solar and battery project, the South Australia Virtual Power Plant (VPP)—led by US Battery and Tesla—aggregates stored solar resources from hundreds of homes with rooftop photovoltaic power stations (or rooftop PV). On October 9th, when the coal-fired Kogan Creek power station in Queensland tripped, reducing supply by 784 MW and putting the grid at risk, the VPP had a chance to prove its utility. Detecting the drop in frequency, the VPP immediately injected power from its 900+ systems back into the grid, helping to stabilize the system.

Why it’s important: Kogan Creek is the largest single power plant in Australia, so a distributed renewable energy network’s ability to immediately step in has drawn significant praise throughout the country and beyond. Today, energy storage is a key limiting reagent in our efforts to popularize renewable sources, critical to buffering the variability of solar and wind. Demonstrated successes in distributed storage at grid scale could thereby have a considerable impact on widespread adoption of solar and microgrid technologies, particularly in the case of residential rooftop solar PV systems.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

The Future is Faster Than You Think: Want a chance to read my new book before anyone else? Join the Future is Faster Than You Think launch team! Get an advanced digital copy, access to our private Facebook group, behind the scenes specials, a live Q&A with Steven and me, and hundreds of dollars in exclusive bonuses. Click here for details.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage energy abundance future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience optimization Apple Yeezy
8 min read

Abundance Insider: November 16th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 16, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Memory-mapping neurons, FAA-approved ‘blind’ drone flights, and Fukushima’s renewable energy future.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Japan is reinventing Fukushima as a renewable energy hub.

What it is: Japan is now working to revamp the Fukushima nuclear meltdown zone to once again produce electricity, but this time using solar and wind power. Thanks to a loan from the state-run Development Bank of Japan and the Mizuho Bank, the region will soon produce about 600 megawatts of electricity, courtesy of 11 new solar plants and 10 new wind farms. With expected completion in March of 2024 at a cost of $2.7 billion, the power plants are predicted to generate enough power for about 114,000 average American homes.

Why it’s important: Nearly 43,000 Japanese citizens remain displaced by the Fukushima disaster, while about 143 square miles of the prefecture stand in a permanent evacuation zone. Yet Japan now seeks to capitalize on this seeming “dead zone,” leveraging the expanse of uninhabitable land to power residential regions. Contributing to the prefecture’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy-derived power by 2040, this power infrastructure will help pave the way for similar initiatives worldwide.

Drone company Iris Automation makes first-of-its-kind FAA-approved ‘blind’ drone flight.

What it is: In partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation, drone startup Iris Automation has successfully completed the first FAA-approved BVLOS (“beyond the visual line of sight”) drone flight. Until now, the FAA and most other jurisdictions have required human observers and on-ground radar systems for testing of new services, costing companies up to $50 million and thereby hindering development of viable drone services. Yet with newfound FAA approval, Iris Automation utilized solely onboard detect-and-avoid systems. The flight follows the company’s successful test run in Alaska earlier this year, wherein its autonomous systems beat out human-operated drones 95 percent of the time in avoiding head-on collisions with other vehicles.

Why it’s important: We’re now seeing a massive surge in the development rate and approval of autonomous drone use for delivery of critical supplies and commerce. Meanwhile, numerous regulatory agencies—including state-level government departments in even technologically lagging regions—continue to define and refine the right guidelines of operation. As the immediacy of retail interactions, aid delivery, and small-scale cargo transit continues to skyrocket, expect the proliferation of drone manufacturers, complex sensors, and AI navigation software systems.

Specific neurons that map memories have now been identified in the human brain.

What it is: Scientists at Columbia University have found the first-ever evidence that individual neurons target specific memories during willful memory recall— think: recalling navigation details when a stranger asks you for directions. In their experiment, the neuroengineers first used electrodes implanted in neurosurgical patients to track brain signals. In particular, they monitored signals that were active when patients searched for objects from memory in a virtual reality game. Ultimately, they found that specific patterns of neuronal activity were matched with specific memories.

Why it’s important: Researchers have long known that certain activated neurons correspond with specific geographic locations, demonstrated by a Nobel Prize-winning discovery that linked “grid cells” and “place cells” to spatial location. However, prior to this experiment, it was unclear how spatial cells relate to memories made (through events or experiences) in that location. As explained by the study’s lead author Salman E. Qasim, “This discovery might provide a potential mechanism for our ability to selectively call upon different experiences from the past and highlights how these memories may influence our brain's spatial map.”

Apple plans standalone AR and VR gaming headset by 2022 and glasses later.

What it is: Apple recently announced its latest plan to release a series of AR/VR devices over the next four years. Just next year, the company will introduce 3D sensors to the iPad Pro, allowing users to reconstruct rooms, people, and objects in three dimensions. After their initial debut, these sensors will next be rolled out on iPhones (expected by end of 2020), building on current Face ID technology. In the following two years, Apple then aims to release its standalone AR/VR headset for use in virtual meetings, gaming, and entertainment. And by 2023, lightweight Apple glasses will reach consumers for everyday use. Although Apple’s release dates are later than anticipated, the tech giant’s 1,000 AR/VR engineers are forging ahead to deliver perfectly fine-tuned devices. Resulting technology will represent the beginning of Apple’s next big hardware push, building upon the wearables segment that now offsetts a decline in iPhone sales.

Why it’s important: By adding AR/VR glasses to a growing list of wearables—including the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones—Apple is now making the leap from the iPhone revolution to far more accessible smart interfaces, seamlessly integrated in our everyday lives. Advancing steadily within the deceptive growth phase, AR glasses will soon allow you to navigate the streets of a new city without staring into a phone screen. Learn about the history of a new place, keep up to date on news alerts, and stay in touch with your favorite contacts, no intermediary 2D digital portal needed. Apple’s wearable revolution will transform the way we interact with our physical environments, converting every surface into an opportunity to work, learn, or play.

DNA is just one of more than one million possible ‘genetic molecules,’ scientists find.

What it is: A new study published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling suggests that more than 1 million chemical look-alikes might encode biological information, as does DNA. So far, DNA, RNA, and a few man-made molecules are the only known nucleic acids capable of linking up, storing and relaying data, depending on their sequence. By designing a computer program that can generate chemical formulas, researchers at Emory University tested countless generated molecules to determine whether they resembled nucleotides. A surprise to everyone, their results identified over 1,160,000 molecules that could couple up in distinct pairings and assemble in a line, akin to DNA and RNA.

Why it’s important: Prompting us to fundamentally rethink optimal means of genetic data conveyance, this discovery has vast new implications. As a number of current drugs resembling nucleotides are effective in combating viruses and some malignant cancer cells, the team’s generated list could pave the way for novel pharmaceutical products. Within evolutionary biology, the finding that DNA and RNA have plenty of company may yield new truths about how life first evolved on Earth.

Kanye West’s sustainable Yeezy concept uses algae foam.

What it is: Kanye West’s Yeezy line is now diving into algae foam. West’s latest shoe, revealed at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival this week, is an algae-based creation modeled after the Yeezy foam runner. While its khaki color does not necessarily draw the eye, the shoe’s designers and engineering team are working to refine the color with environmentally friendly dyes. Meanwhile, Yeezy now plans to move its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, enabling the company to grow algae in a hydroponic farm to further iterate on and rollout the new shoe product. The line’s transition to sustainable materials aligns with its parent brand’s eco-friendly initiatives. Driven by similar motives, Adidas recently pledged to manufacture solely with recycled plastics by 2024, and has already released the 100 percent recyclable Futurecraft Loop shoe.

Why it’s important: Second only to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world. Even once clothing reaches buyers’ shopping carts, consumer waste of textile products further contributes to the problem. The average American, for instance, throws away roughly 80 pounds of used clothing every year, much of which can be recycled but instead goes to the landfill. Yet big name brands hold tremendous power to popularize sustainable fashion and decreased production waste by innovating in the materials science realm. Boosting consumer awareness, Yeezy’s transition marks a key step towards ecologically responsible footwear, helping reduce fast-fashion waste.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage energy abundance future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience optimization Apple Yeezy
9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 8th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 8, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Toshiba's IoT alliance with Softbank and KDDI, an energy breakthrough in solar power storage, and new genetic clues for Alzheimer's prevention.

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Toshiba's IoT alliance with Softbank and KDDI, an energy breakthrough in solar power storage, and new genetic clues for Alzheimer's prevention.

What it is: Copper-producing giant Freeport-McMoran is introducing a machine learning model to its production processes. While intended to increase the mining company’s annual output of copper by 90,000 tons (or 200 million pounds), the use of AI aims to minimize capital investment in doing so, as explained by chief executive Richard Adkerson. Developed with the management consulting firm McKinsey, Freeport-McMoran’s model integrates data from sensors across the company’s Bagdad mine in Arizona and suggests methods to optimize production, including adjusting the processing pH level to recover more copper.

Why it’s important: A production bump of this scale typically requires capital investment on the order of US$1.5 to 2 billion— not to mention far more industrial equipment. Harnessing the power of machine learning, however, Freeport-McMoran is planning to use the excess cash generated by increased production to pay down debt and power shareholder returns. Yet beyond mining, the use of integrated sensors and AI in even the most technologically lagging sectors is a tremendous validator of machine learning’s potential. By integrating data from key industrial processes and checkpoints, machine learning models can identify sources of inefficiency, non-intuitive shortcuts, and optimization decisions that create economic value far exceeding needed expenditures.

UPS and CVS deliver prescription medicine via drone to US residential customers.

What it is: Just this week, UPS announced that its drone delivery subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, has completed its first two prescription medication deliveries to consumers in Cary, North Carolina. Both deliveries utilized the Matternet M2 drone system, now FAA-approved (as of last month) for UPS’s commercial use. Although a remote operator remained on hand, both deliveries were entirely autonomous, as drones hovered roughly 20 feet over each residential property to slowly lower packages by cable and winch to the ground. The announcement comes just one month after Flight Forward achieved its Part 135 air carrier certification, allowing the company's drones to “fly over people, at night, and out of an operators line of sight.”

Why it’s important: So far, UPS and Matternet have focused principally on deliveries to large healthcare campuses, with over 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries completed to date. The move to partner with CVS and to include residential deliveries is yet another signal we have been tracking, indicating that urban airspace, cargo transit and personalized deliveries are about to change significantly. What new opportunities open up when last mile delivery is no longer tethered to trucks and road transit?

Toshiba to form IoT alliance with SoftBank, KDDI and others.

What it is: In partnership with SoftBank, wireless carrier KDDI, and utility Tokyo Gas, Toshiba will launch an IoT platform called ifLink Open Community. To be formally established next March, the association aims to include over 100 Japanese companies, making it far easier for participating businesses to build IoT solutions without significant coding and technical hardware experience. Akin to Amazon’s model—which grants connection kits to smart device manufacturers that use Alexa—ifLink will similarly offer access to products sourced from the open community. This way, member companies no longer need to design prototypes and services from scratch.

Why it’s important: Standing at the intersection of connectivity, sensors and AI, the IoT market is booming. IDC projects the global market could top US$1 trillion by 2022, almost 2X last year’s US$646 billion market valuation. As major players like General Electric and Hitachi build their own proprietary IoT systems, IoT’s rise has largely been fueled by exponential advances in the price-performance ratio and miniaturization of sensors, surges in computing power, and the rapid emergence of 5G. With these converging foundations in place, we are about to witness a Cambrian explosion in new business models, smart and connected systems, and even intelligent urban networks. What intelligence would you gather within your own business if IoT platforms were readily buildable? What new products might you create?

An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Solar Power for Decades.

What it is: Swedish researchers have recently identified a molecule that can trap and store solar energy for up to decades, ultimately releasing the energy as heat on-demand. The secret sauce: a molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen that absorbs the Sun’s energy and holds it until a catalyst triggers its release. The team, led by Kasper Moth-Poulsen at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, also created a unique storage unit that can outperform the 5- to 10-year lifespan of standard lithium-ion batteries. Lastly, the group developed a transparent coating that absorbs sunlight and converts it to heat energy on the spot. Now working to demonstrate the technology at scale, the researchers are coating an entire building on campus with this material to reduce electricity requirements for heating and thereby curve carbon emissions. Once successful, the team aims to bring the storage unit to market in six years and the coating in only three— a timeline contingent on necessary funding streams.

Why it’s important: The big challenge that remains for Moth-Poulsen’s team is long-term energy storage for not only heat, but also electricity supply. While cost is yet another factor in recent solar-harnessing technologies, Moth-Poulson’s approach does not require expensive rare elements. Converting solar energy into heat through the team’s transparent coating could supply enough heat for vehicles and small buildings without any intermediary emission-producing machinery. Moving forward, this technology could even be incorporated into clothing to insulate humans in lightweight designs. In construction, window coatings could transform architectural designs in frigid regions, allowing more access to natural light during the winter. As demonstrated here, sometimes the greatest innovations begin on the micro-scale, harnessing unique chemical combinations for local use.

Three-story water battery cuts university's energy usage by 40 percent.

What it is: Having switched on its three-story “water battery” in September, Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is now receiving enough power to cut its reliance on the grid by over 40 percent. Essentially a giant thermal energy storage system, USC’s “water battery” harnesses 6,000 solar panels (lining campus roofs and carparks), which comprise a 2.1 megawatt photovoltaic system. In turn, this generated energy then serves to cool 4.5 megaliters of water within a three-story tank. As air conditioning constitutes two fifths of the campus’s energy costs, water cooled using solar-generated energy can offset this, saving the university an estimated “US$69 million in energy costs over the next 25 years,” according to USC’s COO Dr. Scott Snyder.

Why it’s important: Charging ahead full force, Australia’s USC has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Now operational, the university’s battery system is slated to cut CO2 emissions by upwards of 92,000 tons in the coming 25 years (already having reduced USC’s carbon footprint by 42 percent). Further earning the university international acclaim—through an award at Iceland’s 2019 Global District Energy Climate Awards—USC’s water battery is now inspiring similar energy innovations. Through customization around niche energy uses, renewable energy generation and storage systems are gradually fulfilling distinct slices of the energy needs pie, edging us closer to a carbon-neutral future worldwide.

Rare genetic mutation might hold clues to preventing Alzheimer's.

What it is: In an unprecedented new case, a Colombian woman developed early-stage Alzheimer’s yet experienced no common dementia symptoms for decades, likely due to a unique genetic mutation. While most Alzheimer’s cases are not linked to genetics, about 1,200 people in Colombia do face high early-onset genetic risk for the disease. Individuals with the E280A mutation of a gene called Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) are prone to developing Alzheimer’s in their forties or earlier. Yet while this female patient experienced the same unusually high level of brain amyloid-beta deposits as typical E280A individuals, she entirely evaded dementia symptoms like confusion and memory loss. When investigating this seeming anomaly, researchers found that she carried two additional “Christchurch” mutations in the APOE3 gene. While some E280 peers carried one version of this mutation, they were not protected against dementia in the same way.

Why it’s important: These findings open up a new realm of Alzheimer’s research, focused on preventing the development of dementia even as Alzheimer’s may progress. Without memory and normal brain function, it becomes almost impossible for Alzheimer’s patients to function independently. If effective in delaying the onset of dementia, however, a genetic treatment would not only increase lifespan but also vastly improve quality of life. While the genetic underpinnings of this newly discovered correlation will require further exploration, the recent surge of gene-editing tools can surely help apply these findings to therapeutic applications in the future. As genome-sequencing continues to demonetize, tracking mutations and their correlations with disease incidence will be easier than ever before.

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Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage UPS energy abundance softbank future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery CVS Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience Toshiba optimization
9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 1st, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 1, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: AR-aided surgeries, remote human brain-to-brain collaboration, and a new flu-targeting antibody.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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MediView XR raises $4.5 million to give surgeons X-ray vision with AR.

What it is: MediView XR recently raised US$4.5 million to further develop its Extended Reality Surgical Navigation system. Accessed through the Microsoft Hololens, MediView’s product grants surgeons a form of “x-ray vision” when conducting cancer ablations and biopsies. The system generates a personalized 3D holographic model for each patient based on CT and MRI scans. Next, ultrasound imaging updates the holographic display throughout the procedure. This process not only mitigates harmful x-ray radiation used in standard procedures today, but also improves visual acuity by translating 2D data into three dimensions. Surgeons can even rotate around the body while AR-overlaid visuals remain accurately mapped to the patient. Meanwhile, hand-tracking and voice commands allow surgeons to access any needed information on the spot. In its first set of human trials, MediView has already used its system on five live tumor patients and began a nine-patient trial in August. Leveraging its newly acquired capital, the company further aims to achieve FDA approval by 2021.

Why it’s important: Surgeons around the world are forced to make sense of 2D images for 3D applications. MediView’s technology would eliminate this hurdle and reduce surgeon error in doing so. Personalized 3D visualizations could also be used to educate patients on their conditions in a more intuitive manner. The educational applications of AR extend to medical schools as well, where mapping real data into practice procedures could boost student engagement and learning. The success of tumor removal surgeries is largely dependent on how precisely surgeons can incise the tumor, ensuring no cancerous traces are left behind. As AR headsets grow increasingly sophisticated, precise 3D models (coupled with biomarkers injected in the bloodstream to mark tumor cells) could vastly improve patient outcomes. MediView’s CEO John Black, who has performed over 2,000 surgeries himself, aims to transform the way surgeons interact with real-time data visualizations.

Engineers develop a new way to remove carbon dioxide from air: The process could work on the gas at any concentrations, from power plant emissions to open air.

What it is: Scientists from MIT have developed a new method of extracting carbon dioxide from streams of air or feed gas, even at the far lower concentration levels found in the general atmosphere. The technology essentially works like a large battery: charging when CO2-laden gas passes over its polyanthraquinone-coated electrodes, and discharged when it releases a pure stream of carbon dioxide. Unlike some alternatives, the method requires no large pressure differences or chemical processes and can even supply its own power, courtesy of the discharge effect.

Why it’s important: Most carbon capture technologies require high concentrations of CO2 to work, or considerable energy inputs, such as high pressure differences or heat to run chemical processes. This device works at room temperature and regular pressure. Furthermore, it can generate both electricity and pure CO2 streams, valuable for a range of agricultural use cases, carbonation in beverages, and various other applications. Of course, the real benefit of scaling such a method involves our battle against climate change, where our ability to scrub the air of carbon dioxide could be a critical step in reversing environmental catastrophe.

Scientists Demonstrate Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans.

What it is: For the first time, humans have achieved direct brain-to-brain communication through non-invasive electroencephalographs (EEGs). In a newly published study, three subjects were tasked with orienting a block correctly in a video game. Two subjects in separate rooms were designated as “senders” and could see the block, while the third “receiver” relied solely on sender signals to correctly position the block. EEG signals from the sender brains were converted into magnetic pulses delivered to the receiver via a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device. If the senders wanted to instruct rotation, for instance, they focused on a high-frequency light flashing, which the receiver would see as a flash of light in her visual field. To stop rotation, senders would focus on a low-frequency light, which the receiver would then interpret as light absence in the set time interval. Using this binary stop/go code, the five groups tested in this “BrainNet” system achieved over 80 percent accuracy in aligning the block.

Why it’s important: A leader in the brain-to-brain communication field, Miguel Nicolelis has previously conducted studies that linked rat brains through implanted electrodes, effectively creating an “organic computer.” The rat brains synchronized electrical activity to the same extent of a single brain, and the super-brain routinely outperformed individual rats in distinguishing two electrical patterns. Building on this research, the leaders of the “BrainNet” human study claim that their non-invasive device could connect a limitless number of individuals. As brain-to-brain signaling grows increasingly complex, human collaboration will reach extraordinary levels, allowing us to uncover novel ideas and thought processes. Rather than building “neural networks” in software, operations like BrainNet are truly linking networks of neurons, creating massive amounts of biological processing power. We are fast approaching the prediction of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murry Gell-Man, who envisioned “thoughts and feelings would be completely shared with none of the selectivity or deception that language permits.”

By targeting flu-enabling protein, antibody may protect against wide-ranging strains: The findings could lead to a universal flu vaccine and more effective emergency treatments.

What it is: Scientists recently discovered a new antibody that could tremendously catalyze pursuit of a universal flu vaccine. Experimenting on mice, the research team identified an antibody that binds to the protein nueraminidase, an enzyme essential for the influenza virus’ replication inside the body. While today’s most widely used flu drug, Tamiflu, inactivates neuraminidase, various forms of the latter exist, rendering Tamiflu and similar drugs ineffective for numerous different flu strains. Testing the versatility of their newly discovered antibody, however, the scientists administered lethal doses of different flu strains to a dozen mice, only to find that the new antibody protected all twelve from succumbing to infection.

Why it’s important: Now particularly salient, fighting the flu every season has been an ongoing arms race between humanity and the virus. As strains mutate and develop resistance to our existing medications, the need for alternative strategies has become far more pressing. This new research could accelerate our progress towards finally engineering a cure-all method for preventing and protecting against the flu, saving thousands of lives every year.

Elephants Under Attack Have An Unlikely Ally: Artificial Intelligence.

What it is: Researchers at Cornell University and elsewhere have recently started applying AI algorithms to track and save African Forest Elephants. As Forest Elephants have proven difficult to track visually, Cornell researcher Peter Wrege decided to set up microphones and listen for signs of elephant communication amidst rainforest trees. First, Wrege and his team at the Elephant Listening Project divided the rainforest into 25km2 grids. By then placing audio recorders in every grid square about 23 to 30 feet into the treetops, the team has thus collected hundreds of thousands of hours of jungle sounds—more than any human could possibly tag and make sense of. By then transforming these audio files into spectrograms (visual representations of audio files), the researchers could apply a neural network to the data and isolate sounds from individual elephants. In practice, these algorithmic outcomes are now helping park rangers achieve an accurate census of the population, track elephant movement through the park over time, and even proactively prevent poaching activity in the bush.

Why it’s important: AI has now been heavily applied to narrow (and growing) use cases across medicine, financial projecting, logistics, industrial design, navigation, and almost any mechanical or logic-based system you can think of. Yet today, it increasingly stands to help us understand unstructured environments and even animal-to-animal communication. Thanks to a convergence of computing power, sensors, and connectivity, methods such as that used by the Elephant Listening Project are now granting us a better understanding of extraordinarily complex natural ecosystems and species, and could aid in our pursuit to protect them.

First Look: Uber Unveils New Design For Uber Eats Delivery Drone.

What it is: Uber Eats and Uber Elevate will soon be delivering dinner for two via drone starting next summer in San Diego. Unveiled at last week’s Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit, the delivery drone design features six rotors, rotating wings, and can carry a meal for two in its body. While the drone’s ideal trip time remains relatively short at eight minutes (including loading and unloading), the drone is capable of up to an 18-mile trip, divided into three six-mile legs (from launch to restaurant, to customer, and back to launch area). The current plan involves flying from restaurants to a staging location, at which an Uber driver would then travel the last mile for hand-off to the consumer. Yet with an eye to the future of automated last-mile delivery, Uber is also considering landing drones on the roofs of delivery cars.

Why it’s important: Less than a year away from Uber Eats’ expected launch in San Diego airspace, we will soon begin to witness the commercialization of autonomous drones in everything from last-mile delivery to humanitarian aid. Not only are these trends slated to displace a significant percentage of cargo-related transit but will fundamentally alter our urban networks and the way tomorrow’s businesses deliver personalized services.

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Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider AR/VR AI health surgery bci elephants
7 min read

Abundance Insider: October 23rd, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 23, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: OpenAI's robotic hand, ANA's pursuit of avatars to replace flying, and DARPA's new inroads in BCIs.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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First Robot to Know How to Hug Safely Thanks to Artificial Skin.

What it is: Engineers at the Technical University of Munich recently developed an artificial skin for usage on anthropomorphic robots. Taking inspiration from biology, these skins comprise a fabric of hexagonal, 2.5cm-diameter "cells," capable of measuring temperature, pressure, acceleration, and proximity. Each cell has a tiny micro-controller for both local computation and cell-to-cell communication. Yet the key breakthrough involves how the cells respond to inputs. Rather than transmitting data every second—overwhelming the robot's computer—cells only transmit data when value changes are detected. This enables the team to cut computational resources by a full 90 percent, allowing for more coverage of the robot's body.

Why it's important: Artificial skins like this one grant robots a far keener ability to navigate, sense and respond to complex environments, allowing them to balance on one leg, move on uneven surfaces, and avoid collisions, for instance. Furthermore, computation-optimized, sensor-embedded skin has useful applications for nursing care and several other robotics solutions in the service and healthcare industries. | Share on Facebook.

Google’s AI explains how image classifiers made their decisions.

What it is: Researchers at Google and Stanford have just made a major advancement towards AIs that can explain their decisions. Using a new machine learning model, the team was able to automatically extract "human-meaningful" visual concepts that informed the model's decisions. The algorithm works by taking an already trained image classifier, as well as its inputs for various classes, and identifying associations between the classes of images and the features within those images. As a result, the model was able to flag concepts as "important" with a mostly human-intuitive sense. In one instance, a law enforcement logo was deemed important for detecting police.

Why it's important: Explainability in AI has become a key issue in machine learning's development. As we cede more control over our lives to algorithms, we must ensure a grasp of why decisions are being made, and how we can guide AI to produce positive outcomes for people. Currently, most deep learning models are "black boxes:" data comes in, out comes a prediction, and no explanation is (or even can be) given. This research can help push the field towards models that are more easily explained and therefore more verifiable for human use. Share on Facebook.

The US military is trying to read minds.

What it is: A Carnegie Mellon team led by Pulkit Grover is developing a non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that can detect electrical and ultrasound signals from outside the skull. This team is one of six funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of a $104 million initiative called the Next-generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology Program, or N³. The groups are working to translate a variety of signals, ranging from magnetic, to infrared, to ultrasound waves, into commands that can be used for military purposes. N³ director Al Emondi has noted that these BCIs may be used to control drone swarms “at the speed of thought rather than through mechanical devices.”

Why it’s important: Human skulls are less than a centimeter thick on average, yet this skeletal barrier presents a massive challenge for BCI developers. Invasive BCIs often involve implanted Utah arrays (half a pinkie nail size) that detect electrical neural activity in order to replicate these signals to stimulate movement in paralyzed individuals. While this approach has improved the quality of life for many individuals with quadriplegia, few healthy patients are willing to undergo the risky implantation procedure. Without any need for surgery, noninvasive BCIs could powerfully enable seamless, high-speed control with few downsides. In DARPA’s vision, these enhancements could allow troops to direct drones, communicate with each other, and receive information at record speeds—all while remaining physically alert in their environments. Considerable progress must still be made to precisely detect the electrical impulses of neurons—which can be as weak as a twentieth of a volt—from outside the skull, but DARPA’s BCI-targeted investments hold promise. | Share on Facebook.

Airline unveils robot avatars it hopes will replace flying.

What it is: Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA) hopes to reinvent travel with its “newme” robot, which consumers can use to virtually explore new places. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket, sitting cramped between travelers, and adding to commercial air-flight carbon emissions, individuals might one day use newme to teleport their virtual presence anywhere in the world. The colorful robots have Roomba-like wheeled bases and cameras mounted at approximate eye level, which capture the surroundings that users view through VR headsets. If the robot were stationed in your parents’ home, for example, you could cruise around the rooms and chat with your family at any time of day. After revealing the technology at Tokyo’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies last Monday, ANA plans to deploy 1,000 newme’s by 2020.

Why it’s important: Virtual avatars like newme will create boundless opportunities for next-generation travel. From common tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the pyramids of Egypt, to uninhabitable destinations like the Moon or deep sea, location, distance and cost will no longer limit our travel choices. This technology will likely transcend recreational use and assist doctors in reaching distant patients, help disabled individuals engage with the world, and allow students to explore locations firsthand that they currently learn about in the classroom. Last year, a group of individuals unable to leave their homes due to disabilities used ANA’s newme robots to work as virtual waiters in a Japanese restaurant. As we increasingly migrate from our physical world to an ever-connected digital one, ANA's newme avatars will catalyze this transition and allow us to transcend the physical constraints of modern-day travel. |Share on Facebook.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider Robotics Materials Science Sensors AI