I had the privilege of presenting on You & The Future of Doing Good on Necker Island at a conference hosted by Singularity U. Other speakers included: Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Raymond McCauley, Daniel Kraft, Gabriel Baldinucci, and Richard Branson.
Top 10 Lessons Learned:
1. People are not made for an exponential world. Humans evolved in a world that is local and linear. A great primer on exponential technology from Peter Diamandis, the founder of Singularity U is below.
2. Singularity is near. Ray Kurzeil is predicting that Singularity will happen by 2045. "The technological singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on. The machines enter into a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted." This has huge implications for humanity. Most thinkers believe the singularity will be jump-started by artificial intelligence and robotics. These changes will be so fast, and so profound, that every aspect of our society will be transformed, from our bodies and families to our governments and economies.
3. Robotic technology is exploding. Look at this funny video of robots at the 2015 DARPA competition.
Look at the robots in 2016. They will only get faster and smarter with exponential technology growth.
4. Technology has lowered the cost of travel so global pandemics are much more likely. There is interested technology already being used that allows cellphones to broadcast health information in places where pandemics are happening. In the future there will be pandemic monitoring stations, in places like airports, that can detect airborne diseases and report on pandemics as they are happening.
5. We are in a race to use technology to solve problems that technology has created. Global warning is a prime example. Humanity isn't ready for a massive migration of 100's of millions of people due to rising sea levels. Look at all the chaos of one million Syrians migrating through Europe. Technological solutions have to act quickly to prevent this.
6. Solar is an exponential technology, other traditional forms of energy are not. By 2023 solar power could meet all of the Earth's energy needs. Because solar is an exponential technology it also gets exponentially cheaper and more effecient to the point where energy will be almost free. Most wars are fought over energy or water. If we solve the energy grand challenge then clean water and abundant food will come soon after. Check out Elon Musk's plans for solar roofs below:
7. There were 400,000 preorders for the Tesla Model 3, which will have self-driving as a standard feature. Because all of the Tesla's are linked, the cars will learn from other driver's experiences and get smarter and safer on an exponential scale. Government regulation will soon catch up to self driving cars and car accident related deaths will plummet.
8. There is a 10,000 to 1 ratio of human using technology for good versus evil. But with increased connectivity there will be increased chances for those same technologies to get hacked. Cars, pacemakers, home security systems and even airplanes are at risk. We need to get in front of these threats to keep people safe.
9. Artificial intelligence will soon be used to teach school children. Imagine a Khan Academy that is precisely geared towards the needs of individual students. Time in class with teachers will be used to go over homework and time at home will be used for AI lectures. The European Union has already developed a tool for AI math tutoring called Smartick.
10. During this time of technological transition people get frustrated and fearful, which leads to political wildcards like Trump and Brexit. People start blaming immigrants and people of color for job losses when the real issue is robots and artificial intelligence. To address this we need to manage the financial implications for humanity through tools like Universal Basic Income. We also need to retrain our workforce in skills like project management, active listening and communications, and how to harness technology in new ways to meet humanity's needs. We will soon be partnering with artificial intelligence and robots and we need to develop the skills to do that effectively.
I think there is a huge role for foundations, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs in this new world. We need a group of visionaries to come together to help us figure out how to use these new technology tools to make life better for humankind. Apply to join my FutureGood Community to learn more about these issues and harness technology to solve the issues that you are passionate about.
Like what you are reading? Share this article with your network and expand the conversation.