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  • (Applause)

  • (Video) Announcer: Threats, in the wake of Bin Laden's death, have spiked.

  • Announcer Two: Famine in Somalia. Announcer Three: Police pepper spray.

  • Announcer Four: Vicious cartels. Announcer Five: Caustic cruise lines.

  • Announcer Six: Societal decay. Announcer Seven: 65 dead.

  • Announcer Eight: Tsunami warning. Announcer Nine: Cyberattacks.

  • Multiple Announcers: Drug war. Mass destruction. Tornado.

  • Recession. Default. Doomsday. Egypt. Syria.

  • Crisis. Death. Disaster.

  • Oh, my God.

  • Peter Diamandis: So those are just a few of the clips

  • I collected over the last six months --

  • could have easily been the last six days

  • or the last six years.

  • The point is that the news media

  • preferentially feeds us negative stories

  • because that's what our minds pay attention to.

  • And there's a very good reason for that.

  • Every second of every day,

  • our senses bring in way too much data

  • than we can possibly process in our brains.

  • And because nothing is more important to us

  • than survival,

  • the first stop of all of that data

  • is an ancient sliver of the temporal lobe

  • called the amygdala.

  • Now the amygdala is our early warning detector,

  • our danger detector.

  • It sorts and scours through all of the information

  • looking for anything in the environment that might harm us.

  • So given a dozen news stories,

  • we will preferentially look

  • at the negative news.

  • And that old newspaper saying,

  • "If it bleeds it leads,"

  • is very true.

  • So given all of our digital devices

  • that are bringing all the negative news to us

  • seven days a week, 24 hours a day,

  • it's no wonder that we're pessimistic.

  • It's no wonder that people think

  • that the world is getting worse.

  • But perhaps that's not the case.

  • Perhaps instead,

  • it's the distortions brought to us

  • of what's really going on.

  • Perhaps the tremendous progress we've made

  • over the last century

  • by a series of forces

  • are, in fact, accelerating to a point

  • that we have the potential in the next three decades

  • to create a world of abundance.

  • Now I'm not saying

  • we don't have our set of problems --

  • climate crisis, species extinction,

  • water and energy shortage -- we surely do.

  • And as humans, we are far better

  • at seeing the problems way in advance,

  • but ultimately we knock them down.

  • So let's look

  • at what this last century has been

  • to see where we're going.

  • Over the last hundred years,

  • the average human lifespan has more than doubled,

  • average per capita income adjusted for inflation

  • around the world has tripled.

  • Childhood mortality

  • has come down a factor of 10.

  • Add to that the cost of food, electricity,

  • transportation, communication

  • have dropped 10 to 1,000-fold.

  • Steve Pinker has showed us

  • that, in fact, we're living during the most peaceful time ever

  • in human history.

  • And Charles Kenny

  • that global literacy has gone from 25 percent to over 80 percent

  • in the last 130 years.

  • We truly are living in an extraordinary time.

  • And many people forget this.

  • And we keep setting our expectations higher and higher.

  • In fact, we redefine what poverty means.

  • Think of this, in America today,

  • the majority of people under the poverty line

  • still have electricity, water, toilets, refrigerators,

  • television, mobile phones,

  • air conditioning and cars.

  • The wealthiest robber barons of the last century, the emperors on this planet,

  • could have never dreamed of such luxuries.

  • Underpinning much of this

  • is technology,

  • and of late,

  • exponentially growing technologies.

  • My good friend Ray Kurzweil

  • showed that any tool that becomes an information technology

  • jumps on this curve, on Moore's Law,

  • and experiences price performance doubling

  • every 12 to 24 months.

  • That's why the cellphone in your pocket

  • is literally a million times cheaper and a thousand times faster

  • than a supercomputer of the '70s.

  • Now look at this curve.

  • This is Moore's Law over the last hundred years.

  • I want you to notice two things from this curve.

  • Number one, how smooth it is --

  • through good time and bad time, war time and peace time,

  • recession, depression and boom time.

  • This is the result of faster computers

  • being used to build faster computers.

  • It doesn't slow for any of our grand challenges.

  • And also, even though it's plotted

  • on a log curve on the left,

  • it's curving upwards.

  • The rate at which the technology is getting faster

  • is itself getting faster.

  • And on this curve, riding on Moore's Law,

  • are a set of extraordinarily powerful technologies

  • available to all of us.

  • Cloud computing,

  • what my friends at Autodesk call infinite computing;

  • sensors and networks; robotics;

  • 3D printing, which is the ability to democratize and distribute

  • personalized production around the planet;

  • synthetic biology;

  • fuels, vaccines and foods;

  • digital medicine; nanomaterials; and A.I.

  • I mean, how many of you saw the winning of Jeopardy

  • by IBM's Watson?

  • I mean, that was epic.

  • In fact, I scoured the headlines

  • looking for the best headline in a newspaper I could.

  • And I love this: "Watson Vanquishes Human Opponents."

  • Jeopardy's not an easy game.

  • It's about the nuance of human language.

  • And imagine if you would

  • A.I.'s like this on the cloud

  • available to every person with a cellphone.

  • Four years ago here at TED,

  • Ray Kurzweil and I started a new university

  • called Singularity University.

  • And we teach our students all of these technologies,

  • and particularly how they can be used

  • to solve humanity's grand challenges.

  • And every year we ask them

  • to start a company or a product or a service

  • that can affect positively the lives of a billion people

  • within a decade.

  • Think about that, the fact that, literally, a group of students

  • can touch the lives of a billion people today.

  • 30 years ago that would have sounded ludicrous.

  • Today we can point at dozens of companies

  • that have done just that.

  • When I think about creating abundance,

  • it's not about creating a life of luxury for everybody on this planet;

  • it's about creating a life of possibility.

  • It is about taking that which was scarce

  • and making it abundant.

  • You see, scarcity is contextual,

  • and technology is a resource-liberating force.

  • Let me give you an example.

  • So this is a story of Napoleon III

  • in the mid-1800s.

  • He's the dude on the left.

  • He invited over to dinner

  • the king of Siam.

  • All of Napoleon's troops

  • were fed with silver utensils,

  • Napoleon himself with gold utensils.

  • But the King of Siam,

  • he was fed with aluminum utensils.

  • You see, aluminum

  • was the most valuable metal on the planet,

  • worth more than gold and platinum.

  • It's the reason that the tip of the Washington Monument

  • is made of aluminum.

  • You see, even though aluminum

  • is 8.3 percent of the Earth by mass,

  • it doesn't come as a pure metal.

  • It's all bound by oxygen and silicates.

  • But then the technology of electrolysis came along

  • and literally made aluminum so cheap

  • that we use it with throw-away mentality.

  • So let's project this analogy going forward.

  • We think about energy scarcity.

  • Ladies and gentlemen,

  • we are on a planet

  • that is bathed with 5,000 times more energy

  • than we use in a year.

  • 16 terawatts of energy hits the Earth's surface

  • every 88 minutes.

  • It's not about being scarce,

  • it's about accessibility.

  • And there's good news here.

  • For the first time, this year

  • the cost of solar-generated electricity

  • is 50 percent that of diesel-generated electricity in India --

  • 8.8 rupees versus 17 rupees.

  • The cost of solar dropped 50 percent last year.

  • Last month, MIT put out a study

  • showing that by the end of this decade,

  • in the sunny parts of the United States,

  • solar electricity will be six cents a kilowatt hour

  • compared to 15 cents

  • as a national average.

  • And if we have abundant energy,

  • we also have abundant water.

  • Now we talk about water wars.

  • Do you remember

  • when Carl Sagan turned the Voyager spacecraft

  • back towards the Earth,

  • in 1990 after it just passed Saturn?

  • He took a famous photo. What was it called?

  • "A Pale Blue Dot."

  • Because we live on a water planet.

  • We live on a planet 70 percent covered by water.

  • Yes, 97.5 percent is saltwater,

  • two percent is ice,

  • and we fight over a half a percent of the water on this planet,

  • but here too there is hope.

  • And there is technology coming online,

  • not 10, 20 years from now,

  • right now.

  • There's nanotechnology coming on, nanomaterials.

  • And the conversation I had with Dean Kamen this morning,

  • one of the great DIY innovators,

  • I'd like to share with you -- he gave me permission to do so --

  • his technology called Slingshot

  • that many of you may have heard of,

  • it is the size of a small dorm room refrigerator.

  • It's able to generate

  • a thousand liters of clean drinking water a day

  • out of any source -- saltwater, polluted water, latrine --

  • at less than two cents a liter.

  • The chairman of Coca-Cola has just agreed

  • to do a major test

  • of hundreds of units of this in the developing world.

  • And if that pans out,

  • which I have every confidence it will,

  • Coca-Cola will deploy this globally

  • to 206 countries

  • around the planet.

  • This is the kind of innovation, empowered by this technology,

  • that exists today.

  • And we've seen this in cellphones.

  • My goodness, we're going to hit 70 percent penetration

  • of cellphones in the developing world

  • by the end of 2013.

  • Think about it,

  • that a Masai warrior on a cellphone in the middle of Kenya

  • has better mobile comm

  • than President Reagan did 25 years ago.

  • And if they're on a smartphone on Google,

  • they've got access to more knowledge and information

  • than President Clinton did 15 years ago.

  • They're living in a world of information and communication abundance

  • that no one could have ever predicted.

  • Better than that,

  • the things that you and I

  • spent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for --

  • GPS, HD video and still images,

  • libraries of books and music,

  • medical diagnostic technology --

  • are now literally dematerializing and demonetizing

  • into your cellphone.

  • Probably the best part of it