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.

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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 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
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.

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

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

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider 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.

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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
8 min read

Abundance Insider: October 28th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Oct 28, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Google's quantum computing breakthrough, a new gene-editing technique, and NASA's collaboration with Caterpillar on Moon mining machines.

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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New gene editing technology could correct 89% of genetic defects.

What it is: Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have now developed a new gene-editing technique called “prime editing.” Built upon the foundations of CRISPR technology, prime editing has the expected potential to correct up to 89 percent of genetic defects, including those responsible for diseases like sickle cell anemia. By combining the traditional CRISPR-Cas9 approach with a protein that can generate new DNA, prime editing can thereby both snip DNA strands and transfer edited sequences to target DNA, allowing scientists to delete and replace whole sections of DNA strands.

Why it’s important: Single point gene mutations constitute roughly two-thirds of known human genetic variants associated with disease. As a result, effective gene editing techniques—once perfected—could correct mutations and wipe out a number of debilitating conditions. As explained by one of the authors of the study, Andrew Anzalone, “The versatility of prime editing quickly became apparent as we developed this technology [...] The fact that we could directly copy new genetic information into a target site was a revelation.” Now refining the new prime editing technique, Broad Institute’s scientists hope future iterations of CRISPR could target everything from obesity to Alzheimer’s to some of today’s most vexing genetic maladies. |Share on Facebook.

NASA's collaborating with Caterpillar on Moon mining machines.

What it is: NASA has recently teamed up with autonomous construction vehicle manufacturer Caterpillar to develop machines for excavating and mining the Moon. The two have long collaborated on robotics projects, but it is the autonomous capabilities of Caterpillar’s vehicles that make the company uniquely positioned to develop technology for NASA's lunar exploration programs. According to NASA spokesperson Clare Skelly, “there are many synergies between what NASA needs to meet exploration goals and Caterpillar technologies used here on Earth.”

Why it’s important: On the heels of revived interest in lunar exploration and the goal of establishing a lunar base, NASA has been heavily pursuing methods to make tasks easier for astronauts. Given multiple hazards associated with navigating the lunar surface, semi-autonomous vehicles could minimize dangerous construction work done conducted directly by astronauts. Once validated and fully autonomous, Moon-mining machines might one day provide a continuous supply of raw materials, from dust to water, for NASA’s proposed lunar outpost. | Share on Facebook.

Tesla’s new Solar Roof costs less than a new roof plus solar panels, aims for install rate of 1K per week.

What it is: Tesla has just launched its third-generation Solar Roof for residential home use. Planning to start installations in the coming month, the company is now aiming for a production rate of up to 1,000 new roofs per week. Long a work in progress, Tesla’s Solar Roof is designed to double as both an aesthetically appealing roof tile and set of home power-generating solar panels with high surface area coverage. While the installation process remains “very non-trivial,” according to Elon Musk, Tesla hopes to gamify consumer installation learning through ‘installathons’ and is investing in R&D to lower this critical barrier.

Why it’s important: Although individual tiles’ power-gathering cells are still less energy-efficient than traditional solar cells, version three of the Solar Roof well exceeds the energy-generating capacity of similarly sized roofs retrofitted with traditional tiles, on balance. Furthermore, V3 marks a tremendous improvement over previous iterations of the Solar Roof, and Musk forecasts a total addressable market of up to 100 million households globally. As installation procedures plummet in complexity and cost, and solar continues to demonetize, self-sustaining and energy-efficient residences could fast become the norm worldwide.

Google Confirms Achieving Quantum Supremacy.

What it is: Google’s quantum computer, Sycamore, has just claimed “quantum supremacy” after completing a computation that would normally take 10,000 years on the most powerful supercomputers, in just 200 seconds. Led by experimental physicist John Martinis at UC Santa Barbara, the Google team published its feat in Nature magazine this week. Instead of traditional semiconductor computers, which store data in 1s or 0s, quantum bits (qubits) can exist in a third superposition state of both 0 and 1 simultaneously. With more degrees of bit variability, quantum computers can thereby perform exponentially more calculations per second than traditional computers. Quantum entanglement, described by Einstein as “spooky action at a distance,” then allows computers to measure entangled qbits at the same time. As Google’s Sycamore contains 54 qbits capable of storing over 10 quadrillion combinations of values, the tech giant now boasts the potential to tackle computational problems inconceivable in the past.

Why it’s important: While real-world applications of quantum computing may lie further on the horizon, Sycamore’s scientific achievement is a tremendous milestone for the many companies investing in this space already. In just the last two years, about US$400 million has been channeled towards private quantum-related firms—doubling investment figures of the past five years. Intel and IBM have demonstrated processors similar in scale to that of Sycamore, yet error-checking remains an issue for all three. Moving forward, Google aims to implement full error-checking once it can create processors with at least a million qubits. Currently, however, a second Google team is exploring how Sycamore-like computers can develop machine learning algorithms that generate realistic images. Meanwhile, competitor IBM offers quantum cloud access to partners such as drugmaker Merck. Even Airbus Ventures has invested in quantum startup IonQ, which may eventually aid in aircraft physics simulations. Spanning countless applications, the long-term vision of early investors in quantum computing will pay off sooner than you might think. |Share on Facebook.

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Conversation with Tony Robbins: Join me on Wednesday, October 30th at 12pm PT for an incredible conversation with Tony Robbins. We'll be discussing moonshots and mindsets, how to transform industries and cultures, and how to leverage technologies to dramatically improve your personal life and business success. Save your spot here.

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 Robotics google solar solar energy autonomous vehicles Genetics CRISPR quantum computing nasa solar cells solar power solar roof extraplanetary colonies genetic engineering Caterpillar
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: January 18th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jan 18, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: One-minute healthcare clinics, bioprinted spinal cord repairs and how AI systems “think.”

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

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

P.P.S. Abundance 360 is only a week away! Join Abundance Digital to view the full livestream of this event, where we appreciate the technological breakthroughs of this past year and draw attention to the technologies that will move from deceptive to disruptive in 2019. Full livestream schedule and speaker descriptions can be found here

A Neural Network Can Learn to Organize the World It Sees Into Concepts -- Just Like We Do

What it is: Researchers at the MIT-IBM Watson Lab are using General Adversarial Networks, or GANs, to help explain how artificial intelligence systems “think.” GANs are a form of AI that pits two neural networks against each other to achieve a larger goal, such as creating new pictures of dogs, human faces or swapping heads in photos. In a process akin to knockout genes in biology, the researchers trained their GANs on pictures, and then turned neurons on and off to discover what they represented. Strikingly, the GANs representation of features closely mirrors how humans represent concepts like trees or doors — and even the nuances between types of trees or doors and how they fit into particular images (e.g. clouds go in the sky, versus the grass). As an illustration, the team has created an app called GANpaint, which you can use to experiment.

Why it's important: As we grow increasingly reliant on AI systems to make decisions for us and automate our lives, it’s critical that we begin to understand how these algorithms work.  Look for this example to spur new lines of research, as well as feedback loops to make AI’s smarter and more effective.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Claire Adair / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Bio-Printers Are Churning Out Living Fixes To Broken Spines

What it is: In a groundbreaking study, researchers from the University of California at San Diego successfully bioprinted spinal implants to regenerate spinal cords in injured mice. Essentially, the team printed a 3D biomimetic hydrogel scaffolding, customized to a given rodent with spinal cord damage. They filled this scaffolding with neural progenitor cells (basically spinal cord stem cells), which facilitate axon (spinal cord cell) regeneration. After implanting the scaffold-neural cell matrix into the mice, the researchers observed axon regrowth around the implant. Eventually, the mice regained partial movement of their hind legs.

Why it's important: Bioengineers are using 3D printers and regenerative medicine to completely transform how we rehabilitate, cure and repair the human body. Current applications include replacing bones, augmenting dentistry, custom-fitting prosthetics, replacing organs and repairing nerves. While most bioprinting research is carried out in vitro (in Petri dishes), this experiment was performed in living mice, explicitly showcasing this technology’s ability to transform quality of life. As Peter is discussing in his Longevity and Vitality blog series, various regenerative medicine technologies are converging to dramatically extend the healthy human lifespan.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg

Researchers Discover A Method To Make 3D Printing 100 Times Faster Using Light

What it is: Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new 3D printing method that can produce complex shapes at up to 100 times the speed of traditional 3D printers. In conventional stereolithography, 2D images are projected onto liquid resin that hardens when exposed to light, but the stacking of these solid layers is far too slow a process for commercial-scale print runs. By using two different wavelengths of light, however, this printing method can now selectively harden specific parts of the printed resin while keeping resin near the projection window liquid. This allows for continuous printing (no incremental layering involved!) and massive speed improvements.

Why it's important: 3D printing has seen impressive adoption rates across manufacturing, but with slow printing speeds, it has yet to hit the big ranks. By selectively hardening photoreactive resin and thereby enabling a continuous print job, however, this method offers both a speed upgrade and major advances in structural integrity over filament 3D printing. Also capable of printing with a number of new resins, the technology has tremendous potential to commercialize high-speed and high-resolution additive manufacturing. Move aside, injection molds.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair

Face-Scanning A.I. Can Help Doctors Spot Unusual Genetic Disorders

What it is: DeepGestalt, an AI built by the Boston-based tech company FDNA, is extending the applications of facial expression to identify children with rare genetic disorders. In a recent study involving 17,000+ kids with over 200 disorders -- many of which have recognizable facial features -- the AI correctly distinguished between subtypes of disorders 64 percent of the time. In contrast, human clinicians have a roughly 20 percent success rate. To achieve this feat, FDNA first trained DeepGestalt to identify faces in general, and then applied transfer learning to identify deviations from normal to spot possible disorders.

Why it's important:  Already in use with FDNA’s Face2Gene platform, this AI will help clinicians accurately identify and treat disorders faster and less invasively. This AI also leverages transfer learning, one of the key breakthroughs from DeepMind that enabled it to learn to play new Atari games from scratch. Where else can this process be applied? Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin

Ping An Good Doctor Launches Commercial Operation of One-Minute-Clinics-In-China

What it is: Ping An Good Doctor, China’s largest online healthcare services provider, has now expanded its AI-geared “one-minute clinics” across eight major Chinese provinces and cities. With signed service contracts for almost 1,000 units and a growing user reach of over 3 million patients, the company has stocked its 24/7 compact booths with more than 100 categories of cryogenically refrigerated common drugs, purchasable through smart vending machines. Each clinic houses an ‘AI Doctor,’ trained to collect data on patient symptoms and medical history through voice and text input, after which one of Ping An’s human doctors provides remote diagnoses, medical advising, and immediate online prescriptions.

Why it's important: As the Chinese government drives forward a comprehensive “Healthy China” strategy, the nation’s online healthcare market continues to boom. Predicted to surpass US$14.4 billion in value by 2025, the domestic market has seen countless new players, with Ping An Good Doctor at the helm. Offering everything from online consultations for over 2,000 common diseases to one-hour drug delivery services, Ping An’s platform serves as a groundbreaking example of digitized and democratized healthcare: a glimpse of the future in which any patient can access transparent health information, expert advising and medical care anytime, anywhere. Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair

Tesla Proposes Microgrids With Solar And Batteries To Power Greek Islands

What it is: Tesla leadership recently met with the government of Greece as a preliminary step in deploying energy storage microgrids on the Greek islands. Similar to the systems that Tesla deployed in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Samoa, these systems would include photovoltaic solar arrays to capture energy, and energy storage battery banks. Tesla has had a presence in Greece for several years, and previously built an electric motor research and development center there.

Why it's important: This year, solar energy broke records all over Europe. Across the region -- and the world -- we’re seeing lower prices and larger solar farms than ever before. Tesla’s efforts to drive down the cost of photovoltaics and battery storage put the company at the forefront of the solar energy evolution.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

What is Abundance Insider?

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider 3D Printing Data healthcare Tesla Batteries bio-printing solar solar energy biotech
14 min read

Abundance Insider: July 20th, 2018 Edition

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 20, 2018

In this week's Abundance Insider: Living solar cells, digitally cloned executives, and a $1B real estate company that operates entirely in VR.

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

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

Inside a $1 Billion Real Estate Company Operating Entirely in VR

What it is: Launched on the heels of 2008’s historic real estate collapse, eXp Realty has beat all odds, going public this past May, surpassing a $1B market cap on Day 1 of trading, and doubling their number of real estate agents to over 12,000 across 300 markets in just seven months. Their secret? An online virtual campus for employees, contractors and thousands of agents to attend team meetings and training seminars. Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty’s founder and CEO, originally opted for a demonetized virtual model until VirBELA built out the company’s office space in VR three years ago, unlocking indefinite scaling potential.

Why it's important: Building a company within VR is a novel, accessible ways of unlocking Peter’s 6Ds to disrupt any industry. "If we were to have the constraints of physical offices, the growth we’ve had simply wouldn’t be possible," said eXp Realty’s CTO Scott Petronis. With a VR campus, you can hire anyone with Internet access, redesign your corporate office every month, throw in a luxurious bar for social events and a beach-front office for client meetings, and forget about the carbon footprint of daily commutes from Day 1.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Aaron Frank / Written by Claire Adair 

Adidas' Speedfactory Pop-Up Shows the Future of Footwear

What it is: Adidas is showcasing a glimpse of the future of personalized footwear at its pop-up Speedfactory Lab Experience in Brooklyn, NY. The pop-up brings some of the developing technology for fully-customized footwear from Adidas' full-scale Speed Factories in the U.S. and Germany. The Speedfactory has a souped-up treadmill with data acquisition equipment to provide real-time analysis of a customer’s running strides. At the store, Adidas employees acquire information about how you run that would generally be used to help select your optimal running shoe style. Adidas can also use this data to design the perfect running shoe for you.

Why it's important: Personalized footwear is an excellent test case for the production capabilities of 3D printing. A good shoe must be tough and durable, yet flexible and lightweight, and meet the wearer's expectations for support and comfort. Imagine shoes custom-fitted to each of your feet, with the style tailored exactly to your taste. How will this disrupt traditional footwear, the retail experience, and related accessories like shoe inserts?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Skye Lininger / Written by Max Goldberg 

VRgineers New Pro Headset XTAL Features AutoEye IPD and Leap Motion

What it is: Prague-based VRgineers has just released the world’s most visually accurate professional VR headset ever, the crystal-clear XTAL. Targeting enterprise platforms for engineering and design professionals, the XTAL boasts a 5K resolution (nearly double that of the HTC Vive Pro) and 170º field-of-view. Enabling voice commands via a built-in microphone and voice recognition software, the XTAL is also geared with AutoEye technology that seamlessly aligns the headset’s lenses with your eyes. It's the first headset to feature an embedded Leap Motion sensor, tracking your hands as they interact freely with the VR scene, no controllers needed.

Why it's important: As Abundance 360 member and VRgineers cofounder Martin Holecko told us exclusively, the headset’s smart tracking, unmatched resolution and wide field of view are critical catalysts to VR’s mainstream use in “design evaluation, virtual prototyping, virtual product configuration, remote employee training [and] simulations of activities such as driving and flying.” Carmakers from BMW to Audi are using the XTAL headset to accelerate designing, prototyping and evaluating new car models. And as VR and AR headset shipments are predicted to reach nearly 100 million units in 2021, VRgineers is now expanding into architecture, training, and vivid simulations that may soon let any enterprise design everything from intricate office spaces to commercial aircrafts at minimal cost.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Martin Holecko / Written by Claire Adair 

UBS Digitally Cloned Its Chief Economist So He Wouldn't Miss His Meetings

What it is: Swiss investment bank UBS is leveraging AI technology built by FaceMe to digitally clone Daniel Kart, the UBS Chief Economist. FaceMe used over 120 HD cameras to generate a rendering of Kalt. Powered by FaceMe’s customer-service AI -- which Kalt trained to match his answer set -- the digital-clone can interact with multiple customers via video call at once. Kalt trained the AI economist's algorithms; accordingly, the AI won't answer any questions it wasn't specifically trained to answer. The project, dubbed UBS Companion, is “trying to find the best possible combination of human and digital touch.”

Why it's important: While physically cloning our DNA to produce carbon copies (literally) of ourselves isn't feasible today, digitally cloning narrow parts of our persona is. What if you could train an AI chatbot that looks like you, talks like you -- and, most importantly, thinks like you -- to answer questions just as you would? Eventually, we’ll all have an army of digital clones that we can deploy to answer questions in our personal and professional lives, allowing us to multiply our impact.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Jay Plourde / Written by Max Goldberg 

Living Solar Cells Can Produce Energy in Bad Weather

What it is: Researchers at the University of British Columbia have created living solar cells capable of producing electricity even in bad weather and low light. To get there, the team engineered E. coli to produce lycopene, a known light harvester, and coated them with a semiconductor. As the lycopene degrades and gives off electrons, a current is generated. The method is a 10x cost improvement over similar efforts, but more interestingly, it's equally effective in low-light conditions. While early stage, many applications are evident, such as powering sensors in mines or other remote locations where direct sunlight is sporadic at best.

Why it's important: Notice the combination of materials science with genetic engineering. What other problems can we address by combining disciplines, or changing our mindset to view technology silos as tool sets?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

First 3D Color X-Ray of a Human Using CERN Technology

What it is: Mars Bioimaging, a company spun out of CERN, has developed a 3D scanner capable of creating full color X-ray images. Based on the Medipix3 imaging chip family developed for particle accelerators and the Large Hadron Collider, the scanner enables better visualization through extremely high resolution scans. When coupled with algorithms for generating 3D images and color coding based on energy levels, MARS is able to visualize different body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers. In clinical settings so far, this is enabling improved diagnostics and personalized treatments in areas as varied as cancer and heart disease.

Why it's important: Yet another impressive development in our quest for increased health span and improved understanding of physiology and disease. Zooming out, it's also another great reminder of innovating based on first principles, which often generates breakthroughs across disciplines and industries.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

What is Abundance Insider?

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

Want more conversations like this?

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

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

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy 3D Printing AR/VR AI Real Estate Artificial Intellegence virtual reality adidas solar cern