Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler's new book "Abundance" is a factual account about how the world is actually getting better and not worse. These guys want to change the conversation about the immediate future from one that is bad to one that is better. I'm ready to believe it but what do most people believe?
Let's start with a few questions
Who thinks gaming is a waste of time?
Who thinks artificial intelligence is evil?
Who thinks Africa is never going to get better?
Almost everybody. Almost everybody feels this way. Why? Well, according to Abundance, the human brain is hard wired to gravitate towards the negative.
Which leads me to contemplate...
When people say "Why doesn't X just use common sense!?" What is common sense? It's the mean average of assumptions and beliefs across a culture right? Common sense 300 years ago was that worms grew into snakes, that witches cursed crops, that God almighty selected the ruling class.
Common sense today is what?
That robotics and AI will enslave humanity, that China is crushing the world under its progress, that the world is crumbling under population explosion, that food is nearly unattainable because of rising fuel costs, that nuclear power will radiate and mutate the entire world, that GMO's are subversive corporate tools, that corporations are sociopathic organizations, that video games are rotting the minds and empathy of youth and undermining all of morality. For starters...
If I just stopped there and posted this I'd get a bunch of head nods and righteous support and that'd be fine I guess. But if I did that then I wouldn't really be contributing much to the conversation.
I am of the common sense, we are all the common sense. I am a fraction of a fraction of the common sense. If you think your outside of common sense then your actually on a different planet. If you want to change common sense then you have to take part in the conversation, breakdown belief into it's assumptions and with compassion introduce an alternative based on fact and truth. Like Abundance does.
Common sense is shifting beneath our feet and it's freaking us out.
This Big Shift is unsettling. Ours is the first generation to do worse, have less than our parents, struggle more, deal with less stability in the work place, have more debt, and zero retirement options. Right?
Let's for a moment consider our children's future...
Our children will have ubiquitous access to not just the internet, but also education, and not just regular ol' "I have to read all this and then get tested on it" education. Oh no. Our kids will be educated without knowing it - with games, interactive programs and augmented reality interface.
From the futurist John Smart it could look like this...
Kids learn Physics? -
A kid plays baseball. Kid is curious about how the ball flies through the air. Kid's wearable computer shows him the speed of the ball and all the physics and math behind the balls trajectory in a totally awesome and fun manner. The kid just learned all about physics, causality, thermodynamics and math without skipping a beat.
Kid's contribute to solving Inequity? -
Apply this to inequity. A kid witnesses a homeless man on the street or a starving child on tv. Kid asks his computer why. Computer shows the reasons for this inequity. Kid wants to help. Computer enables him to take immediate action to contribute.
Kid's develop Empathy? -
Apply this to bullying. The kid is witnessing a bully or is being bullied. He asks why. His wearable computer shares with him all the variables of empathy and apathy. Within a framework that's appropriate for the kid. The kid's own empathy expands as he understands why the bullying is taking place and is armed with passive defence options.
Yeah right, you mean until the robots come, enslave us, and drive us underground like rats.
Ok, let's try to channel that very real pessimism with immediate fact.
What's Right Now?
Right now,very real is the Khan Academy. MIT for free and MOOCs. Free education. Free, engaging, interesting education. Free, engaging, interesting, accessible to 80% of the world in the next 4 years education. Oh and health care too. That's right, the best medical feedback in the world for free... What will free medical advice do for the world?
Probably save a few lives I guess. Likely the lives of intelligent people, of driven people. If those intelligent, driven people aren't having to worry about getting water for their families or village, fight against instability, starvation and debilitating disease, what do you think they will contribute to their communities? Now times that by 3 billion. 3 billion additional problem solvers to the world. To the internet. And when I say the world's problems I mean clean water, basic nutrition, basic health care, basic sanitation, basic shelter, basic literacy and reducing inequity.
Do you think that these billions of contributors can solve those problems? Maybe you don't think so because we haven't been able to solve it ourselves so why should this rising billion.
Well, I think Abundance might be able to answer some of these questions.
Peter Diamandis explains -