14 min read

Abundance Insider: June 7th 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 8, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Fake news AIs, the world’s first 1 GW energy storage project, and an ocean mapping breakthrough.

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

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.

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Finance AI blockchain Deepmind Artificial Intellegence XPRIZE solar energy autonomous vehicles oceans
6 min read

Tokenizing the World with Blockchain

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 2, 2019

In almost every industry you can think of, blockchain is poised to cut out middlemen, dramatically improve transparency, and multiply the efficiency of countless transactions worldwide.

Topics: Abundance Bitcoin Abundance 360 Real Estate a360 cryptocurrencies blockchain Technology healthcare distributed ledger exponential technology future of real estate tokenizing token crypto NFTs microtransactions smart contracts ethereum
8 min read

spatial web & the future of work

By Peter H. Diamandis on Dec 9, 2018

What is the future of work?

Is our future one of ‘technological socialism’ (where technology is taking care of our needs)?

Or is our future workplace completely virtualized, whereby we hang out at home in our PJ’s while walking about our VR Corporate HQ?

This blog will look at the Future of Work during the age of Web 3.0… Examining scenarios in which AI, VR and the spatial web converge to transform every element of our career, from training, to execution, to free time.

Three weeks ago, I explored the vast implications of Web 3.0 on news, media, smart advertising and personalized retail. And to offer a quick recap on what the Spatial Web is and how it works, let’s cover some brief history:

A Quick Recap on Web 3.0: 

While Web 1.0 consisted of static documents and read-only data (static web pages), Web 2.0 introduced multimedia content, interactive web applications, and participatory social media, all of these mediated by two-dimensional screens.

But over the next 2 to 5 years, the convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence, VR/AR, and a trillion-sensor economy will enable us to both map our physical world into virtual space and superimpose a digital data layer onto our physical environments.

Suddenly, all our information will be manipulated, stored, understood and experienced in spatial ways. 

In this third installment of the Web 3.0 series, I’ll be discussing the Spatial Web’s vast implications for:

  1. Professional Training
  2. Delocalized Business & the Virtual Workplace
  3. Smart Permissions & Data Security

Let’s dive in.

Virtual Training, Real-World Results….

Virtual and augmented reality have already begun disrupting the professional training market.

As projected by ABI Research, the enterprise VR training market is on track to exceed $6.3 billion in value by 2022.

Leading the charge, Walmart has already implemented VR across 200 Academy training centers, running over 45 modules and simulating everything from unusual customer requests to a Black Friday shopping rush.

Then in September 2018, Walmart committed to a 17,000-headset order of the Oculus Go to equip every U.S. Supercenter, neighborhood market, and discount store with VR-based employee training.

In the engineering world, Bell Helicopter is using VR to massively expedite development and testing of its latest aircraft, FCX-001. Partnering with Sector 5 Digital and HTC VIVE, Bell found it could concentrate a typical 6-year aircraft design process into the course of 6 months, turning physical mock-ups into CAD-designed virtual replicas.

But beyond the design process itself, Bell is now one of a slew of companies pioneering VR pilot tests and simulations with real-world accuracy. Seated in a true-to-life virtual cockpit, pilots have now tested countless iterations of the FCX-001 in virtual flight, drawing directly onto the 3D model and enacting aircraft modifications in real-time.

And in an expansion of our virtual senses, several key players are already working on haptic feedback. In the case of VR flight, French company Go Touch VR is now partnering with software developer FlyInside on fingertip-mounted haptic tech for aviation. 

Dramatically reducing time and trouble required for VR-testing pilots, they aim to give touch-based confirmation of every switch and dial activated on virtual flights, just as one would experience in a full-sized cockpit mockup. Replicating texture, stiffness and even the sensation of holding an object, these piloted devices contain a suite of actuators to simulate everything from a light touch to higher-pressured contact, all controlled by gaze and finger movements.

Source: Wired

When it comes to other high-risk simulations, virtual and augmented reality have barely scratched the surface. 

Firefighters can now combat virtual wildfires with new platforms like FLAIM Trainer or TargetSolutions. And thanks to the expansion of medical AR/VR services like 3D4Medical or Echopixel, surgeons might soon perform operations on annotated organs and magnified incision sites, speeding up reaction times and vastly improving precision. 

But perhaps most urgent, Web 3.0 and its VR interface will offer an immediate solution for today's constant industry turnover and large-scale re-education demands. 

VR educational facilities with exact replicas of anything from large industrial equipment to minute circuitry will soon give anyone a second chance at the 21st century job market.

Want to be an electric, autonomous vehicle mechanic at age 15? Throw on a demonetized VR module and learn by doing, testing your prototype iterations at almost zero cost and with no risk of harming others. 

Want to be a plasma physicist and play around with a virtual nuclear fusion reactor? Now you’ll be able to simulate results and test out different tweaks, logging Smart Educational Record credits in the process.

As tomorrow’s career model shifts from a "one-and-done graduate degree" to continuous lifelong education, professional VR-based re-education will allow for a continuous education loop, reducing the barrier to entry for anyone wanting to enter a new industry.

But beyond professional training and virtually enriched, real-world work scenarios, Web 3.0 promises entirely virtual workplaces and blockchain-secured authorization systems.

Rise of the Virtual Workplace & Digital Data Integrity

In addition to enabling an annual $52 billion Virtual Goods marketplace, the Spatial Web is also giving way to “virtual company headquarters” and completely virtualized companies, where employees can work from home or any place on the planet.

Too good to be true? Check out an incredible publicly listed company called eXp Realty.

Source: Glassdoor

Launched on the heels of the 2008 financial crisis, eXp Realty beat the odds, going public this past May and surpassing a $1B market cap on day one of trading.

But how? Opting for a demonetized virtual model, eXp’s founder Glenn Sanford decided to ditch brick and mortar from the get-go, instead building out an online virtual campus for employees, contractors and thousands of agents.

And after years of hosting team meetings, training seminars, and even agent discussions with potential buyers through 2D digital interfaces, eXp’s virtual headquarters went spatial.

What is eXp’s primary corporate value? FUN! And Glenn Sanford’s employees love their jobs.

Source: Hypergrid Business

In a bid to transition from 2D interfaces to immersive, 3D work experiences, virtual platform VirBELA built out the company’s office space in VR, unlocking indefinite scaling potential and an extraordinary new precedent:

Foregoing any physical locations for a centralized VR campus, eXp Realty has essentially thrown out all overhead and entered a lucrative market with barely any upfront costs.

Delocalize with VR, and you can now hire anyone with Internet access (right next door or on the other side of the planet), redesign your corporate office every month, throw in an ocean-view office or impromptu conference room for client meetings, and forget about guzzled-up hours in traffic.

Throw in the Spatial Web’s fundamental blockchain-based data layer, and now cryptographically secured virtual IDs will let you validate colleagues’ identities or any of the virtual avatars we will soon inhabit.

This becomes critically important for spatial information logs — keeping incorruptible records of who’s present at a meeting, which data each person has access to and AI-translated reports of everything discussed and contracts agreed to.

But as I discussed in a previous Spatial Web blog, not only will Web 3.0 and VR advancements allow us to build out virtual worlds, but we’ll soon be able to digitally map our real-world physical offices or entire commercial high rises too.

As data gets added and linked to any given employee’s office, conference room or security system, we might then access online-merge-offline environments and information through augmented reality.

Imaging showing up at your building’s concierge and your AR glasses automatically check you into the building, authenticating your identity and pulling up any reminders you’ve linked to that specific location.

You stop by a friend’s office, and his smart security system lets you know he’ll arrive in an hour. Need to book a public conference room that’s already been scheduled by another firm’s marketing team? Offer to pay them a fee and, once accepted, a smart transaction will automatically deliver a payment to their company account.

With blockchain-verified digital identities, spatially logged data and virtually manifest information, business logistics take a fraction of the time, operations grow seamless and corporate data will be safer than ever.

Final Thoughts

While converging technologies slash the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies, bring on the rise of vast new industries and transform the job market, Web 3.0 is changing the way we work, where we work and who we work with.

Life-like virtual modules are already unlocking countless professional training camps, modifiable in real-time and easily updated.

Virtual programming and blockchain-based authentication are enabling smart data logging, identity protection and on-demand smart asset trading.

And VR/AR-accessible worlds (and corporate campuses) not only demonetize, dematerialize, and delocalize our everyday workplaces, but enrich our physical worlds with AI-driven, context-specific data.

Welcome to the Spatial Web workplace.

Join Me

(1) A360 Executive Mastermind: This is one of the key conversations I’ll be exploring at my Executive Mastermind group called Abundance 360. The program is highly selective, for 360 abundance- and exponentially minded CEOs (running $10M to $50B companies). If you’d like to be considered, apply here.

Share this with your friends, especially if they are interested in any of the areas outlined above. 

(2) Abundance-Digital Online Community: I’ve also created a Digital/Online community of bold, abundance-minded entrepreneurs called Abundance-Digital. Abundance-Digital is my ‘onramp’ for exponential entrepreneurs – those who want to get involved and play at a higher level.   Click here to learn more.
Topics: Future of Work AR/VR cryptocurrencies blockchain Artificial Intellegence virtual reality Augmented Reality Web 3.0 Spatial Web office
8 min read

The Spatial Web - Part 2

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 18, 2018

Converging exponential technologies will transform media, advertising and the retail world. The world we see, through our digitally enhanced eyes, will multiply and explode with intelligence, personalization and brilliance.

Topics: AR/VR Media + Press retail cryptocurrencies blockchain Artificial Intellegence virtual reality advertising Augmented Reality distributed ledger internet of things digitization Web 3.0 democratization mixed reality the Internet Spatial Web the Web decentralization news
10 min read

The Spatial Web - Part 1

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 11, 2018

The boundaries between digital and physical space are disappearing at a breakneck pace. What was once static and boring is becoming dynamic and magical.

Topics: AR/VR cryptocurrencies blockchain Artificial Intellegence virtual reality Augmented Reality distributed ledger internet of things digitization Web 3.0 democratization mixed reality the Internet Spatial Web the Web decentralization
9 min read

The Future of Insurance

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 14, 2018

We profit from it, we fear it, and we find it impossibly hard to quantify… risk.

Topics: Sensors Entrepreneurship AI health blockchain Artificial Intellegence healthcare IoT connectivity trillion sensor economy autonomous vehicles self-driving cars smart cities industry loans distributed ledger wearables internet of things insurtech digitization insurance connected home devices
11 min read

Future of FINTECH - Part 2

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 23, 2018

In 2018 alone, over 22,000 businesses around the world borrowed more than $380 billion from crowdlending services. 

Disruptive business models are often powered by alternative financing.

In Part 1 of the Future of Fintech, I discussed how mobile is redefining money and banking and shared some of the dramatic transformations in the global remittance infrastructure.

In this blog, we’ll discuss:

  1. Peer-to-peer lending
  2. AI financial advisors and robo traders
  3. Seamless Transactions

Let’s dive right back in…

 

Decentralized Lending = Democratized Access to Finances 

 

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is an age-old practice, traditionally with high risk and extreme locality. Now, the P2P funding model is being digitized and delocalized, bringing lending online and across borders. 

Zopa, the first official crowdlending platform, arrived in the United Kingdom in 2004. Since then, the consumer crowdlending platform has facilitated lending of over 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion USD) of loans .

Person-to-business crowdlending took off, again in the U.K., in 2005 with Funding Circle, now with over 5 billion euros (~5.8 billion USD) of capital loaned to small businesses around the world. Now, in 2018 alone, over 22,000 businesses around the world borrowed over $380 billion from crowdlending services.

Crowdlending next took off in the United States in 2006, with platforms like Prosper and Lending Club. The U.S. crowdlending industry has boomed to $21 billion in loans, across 515 thousand loans.

Let’s take a step back… to a time before banks, when lending took place between trusted neighbors in small villages across the globe. Lending started as peer-to-peer transactions. 

As villages turned into towns, towns turned into cities, and cities turned into sprawling metropolises, neighborly trust and the ability to communicate across urban landscapes broke down. That’s where banks and other financial institutions came into play — to add trust back into the lending equation. 

With crowdlending, we are evidently returning to this pre-centralized-banking model of loans, and moving away from cumbersome intermediaries (e.g. high fees, regulations, and extra complexity). 

Fueled by the permeation of the internet, P2P lending took on a new form as ‘crowdlending’ in the early 2000’s. Now, as blockchain and artificial intelligence arrive on the digital scene, P2P lending platforms are being overhauled with transparency, accountability, reliability and immutability.

Artificial Intelligence Micro Lending & Credit Scores

We are beginning to augment our quantitative decision-making with neural networks processing borrowers’ financial data to determine their financial ‘fate’ (or, as some call it, your credit score). Companies like Smart Finance Group (backed by Kai Fu Lee and Sinovation Ventures) are using Artificial Intelligence to minimize default rates for tens of millions of microloans.

Smart Finance is fueled by users’ personal data, particularly smartphone data and usage behavior. Users are required to give Smart Finance access to their smartphone data, so that Smart Finance’s artificial intelligence engine can generate a credit score from the personal information. 

The benefits of this AI-powered lending platform do not stop at increased loan payback rates -- there’s a massive speed increase as well. Smart Finance loans are frequently approved in under 8 seconds. As we’ve seen with other artificial intelligence disruptions, data is the new gold. 

Digitizing access to P2P loans paves the way for billions of people currently without access to banking to leapfrog the centralized banking system -- just as Africa bypassed landline phones and went straight to mobile. Leapfrogging centralized banking and the credit system is exactly what Smart Finance has done for hundreds of millions of people in China.

Blockchain Backed Crowdlending

As artificial intelligence accesses even the most mundane mobile browsing data to assign credit scores, blockchain technologies -- particularly immutable ledgers and smart contracts -- are massive disruptors to the archaic banking system, building additional trust and transparency on top of current P2P lending models. 

Immutable ledgers provide the necessary transparency for accurate credit and loan defaulting history. Smart contracts executed on these immutable ledgers bring the critical ability to digitally replace cumbersome, expensive third parties (like banks), allowing individual borrowers or businesses to directly connect with willing lenders.

Two of the leading blockchain platforms for P2P lending are ETHLend and SALT Lending. 

ETHLend is an Ethereum-based decentralized application aiming to bring transparency and trust to P2P lending through Ethereum network smart contracts. 

Secure Automated Lending Technology (SALT) allows cryptocurrency asset holders to use their digital assets as collateral for cash loans, without the need to liquidate their holdings, giving rise to a digital-asset-backed lending market.

While blockchain poses a threat to many of the large, centralized banking institutions, some are taking advantage of the new technology to optimize their internal lending, credit scoring, and collateral operations.

In March 2018, ING and Credit Suisse successfully exchanged 25 million euros using HQLA-X, a blockchain-based collateral lending platform. 

HQLA-X runs on the R3 Corda blockchain -- a platform designed specifically to help heritage financial and commerce institutions migrate away from their inefficient legacy financial infrastructure.

Blockchain and tokenization are going through their own fintech and regulation shakeup right now. In a future blog, I’ll discuss the various efforts to more readily assure smart contracts, and the disruptive business model of security tokens and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Parallels to the Global Abundance of Capital

The abundance of capital being created by the advent of P2P loans closely relates to the unprecedented global abundance of capital.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crowdfunding are taking a strong stand in disrupting the $164 billion venture capital market. The total amount invested in ICOs has risen from $6.6 billion in 2017 to $7.15 billion USD in the first half of 2018. Crowdfunding helped projects raise more than $34 billion in 2017, with experts projecting that global crowdfunding investments will reach $300 billion by 2025.

In the last year alone, using ICOs, over a dozen projects have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in mere hours. Take Filecoin, for example, which raised $257 million  in only 30 days; its first $135 million was raised in the first hour. Similarly, the Dragon Coin project (which itself is revolutionizing remittance in high-stakes casinos around the world) raised $320 million in its 30-day public ICO. 

Some Important Takeaways…

  • Technology-backed fundraising and financial services are disrupting the world’s largest financial institutions -- anyone, anywhere, at anytime will be able to access the capital they need to pursue their idea.
  • The speed at which we can go from "I've got an idea" to "I run a billion-dollar company" is moving faster than ever.
  • Following Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, the rapid decrease in time to access capital is intimately linked (and greatly dependent on) a financial infrastructure (technology, institutions, platforms, and policies) that can adapt and evolve just as rapidly.

This new abundance of capital, requires financial decision-making with ever-higher market prediction precision. That’s exactly where artificial intelligence is already playing a massive role.

 

Artificial Intelligence, Robo Traders and Financial Advisors

 

On May 6, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suddenly collapsed by 998.5 points (equal to 8 percent, or $1 trillion). The crash lasted over 35 minutes and is now known as the ‘Flash Crash’. While no one knows the specific reason for this 2010 stock market anomaly, experts widely agree that the Flash Crash had to do with algorithmic trading

With the ability to have instant, trillion-dollar market impacts, algorithmic trading and artificial intelligence are undoubtedly ingrained in how financial markets operate.

In 2017, CNBC.com estimated that 90 percent of daily trading volume in stock trading is done by machine algorithms, and only 10 percent is carried out directly by humans.

Artificial intelligence and financial management algorithms are not only available to top Wall Street players.

Robo-advisor financial management apps, like Wealthfront and Betterment, are rapidly permeating the global market. Wealthfront currently has $9.5 billion in assets under management, and Betterment has $10 billion.

Artificial intelligent financial agents are already helping financial institutions protect your money and fight fraud. A prime application for machine learning is in detecting anomalies in your spending and transaction habits, and flagging potentially fraudulent transactions.

As artificial intelligence continues to exponentially increase in power and capabilities, increasingly powerful trading and financial management bots will come online, finding massive new and previously lost streams of wealth. 

How else are artificial intelligence and automation transforming finance? 

 

Disruptive Remittance and Seamless Transactions

 

When was the last time that you paid in cash at a toll booth? How about for a taxi ride? 

EZ-Pass, the electronic tolling company implemented extensively on the East Coast, has done wonders to reduce traffic congestion and increase traffic flow. 

Driving down I-95 on the East Coast of the United States, drivers rarely notice their financial transaction with the state’s tolling agencies. The transactions are seamless.

The Uber app enables me to travel without my wallet. I can forget about payment on my trip, free up my mental bandwidth and time for higher-priority tasks. The entire process is digitized and, by extension, automated and integrated into Uber’s platform. (Note: This incredible convenience manytimes causes me to accidentally walk out of taxi cabs without paying!).

In January 2018, we saw the success of the first cutting-edge, AI-powered Amazon Go store open in Seattle, Washington. The store marked a new era in remittance and transactions -- gone are the days of carrying credit cards and cash, and gone are the cash registers. And now, on the heals of these early ‘beta-tests’, Amazon is considering opening as many as 3,000 of these cashierless stores by 2023.

Amazon Go stores use AI algorithms that watch various video feeds (from advanced cameras) throughout the store to identify who picks up groceries, exactly what products they select, and how much to charge that person when they walk out of the store. It’s a grab and go experience. 

Let’s extrapolate the notion of seamless, integrated payment systems from Amazon Go and Uber’s removal of post-ride payment to the rest of our day-to-day experience.

Imagine this near future:

  • As you near the front door of your home, your AI assistant summons a self-driving Uber that takes you to the Hyperloop station (after all, you work in L.A. but live in San Francisco).
  • At the station, you board your pod, without noticing that your ticket purchase was settled via a wireless payment checkpoint.
  • After work, you stop at the Amazon Go, pick up dinner -- your virtual AI assistant passes your Amazon account information to the store’s payment checkpoint, as the store’s cameras and sensors track you, your cart and charge you auto-magically.
  • At home, unbeknownst to you, your AI has already restocked your fridge and pantry with whatever items you failed to pick up at the Amazon Go.

Once we remove the actively transacting aspect of finance, what else becomes possible?

 

Top Conclusions

 

Extraordinary transformations are happening in the finance world.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the fintech revolution.

All of these transformative financial technologies require high-fidelity assurance, robust insurance, and a mechanism for storing value. 

I’ll dive into each of these other facets of financial services in future blogs.

For now, thanks to coming global communication networks being deployed on 5G, Alphabet’s LUNE, SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb, by 2024, nearly all 8 billion people on Earth will be online.

Once connected, these new minds, entrepreneurs, and customers need access to money and financial services to meaningfully participate in the world economy.

By connecting lenders and borrowers around the globe, decentralized lending drives down global interest rates, increases global financial market participation, and enables economic opportunity to the billions of people who are about to come online.

We’re living in the most abundant time in human history -- and fintech is just getting started.

 

Topics: Bitcoin Finance cryptocurrencies blockchain fintech banking investing mobile banking developing markets developing economies loans distributed ledger
8 min read

Future of Finance & Banking - Part 1

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 16, 2018

The CIA estimates over $90 trillion of global value is stored in cash, banknotes, money markets, and bank accounts.

Topics: Bitcoin Finance cryptocurrencies blockchain fintech banking investing mobile banking developing markets developing economies loans distributed ledger
14 min read

Abundance Insider: August 17th, 2018 Edition

By Peter H. Diamandis on Aug 17, 2018

In this week's Abundance Insider: Spider-inspired microbots, stem cell treatments for Crohn's disease, and open-source 3D bioprinters.

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

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. If you enjoy Abundance Insider, consider joining Abundance Digital, Peter's online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. Within our community, 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.

Spider-like Microbots Will Get Under Your Skin (In a Good Way)

What it is: A team of roboticists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University are developing a line of microscopic robots inspired by insects like the Australian Peacock spider. The intent is that these bots could one day be capable of performing delicate medical tasks inside the body, but first they needed to figure out how to build at the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. In a process they've called Morph, the team stacked 12 layers of elastic silicone to form the legs and abdomen followed by other more refined techniques like laser micro-etching to fine-tune the specs. At less than a centimeter wide, the spider bot is able to move, flex its joints and raise its abdomen all by injecting microfluids into a network of hollow channels running throughout its body.

Why it's important: Not only are we rapidly improving our ability to construct bots at microscopic scales, we're also witnessing an proliferation of biocompatible designs that promise to usher in more personalized and precise treatments, which in turn enable increased healthy lifespans. What other problems can we solve through biomimicry?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Morgan McDermott / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Stem Cell Transplants to Be Used in Treating Crohn's Disease

What it is: Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust have begun a clinical trial using stem cell transplants to grow new immune systems for patients with Crohn’s disease. A painful, chronic intestinal disease affecting 780,000 Americans, Crohn’s is intractably difficult to treat, often fought with inflammation-reducing drugs and even invasive surgical procedures to remove parts of the bowel. Shifting from a palliative approach, however, this clinical trial uses chemotherapy and hormone treatment to mobilize and harvest patients’ stem cells. Once additional chemotherapy wipes out a patient’s faulty immune system, reintroduced stem cells can then develop into new immune cells. Ultimately, researchers have evidence to believe that this newly populated immune system will no longer react adversely to a patient’s own gut or ward off drug compounds before they have a chance to work.

Why it's important: As Chief investigator James Lindsay explains, "We're hoping that by completely resetting the patient’s immune system through a stem cell transplant, we might be able to radically alter the course of the disease, [...] [allowing] some patients to finally respond to drugs which previously did not work.” Beyond Crohn’s disease, a recent application of stem cell transplants to wipe out and replace immune systems has even been found successful in treating multiple sclerosis. By targeting the immune system directly, stem cell transplants therefore show great potential for damaged tissue replacement and long-term clinical care of some of today’s most baffling chronic diseases.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Morgan McDermott / Written by Claire Adair 

HALO Collar Promises to Reduce Concussions in Contact Sport

What it is: Aexos, a canadian startup founded by two athletes, released HALO: a wearable compression shirt designed to combat concussions in contact sports. Specifically, HALO minimizes the risk of whiplash, which occurs when a sudden blow to the head makes it jerk forward or backward. The force of whiplash can tear muscles in the neck and cause concussions. HALO protects wearers in three ways: neck support, posture support, and reduction of head movement when impacted. Safe 4 Sports already officially endorsed the product, and preorders are now live through Kickstarter.

Why it's important: Sport-induced head trauma has profound effects on work and quality of life. Helmets are critical to prevent concussions, but they don't always work: impacts can propagate through even the best helmet technology, and brain trauma can occur as a result of rotational movements of the brain due to receive impact forces. HALO is another tool in the athlete's tool box to stay safe, healthy and exert sustainably.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

MIT Uses Cryptographic Ledger to Track Police Surveillance

What it is: MIT researchers have created a digital ledger to help track police surveillance and usage of data collected by private companies. Investigators frequently need to access online data from tech companies -- data which users might think is private and protected. When this data is accessed by law enforcement, certain information needs to stay secret so as to not compromise the investigation. At the same time, knowing what data was accessed by law enforcement allows the public to hold law enforcement and the legal system accountable. This blockchain application will add time and other event triggers to law enforcement data usage. After the relevant investigation(s) expire, information about the accessed data can immutably be published to the blockchain. The MIT team proposes leveraging a blockchain-based ledger and smart contracts to ensure transparency and accountability when it comes to law enforcement accessing our online data.

Why it's important: In 2018 data and privacy rights are a hot conversation topic. In a world powered by data-driven machine learning algorithms, is it reasonable to trade our privacy -- in the form of data about every aspects of our lives -- for hyper-efficient products and services? If we do not have privacy, it's important, at the very least, to have insight and transparency into how our data is used. The power of blockchain is its ability to immutably add transparency to the flow and history of information.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

CMU Engineers Find Innovative Way to Make a Low-Cost 3D Bioprinter

What it is: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon (CMU) are beginning to crack the code of large-scale, low-cost bioprinting while preserving the quality of a detailed print. Their printer? A standard MakerBot desktop 3D printer, modified over six years with open-source hardware and software, now capable of printing lab-grown cells, including collagen and other extracellular matrix proteins. A novel technique specifically designed to print soft and living materials, CMU’s Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) prints tissue in a gel, which is then carefully melted away to guarantee the viability of cells. CMU’s engineers have made their bioprinter designs open source -- now buildable for under $500 -- enabling new medical collaborations and democratized access.

Why it's important: One of the greatest challenges in bioprinting involves preserving the high resolution of small prints while still achieving tissue scaffolds at a larger scale. Building upon CMU’s large volume syringe pump extruder, however, researchers may soon be able to scale up the printing of biomaterials, such as cartilage and other complex artificial human tissue, without losing essential detail in cellular layers. Now plummeting in cost, bioprinting lab-grown cells to form living structures at scale cam revolutionize regenerative medicine, enabling us to cheaply support, repair, and augment diseased and damaged areas of the body without losing the resolution critical for functioning tissue.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Tech Mahindra Adopts Facial Recognition to Mark Attendance

What it is: Now that facial recognition technology is powerful and cheap enough to run on even a mobile device, Indian tech giant Tech Mahindra is bringing it into the workplace. Employees, after giving consent, can opt to enter facilities with their face versus keycards. Additionally, the Tech Mahindra system will also monitor employees' mood to better understand how day-to-day performance and morale.

Why it's important: As powerful technology like facial recognition democratizes and new use cases emerge, what regions of the world will be most receptive to adoption? Will India, for example, adopt facial recognition as favorably as their Chinese neighbors? How might this data help companies optimize their talent management processes?  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.

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Topics: Abundance Insider Robotics AI blockchain bio-printing biotech Stem Cells Sports Technology
12 min read

Abundance Insider: June 22, 2018 Edition

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 22, 2018

In this week's Abundance Insider: Gene therapy for spinal cord injuries, cornea-repairing eyedrops, and a community currency launch in Kenya.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, AJ, Bri, Jarom, Jason, Claire and Max

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New Gene Therapy Could Stitch Together Damaged Spinal Cords

What it is: In new research published just last week, a novel gene therapy involving regulated delivery of the protein chondroitinase has restored limb movement to rats paralyzed by spinal cord injury. In just a couple weeks, the gene therapy was able to break down scar tissue responsible for blocking spinal nerve cells from communicating with each other and the muscles they control. Paralyzed rats receiving the treatment were subsequently able to walk, climb ladders and relearn complex hand movements. While there is no guarantee that the gene therapy would work on humans, its ability to restore movement after total paralysis in a matter of weeks is a remarkable leap worth following.

Why it's important: Currently, there is no way to reverse the damage wrought by spinal cord injuries -- a major priority for medical researchers. If such a gene therapy could restore nerve cell growth and motor functions in humans, the implications would be staggering. By reversing nerve damage itself, a therapy of this kind -- geared with an antibiotic on/off switch for regulated delivery -- would grant individuals a remarkable measure of newfound independence and increased quality of life, particularly in the area of complex hand movements.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

New Eyedrops Could Repair Corneas, Make Glasses Unneccessary

What it is: Dr. David Smadja, an ophthalmologist at A Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jeruselum has developed a technique and nanodrops that could eliminate the need for prescription glasses entirely. The process uses a smartphone to scan a patient's cornea and laser etching an optical pattern onto the cornea, to be filled by the nanodrops. So far it has been successful in correcting mild near and far-sightedness in pigs, with human trials expected later this year. While the process may need to be completed every two months, the procedure itself could be performed at home, and is less invasive than LASIK.

Why it's important: We're seeing an explosion in options to treat vision impairment. Is it time to begin thinking about augmenting visual performance and a disruption in traditional eyewear?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Morgan McDermott / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Bancor Launches Blockchain Platform in Kenya to Enable Community Currencies

What it is: Partnering with nonprofit foundation Grassroots Economics, cryptocurrency platform Bancor announced that it will be launching a new blockchain platform in Kenya to enable 'community currencies.' With the goal of alleviating poverty, community currencies are an alternative financial system used to stimulate the creation and purchase of goods and services within local and regional economies. By enabling Kenyan communities to create and manage their own digital tokens, Bancor aims to boost local commerce and peer-to-peer collaboration. As new tokens will be tradable using fiat or crypto on Bancor’s platform, Bancor will additionally allow outsiders to purchase tokens in order to support community development from afar, helping generate value locally.

Why it's important: According to the World Bank’s 2017 Global Findex Database, about 1.7 billion adults globally remain unbanked -- lacking an account with either a financial institution or mobile money provider. This reality leaves many economically disempowered, without savings, credit or financial resilience. Blockchain-enabled community token platforms have the potential to fortify a more equitable trade environment, enabling basic income, food security and improved regional trade. With Bancor’s Kenyan government-backed community currency platform, not only will local markets be permitted to thrive, but they will also become increasingly connected to global trade.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Ford Aims to Revive a Detroit Train Station, and Itself

What it is: Ford recently announced its plans to open a hub for self-driving car innovation in the heart of Detroit, starting with the reinvention of a long-abandoned train station. Ford is investing heavily in the Detroit area, and hopes that this centerpiece campus will attract top talent and reinvigorate the local economy.

Why it's important: As exponential technologies are reaching their inflection points, new hubs -- akin to Silicon Valley for each of these technologies -- are starting to pop up. We're seeing aerospace thrive in Seattle and Los Angeles, and a massive software migration to Austin. Does this move by Ford signal the beginning of an ‘Autonomous Valley’ for self-driving car development in Detroit? As Peter discussed in a recent blog with Phillip Rosedale, the ecosystem, community, and open forum for collaboration are as important as the technology itself. Ecosystem building is frequently overlooked. If someone gave you $250 million to transform your city into an ecosystem for a certain exponential technology, how would you deploy that capital, and which tech would you target?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Claire Adair / Written by Max Goldberg 

DeepMind AI Learns to Reconstruct Scenes From Images

What it is: Google's DeepMind computer vision artificial intelligence showed that it can generate an accurate three-dimensional map or graphic from a set of two-dimensional images. DeepMind is the same Google subsidiary that developed AlphaGo Zero last year. To achieve this milestone in AI, the DeepMind team trained a Generation Query Neural Network with millions of standalone images. After training, the generative network could predict what the environment would look like from views that it hadn't previously seen.

Why it's important: One massive application set that jumps to mind for this technology is the ability for autonomous vehicles and drones to map and function in previously unexplored environments. However, this computer vision AI demonstration took place in a relatively simple, virtual environment -- scaling to real-world application is infinitely more difficult. Still, this development is extremely exciting, as it moves the AI from merely learning about the space around it, to understanding the space in which it exists.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

WeWork is Hiring, Mentoring & Training 1,500 Refugees

What it is: Building on a successful pilot partnership with the International Rescue Committee in 2017, WeWork has committed to hiring and investing in the success of 1,500 refugees over the next five years. To date, the company has hired 150 refugees from over 25 countries in 10 cities in the U.K. and the U.S., with plans to expand to Brazil and Colombia to meet the needs of workers fleeing Venezuela. Retention rates are over 80 percent, and while initial roles start out on the "community" team in office spaces, WeWork is also investing in employees' growth potential with mentors and training in areas like programming and English.

Why it's important: Politics aside, this is a great example of how businesses can step up to address sociopolitical issues and create impact at a multigenerational level. As linear systems clash with exponential technologies and business models, how else can private enterprise preserve global stability and pursue competitive advantages?  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.

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Topics: Abundance Insider AI cryptocurrencies gene therapy gene spinal cord injuries kenya Bancor ford blockchain Technology Detroit Deepmind google wework