Book Review by Andy Ghillyer
The acceleration of technology continues to outpace the expectations of the smartest futurists and prognosticators. When Intel founder Gordon Moore noticed back in 1965 that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit was doubling about every 18 months, Moore’s Law was born. The trend was expected to last for five or ten years, but at six decades and counting, the rate is actually increasing. Disruptive technologies have become the norm, but what happens when those technologies converge? AI, robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality, blockchain, and global gigabit networks all have the power to transform the planet and reinvent our lives.
In their new book, The Future is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, futurist Peter H. Diamandis and science writer Steven Kotler present the third book in their “Exponential Mindset Trilogy.” The first, Abundance, examined how technologies are “demonetizing and democratizing access to resources that were once scarce. The second, BOLD, told stories of entrepreneurs leveraging technology “to build world-changing businesses in near-record time.”
In this third book, the authors examine an impressive list of “what if” scenarios. What if Uber Air really does deliver flying cars at a cost per passenger mile of only 44 cents (compared to 59 cents to drive yourself and sit in gridlock traffic)? What if Elon Musk’s Hyperloop network actually gets built and starts propelling you across California in passenger pods at up to 760 mph? Teslas are more commonplace than ever, and cities and towns are scrambling to build the charging infrastructure to support them, but by the time they achieve that, the latest Tesla (and its many competitors) will be completely autonomous and will need a totally different infrastructure.
This is the mind-dumbing challenge facing any business executive or entrepreneur. Our brains evolved in an environment that was “local and linear.” We foraged and hunted locally and change originated from interaction with local communities. Now, change is global and exponential. Any technology that can be digitized – i.e. transformed into the ones and zeros of computer code – can now develop at the speed of Moore’s Law – and there are dozens of technologies all doing that at the same time. Keeping up with all of this will require “constant and continuous education.”
The authors paint a pragmatic but still very positive picture of our future. They acknowledge that, even with the potential of these converging technologies, the planet is still facing significant challenges – global hunger, water scarcity, and climate change – and national governments and international agencies are struggling to gain consensus on workable solutions. The good news is that solutions are already moving from the drawing board to working prototypes.
On a global scale, abundant clean energy (solar, wind) can provide the power to provide clean water, and with clean water will come sharp increases in health and wellness. Virtual Reality and a global 5G (and beyond) network will make education more accessible to every corner of the planet. The future really is now.
The Future is Faster Than You Think presents a fascinating examination of how technological convergence will reinvent every part of our lives.
Andy Ghillyer is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He lives in Tampa, FL where he specializes in writing for the B2B and academic markets while raising a growing menagerie of cats and dogs. His other reviews are here.
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