XPRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis On Why The Future is Brighter Than You Think

XPRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis On Why The Future is Brighter Than You Think

At LA18, best-selling author, futurist, and the Founder of Singularity University and XPRIZE Foundation, Peter Diamandis refuted the doomsday narrative often portrayed in the media and envisioned a future of immense abundance. In this fact-filled, inspiring, and relentlessly positive keynote talk, Diamandis tackles overpopulation, the energy crisis, genetic disorders, food and water shortages, and other perceived scarcities, and demonstrates how each of these challenges are being met by bold innovation.

About the Presenter

Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman, XPRIZE Foundation & Co-founder, Singularity University

Fortune Magazine recently named Peter Diamandis as one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."

Diamandis is the Founder & Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions. He is also the Executive Founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world's leaders on exponentially growing technologies.

As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education. He is also co-Founder BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies.

Diamandis is a New York Times Bestselling author of two books: Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think and BOLD – How to go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World.

He earned degrees in Molecular Genetics and Aerospace Engineering from the MIT and holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Peter’s favorite saying is “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”


[00:00:09] Peter Diamandis: It's great to be back at Summit. I love Summit. I am so thankful to be invited back. It's a conversation here like you have no place else. I want to talk about the future because, I'm passionate about it, I have two seven-year-old boys, I think about the future, I live most of my life in the future. It's depressing these days to be thinking about the future because, you're constantly bombarded by negative news.

You're questioning, how can we handle these things? What capabilities do I have in the face of all of these social issues? What capabilities do I have the fact that doing the things I want to do in the world are expensive? Do I have the training to do those things? When you start dreaming, especially out there in the world, when you dream big, people say, "You're crazy. Who are you to dream that big?"

People shut you down. Sometimes it's your husband or your wife or your friends or your faculty members. When you start talking about all the amazing technologies out there, people are saying, "Man, I'm just trying to get a job. I'm just trying to get like insurance to my family. How do I deal?" It's really tough. It's really hard. My job here in the next 30 minutes, then the Q&A that follows, is to change the most valuable thing you have, which is your mindset.

How you think controls everything, how successful you'll be or not, who you spend time with or don't? It's everything. While I can stand on stage here and lecture about exponential technologies like I do up at Singularity University or solving the world's grand challenges at the XPrize for a week solid, that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about your mindset because, it's everything, everything.

Let me start. The first is, I want to tell you without any question and I hope you get this and believe that we're living during most extraordinary time ever in human history. The only time more exciting than today is tomorrow, and so on, and so on. We forget how brutal the world used to be. A hundred years ago, in the year 1918, 250 million people were infected by the Spanish flu. 50 million people died in that one year. 20 million people died in World War I.

Scale that up by a factor of four proportional to today's population, it would be insane to see headlines like that. Ultimately, the world is amazing. The other thing that's true is that, none of us truly have any idea how fast the world is changing. We're changing at an accelerating rate. For me, that means that the tools we're going to have to change the world are getting more and more powerful at a speed that is going to shock us. Let's begin. I had a chance to write a book I'm very proud of. I presented it as the opening talk in TED back about six, seven years ago called Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. In that same year, I was the closing speaker for President Clinton at CGI. At the end of his introduction, he said to me, "Peter, why are you so positive about the future? Don't you watch the news?"

I said, "President Clinton with all due respect. No, I don't watch the news." I look at the data. The reality is that, as we humans were evolving on the Savannahs of Africa, hundreds of thousands, millions of years ago, back then, if we missed a piece of negative news like rustling leaves is the wind and not a lion. The negative news could put you out of your misery. We developed an ancient piece for a temporal lobe called the amygdala, about the size of your thumb that scans everything you see and everything you hear for negative news.

If you see it, it puts you on red alert. It's not something we control. It's something deep-wired into our brains. At the end of the day, the news media uses this, right? The old adage, if it bleeds, it leads. Is so true, right? If you ask yourself the question, what's the news media's job? It to deliver your eyeballs to your advertisers. That's it, pure and simple. If we're paying 10 times more attention to negative news and positive news, open up the newspaper tomorrow morning and just count the number of negative stories to positive stories.

It's extraordinary. It's 10 to one. I mean, do the experiment. It's not that they're masochistic or that they want to just have a negative mindset. It's their business. They don't show you all the other amazing news going on in the world every single day. I choose not to watch the news. I mean, period, I get back two hours a day, it's amazing. My social network will tell me what I need to know, my family will, my friends will. There's nothing I don't miss.

I have Google alerts for my companies and things that I care about, but allowing the Crisis News Network, or Fox, or whomever it might be to tell me what they think I should be learning, no, not what I want to do with my time. If you do look at the data, it's extraordinary. This is about a mindset shift. Over the last hundred years, the per capita income for every nation, the planet has more than tripled, the human lifespan has more than doubled.

We're about to double it again. The cost of food has dropped 30-fold. The cost of energy is 100 fold. Transportation, 100 or 1,000 of fold. Communication's millions of fold cheaper. Let's look at some of the data in real life. This is people living under extreme poverty between 1800 and 2015. Plummeting, absolute plummeting. We're about to take the entire planet out of extreme poverty.

Check this out. This ichart is people living without hunger. The green is what you should be focusing on as well as the beige. These are countries that have increased availability of food, 25% to 50% or over 50%. None of these are in hunger. Let's look at literacy around the world, going from 15% to near 85%, this is average years of school, increasing. Now, let me show you this data, but ask yourself the question, what's driving this over the last 200 years?

Why are things getting better? Should you have faith in this data? Is all of a sudden, everything's going to stop and reverse itself? This is children under the age of five. It used to be a coin flip if they survived. Today, it's 4%, still too high. Check this out. This is children in labor. This is child labor. You see from 2000 to 2016, we went from 16% down to 10% and children doing hazardous work over the last 18 years, from 11% down to 5%. Why is this decrease happening?

It used to be dangerous to have a baby. This is maternal mortality rates. This is the chance that you would die in childbirth. Plummeting. This is increasing average life expectancy. We've doubled it from what used to be in the mid-30s. Now it's the mid-70s pushing to 80, we're about to double it again. Are you worried about overpopulation? Don't be. A lot of my friends worry about under population of planet Earth. This is the replacement. Fertility rate in the United States, we're now below the replacement fertility rate in the United States at 1.76 instead of 2.1.

Now, it's not this way every place in the world, but it's getting there. This is the rest of the world. We're now at 2.42. Bill Gates has an amazing TED Talk. He says, "You do two things to any city, any country. You make them better educated, you make them healthier, their population rate plummets." This is work hours in developing world. This is significant. We forget the fact that it-- We used to be just plain difficult to survive. Life was about survival.

You would work 80 hours a week to survive, to get the food, the water, the energy, the chance to have any kind of pleasure was a remote existence. Today, we're taking a break from survival. Look what we're doing here. It seems to learn, to love, to spend time together. That comes with free time. As we start to look around the world, going from an average of 65 to 70 hours down to 40 hours, that's amazing.

As technological socialism, this is AI and robotics coming in to do your work for you. That's going to increase. What do we do with our free time? This is a question. This is an opportunity, as I teach at Singularity University, the world's biggest problems are the world's biggest business opportunities. Do you want to become a billionaire? Help a billion people. One of the things I think about is, what do we do with the extra time we have? Are we going to play, are wee going to learn, are we going to explore virtual worlds? We're going to find out. That orange line, red, whatever it is, is airline fatality. Airplanes are clearly the safest mode of transportation on the planet. In 2017, zero commercial deaths. That blue line is cars getting better and better but as soon as we head towards all autonomous electric cars, they all go to zero as well. The safest place for you to be is going to be in your autonomous car. Safer than your house. This is global death rates from natural catastrophes. Look at that plummeting back in the '60s '70s '80s. What's going on there? Why is it happening? It's the result of satellites looking at hurricanes, data models looking at tsunamis. It's ability to get help in that golden hour.

I love this. This is from a friend's book, Steven Pinker, from Better Angels of Our Nature. He says, "Our chance of dying a violent death today are 1:500 of what they used to be. We're living during the most peaceful time ever in human history. It's hard to believe that, but that's what the data shows us. At the same time, despite the challenges we have here and on the news, if you look at that wedge of green of increasing democracy around the world, that's incredible. I want to say to you, the data is important. To understand the data, not just what you're fed or what you're told but to look at the data. Do we have challenges? Do we have problems? Absolutely.

I look at the data and say, "Okay, got it. The worlds getting better by all these measures but honestly, Peter, how does that affect me? How's it going to help me do what I want to do? I'm living in America already." Guess what? As it turns out, this concept of abundance goes way beyond just the developing world. All the exponential technologies, computation, sensors, networks, AI, robotics, 3D printing, synthetic biology, AR, VR, blockchain, all of those technologies are transforming what used to be scarce into abundance. We are heading towards a world where scarcity is gone.

We're going to be able to meet the needs of every man, woman and child and we'll be able to provide each of us with literally the power that was had only by the heads of nations or the largest corporations. There is nothing that you don't have access to. At the end of the day, I want to hammer this point down. We're living into a decade ahead. We're going to create more wealth than we have in the entire past century, where each of you is going to have access to more capability and wealth and computation in manufacturing, in a whole slew of different areas than the heads of nations in largest corporations.

Ultimately, your choice. The conversation we need to have is, what are you going to do with that power? What do you care about solving? What do you care about transforming from scarcity to abundance? The question is, what do you consider scarce in your life? Is it time, money, resources, expertise? I would pose it to you that there is nothing truly scarce. Let's take a look. In the 1880s. This is one example. To get one hour of light from a kerosene lamp on average took about an hour of labor. Today, it's a half a second of labor to get you an hour of light. Again, transforming what used to be scarce into abundance.

I opened my book, Abundance, with the story that takes place in the year 1861. Napoleon III is welcoming the King of Siam to the Palace of Versailles. To demonstrate how wealthy Napoleon is, he feeds all the troops with silver utensils. Napoleon himself eats with gold utensils but the king of Siam is fed with aluminum utensils. It turns out that in that year of 1861, aluminum was the most precious metal on the planet. Even though the Earth's crust is 8.3% aluminum by weight, it's combined with oxygen, silicate to make this thing called bauxite, but it was so energetically difficult to extract the aluminum from the bauxite that it was worth more than gold and platinum.

Which by the way, if you go to Washington DC and look at the Washington Monument, the capstone is aluminum because it was built in that same decade. Then, in the US and in France, the same month, scientists discovered this process called electrolysis that made it so cheap to extract the aluminum from the bauxite we use it with a throwing mentality right now. Again, this notion of what used to be scarce becoming abundant over and over again. What would you think of as more scarce than a perfect diamond, right? A four-carat, a six-carat, eight-carat diamond. The bureaus teaches us about the value of perfect diamonds.

A friend of mine up in the valley has a company called, The Diamond Foundry. It's got a machine about the size of a large refrigerator. In one end comes methane, water, electricity, at the other end comes perfect diamonds four, six, eight, 10 carats. Would you like to have color in it? No problem, we'll make some imperfections. Sure. Now, they're smart. They price it at 10% below the given rates and they call it California culture diamonds that got Leonardo DiCaprio there to present the company. At the end of the day, scarcity is contextual. What do you think of as scarce? Energy? No. We live on a planet it's bathed in 8,000 times more energy from the sun than we consume as a species. Energy is not scarce by a long shot. We used to go and hunt whales to get whale oil to light our nights. Then, we ravaged mountainsides to get coal. Then we drilled kilometers under the sea floor to get oil. Well, guess what? In the next 20 years, as I'll show you in a moment, we're heading towards an all-electric economy. Water, not scarce either. We're able to take the water out of the atmosphere out of the oceans. I'll show you more on that. Health.

AI is going to provide us-- The poorest child on the planet and the son or daughter of a billionaire is going to access the same health care, the same education. The same way that today, a kid on one of these devices has access to the same knowledge and information as the president, CEO of Baidu or Google. At the end of the day, is it time? Is it money? Is it resources? Expertise? Let's look at some of these. Again, my goal is I want to change your mindset. I want you to understand that there is nothing truly scarce. In a day, you have the ability to transform scarcity into abundance over and over again. Let's look at energy first. Again, this planet is blessed by more than 8,000 times more energy hitting the surface than we consume as a species in a year. Last year and this year, we're hitting all-time lows in solar. The price of coal was five to six cents per kilowatt hour. Check this out. In Mexico last year, 2.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 2.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. We're heading towards a world where within 10 years, that price will drop below a penny per kilowatt hour. At the end of the day-- A dear friend of mine, Rome Gnomes showed me a quote from one of the Middle Eastern members of the royal family who said, "The Stone Age did not end from a lack of stones, either will a petroleum age from a lack of petroleum."

It doesn't matter how much natural gas and how much oil or coal there is. When the price of solar and wind plummets so low, so fast, and democratizes access to energy on this planet, we're going to stop and it's going to change. We need batteries. Of course, this year Gigafactories on schedule 35-gigawatt hours of production more than anyplace else on the planet. At the same time, there are 10-gigawatt factories under construction around the world. This is a chart that shows us what Tesla did with the gigawatt factory but at the same time, we've seen the price plummeting twice as fast as the greatest optimists because, that's what entrepreneurs do.

They're optimists and they create the future they want and desire. Are we going to have problems? Sure. Are we going to get there? Absolutely. Every major car company, $90 billion are going into electrifying every fleet on the planet and with that goes massive investments in the battery technologies. We are racing towards an all-electric future. The question is, do we have the resources to actually fuel that all-electric? Do we have the rare earth metals for the batteries and the electronics and all the things that we're needing? Again, there's this scarcity mindset out there. It's, "Oh my God, we're going to run out. Everything we need is in China." Bullshit.

Check this out. Less than a year ago, off the coast of Japan, in the silt, on the ocean floor was discovered 16 million tons of rare earth metal oxides, enough to supply us all the electronics and battery capacity we need for the next 400 years. That's just off the coast of Japan. Again, every time we're able to use technology to push the valley a little bit farther, a little bit lower, a little bit higher, whatever it might be, we discover more and more. At the same time, and you guys know I'm passionate about space. Near the earth are called a population of near earth asteroids, and these near earth asteroids are rich in all the platinum metals we need palladium, platinum, rhodium, all of these.

Here are some stats. I just find these always incredible. One 500-meter platinum group metal rich asteroid has more platinum than is mined in the history of humanity. There are 2,500 of these. They come closer to earth energetically than getting to the moon surface. Everything that we hold of value on earth, metals, minerals, energy, real estate is going to be in your infinite quantities in space. I have great hope and expectations that both Bezos and Musk are going to be opening up that future for us, where we have no resource limitations here. About capital abundance, do we have enough money? Do you have enough money as an entrepreneur? Do I have enough money as an entrepreneur to do the things that I want?

Well, check this out. Right now, right here, we're seeing an explosion of capital. Here are the numbers. We see $34 billion in crowdfunding this year, $300 billion of crowdfunding by 2025. What does that mean? It means an entrepreneur in the middle of Tanzania has access to all the capital they need to make their company work on the web through the crowd. Beyond that, in 2017, we saw all-time highs in Europe for venture capital at $19 billion, in Asia at $48 billion, in the United States at $84 billion, a massive influx of capital. Besides crowdfunding and venture capital, it's, of course, ICOs and token generation events, $6.6 billion in 2017. The first half of 2018 saw seven billion dollars and accelerating.

Then, we're seeing something super extraordinary and amazing which is, massive influx of capital from sovereign wealth funds. Around the world, we're seeing billions of dollars flowing from sovereign funds down, down into the pockets of the entrepreneurs. Here's Masa Son at SoftBank, who started the first $100 billion vision fund with a commitment for about a trillion dollars of capital. What does he want to do with it? He wants to invest it in AI and robotics. This is a quote from him, he says, "I totally believe the singularity is coming in the next 30 years. That's why I'm in a hurry to aggregate the cash to invest."

When I think about how fast the world is changing, it's a realization that we're about to go from 3.8 billion people connected on the internet last year in 2017 to eight billion people connected in the next five years, 4.2 billion minds are coming online. They're being connected by gigabyte connection speeds with access to all the capital they need, all the computational power. We're about to see more and more entrepreneurs coming online, solving more and more problems. That gets me excited.

The other thing is, we're becoming healthier and living longer. One of my passions, I invest my time, my money from my venture fund, from my own time into, how do we extend the healthy human lifespan? How do we give you the vitality at 100 that you had at 60? How long do you want to live? How long do you hope to live? How many careers are you going to have? Right now, I've had the chance to start two companies. One, cellularity, which is in the stem cell business. It actually collects and creates a derivative of placental stem cells to be able to hit autoimmune disease, extend life and increase muscle mass and fight cancers then, human longevity. I'll talk about that in minute. There's a whole slew of other companies. In the next 10 years, I'm clear, we're going to add 10 at a minimum, likely 20 or 30 healthy years on everyone's life, and the price will be coming down. This is about increasing the GDP of every nation on the planet. As my friend Ray Kurzweil says, "We're heading towards a period of longevity escape velocity." He and Aubrey de Grey define longevity escape velocity as that moment in time where for every year that you're alive, science is extending your life for a little more than a year. It departs very nicely, very quickly.

This is in the work of cellularity, it's the notion that, as we are growing, at about age 20, you start to have a die off in your stem cells. By the time you're age 50, 60, 70, your stem cell populations have dropped by a factor of 1,000, maybe 10,000. Those stem cells are regenerative engine. If you can resupply those stem cells to you, it allows you to live longer and healthier. Back in 2001 when Craig Venter sequenced the first human genome took $100 million and nine months, today, it's under 1,000 bucks and a few hours. Illumina and the Beijing Genome Institute predicts 100 bucks and one hour next year. That's a million fold price performance increase. We're talking about every single human on the planet being sequenced. What's even more exciting than being able to sequence for a small pittance of money, for the price of Americano these days, eventually, besides sequencing your genome, we can now edit your genome. This comes out of Harvard and MIT. This is called CRISPR 2.0. You are a collection of 3.2 billion cells that define you. It's your software code. They discovered a variant of CRISPR that allows you to change one of those A,T,Cs, or Gs efficiently, accurately, cheaply.

Check out these numbers. 32,000 out of 50,000 human diseases are due to one of your 3.2 billion letters being off. Imagine being able to go in and just snip, edit, replace, maybe to cure yourself, or maybe to cure the rest of the generations to come. We're going to deal with incredible, exciting, fun, challenging moral ethical issues like, do we give our children the best genes they can possibly have? Right now, you give them the best education, the best food. When you're looking for a mate, you're not randomly selecting a mate. You're looking for someone who looks good or strong or is intelligent. Do we actually go and start playing God? Morals and ethics change. They're constantly changing.

If I did a heart transplant today, it's a miracle. I did a heart transplant 1,000 years ago and burned at the stakes. What Health Nucleus does down in Santiago, we sequence you. Over the course of three hours, we sequence all 3.2 billion letters in you. We sequence your microbiome. We look at 1,100 chemicals in your bloodstream. We do a full body MRI, a brain MRI, a brain vasculature. We do a coronary CT, a heart CT. We generate 150 gigabytes of data about you in three hours. Then we ask the questions, is there anything going on inside your body you should know about? If there is, the answers is, "I don't want to know," is not the right answer. It's, you fix it.

What we do right now is about giving you a healthier, longer life to do more things on this planet. I want to close with the notion that, we're living in a world where access to expertise is everywhere. You and every one of us is an expert in something. At the end of the day, if you want to do something in your life that you don't know how to do but you're passionate about doing it, you can reach out there, you get all the expertise you need. What are you passionate about changing? What do you want to do on this planet? For me, it was space. I wanted to go to space since I was a child. I was born in the time of the Apollo era, and literally, it formed my vision of what I wanted to do.

I wanted to become an astronaut so badly. The Apollo program hard to believe was 49 years ago, we land on the moon. The Apollo program showed us what was possible. Then, this scientific documentary showed us where we were going. A hopeful vision of the future. This lit up my life. I was absolutely clear of what I was doing. I knew my massively transformative purpose, it was to help take the human race off the planet to the stars. After I looked at the numbers, I found out my chance of becoming an astronaut were like one in 1,000. I had a better chance of becoming an NBA all star at 5'5'' than I did entering the Astronaut Corps.

Then one day I read about Lindbergh that in 1927, he crossed the Atlantic not on a whim but to win a $25,000 prize. When I gave up on NASA being the way I was going to go to space, I was like, "How I'm I going to get a spaceship to go to space." I figured out, this is what I'm going to do. I was going to create a $10 million prize, $10 million was enough to inspire the entrepreneurs but not the Boeings and the Lockheeds. I was going to offer it up for the team who could build a private spaceship, carry three adults, me and a friend and a pilot or an autopilot and three of us up to 100 kilometers, land safely and doing that within two weeks. Amazingly, that $10 million prize ended up inspiring 26 teams from seven countries around the world who spent $100 million dollars trying to solve it. They're all optimists. This was the winning moment in Mojave on October 4th of 2014. Here's the vehicle, SpaceShipOne, hanging in the Smithsonian right next to the spirit of Saint Louis inspired in the first place. For me, my challenge that I wanted to do was, I wanted to find the experts out there in the world that could build me the private spaceships that would take me and my friends to space. This idea of an incentive prize, it worked, it worked amazingly well. We didn't pay any of the losers, we only paid the winner.

On the heels of that, Richard Branson came in and bought the rights for SpaceShipOne to create Virgin Galactic. I'm very grateful for him to commit the $250 million dollars that he did, not billion dollars. I have my my seat to fly on one of the first flights, which

I'm excited to do, hopefully, maybe it's next year. On the heels of that, we built an amazing Board of Trustees and benefactors from Larry Page and James Cameron and Ray Kurzweil and Elon and and Dean Cayman. We've launched about a little over $150 million in prizes to date. Another 200 million plus are in development around the world. I must give you a quick look at what we're working on and we'll go to Q&A.

We awarded, last year, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. This is, of course, from Star Trek, the Tricorder, and thankful to the Roddenberry Foundation for their support in this, as well as Qualcomm. Can you build a handheld device for the mother or the father, not for the doctor or nurse, that can diagnose 15 diseases at two o'clock in the morning when your kid is sick?

This is a prize going on right now. It's in finals over the next six months. This is funded by Elon Musk, he put up $15 million, The Diverse family, Tony Robbins. Scott Harrison funded the rest. This has built an Android app that can take a child in the middle of no place where there's no schools, no literal adults, from illiteracy to basic reading, writing, and numeracy in 15 months. We had 700 teams around the world entered, we narrowed down to five finalists. Google gave us thousands of tablets. We went to Tanzania, we found 2,500 students who were completely illiterate of English and Swahili, gave them the tablets, taught the village mama how to power and charged with solar in the villages.

We're in testing right now. We're going to open source the final winner and make it available to everyone on the planet for free. This is how you scale a billion teachers. Thank you. This is how you scale a billion teachers on the planet. Well, this XPRIZE is well, also in finals. This is a challenge, we said, "Okay, we have to do environmental prizes." In fact, this year at Visioneering, our top prize is prize after prize after prize are environmental prizes, saving the coral reefs. A dear friend of mine, Lee Stein, in the audience here, was the person who drove this one on top and by the second and helped us on coral reefs, but taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, a whole bunch of XPRIZEs in this arena.

This is an XPRIZE that asks team to build a device that attaches to a coal plant or natural gas plant and sucks the CO2 out of the smokestack, add temperature, add pressure, add concentration and turns it into a product more valuable than the cost of extracting it. You make CO2 extraction a profit center for the energy plant. How cool is that? Right? Thank you. We've got final-- One person thought it was cool. We got finals going on in Wyoming. Governor Mead there has been an incredible supporter, and in Alberta, we have five teams going head to head in each of those plants.

Next week, I think, or two weeks, whatever, I'm flying to Greece for the finals of this. This is the show, ocean discovery. We know more about the surface of Mars and the moon than we do the ocean floor. The physics of salt water don't allow us to actually visualize and penetrate. This is an XPRIZE, it's underwritten, supported by Shell and by Noah, that ask teams to build a device, a robotic device they can launch from the shore, go out to a particular point, go down 4,000 meters to the ocean floor and map 500 square kilometers in 24 hours.

I have no idea what I'm going to see when I get there, but there are seven finalists going head to head to do this, to allow us to map what is probably the richest source of Biotica and richest source of resources that we have on our planet. I love this one. This is one funded by All Nippon Airways out of Japan. The CEO of All NA calls me and says to our team, "What's going to make it so we don't have to actually fly anyplace anymore?" A dear friend of mine, Dr. Harry Clore was the bold innovator on this and he came up with the ideas that he'd been working on for a while. He said, "What about a future we have robotic avatars?"

Where the robot is-- I'm not here on stage, I'm back home in Santa Monica, there's a robot on stage over here. I'm home in my pajamas with the VR goggles on, a haptic suit, and as I walk around, the robot walks around, as I look at you, the robot looks, and as I reach out and shake your hands, I feel that at home, right? These robotic avatars will allow us to put robots in places of danger, after the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown or when you need medical help, whatever the case might be. Love this one. We awarded this 10 days ago. Another dear friend, Eric Hirshberg, put this idea forward. People talk water wars and water scarcity.

Well, it turns out that two thirds of the planet has humidity high enough that you could suck the water out of the atmosphere and we challenge teams around the world to build a device that can pull the humidity out of the air and give a village 2,000 liters of clean, drinking water for two cents a liter from renewable energy. Amazing. We awarded the winning team, actually, from here in California at our Visioneering event last year.

I'll close with this thought. "A negative mind will never give you a positive life." If you'd like these slides, please, you can download them, just send us a text. Share them with your friends, your family, your companies, whatever you want. Let's get the data out there. Let's help everyone realize we are alive during the most extraordinary time ever in human history, a time where each and every one of us has the opportunity and the ability to change the world. There is nothing you don't have access to. You have access to all the capital you need, the computational power you need, AI on the cloud, 3D printing on the cloud, what is it you want? Right?

Any one of you could spin up 1,000 processes, of course, on AWS or Google or Azure if you wanted to. It's this. This is the scarce, most precious resource on the planet, your mindset, your commitment, your passion to not take no for an answer and solve the problems that you were put on this planet to solve. An honor and a pleasure. Thank you.


Thank you. Thank you. It would be an honor to take some questions. It's the fun part. We have about 20 minutes. We have some microphones. We get the house lights up a little bit. This is such a beautiful setting, I want to take it in for a little bit. Let's start over here, sir. Are we able to get the house lights up a little bit more? Thank you.

[00:38:13] Speaker 2: How do we ensure, with all the advances in technologies, that the robots have had the-- we can all get through the transition in a good way?

[00:38:26] Peter: Yes, a great question and an important question. It's the question of our age. That relates to jobs and it relates to a whole slew of a Jason sees. Let me be clear about something. My dear friend, Ray Kurzweil, his prediction is that, we're going to-- Two important thing, I want you to put these in your mind as milestone dates, 2029 is his prediction of when we're going to have human-level AI, right? Time check, 11 years from now. Next time check is his prediction of when we're going to have brain computer interface, your neocortex connected to the cloud is by 2035.

First of all, we're alive during the most extraordinary time ever because, this is the time that we are transforming the human race. Let me be very clear, I'm clear from myself that we're going to transform what it means to be human, what it means to live in society, how we govern, how we do everything. It's the next 20 years. It's not 100 years, it's not 50 years, it’s the next 20 years. I truly believe that. We don't truly understand how quickly things are transforming and combining and recombining. Eyes wide open, don't blink, it's really important.

To answer your question, first of all, I think we are beginning a process of, it's not technology or us. I think that we are going to begin to-- or, continue to merge with technology. If I were to ask a question, anybody here in the room not have their cellphone with them? Okay, there's nobody. The point I want to make and there was one person at an event I spoke to. It was about twice the size as this and they had lost it that morning in Uber. This is part of us now. This is our extended memory. We have 300 million pattern recognizers in our neocortex, once those are full. We're going to begin to merge with technology.

There's probably a billion dollars a year being invested in connecting the neocortex to the cloud. Folks like Brian Johnson and the folks that Elon has backed, [unintelligible 00:40:50], Google, Facebook, defense departments, nation, states and so forth. We're going to be connecting the human brain. At the end of the day, we're evolving a new species of which we are part and, how do we assure that it has human soul and how do we assure that it has ethics and morals and is something our children, I don't know the answer. My job here is to help show where we're going and help raise these questions so we're aware of them. I don't feel like we can just wait and let someone else figure this all out. This is our responsibility. Next question here please.

[00:41:38] Participant: When in the future might women share equally in the abundance?


[00:41:49] Peter: The reality is, the answer is now, it's always now. I'm very proud that at the XPRIZE, probably three quarters of our leadership team are women. I'm very proud of Anousheh Ansari. I've been CEO for the longest time, I step down, I step back in and Anousheh Ansari just came in as a CEO. I've got three amazing women right here, Aster and Anna and Susan who are part of my leadership team, we're a majority women and vast majority women-lead organization. At Visionary last week, I was listening and I was like, "This is not only the decade, this is the century of women coming."

I do believe it's yours to take and thank God, we've screwed up enough. I'll just leave it at that but, in reality if you look at-- I'll say one last thing. One of the issues has been around reproductive rights and one of the realities is the age limit of, do you have a baby by the time you're 35 because the bullshit that Hollywood feeds us, you can have a baby until you're 45 or 50 is just that. You can do it from surrogate pregnancies in future fertilization but there's technologies now allowing us to have a child at any age, which was one of the benefits men had and now, women can have as well. I think that's an important equalizer that's coming, thank you. Please.

[00:43:17] Participant: You have a very optimistic take on this. How do you reconcile a lot of the thoughts of say, Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking who think and exponential take off for singularity is actually a terrifying scenario?

[00:43:32] Peter: Sure, I've known Elon for 18, 19 years and I knew Stephen Hawking relatively well. One of my greatest moments in my life was flying him into zero G. Here's the challenge, are there going to be problems? Absolutely, there're of course going to be problems. I'm not sitting here saying it's la la la, everything's going to be great, we're fine. Over the last 100 years if I asked you "Do you think the world's gotten better over the last century?" Hopefully, you saw the numbers, by extraordinary rights across the world, across the globe but we still had World War I, World War II, the Spanish Flu, the Vietnam War.

150 million people died over that century but the world got better. Are we going to have problems, are we going to have terrorism? Are going to have all kinds of issues? Absolutely, but we're also going to have a level of tools and capabilities to solve problems like never before. I'll give you a couple of examples. I think Sundar, the CO of Google said that AI is more powerful than fire and electricity, I think was his quote, and I think it's true. We're all going to have an AI shell that is on all the time that's empowering you. It really is I think within the next 10 years, we're going to have a version of J.A.R.V.I.S.where you give permission to that AI listen to every conversation you have, read your emails, measure the chemicals in your bloodstream, look at what's going on around you, remind you on information.

It's going to give us this incredible superpower. You don't have to have it but it's going to empower us in these ways. It's also going to empower you to solve problems like never before. What gives me great hope or the world is, what do you define an entrepreneur? Many of you are here entrepreneurs, what are you? What am I? We are people who find a problem and solve a problem. That's what an entrepreneur does. We're going to have more people solving problems on this planet than any time ever in human history. It used to be just the robber barons or the governments.

You have to go plead please and when all they could do was change monetary policy or send their troops some place. You, you can solve the problem. You can design, create, fix it.

As I teach at SU that the world's biggest problem is the world's biggest business opportunities. Go solve one of those big problems. Solve a billion person problem, become a billionaire in the process. That's what get's me excited and hopeful of the future. Thank you, please.

[00:46:16] Participant: Negative externalities like pollution, human encroachment of natural ecosystems. Our exponential abundance is causing or at least plays a major role in this major extinction event on the planet. How do we ensure we have an abundance of biodiversity as we move forward in this process?

[00:46:31] Peter: Great question, let me give you a take at it. First of all, I believe we have had made all these major extinctions. I want to put context. The world used to be four billion years ago, a reducing atmosphere of hydrogen and methane and then, this poisonous gas called oxygen came into existence. Oh my God, such corrosive material, massive die off of billions of species. Should've shut down at oxygen right then and there. Luckily, they didn't and we came along. Environmental change has always been the norm. We're accelerating it, we're causing it, we also have the ability to stop it or slow it down or vary it.

If you think of this as a planet for humans, I would say we're a planet for cows. One third of the non ice landmass of planet Earth is livestock. The idea that we are growing all of these food products by virtue of this normal process is insane. What is food right now, it's getting sunlight from the sun, photosynthetically converting it to carbohydrates in the grass or the corn, whatever the case might be, having a cow eat that and then you actually eat a steak. It's really getting sunlight's energy into your body, is what the food process is but there're far more efficient ways to do that. Amazing companies like my friend Josh Tetrick at JUST, Memphis Meats and many others are going to transform how we generate our food, giving us back incredible amounts of land. Autonomous cars are going to free up 15% of LA streets and parking lots to give us back those areas. At the end of the day, yes, we've screwed up, but technology's going to allow us to then hopefully change it. If I said to you, "What was the environmental crisis of the year 1890?" Do you know by chance? It was horse manure. In 1880s and 1890s as we moved from the rural areas into downtown Detroit, New York, Chicago, people brought with them their motive force, the horse.

The horse shit was piling up high and it was causing a lot of disease and problems and if you look at the articles back then, the prediction was that this is growing out of control, it's going to be a problem. Of course, what changed it was the invention of the car. Autonomous cars, electric systems, these things are going to change things. There's a multitude of different ways and yes, we have challenges, let's solve them. One of the XPRIZES, I'm going to make it happen one of these days is, I want to a de-extinction XPRIZE. I want to go back and create the list of 100 species and we should at least have some ability to bring those back in a responsible fashion.

Listen, I'm a technological optimist. I admit it, but I at least want to say there are, if you're passionate about a problem, let's fix it. Thank you.


Thank you, all right.

[00:49:52] Participant: Hello, how do you see political processes around the world interacting with this progress?

[00:49:58] Peter: I should've had my friend who introduced me add two more rules, which is, no questions on politics or sports.


I don’t know. I just know that the political system right now is so broken. The idea that I am, first of all, able to be an expert enough on all the issues being asked for me to vote at the polls. This is probably one of the most educated groups ever who actually reads about and looks at all of the issues and makes the decisions. Majority of the people just go to the polls and vote, democratic or republican or whatever sign they happen to see walking into the poll. They vote no on this or yes on that. Such a broken bullshit fashion because, it is a 200-year old mechanism of representative governance. Can we change it? Of course. Do I know the best way to change it? No. I'm I sure that it is not the way we’re doing it right? Absolutely. Yes, there’s Blockchain, yes there’s AI, yes there’s 5G networks, all these things, but I also know that none of the ingrained institutions will let us. Politics don’t change gracefully, period. Maybe it’s going to be in the virtual world, maybe it’s going to be in space. Let me take these last two questions and then, we’ll have to break.

[00:51:22] Participant: Hi, Peter, thank you for speaking. I really appreciate it.

[00:51:25] Peter: Thank you.

[00:51:26] Participant: At the risk of sounding like one of the negative minds that you warned against at the end of your talk, I think you compare a lot of these positive thesis with dystopian narratives as well. This is one of those annoying questions that isn’t really a question, but I have a few of these dystopian narratives and I just want-


[00:51:45] Peter: I think you’re breaking both rule one and two.


[00:51:47] Participant: I definitely I am and I apologize, but I think these are very real things that-

[00:51:53] Peter: Please.

[00:51:54] Participant:__ - we should talk about. First one, like training social credits rights, you__ read about that article about Xi Jinping, you can’t book public transportation anymore. That’s a case in point. Tech in the wrong authoritarian hands can go really south. Second, the rise of deep fakes in the eco-chamber bias reinforcing news. It feels like the information propagation channels in this country are very messed up. Seeing like just access to information is turned into just a complete subjective victimization of facts.

[00:52:25] Peter: Let me just answer it right here.

[00:52:28] Participant: Sure.

[00:52:29] Peter: Yes, there’s lots of shit fucked up, absolutely.


100%. That’s not my point. My point is, you’re more powerful than you ever have been to solve those things you want. Don’t complain. Go figure out how to solve it.


[I just want to say that.


[00:52:49] Peter: Thank you.

[00:52:53] Participant: Thank you, Peter. I’ll keep it down to just like three or four words. Do you have hope for or see vision for breakthroughs in gender equality and social injustice, guns, climate change and ocean rise? I live in Typhoon Alley and I see it every year in Taiwan. Thank you.

[00:53:14] Peter: Yes. Listen, guys, I am clear that we can and must have gender equality. I am clear that it will happen in other places and it’s happened in other places first, but it is something at the end of the day, I am a-- I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to be a capitalist, I’m proud to be an entrepreneur, all those things are true. I also know that I’m seeing other countries that are just blowing out of the water in ways I so wish we were.

[00:53:54] Participant: Like New Zealand?

[00:53:55] Peter: There’s a list. I’ve got it. Are we going to have problems on our environment? Absolutely. Is it too late? I don’t know. Do we have the ability to actually take it and wrestle it to the ground? If we choose to, yes. I'll just give you one example. We’re working right now on a cabin extract XPRIZE. Can you pull enough CO2 out of the atmosphere? That’s great. Problem is, it’s got a long tail. Tell me, "Peter, you’ve got all the money you want, go and solve it." For me right now it’s about putting up a sunshade. We’ve got the sun, we’ve got the earth, you’ve got a ground point in between.

Can you put up enough capabilities to block a fraction of 1% of the four times coming in, put a thermostat on the planet? Absolutely. Does anybody have the balls to do that? Ultimately guys, there is no problem we can not solve. The powers at B may not be the ones who chose to or can. It doesn’t mean that you can’t or we can’t. At the end of the day, the most powerful thing in the universe is the passionate and committed human mind. It’s an honor to be here. I thank you. I hope you take away from this.


I hope you take away from this. This is the most incredible time to be alive. Please, don’t let anyone tell you no. Go and make it happen. Thank you.


[00:55:54] [END OF AUDIO]

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