9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 23rd, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Gates-backed solar startup announces major breakthrough.

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

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

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

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

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

Quantum computers learn to mark their own work.

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

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

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

Story contributed by Tom Connor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abundance Insider: November 16th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 16, 2019

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

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

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

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Japan is reinventing Fukushima as a renewable energy hub.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kanye West’s sustainable Yeezy concept uses algae foam.

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

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

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

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

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

Abundance Insider: November 8th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 8, 2019

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

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.

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
8 min read

The Augmented World of 2030 - Part 1

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 1, 2019

Augmented Reality is about to add a digital intelligence layer to our every surrounding, transforming retail, manufacturing, education, tourism, real estate, and almost every major industry that holds up our economy today.

Topics: Education Energy Abundance AR/VR Exponentials healthcare Augmented Reality intelligent hardware hardware augmented manufacturing Mojo Vision Microsoft HoloLens Magic Leap
8 min read

Direct Air Capture & the Carbon Revolution

By Peter H. Diamandis on Aug 18, 2019

Imagine making fuel, plastics, and concrete out of “thin air." That’s the promise of Direct Air Capture (DAC), a technology that fundamentally disrupts our contemporary oil economy.

Topics: Energy Abundance Exponentials XPRIZE solar energy solar power energy storage fossil fuels energy abundance future of energy direct air capture carbon carbon dioxide fuel future of fuel carbon capture carbon capture and sequestration Global Thermostat Climeworks Carbon Engineering CO2 fuels NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE
8 min read

(Sun)Bathed in Solar Energy Abundance

By Peter H. Diamandis on Aug 4, 2019

Every five days, the Sun provides the Earth with as much energy as all proven supplies of oil, coal and natural gas.

Topics: Energy Abundance Exponentials Tesla solar solar energy solar cells solar power energy storage energy abundance SolSunTech photovoltaics perovskite SunPower SolarCity solar roof panel efficiency Sun future of energy Perovskite PV Panasonic
12 min read

Abundance Insider: August 3rd, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Aug 3, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: SpaceX Starhopper's successful test hop, emotion-reading AIs, and SoftBank's second Vision Fund.

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. This week, in partnership with Sergey Young, my team at XPRIZE released a powerful Impact Roadmap outlining The Future of Longevity. I highly recommend taking a look. Click here to dive in.

SoftBank’s Second Vision Fund Is Set To Invest Over $108 Billion In AI Startups

What it is: SoftBank Group has just announced the launch of its $108 billion (to date) Vision Fund 2, dedicated to AI-based technology. Attracting a notable list of investors, the fund has achieved participation from limited partners Apple, Foxconn and Microsoft, among others. SoftBank itself will invest $38 billion in the fund (or approximately 35 percent of current funds). While already surpassed by its successor, SoftBank’s first Vision Fund offers a strong precedent, having yielded a 62 percent internal rate of return (IRR).

Why it’s important: Beyond an oncoming surge in capital flows to AI ventures and R&D, the Vision Fund 2 could solidify SoftBank’s position as the most influential international investor. The new fund is also slated to alter dynamics between startups, investors and corporate players like Microsoft, while decreasing SoftBank’s reliance on Saudi Arabian funds. Having invested in 24 out of 377 global unicorns, SoftBank now aims to retain its historically strong betting game and help birth a new generation of AI-driven disruptors. | Share on Facebook.
 

SpaceX Starship Prototype Takes 1st Free-Flying Test Hop

What it is: Dubbed Starhopper, SpaceX’s Starship prototype successfully completed its first untethered test flight last Thursday in Boca Chica, Texas. Resembling a large water tower with three legs wrapped in stainless steel, Starhopper ignited its single Raptor engine, conducting a straight hop to 65 feet (20 meters), then lowering itself back down in a controlled manner.

Why it’s important: Starhopper is a significant test bed for novel technologies underpinning SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy, which together constitute the company’s heavy-lift, fully reusable, high-capacity launch system and spacecraft. Designed to carry up to 100 people at a time, Starship could one day conduct multi-purpose trips to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, according to Musk. At the micro level, Starhopper thereby demonstrates the crucial role of rapid prototyping and iterative design in expediting (literal) moonshots. Yet at the macro level, SpaceX’s successful test — not to mention its rapid manufacturing of two full-scale ‘Mark 1’ Starships — are a testament to the booming revival of private space exploration | Share on Facebook.

In A 1st, Doctors In U.S. Use CRISPR Tool To Treat Patient With Genetic Disorder

What it is: Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics are now conducting the first-ever publicly recorded human study using CRISPR to treat a genetic disease. Striving to develop an effective therapy for patients with sickle cell disease, doctors first extract cells from patients’ bone marrow. These cells are then genetically modified with CRISPR to produce fetal hemoglobin, intended to counteract the defective proteins that result in sickle-shaped blood cells and thereby hinder oxygen transport. Patients next undergo the same chemotherapy administered as part of a standard bone marrow transplant. Yet once this process wipes out defect-carrying cells, patients receive billions of their own CRISPR-edited cells (as opposed to those contributed by a donor).

Why it’s important: This study marks significant progress on two fronts: not only is it an initial, formalized step in validating CRISPR’s use in human therapeutics, but it could pose tremendous implications for long-term treatment of sickle cell disease. As explained by Dr. Haydar Frangoul, “The hope is that [CRISPR] will provide a treatment option for all patients, including those who can’t find a matched donor.” By leveraging a patient’s own cells, this and similar CRISPR treatments could expand the field of personalized medicine and render quantifiable extensions of the human healthspan. | Share on Facebook.

Tesla’s Megapack Battery Is Big Enough To Help Grids Handle Peak Demand

What it is: Tesla’s new Megapack battery can store up to 3 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy at a time, while using only 60 percent of the space and one tenth of the components required by comparable energy storage units. If strung together, however, a sufficient number of Megapacks could theoretically provide over 1 GWh of energy storage. According to Tesla, this would be “enough to power every home in San Francisco for six hours.” Already, Tesla reports it will deliver fully-assembled Megapacks to utility firms like Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), which initially plans to deploy the batteries in Monterrey Bay, California.

Why it’s important: Today, “peaker” power plants are often responsible for providing energy when peak demand exceeds local electrical grid capacity. Yet Tesla’s highly efficient Megapacks could soon offer a more stable alternative. Particularly as Tesla’s new battery can be assembled ten times more quickly than alternative solutions, Megapacks are well-positioned for deployment at scale vis-a-vis established utility companies. Even though Tesla’s solar panel installation rate reached an all-time low in Q2 2019, the company’s focus on energy storage ventures continues to surge: both Powerwall home batteries and industrial Powerpacks reached record high deployment rates this year. As Megapacks begin populating the market, our societal shift toward renewable energy sources may soon pick up speed.| Share on Facebook.

AI Is Getting More In Touch With Your Emotions

What it is: EmoNet, a deep neural network model developed by researchers at Duke University and the University of Colorado, can now classify images into distinct emotional categories. Using parameters like color, spatial power spectra (think: one’s facial ‘layout’), and the presence of objects or stimuli, the AI can then classify an image featuring almost any facial expression into one of eleven distinct emotional categories. Developed using a database of 2,185 videos spanning 27 emotion categories, EmoNet is even capable of distinguishing expressions indicative of “craving” and “horror.”

Why it’s important: While AI may not (yet) be capable of appropriating human emotions, innovations like EmoNet indicate the technology’s increasing ability to discern and act upon human expression data. Perhaps most notably, emotion-reading AIs could play a tremendous role in clinical trial data analysis, scientific survey design, and even mental health diagnoses. Researchers who previously relied on self-reports of emotional state now have an objective and qualitatively accurate tool at their disposal. As elaborated by lead researcher Phillip Kragel, “Moving away from subjective labels such as 'anxiety' and 'depression' towards brain processes could lead to new targets for therapeutics, treatments, and interventions.”  | Share on Facebook.

Scientists Cook Up New Recipes For Taking Salt Out Of Seawater

What it is: Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new form of “thermally responsive” ionic liquids capable of desalinating salt water. Yet instead of using electricity, these ionic liquids use thermal energy, rendering a far more cost-effective solution than traditional desalination techniques. Partnering with the Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, the team discovered that the proximity of an ionic liquid’s organic components to its positively charged ions has a direct impact on the number of water molecules it can extract from seawater. Once tweaked accordingly, the team’s ionic liquid samples were able to separate freshwater from salt with far greater efficiency.

Why it’s important: Today, over 2 billion people rely on drinking water sources contaminated with human waste, and projections indicate that nearly half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025. 72 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, yet contemporary desalination systems remain highly energy-intensive. Now, however, innovations such as the Berkeley Lab’s modified ionic liquids could give rise to low-cost, scalable desalination — converting one of our most abundant commodities (seawater) into one of our most vital resources. | Share on Facebook.

What is Abundance Insider?

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider Space Energy AI Artificial Intellegence capital SpaceX biotech Genetics CRISPR rockets energy storage energy abundance water softbank
9 min read

Abundance Insider: July 27th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 27, 2019

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
10 min read

Abundance Insider: July 20th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 21, 2019

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
9 min read

Energy Abundance: The Future of Nuclear

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 14, 2019

Yes, I want nuclear energy *in my back yard*!

Topics: Energy Abundance Exponentials environment Batteries solar energy exponential technology footprint energy storage oil fossil fuels nuclear fusion fission nuclear power U-Battery energy abundance nuclear energy ITER
9 min read

Abundance Insider: July 12th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 12, 2019

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
10 min read

Abundance Insider: July 6th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 6, 2019

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
6 min read

Forging a >50% renewable electric economy by 2030

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 30, 2019

By 2030, more than 50 percent of the U.S. economy will run on electricity derived from renewables. What are the implications as we shift the U.S. and global energy economies away from fossil fuels?

Topics: Energy Abundance Transportation Exponentials environment Tesla Batteries driverless autonomous vehicles self-driving cars exponential technology electric vehicles internal combustion engine cars ridesharing electric fleets GM Cruise future of transportation personal vehicles oil consumption EVs EV footprint electric vehicle technology energy storage oil ecological transit end of ICE future of driving Nissan toyota Waymo Elon Musk UPS fossil fuels
12 min read

Abundance Insider: June 29th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 29, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Breakthroughs in energy storage, a noninvasive mind-controlled robotic arm, and SpinLaunch’s new way of launching rockets.

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 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.

New mind-controlled robot arm first to work without brain implant

What it is: A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has made extraordinary headway in the field of high-tech prosthetics, creating a bionic arm that functions smoothly without a brain implant. Previous robotic prosthetics required a patient to undergo high-risk, invasive surgery for a brain implant to achieve maximum robotic mobility. This arm, however, bridges the gap between seamless function and non-surgical bionics. In one instance, it was shown capable of following a computer screen cursor in real time without exhibiting the jerky motions and intermittent delays typical of other non-surgical mind-controlled prosthetics.

Why it's important: This innovation represents a fundamental leap in the age-old mission to enhance the quality of life and autonomy of individuals who have lost a limb. By improving prosthetic quality at significantly diminished risk, non-invasive bionics no longer require patients to risk their health to enjoy long-term use of a high-functioning, mind-controlled limb. As brain-computer interface (BCI) technology continues to surge forward, we are quickly charting the path to a future wherein responsive prosthetics will serve countless uses, from limb replacement to assistive aids in any number of industries and professions. | Share on Facebook

Siemens Gamesa Unveils World's First Electrothermal Energy Storage System

What it is: Siemens Gamesa is now leveraging the Earth’s surface for a future of energy abundance. The large-scale renewable energy technology manufacturer has just begun operations of what it claims is the world’s first electrothermal energy storage system. Already, Siemens Gamesa has turned a section of volcanic rock into a massive organic battery, capable of storing up to 130 megawatt-hours of energy for a week. The company additionally reports that its electrothermal energy storage system is significantly less expensive than conventional storage solutions. If we can begin to harness organic material for energy storage, how would this influence the modern-day power grid and storage solutions?

Why it's important: Renewable energy has long been promoted as an alternative solution to fossil fuels and other contemporary sources of energy. However, their oft-cited limitation is that of energy storage. If Siemens Gamesa demonstrates the successful scale-up of its sustainable solution to the storage problem, pervasive implementation of renewable energy sources would become a much more feasible option, and long-term implications would abound. If communities could soon store energy beneath their homes for extended periods of time, how might this influence real estate values and opportunities for expansion? What new microgrid networks and local economies would arise? | Share on Facebook

This fully biodegradable “leather” is welded together from waste

Story submitted by Steve Pierz, Chief Innovation Officer at Fastbrick Robotics.

What it is: An innovative player in the cow-free leather market, Natural Fiber Welding has developed a new plant-based product called Mirum. Fully biodegradable, Mirum entirely eschews the synthetic glues and plastics typically employed by other plant-based leather products. As explained by Founder and CEO Luke Haverhals, “We figured out ways to get 100 percent natural composites that are bonded together using clever, controlled chemistry.” Coconut fiber can be blended with (bottle) cork powder, for instance, to create strong “leathers” at low cost. Mirum is moreover price-competitive, as Natural Fiber Welding plans large-scale rollout of its product in 2020 and will soon produce millions of square feet of the low-cost, sustainable leather.

Why it's important: While numerous startups have pursued plant-based, zero-footprint leathers, the majority of these products are either difficult to scale or contain harmful synthetic materials like polyurethane. Yet nature offers a treasure trove of complex material candidates, which, when leveraged correctly, can yield vastly scalable, low-cost, compostable products. As high-tech welding processes and natural materials data continue to progress, materials like Mirum could profoundly disrupt the future of manufacturing, birthing closed-loop systems. | Share on Facebook

Fake blood pumps life into this robotic fish

What it is: Exponential progress in sensors and AI has led to remarkable advancements in autonomous robotics, but battery weight remains a stubborn obstacle to designing more nimble and long-lasting robots. Similarly, hard exoskeletons have proved a challenging barrier to safe interaction with humans, particularly in industrial settings. Enter Robert Shepherd and a team from Cornell University, who have created a soft robotic lionfish that pumps an electrolyte solution through synthetic blood vessels. When the solution passes over electrode stations, electricity is generated in what is commonly known as a flow battery. As hydraulic systems can account for 90 percent of a robot’s volume, combining these systems with the power source poses sizable advantages for design. The lionfish robot can consequently swim for up to 36 hours upstream, completely untethered.

Why it's important: By providing electrical energy with part-liquid, part-solid battery components, the researchers have proved that synthetic circulatory systems can serve a dual purpose: powering soft robots and controlling their movement. This breakthrough could be leveraged for countless multifunctional iterations, heralding a new era of low-risk, direct human-robot interaction. Use cases abound, from autonomous robotic surgeons to robotic search-and-rescue teams. | Share on Facebook

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveils its high-tech ‘city-within-a-city’ plan for Toronto

What it is: Long in the works, Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build out a high-tech utopia on Toronto’s waterfront is now out. While still subject to a thorough public vetting process — principally by government-appointed, non-profit partner Waterfront Toronto — the plan outlines an urban model for integrated smart cities of the future. Dubbed “the most innovative district in the world” by Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff, the pitch’s most pioneering components include autonomous vehicle networks, ubiquitous public Wi-Fi, an 89 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, and countless sensors for collection of “urban data” to optimize civil engineering decisions.

Why it's important: Already, Sidewalk Labs’ comprehensive plan has been projected to help create 44,000 jobs and generate $4.3 billion in annual tax revenue. Sidewalk Labs has additionally stated it will spend $1.3 billion on the project with the aim of spurring $38 billion in private sector investment by 2040. Beyond the targeted district, however, a materialized smart city plan could become an ideal testing ground for next-generation breakthrough technologies and automated ecosystems that provide seamlessly delivered public services and predictive routing. | Share on Facebook

Secretive Startup SpinLaunch Gets 1st Launch Contract for US Military

What it is: Since entrepreneur Jonathan Yaney founded SpinLaunch in 2014, the alternative space launch company has raised $40 million. Now, the company has just received its first “launch prototype contract” from the U.S. Department of Defense under a deal with the Defense Innovation Unit, and aims to launch its first test flights in early 2020. SpinLaunch’s system employs a giant centrifuge as its orbital rockets leverage kinetic energy during launch, as opposed to chemical energy. While details about SpinLaunch’s technology have been kept largely under wraps, the company previously stated its intentions to launch small payloads as frequently as five times per day. At a cost of $250,000 per flight, these would be conducted at the company’s $7 million Spaceport America launch site.

Why it's important: SpinLaunch serves as an ideal example of the entrepreneurial deployment of first principles thinking to disrupt preconceived cognitive biases, transform an industry, and pursue a moonshot. By distilling the complex problem of launching things into space to a fundamental physics question, Jonathan Yaney and his team may soon drive space launch costs down by an order of magnitude. How can you use first principles thinking to make a 10X gain by disrupting your industry’s heritage processes and creatively deploying technology? | Share on Facebook

What is Abundance Insider?

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
6 min read

In ten years, you will not own a car....

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 23, 2019

The era of the internal combustion engine (ICE) car is ending. We may have reached “peak ICE” production this past year.

Topics: Energy Abundance Transportation Exponentials environment Tesla Batteries driverless autonomous vehicles self-driving cars exponential technology electric vehicles internal combustion engine cars ridesharing electric fleets GM Cruise future of transportation personal vehicles oil consumption EVs EV footprint electric vehicle technology energy storage oil ecological transit end of ICE future of driving Nissan toyota Waymo Elon Musk UPS fossil fuels
15 min read

Abundance Insider: June 21st 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 21, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: New plant-based meat alternatives, Cadillac’s 200,000 miles of hands-free driving, and a spacecraft 3D-printing hub.

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 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.

Facebook Announces Libra Cryptocurrency: All You Need To Know

What it is: Earlier this week, Facebook released details of its new cryptocurrency, Libra. With a public launch set for 2020, Libra is backed by more than a dozen companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union, PayPal, Stripe, and Uber. Having invested at least $10 million USD to fund development of the coin, each backer is part of the Libra Association, an independent entity of founding members tasked with governing the coin. Libra will be what is known as a stable coin, backed by a basket of government currencies to offset volatility.

Why it's important: This is the first major operation by a large, multinational platform to develop its own digital cryptocurrency, not to mention an accompanying programming language. As founding backers pursue businesses' acceptance of Libra for payment and even provide customer rewards, Libra's growth is newly elevating the "crypto" conversation in both profile and potential long-term economic significance. Watch how this conversation unfolds, not only in the U.S., but also in nations like India that have historically remained hostile to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. How will regulators and users respond? Could this be an inflection point in the adoption curve?  Share on Facebook

Cadillac Super Cruise Expansion Means 200,000 Miles Of Hands-Free Driving

What it is: Cadillac just announced the addition of 70,000 miles to its Super Cruise hands-free driving system on the auto manufacturer’s CT6 Sedan. Currently the only semi-autonomous system that offers hands-free driving at maximum highway speeds, Super Cruise will now be fully functional on 200,000 miles of roads. While only programmed to work on mapped roadways, Cadillac’s system draws from vehicle sensors, cameras, and a compiled database of LIDAR-mapped roads for its robust hands-free functionality. To ensure continuous driver attention, Cadillac additionally uses sensors to monitor the position of a driver’s head, so sleeping behind the wheel is not an option!

Why it's important: Autonomous vehicles have arrived, and they will dramatically impact the structure of our days, not to mention the way we work. Riding advancements in machine learning and sensor technologies, self-driving cars will soon surpass the driving skills of any human. Lengthy commutes to work will become time-abundant opportunities: to get an extra hour of sleep, collaborate remotely on a project, or watch a movie. Eliminating transition times and travel interruptions enables a more seamless and productive day, courtesy of today’s numerous converging technologies. As autonomous driving multiplies our most precious resource, time, how will you maximize your efficiency? What new projects will you take on?  Share on Facebook

Beyond Meat Upgrades Its Burger With Better Marbling And Complete Protein

What it is: Just last week, plant-based meat substitute producer Beyond Meat released its new and improved Beyond Burger. Now available in major grocery stores — Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, Sprouts, among others — the upgraded patty is now a source of “complete protein,” containing all nine amino acids required in a human diet. One of the burger’s most widely lauded feats, however, is its impressive “marbled” texture, leveraging coconut oil and cocoa to imitate the richly flavored, fatty specks in real meat. Nonetheless, while stocked with 20 grams of protein (comparable to that of a beef burger), Beyond Meat uses pea, mung bean, and rice protein in lieu of a cholesterol-laden beef base.

Why it's important: As growing evidence reveals the health hazards and environmental footprint of meat consumption and animal agriculture, plant-based alternatives are beginning to play in the big leagues. Having enjoyed this year’s most successful IPO to date, Beyond Meat tripled its sales last quarter. Meanwhile, competitor Impossible Foods is now selling its plant-based burgers in Burger Kings nationwide, not to mention its patty's appearance on countless other restaurant menus. While both struggling to meet demand, these two players are part of a nascent but powerful new market, one poised to revolutionize the future of food and decimate its ecological impact.  Share on Facebook

Meet Endel: The First-Ever Algorithm To Sign A Music Distribution Deal With A Major Label

What it is: Endel, a music-generating AI, is now the first-ever algorithm to sign an album distribution deal with a major label conglomerate. One of the “big three” labels, Warner Music Group has agreed to distribute Endel’s AI-generated soundscapes. As part of the deal, Endel will generate twenty new albums for the label, in addition to the five it has already produced. Endel creates personalized meditation music for relaxation and focus. Thanks to its innovative music software, the startup has already attracted high-profile investors, from Amazon’s Alexa Fund to Japanese entertainment giant Avex Group.

Why it's important: From Neolithic cave paintings to today’s contemporary montages, art represents an evolutionary leap from base intelligence to complex, self-aware, and abstract thought. Many believe that our ability to create art corroborates humanity’s elevated position above other species. For this reason, some experts speculate that art will be the last industry disrupted by AI, if at all. Endel’s (and other softwares’) ability to create music thereby serves as an early indication that art is no longer a domain exclusive to human creatives. Just as IBM’s Deep Blue beat the world’s greatest chess player, Gary Kasparov, in an historic 1997 chess match, moments like these demonstrate just how quickly and multifariously AI is accelerating.  Share on Facebook

Relativity Is Building A 3D-Printing Rocket Manufacturing Hub In Mississippi

What it is: 3D-printed spacecraft manufacturer Relativity Space has now sealed its agreement with NASA to open a $59 million manufacturing facility at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock, Mississippi. While Relativity already runs four proprietary 3D printers at its Los Angeles operations base, the startup will build twelve larger, second-generation printers at Stennis. With 220,000 square feet newly at its disposal, Relativity initially plans to use this Stennis infrastructure for construction of its Terran1 rocket. As affirmed by Stennis Space Center Director Dr. Rick Gilbrech, the collaboration reinforces NASA’s commitment to expand “commercial access to low Earth orbit.” Meanwhile, Relativity is given free rein to fully leverage the power of additive manufacturing.

Why it's important: Rockets are some of the most complex machines humankind has ever invented, constantly iterated upon and requiring extreme precision. 3D printing can simplify much of this complexity, requiring fewer parts, delivering a more seamless manufacturing process, and minimizing risk of human error. In the near future, additive manufacturing will be a key catalyst for exploration of and expansion throughout our solar system. Imagine shipping one of Relativity’s printers to Mars to manufacture critical components in situ, needed for return to Earth. Relativity's methods demonstrate a prime example of converging technologies that together decimate costs and open the floodgates for new industries. Share on Facebook

Tyson Foods Unveils Plant-Based Nuggets As It Moves Into Meat Alternatives

What it is: Signaling a fundamental shift in today’s meat industry, Tyson Foods — the U.S.’s largest meat processor — has announced its upcoming debut of plant-based nuggets. Slated to hit shelves this summer, the product is part of Tyson’s new brand, Raised & Rooted, focused on plant-based protein. Yet unlike competitors Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, Raised & Rooted will include both pure plant-based substitutes and blended products, such as a burger consisting of pea protein and Angus beef. With an eye to consumer trends, Tyson has even revealed future plans to enhance its range of plant protein alternatives.

Why it's important: By 2040, traditional meat supply is projected to fall by over 33 percent, according to a recent A.T. Kearney analysis. Already, consumer meat-eating habits (particularly in the U.S.) are changing at a staggering rate. While Mintel reports that almost 60 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in eating less meat, Euromonitor forecasts a $22.9 billion global market for meat alternatives by 2023. As fast-growing startups rush to capitalize on this hot new market, the entrance of corporate incumbents like Tyson is perhaps the most compelling validator of an underlying shift towards plant-heavy protein consumption. Whether overtaken by lab-grown meat or plant-based alternatives, the meat industry faces disruption of epic proportions. What do you envision on your plate in 2045?  Share on Facebook

Say Hello To Dot, An Autonomous Farming Solution

Guest contribution by Robert Saik, CEO of Dot Farm Solutions.

What it is: Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Dot (named after its inventor’s mother) is the largest autonomous agriculture robot in the world. Dot’s patented, U-shape design enables the 173 Hp Diesel Power Platform unit to connect with a wide variety of Dot Ready implements, such as seed drills, planters, sprayers, fertilizer, spreaders and grain carts. Dot’s initial market is broad-acre agriculture, whereby farmers need to rapidly cover thousands of acres. Once farmers load perimeter and obstacle GIS field maps into Dot, the robot navigates using path-planning software at sub-inch GPS accuracy. This enables Dot to autonomously apply crop inputs like seed, fertilizer, or pesticides with 100% precision. Geared with LIDAR, radar and photometrics, Dot then leverages machine learning to increase real-time field analysis, efficiency and safety. As additional Dot-certified crop sensors are added to the platform, these will be further tethered to Dot’s Data Cloud, enabling deep analytics.

Why it's important: Most broad-acre farming operations suffer from acute shortage of qualified machinery operators. With the Dot Farming Solution, one operator can tender several Dot autonomous systems to multiply efficiency and dramatically reduce farmers’ time spent in tractor cabs. Highly versatile, Dot offers a path to autonomous agriculture for short-line manufacturers, expanding beyond broad-acre farming into small vegetable farms, vineyards, and even sectors like forestry, mining or construction. Today’s farmers additionally face exorbitant operational costs. A fraction of the cost of a self-propelled, high-clearance sprayer, Dot further reduces both soil compaction and operational costs by “cradling” (rather than “pulling”) its Dot Ready Implements. The world needs to produce 10,000 years worth of food in the next 30 years. Empowered by a wave of new tools, tomorrow’s farmers will need to rapidly adopt autonomous AgTech solutions, like Dot, to address agricultural constraints and unleash global food abundance.  Share on Facebook

What is Abundance Insider?

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy Robotics AI food Artificial Intellegence robots future of food lab grown meat
14 min read

Abundance Insider: June 14th 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jun 14, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Amazon's commercial delivery drone, lab-grown stem cell heart patches, and a new artificial reef.

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

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

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

 

You Can Train An AI To Fake UN Speeches In Just 13 Hours

What it is: ​Researchers from the UN’s big data and innovation initiative, Global Pulse, set out to demonstrate the powerful implications of deep learning on governmental affairs and disseminated news. To do so, they created a deep learning system that generates fake UN speeches, using only open-source tools and data. The team employed a readily available, open-source deep learning language model, trained with publicly available Wikipedia articles. They further refined the deep learning model with speeches given at the UN General Assembly from 1970 to 2015. Their resulting system generated hyper-realistic political speeches on complex, high-stakes topics ranging from nuclear weapons to refugee crises. Achieved at an extraordinarily low cost, the procedure required a mere 13 hours and $7.80 worth of cloud computing power.

Why it's important: Providing clear grounds for counteraction, this research compellingly demonstrates that we have reached the point at which anyone, anywhere can produce hyper-realistic fake content, essentially for free. Entrepreneurs today thereby face a major business opportunity to build creative solutions that combat misinformation and educate people across the globe on the rise of ‘deep fakes.’ How does the world — not to mention our current business practices — change when anyone, anywhere can digitally replicate you, your loved ones, and even our world leaders?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Watch Amazon’s All-New Delivery Drone Zipping Through The Sky

What it is: Amazon has now completed a successful test of its latest delivery drone. Having demonstrated advances in the Prime Air drone's safety and efficiency, according to Amazon executive Jeff Wilke, Amazon now claims its commercial drone delivery service will be a reality “in the coming months,” despite FAA red tape. Featuring six rotors, the electric-powered aircraft can take off like a helicopter, fly for 15 miles, and deliver a package of up to five pounds (covering the majority of consumer orders). Leveraging machine learning, the drone is additionally equipped with advanced object-detection systems to safely navigate neighborhood environments.

Why it's important: Commercial delivery drones represent a massive step forward for online retail. Autonomous delivery aircrafts decimate the time between consumer purchase and product enjoyment. Historically, brick and mortar retail has maintained a competitive edge over its online counterpart given its ability to satisfy the consumer’s desire for instant gratification. However, by nearly eliminating wait times, not to mention consumer-borne travel, delivery drones will satisfy that very impulse and increasingly dominate contemporary retail.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Aaron Bronfman 

After 40 Years Of Searching, Scientists Identify The Key Flaw In Solar Panel Efficiency

What it is: ​For the past 40 years, scientists have attempted in vain to determine a key flaw in solar cells responsible for Light Induced Degradation (LID), a 2 percent efficiency drop in solar cells during their first hours of use. In a new study, however, scientists used an electrical and optical technique called deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) to identify weaknesses in the silicon used to produce solar cells. Previously undetected, a critical material defect was found to trap the flow of electrons once solar cells’ electronic charge is transformed from sunlight. This, in turn, reduces the electrical power generated as soon as solar panels are heated.

Why it's important: While an efficiency reduction of 2 percent might seem negligible, the aggregate global efficiency loss from LID is estimated to exceed the equivalent of all energy generated by the U.K.’s 15 nuclear power plants. As solar panels proliferate in number, eliminating this loss could have a tremendous impact in helping solar farms meet the world’s growing energy needs. Now that researchers have discovered this consequential material flaw, engineers are on the move to provide an optimal fix, one of many breakthroughs-in-progress charting the path towards solar energy abundance.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Claire Adair / Written by Claire Adair 

This Lab-Grown Patch Could Repair Your Heart After a Heart Attack

What it is: A research team from Imperial College London has presented a novel solution for heart tissue damage resulting from heart disease and heart attacks. The team has created thumb-sized patches, each containing up to 50 million human stem cells. Once patches are sown onto damaged tissue, the stem cells they contain are “programmed” to grow into functional heart tissue. Offering a highly efficient and fast-acting solution, the stem cell-embedded patches can mimic fully mature heart tissue within just one month of attachment. While still awaiting clinical trials, this technology holds tremendous promise to prolong millions of lives in the future.

Why it's important: Every year, American adults suffer an estimated 735,000 heart attacks. In the same period, roughly 610,000 die as a result of heart disease, now the leading cause of death in the U.S. Resulting complications from heart disease and heart attacks often leave people with damaged heart tissue, making high-exertion activities exhausting and dangerous. Strengthened by this stem cell patch, however, a patient’s heart could heal and regain full functionality within several weeks. A remarkable advancement in regenerative medicine, this and similar therapies could soon give way to alternative forms of tissue regeneration, prolonging and improving people’s lives. As our ability to repair human tissue extends the professional lifespan, how might such an increase in "workable" longevity impact tomorrow’s labor force?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Hawken Wanamaker 

This Cool Artificial Reef Was Just Deployed In Sydney Harbor

What it is: About 1,000 miles south of the Great Barrier Reef sits a newly installed series of modular, artificial reefs, right in the heart of Sydney Harbor. Built by Reef Design Lab in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney’s Opera House, and the New South Wales government, the reef consists of eight pods, each containing three hexagonal units. Constructed from marine-grade steel and concrete, these complex built structures are designed to become quickly encrusted with seaweed and similar sea life, attracting new marine inhabitants and providing shelter to those fish previously driven away from the Opera House’s surroundings.

Why it's important: It is no secret that today’s oceans are under attack. As plastic waste and agricultural runoff cause mass waterway contamination and detrimental harm to marine species, rising temperatures have led to astounding rates of coral bleaching. Yet while artificial reefs are not a holistic solution to these issues, they can help restore the complex ecosystems of affected natural reefs, repopulating diverse fish populations and attracting new marine life. In just a few weeks, Sydney Harbor’s reef structures have begun to attract curious, new inhabitants and could soon provide a promising model for similar areas in need.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Amazon launches Personalize, A Fully Managed AI-Powered Recommendation Service

What it is: This month, Amazon Web Services announced a newly available, AI-powered recommendation service called Amazon Personalize. A powerful new tool for content managers, app developers, consumer-facing businesses, and the like, Personalize allows users to incorporate tailored search results, product suggestions, and even on-the-fly customized funnels into a variety of web platforms. As locational availability expands, Personalize may soon allow anyone with Internet access to leverage recommendation engines powered by the same machine learning algorithms that fuel Amazon’s product recommendations.

Why it's important: In an age of constant disruption, what was once scarce and expensive is now abundant and nearly free. Only a decade ago, predictive analytics and its younger precursors, big data and machine learning, were relegated to the domain of multi-billion-dollar companies. Now, anyone anywhere can rapidly spin up powerful machine learning models that exponentially enhance one’s business, customer experience, and bottom line. How are you incorporating predictive analytics and recommendation services into your business?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

What is Abundance Insider?

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

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Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Artificial Intellegence Drones solar energy Amazon autonomous vehicles oceans
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.

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

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