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
5 min read

Gigabit bandwidth EVERYWHERE, ALWAYS

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 30, 2019

We’re about to connect 8 billion people on the planet, everywhere, all the time, at near zero cost. This is a future of gigabit connection speeds at the top of Mt. Everest or in the Gobi desert.

Topics: 3D Printing Materials Science food agriculture materials automation future of food agtech vertical farming Plenty Inc. hydroponics aeroponics food tech food production digital agriculture RIPE Project Apeel Sciences Anrich3D Aerofarms RedefineMeat
7 min read

Future of Transport (Part 1): Flying Cars & Aerial Ridesharing

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 27, 2019

In 2018, for the sixth straight year, Los Angeles earned the dubious honor of being the most gridlocked metropolis in the world, where the average driver spends 2.5 working weeks per year trapped in traffic.

Topics: 3D Printing Materials Science food agriculture materials automation future of food agtech vertical farming Plenty Inc. hydroponics aeroponics food tech food production digital agriculture RIPE Project Apeel Sciences Anrich3D Aerofarms RedefineMeat
6 min read

The Future of Food: Protein in 2030 (Part 2)

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 20, 2019

Could a hamburger grown in a lab from Kobe beef stem cells be cheaper, better tasting and healthier for you?

Topics: 3D Printing Materials Science food agriculture materials automation future of food agtech vertical farming Plenty Inc. hydroponics aeroponics food tech food production digital agriculture RIPE Project Apeel Sciences Anrich3D Aerofarms RedefineMeat
3 min read

Marketing in the information age

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 16, 2019

It seems like everywhere you turn in the business world, you see the word “automation”. While it’s clear that automating your workflow can increase your team’s productivity, I’ve found that many companies haven’t fully embraced the marketing tools available to them. This is a shame, because I believe that the implementation of proper marketing tools is critical to the long-term survival of any company in the age of information.

Here are 3 of my favorite automation tools that help lay a solid foundation in marketing:

  1. Hubspot: All good marketing starts with a solid CRM, and I’ve been using Hubspot in my businesses for the last 4 years. It’s a one stop shop that includes webpage hosting, email automations, and built-in integrations with other software solutions like Stripe, Zoom, and most ad platforms. 
  2. Zapier: In the past you had to hire a team of API developers to send information between, say, your CRM and payment platform. Zapier is an incredibly innovative company that disrupted this market by working as a “glue” between the software solutions that you already use in your business. You can create “Zaps” to connect all your apps, so you can automate tasks in the background and focus on more important work.  
  3. Hotjar: Hot jar is a user behavior monitoring tool. You always hear me talking about the importance of listening to the data and gathering customer feedback. Hotjar can be added to nearly any website and captures data about your users on your site like clicks, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior to create a heat map. This can help you optimize your site for lead capture, featured content, and more.

While automation is a brilliant solution in marketing, there will always be a need to connect with people on a personal level. Marketing is one of the best tools for building and maintaining relationships in your business.

My friend Joe Polish has been an incredibly valuable marketing resource for me and my businesses. He hosts an annual event called Genius Network (apply here), which  I attend every year to stay up to date in marketing, and to connect with other successful entrepreneurs. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from his program.

3 ways to connect with your clients: 

  1. Send a thoughtful gift such as an autographed book or gift card. When connecting with your clients, ask them personal questions about their preferences, hobbies, and other causal topics.. When the time is right, send a gift based on what you learned about them Don’t just send a Starbucks card, send something that shows you really listened.  For example, If you know me, you know I love space. A few years ago, a salesperson sent me a small meteorite as a thank you gift. That was one of the most thoughtful and personal gifts I've ever received because it signaled to me that our relationship was personal, not just transactional. It should come as no surprise that Icontinue to do business with them to this day.
  2. Connect with them over the phone, send an email, or mail a thank you note. Staying in contact with your clients is critical to your success. I’ve found that mail can still be an incredibly effective way to be in touch with people that are important to your business. Earlier this year, I hosted an event for a group of Abundance 360 members. While I sent an email invitation, I also sent a written card to members inviting them to the event using a company called Addressable to help me “hack” time. They use a small “team” of robots to write and mail letters for you.
  3. Show in-person support by participating in one of  your client’s events, or visiting them  in their office environment. Attending a client-hosted event shows support for their business and is a great way to indicate mutual respect and admiration. It also signals your understanding that business relationships go both ways – that you don’t mind going out of the way for your client’s convenience.

If you’re interested in diving in deeper into these concepts, I recommend attending Joe’s Genius Network event November 2-4 in Phoenix, AZ. I’ll be there alongside speakers likeKeith Cunningham, Chris Voss and Barbara Annis. You can apply here.

Topics: Entrepreneurship Business Models automation marketing
6 min read

The Future of Food: 3D Printing, Vertical Farming & Materials Science (Part 1)

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 13, 2019

Food… What we eat, and how we grow it, will be fundamentally transformed in the next decade.

Topics: 3D Printing Materials Science food agriculture materials automation future of food agtech vertical farming Plenty Inc. hydroponics aeroponics food tech food production digital agriculture RIPE Project Apeel Sciences Anrich3D Aerofarms RedefineMeat
9 min read

Abundance Insider: September 6th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 6, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Agricultural drone swarms, first-ever remote heart surgery, and Insilico Medicine's AI-driven drug discovery.

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.

A Molecule Designed by AI Exhibits 'Druglike' Qualities.

What it is: AI startup Insilico Medicine, alongside collaborators from the University of Toronto and WuXi AppTec, has now used AI to identify drug candidates that could one day prevent tissue scarring. Using a subset of AI known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), the team took a mere 3 weeks to generate 30,000 computerized designs of candidate molecules for targeting a key protein in fibrosis. After synthesizing six of these designs in the lab, the researchers ultimately refined a shortlist of four novel compounds that could inhibit DDR1 kinase, an enzyme involved in scar tissue buildup within organs. Once experimentally tested, the team’s final four yielded a single most promising molecule for testing in mice, which not only proved potent against the targeted enzyme but demonstrated clear “drug-like” qualities.

Why it’s important: Today, it costs on average US$2.6 billion and often takes more than a decade to bring a new drug to market. Even of those drug candidates that enter Phase I clinical trials, nine out of ten never reach patients. While Insilico’s use of GANs does not circumvent the need for molecules’ refinement in the lab — nor would GANs prove as effective in data-deficient drug discovery challenges — AI could vastly speed up the process. By generating numerous molecule leads for researchers to pursue, GANs and AI-driven drug discovery pipelines could decimate the time and labor required for getting a drug to clinical trials. As AI converges with massive datasets in everything from gene expression to blood tests, novel drug discovery is about to get >10X cheaper, faster, and more intelligently targeted. | Share on Facebook.

First long-distance heart surgery performed via robot.

What it is: In a new coup for telemedicine, cardiologist Dr. Tejas Patel has now performed five percutaneous coronary intervention procedures (PCIs) through a precision vascular robot. Enabling Patel to conduct the procedure a full 20 miles from his surgical patients, vascular robotics company Corindus has refined its now FDA-cleared CorPath GRX robot. Using a hardwired internet connection, the CorPath System allowed for extreme precision in vascular and coronary procedures, yet proved intuitive enough for Patel to manipulate the robot using joysticks and a video monitor. While only just published in The Lancet spin-off EClinicalMedicine, Corindus’ remote heart surgery achievement has now been replicated several times in the U.S.

Why it’s important: Riding the convergence of low-latency networks, mixed reality, high-precision robotics, and advanced sensors, telemedicine is making high-risk, life-saving procedures far more accessible. By allowing some of the world’s best doctors to operate in remote communities from afar, robotics and virtual interfaces will soon decentralize, delocalize and democratize healthcare. As explained by Corindus’ CEO Mark Toland, “The success of this study paves the way for large-scale, long-distance telerobotic platforms across the globe.” As 5G, satellite constellations, and balloons bring high-speed connectivity to today’s most inaccessible regions, distance to care could grow immaterial over the next 15 years. | Share on Facebook.

Facebook Publishes New Research on Hyper-realistic Virtual Avatars.

What it is: Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality R&D group has now built a headset capable of mapping facial expressions to virtual avatars in real-time. One of two headsets involved, the first “training” headset contains 9 cameras (3 pointed at the eyes and 6 at the lower face and mouth). Wearing this more sensor-laden device, the user is initially prompted to make a variety of facial expressions. These data points are then fed into an algorithm that maps out distinct muscles in the face. After completing this training phase, the user then wears a much leaner “tracking” headset (geared with only 3 facial cameras). By “filling in” the tracking cameras’ blind spots with training headset-collected data, Facebook’s software ultimately produces a hyper-realistic, real-time representation of a user’s face— now compatible with a range of VR hardware and software.

Why it’s important: Social VR has the potential to fundamentally change how we navigate both our personal lives and professional discourse. Yet one of the most stubborn obstacles to scaled adoption involves the stiffness and non-expressiveness of virtual avatar face renditions. By using advanced facial tracking, however, Facebook’s headset provides a remarkably lifelike virtual extension of each user, while avoiding the pitfalls of the ‘uncanny valley.’ With the advancement of both sensor precision and high-fidelity VR rendering over the next 5 years, we will soon be able to send a virtual version of ourselves anywhere in the world, transforming the way people think about human presence, distance, and time. As machine learning minimizes the number of sensors needed for facial tracking, VR will continue to plummet in price, boosting commercialized headsets and everyday use. | Share on Facebook.

China Drone Attack on Crop-Eating ‘Monster’ Shows 98% Kill Rate.

What it is: AgTech drone manufacturer XAG has now successfully deployed a pest-targeting drone swarm operation with partner Bayer Crop Science. Having spread from the Americas to Africa and Asia, the crop-devouring fall armyworm has affected 950,000 hectares of crops across 24 Chinese provinces in just the past three weeks. Yet XAG’s autonomous drones have come quick to the rescue, targeting the pests with low-toxicity insecticide on farmland in China’s Guangxi autonomous region and Yunnan province. Already stemming outbreaks in 90 percent of affected areas, the drone swarm operation has even recorded mortality rates as high as 98 percent.

Why it’s important: Mechanized agricultural tools, drones, and AgTech-oriented AI have long remained in the R&D phase. Nonetheless, many of today’s products are either incapable of navigating unstructured farm environments or are insufficiently versatile to integrate into existing workflows. As computer vision continues to advance year-on-year, however, autonomous farming solutions — think: UAV plant protection, precision spraying bots, and agricultural sensors — are beginning to decimate the need for intensive human labor. Part of a food and agriculture tech market projected to exceed US$729.5 billion in value by 2023, these autonomous farming tools will be vital in feeding our global population and maximizing crop yields, regardless of geography. | Share on Facebook.

Deloitte’s Plan for Fighting Employee Burnout: Let AI Take Over the Dreaded HR and IT Tasks.

What it is: Aiming to systematically improve the employee experience (EX) with workplace automation, Deloitte is now reaping the benefits of an AI system called ConnectMe. Designed to expedite HR-related answers to employees (whether about healthcare benefits or overseas transfer, among other topics), ConnectMe can even be customized to automate employee-specific tasks that are easily codified and repetitive. Pulling from in-house data, ConnectMe uses chatbots to eliminate lengthy email and phone tag processes often required to resolve minor issues. Yet while Deloitte introduced ConnectMe in 2016, recent studies are starting to quantify the aggregate effect of workplace combustion, now observed by nearly 96 percent of surveyed managers in their employees, according to a study by staffing company Robert Half.

Why it’s important: While automation begins to eliminate tedious tasks through improved UX design in smart devices and mobile apps, EX-aiding technologies, company workflows, and inter-department communication are still lagging behind. However, new reports suggest that up to 69 percent of job seekers turn down even high-paying positions due to poor EX reviews, and automation of workplace tedium could provide an effective fix. In response, companies like UiPath, Automation Anywhere, AIsera, and Moveworks have begun automating countless routine processes for SMEs and large corporations, democratizing AI assistants and freeing employees to engage in more thought-provoking work. Where might you employ similar automation tools in your organization to boost morale and productivity? | Share on Facebook.

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by my team of entrepreneurs and technology scouts, including contributions from standout technology experts and innovators.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, a Singularity University program, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

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 newsfeed 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.

Topics: Abundance Insider Robotics AI Insilico Drones Autonomous Drones autonomous vehicles automation drone technology agtech workplace automation telemedicine telesurgery
14 min read

Abundance Insider: May 24th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on May 25, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Tiny robotic bees, lung cancer-detecting AIs, and a new synthetic biology milestone.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, Bri, Jarom, Joseph, Derek, Jason, Claire, Max and Nora

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 hone in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital includes 100+ hours of course work 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.

Penny-Sized Robotic Bee Is The Most Sci-Fi Thing You'll See All Week

What it is: Harvard’s RoboBee — one of the smallest flying robots ever built — has just gotten a major upgrade. Thanks to the engineering exploits of a research team at the University of Southern California (USC), a new and improved Bee Plus now weighs in at just 95 milligrams and barely straddles the diameter of a penny. Its biggest achievement, however, involves the bee’s actuators and doubled wing count. Using an actuator design called a unimorph, the USC team was able to successfully halve the weight of those actuators used in the Harvard RoboBee precursor. This in turn allowed them to install four (as opposed to two) wings, each with a span of 33 millimeters. Rendering much smoother flight, its wings now allow Bee Plus to perch, land, swim, pursue a path, and even avoid obstacles.

Why it's important: While Bee Plus and similar robo-insect prototypes are still restricted by a power-supplying tether, as on-board energy storage remains a significant engineering obstacle, USC’s team has already begun to tackle it. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the team is now working on an approach that involves catalytic artificial muscles. Long-term, future descendants of the Bee Plus might one day artificially pollinate flowers, conduct search and rescue missions, or even monitor climate conditions in huge swarms. Farther afield, Professor Perez-Arancibia even imagines a future in which “our robots [fly] on Mars and Titan,” becoming “ant-inspired colonies of explorers.” What eventualities can you envision once these air-faring bots spread their wings?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Google’s Lung Cancer Detection AI Outperforms 6 Human Radiologists

What it is: In partnership with Northwestern Medicine, Google researchers created an AI system that detects lung cancer from CT scans better than well-trained humans. Engineers trained the deep learning model using 42,000 CT scans from 15,000 patients taken during a 2002 NIH study. Compared to six expert radiologists, when analyzing these CT scans, the deep learning model proved to detect cancer 5 percent more often, with an 11 percent reduction in false positives.

Why it's important: While the human eye is limited to the visible spectra and feature sizes on images, AI systems can take a pixel-by-pixel approach to data analysis. Also note Google’s deployment of old NIH data: we don't need access to advanced AI systems right now to start preparing for their arrival. What data are you generating right now that you could proactively collect to help fuel future AI initiatives?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Scientists Created Bacteria With a Synthetic Genome. Is This Artificial Life?

What it is: In an effort to understand how genes encode proteins and fundamentally create life, a team led by Jason Chin at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Britain has rewritten the DNA of the bacteria Escherichia coli to create an synthetic genome 4x larger than anything previously created. Part of what Chin wanted to explore was how genes encode for amino acids and how genetic redundancy works: six snippets of DNA encode for serine, for example. To find out why, the team treated the genome like a text file, finding and replacing codons and reducing the total variation to just four. That new synthetic genome was inserted into a cell, and surprisingly, the synthetic version remained alive.

Why it's important: As we digitize biology, we're uncovering new truths about genomics. This may lead to organisms that produce novel medicines or other valuable molecules as living factories.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

SpaceX Launches 60 Prototypes Of Its Starlink Satellites Into Orbit

What it is: On Thursday night, SpaceX successfully deployed 60 prototype satellites for its Starlink constellation. Starlink is a large-scale development effort by SpaceX to develop a low-cost satellite and accompanying ground stations (to receive signals from the satellites), with the goal of establishing a new space-based global internet communication network. Last year, SpaceX received approval from the US FCC to fully deploy 12,000 Starlink Satellites over the next decade. The company expects development, manufacturing, and deployment to cost over $10 billion in that time span.

Why it's important: Starlink’s prototype deployment is a small step for its connectivity business, but a giant leap for humanity toward communications abundance. As Peter often says, if you want to make a billion dollars, discover a way to help a billion people. By turning our species into a hyper-connected organism, Elon Musk and SpaceX will help billions of people come online and participate in the global economy. In the process, they will generate significant revenue (estimates place Starlink revenue at over $30 billion per year once deployed) to further fund Musk’s vision for colonizing the solar system.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Experimental Brain-Controlled Hearing Aid Decodes, Identifies Who You Want To Hear

What it is: Even in the noisiest environments, our brains can pick out an individual voice and amplify it over others. Yet some of the most advanced hearing aids still struggle to achieve this brain hack, instead amplifying all voices at once. Columbia engineers might now have a solution. Building on a previous discovery that in a two-person conversation, the speaker’s brain waves begin to resemble those of the listener, researchers first leveraged neural networks to create an algorithm that separates out individual voices (from a group). Once separated, these inputted voices are then individually compared to the listener’s brain waves (monitored via implanted electrodes). Lastly, any speaker whose voice pattern most closely resembles the listener’s brain waves is amplified over all others.

Why it's important: A remarkable win for deep learning and brain-imitating mathematical models, this system might soon render a universally decoding mechanism, no longer constrained to pretrained voices or a cacophony of many. As explained by senior author Dr. Mesgarani, “By creating a device that harnesses the power of the brain itself, we hope our work will lead to technological improvements that enable the hundreds of millions of hearing-impaired people worldwide to communicate just as easily as their friends and family do." With promising test results, the team now aims to transform their prototype into a noninvasive device and grant true versatility to hearing-impaired individuals in any environment.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Advancing AI By Teaching Robots To Learn

What it is: Facebook AI is experimenting with robotics to push the limits of what AI can accomplish. Facebook and teams from UC Berkeley and NYU are working on systems that are learning to walk on their own and to learn from touch to manipulate objects effectively. At the heart of all of these approaches is a model driven by a curiosity reward function that seeks to learn by reducing uncertainly in the immediate environment.

Why it's important: Facebook’s idea is that by developing self-supervising systems that interact with the real world -- where the data is noiser and conditions more uncertain than cleanly labeled data sets — we will be able to develop more robust robotics as well as AI systems that can generalize across modalities and learn more efficiently.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by Marissa Brassfield in preparation for Abundance 360. Read more about A360 below.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, Peter's 360-person executive mastermind, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

Abundance Digital is Peter’s online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated newsfeed 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.

Topics: Abundance Insider Space Robotics health google Artificial Intellegence robots communication communications SpaceX satellites biotech automation
12 min read

Abundance Insider: May 17th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on May 17, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Tomato-picking robots, BCIs for addiction treatment, and a lab-on-a-chip for studying the microbiome.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, Bri, Jarom, Joseph, Derek, Jason, Claire, Max and Nora

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 hone in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of course work 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.

Amazon's New Machines Pack Boxes Up To 5x Faster Than Humans

What it is: Amazon has revealed that it is piloting warehouse automation technology from Italian firm CMC SRL. CMC’s CartonWrap machines can pack up to 700 boxes per hour, and are already in use at JD.com, Shutterfly, and Walmart. Early projections estimate that each machine could replace as many as 24 roles in each fulfillment center, in addition to the cost and time to train new packing employees in roles with high turnover. Amazon expects that “the efficiency savings will be reinvested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”

Why it's important: We’re no longer expecting that robotics will automate many laborious, routine, and potentially dangerous jobs—that time is already here. As this happens, it’s critical to highlight the messaging around the rollout, which focuses on safety, reinvestment, and the high employee turnover in fulfillment center jobs. How can you emulate this approach as you roll out politically and socially sensitive future initiatives?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Human Gut Microbiome Physiology Can Now Be Studied In Vitro Using Organ Chip Technology

What it is: Up until now, it has proved extraordinarily challenging to study direct interactions between the human microbiome and intestinal tissue in the lab. However, researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have now leveraged ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technology for an effective new solution. The team first employs its Intestine Chip, comprised of two parallel microchannels divided by a porous membrane—the upper channel containing human intestinal epithelial cells, and the lower channel hosting vascular endothelial cells from intestinal microvessels. The team then establishes an oxygen gradient across the two channels, providing high oxygen levels to the chip’s intestinal epithelium and endothelium, and low levels to the bacteria-inhabited lumen. In a remarkable feat, the Intestine Chip was found to stably maintain microbial diversity in direct contact with human intestinal tissue for a full 5 days.

Why it's important: As explained by team lead and the Wyss Institute's Founding Director Donald Ingber, “This new anaerobic Intestine Chip technology now provides a way to study clinically relevant human host-microbiome interactions at the cellular and molecular levels under highly controlled conditions in vitro." No longer relying on mere correlational studies between disease and bacterial DNA in human stool samples, researchers’ effective use of organs-on-a-chip affords us a powerful new tool to understand the ways in which human gut flora profoundly affect human health and disease.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Experimental Surgery Gains Support As Opioid Deaths Rise

What it is: Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has been used for years in the treatment of Parkinson’s and other movement-related disorders. Now, doctors at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital are seeing promising results in the treatment of opioid addiction. Five of eight patients in China have stayed off heroin for at least two years, and a patient who received a device six months ago has been off drugs for the duration. A number of factors have led to delays in experimentation in Europe and the U.S., including the high cost of devices ($100,000 in the U.S. vs $25,000 in China), difficulties in recruiting patients, and failed attempts to use DBS in the treatment of depression, which altered the risk-reward balance in the U.S. China, however, is moving ahead. To date, eight clinical trials have been registered throughout the world, six of which are in China.

Why it's important: Most of the concern in experimentation outside of the U.S. centers on the ethical risks of implants and surgery. While it’s important to note the cultural differences here in perception of a massive problem (which seems to carry a higher cost in China), as more devices are implanted, we’ll gain a much better understanding of how the brain functions overall. Follow this line of research, whether you’re exploring the potential of BCI or the treatment of other disorders.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

This Robot Picks Tomatoes Without Bruising Them And Detects Ripeness Better Than Humans

What it is: Massachusetts-based startup Root AI has developed its first agricultural robot, the Virgo 1, an expert tomato picker. Geared with sensors, cameras and onboard lights for nighttime harvesting, this self-driving robot can autonomously navigate huge commercial greenhouses, regardless of the time of day. Operated by its AI software brain, Virgo 1 then detects which tomatoes are sufficiently ripe for harvest, now with a success rate higher than that of humans. Once the right candidates are chosen, Virgo 1’s dexterous robotic hand can pluck tomatoes without bruising them or tearing down connected vines. Made from a food-safe, easy-to-clean plastic, these robotic fingers are even designed to eliminate the spread of mold, viruses or insects, protecting clean crops from faulty counterparts.

Why it's important: Virgo’s sensors and grippers can be reconfigured, and its AI software rewritten, to handle any number of crops. As noted by Root AI’s CEO Josh Lessing, “It’s a complete mobile platform enabled to harvest whatever you need.” Today, farmers spend over $34 billion per year on agricultural labor in the U.S. alone. Swiftly disrupting this labor-intensive sector, however, is a global smart agriculture market projected to reach nearly US$24 billion in value by the end of 2025. Already, exponential technologies from synthetic biology to computer vision are closing in on traditional agriculture from all directions, and AgTech robots like Virgo 1 are poised to become tomorrow’s harvesters.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Wireless Network Brings Dust-Sized Brain Implants A Step Closer

What it is: Brain computer interfaces (BCI) of the future that enable high-fidelity, high-speed brain-to-computer communications will require a decentralized wireless network of thousands of nano- to micro-scale units embedded throughout our neural system. Engineers from Brown University, Qualcomm, and the University of California at San Diego presented a communication scheme to overcome the critical issue of coordinating communications between these decentralized BCIs. Their system will allow two-way communication between each BCI unit and an external device at a rate of 10 Mb/s uplink and a downlink rate of 1 Mb/s. The engineering team dubbed their 0.25-square-millimeter implants “neurograins.”

Why it's important: Over the past year, we’ve featured incredible breakthroughs in BCI technologies. While these breakthroughs are technological marvels, they are rudimentary compared to the everyday BCIs we’ll see later in the 21st century. As Ray Kurzweil predicts, and as these researchers are taking active steps to achieve, we’ll soon have thousands of nanobots monitoring and regulating every aspect of our physiology -- from our brains to other vital organs. In the age of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence, will networks of nanoscopic BCIs provide humans the next evolutionary boost needed to thrive alongside and coevolve with hyperintelligent machines?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by Marissa Brassfield in preparation for Abundance 360. Read more about A360 below.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, a Singularity University Program, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

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 newsfeed 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.

Topics: Abundance Insider Robotics health robots Amazon Brain computer interface automation bci brain machine interface
8 min read

Education at All Ages

By Peter H. Diamandis on Feb 24, 2019

Today, over 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone with access to the world’s information and near-limitless learning resources.

Topics: Education Abundance AR/VR Data AI Artificial Intellegence virtual reality XPRIZE connectivity Web 3.0 Spatial Web adult literacy retooling professional training future of education online education edtech ESL automation Learning Upgrade literacy job market mobile devices mobile learning People ForWords