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.

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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.

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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.

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 (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.

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

AI & Shopping - A New Retail Era

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 24, 2019

AI and broadband are eating retail for breakfast. In the first half of 2019, we’ve seen 19 retailer bankruptcies. And the retail apocalypse is only accelerating.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots materials networks connectivity smart cities construction connection Moonshots entrepreneur convergence aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop Martine Rothblatt organ transplant
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.

Share Abundance Insider on LinkedIn | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter.

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.

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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 energy abundance future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience optimization Apple Yeezy
7 min read

Pursuing Moonshots: Martine Rothblatt’s Story

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 21, 2019

You just learned your daughter’s disease gives her less than 5 years to live. How do you react? Would you strive to make her last years the most fulfilling? Or would you search every medical journal, contact every scientist, and find her a cure?

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots materials networks connectivity smart cities construction connection Moonshots entrepreneur convergence aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop Martine Rothblatt organ transplant
6 min read

transforming sick care into healthcare - part 1

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 17, 2019

The U.S. healthcare industry is in for a major disruption in the decade ahead.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop
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
7 min read

Hyperloop, Rocket Travel, and Avatars

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 13, 2019

What’s faster than autonomous vehicles and flying cars? 

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop
11 min read

Revolutionizing Disaster Relief: A Tale of Convergence

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 10, 2019

Between 2005 and 2014, natural disasters have claimed the lives of over 700,000 people and resulted in total damage of more than US$1.4 trillion.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity trillion sensor economy smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology nanorobots smart tracking mobile connectivity
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.

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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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.

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 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: 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.

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

Revolutionizing Disaster Relief: A Tale of Convergence

By Peter H. Diamandis on Apr 7, 2019

Between 2005 and 2014, natural disasters have claimed the lives of over 700,000 people and resulted in total damage of more than US$1.4 trillion.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity trillion sensor economy smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology nanorobots smart tracking mobile connectivity