Are you curious to understand why big competitions can accelerate change, harnessing intelligence, creativity and resourcefulness?
If you have a good idea to teach illiterate children to read and write in 18 months, join the competition. Peter Diamandis, co-founder of X Prize and of Singularity University, talks about a winning strategy to face humanity’s grand challenges and takes us to a time when nothing will be impossible.
CRISTINA: Peter Diamandis is a celebrity in relation of the future, the future that is already present. Everything that he makes tends to connect these two concepts, expecially through the X prize, an organization that assigns big prizes to anyone who can solve the big challenges of mankind. He is also cofounder of the Singularity University… and he is here with us.
C: What of the grand challenges do you think will be solved by the Xprize?
DIAMANDIS: Every year I get together and talk about what are the world’s biggest problems. What are the problems that have not been solved that should be solved? and we try to attack those. You know, should we create a thousand dollar home to get rid of homelessness. Should we create a… We just launched a global learning Xprize to be able to create a piece of software that can operate on any cellphone and take a child who is illiterate to basic reading, writing, and numeracy 18 months. Now I believe we’re living in an extraordinary time were there is no problem we cannot solve. Energy is a critical one, clearly. We’re working on a battery Xprize to increase the amount of energy you can store in batteries by threefold. That would transform automobiles, aviation. So, energy then gives us clean drinking water, which gives us health, so that’s one of them.
C: What do you tell your children the future will look like?
D: We’re gonna live into a world where people are connected in a way we can’t even understand now. Intimately connected through technology. A world where people are living longer and healthier lives. So I’m excited about creating this world I call it a world of abundance. That was my last book.
C: We make food for 12 billion people, though we’re just over half. Many things abound already but they just don’t get to the right places.
D: Sure, so one of the questions is, can you produce food where it’s used. So today, when I go and have a meal here is San Francisco, my wine may come from Italy, my salmon from Chile. My average meal is traveling almost 2,000 miles to get to my dinner plate. Can you instead use technology to literally farm everything you need in downtown, in a skyscraper, in which the environment. It’s things are growing 24/7, and the PH of the water, the nutrients of the water, everything is controlled perfectly where the food is not moving thousands of miles, it’s moving a few miles. So that’s one thing. The other is the use of genetics to grow new types of food that are more nutritious. There’s a company here out of Singular University called Modern Meadow that looks at growing meats and leathers using stem cells versus taking a whole cow and killing it into pieces. Now you just grow the meat in the lab and making that meat even taste better and be more nutritious. People say that’s crazy. But, you know, what we think of as crazy today, will be accepted by all in the future.
C: You often talk about the importance of mindset. Do you think there will be a technology that can zap Peter Diamandis’s mindset and help all the fearful, doubtful people overcome their obstacles?
D: I think mindset is going to come from more and more examples of people making their dreams come true and feeling enabled for knowing the capability. And so I think in this hyper-connected world, you know, my goal is most of the news media is feeding us negative news constantly. Every murder around the planet, and it just gives us this negative mindset. And my view is there is other mechanisms to learn what’s going on in the world and the tremendous progress we’re making. And I want kids to not only be excited about movie stars and sports stars but the innovators who are creating huge wealth, huge capability for humanity.