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Dr. Peter Diamandis shares his optimistic view of the future at Calvin College

Dr. Peter Diamandis believes that due to exponentially growing technologies, the world's problems will soon be a thing of the past.
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/Courtesy Dr. Peter Diamandis

On January 10, Dr. Peter Diamandis spoke at Calvin College’s January Series. Diamandis believes that all the world’s problems- healthcare, income gap, energy crisis, lack of water- will be solved within a few years thanks to upcoming technologies and innovative people.

In his lecture, he lays out four ways the world will eventually solve its problems. He begins with technologies that are being developed today that he labels as exponential technologies.

For an example of exponential technologies, he talks about the production of information on Internet.

“In 2003, we produced 10 exabytes of information, which is equal to 1 million gigabytes of data,” he explains. “In 2010, we produced 10 exabytes of data in 10 minutes.”

Diamandis believes that exponential technologies will help humanity solve some of its hardest problems. In the case of food shortages, he talks about biotechnology that will allow scientists to synthetically create food.

To help spur scientists to invent more exponential growth technologies, Diamandis, along with billionaire philanthropists, created X Prize Foundation which “offers large cash incentive prizes to inventors who can solve grand challenges,” he says.

Diamandis explains that these contests help the world in two ways. First, the contest entices people to give new solutions and approaches to old problems. The most recent challenge focused on cleaning oil spills.

“The technology used to clean up the BP oil spill was the same technology used on the Valdez, 21 years ago,” Diamandis said.

The contest was to entice inventors to build a more efficient way to clean oil. In order to win the $1 million prize, a team must be able to clean oil two times better than the current rate.

The second way these challenges help the world is that they set up an industry. 33 teams entered the contest to find a better way to clean oil spills. Out of the top 10 teams, seven met the X Prize standard. The winning team cleaned the oil six times faster than the current rate.

Now that the contest is done, there are 10 groups of people in the world who have efficient ways to clean up oil. Diamandis believes the oil industry will be interested in hiring these groups.

Diamandis says he believes that in the next few years, more people will have access to education and the internet—a group he calls the “rising billion.” This new group of people will bring about new ideas to help humanity and give the global economy a boost.

In the Q&A session, an audience member wondered, “What role will humans play in this era of abundance?”

Diamandis first answered with a question.

“Is the purpose of life to work, or to be happy?” he responded. “We are creating a world of liberation, where people can do what they have dreamed of doing.”

Diamandis is the founder, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit focused on designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.

He and co-author Steven Kotler released the book "Abundance—The Future is Better than You Think" in early 2012.

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