Your biweekly dose of all things exponential
Issue 4

In this edition, we do a deep dive into all things ‘Artificial’ - artificial intelligence and the future of work and human existence, man-made networks enabling 4 billion minds to come online in the next 6 years, artificial business writing assistants, artificial retinas to restore eyesight and a whole load more - ending with a A360 clip by the one and only Ray Kurzweil on what lies ahead for artificial intelligence.

Exponentially Yours,
Aman Merchant

Peter’s Perspectives

In the next 6 years, 4 billion “New Minds” are about to be connected to the World Wide Web, at Gigabit connection speeds, at near zero-cost. By 2024, we are connecting every person on Earth to the web with bandwidths far beyond what Fortune 500 CEOs and heads of nations had daily access to just a couple of decades back. This revolution will ignite a renaissance of innovation, and once again transform our planet. What will these 4.2 billion new minds discover? What will they consume? What new companies will they build? What industries will they disrupt?

In this blog, Peter discusses how and where networks to accelerate the above, are being deployed.

Peter “Live”!

Every week, Peter video-captures for his community the most exciting new developments he comes across in his many interactions with different stakeholders from across the world. This week’s video is all about going mainstream with Augmented Reality glasses.

AR Glasses Coming Soon...

Last month, Apple bought a startup that develops lenses for augmented reality glasses. The trillion-dollar company has stated that AR will ultimately lead to more business opportunities than VR. What features do you think Apple will include in their first headset? What application of AR/VR will you personally use most? And are there any bright ‘AR’ startups in our region that could be acquired by Apple? The next story could be just that…

Amazing Possibilities

What it is: In separate reports, McKinsey and Tata recently outlined the socioeconomic impacts of AI and automation over the next 10 to 12 years, with both expecting AI to contribute to GDP growth -- as much as 1.2 percent over the next 10 years -- and $13 trillion in net economic benefits could be captured over the next 12 years. These forecasts also introduce several opportunities for entrepreneurs. At a technical level, a paucity of labeled data sets lack transparency in AI systems, and difficulty in generalizing models across domains will need to be solved. At a social level, employees will need to be retrained, and policymakers will need steady hands through the transition.

Why it’s important: It’s clear that exponential technologies are accelerating and combining in exciting, unexpected ways for the benefit of humanity. At the same time, the resulting social changes will also happen faster than anything we have experienced in the past, creating discomfort for a large number of people. What opportunities does this create for your business? New markets? New ways to attract top talent?

What it is: A September 3 article published in Nature by scientists at the University of Cambridge describes a first-of-its-kind semi-artificial photosynthesis cell. The University of Cambridge team converged synthetic biology and artificial photosynthesis techniques to more readily and controllably convert the energy of sunlight into storable biofuel. Their process breaks water into hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) using the biological catalysts Photosystem II and hydrogenase. Semi-artificial photosynthesis adds the tunability of various chemistry and materials science methods to achieve greater efficiencies in converting H2O to H2 and O2. This process is a major step in mass producing photosynthesis cells that only use energy from the Sun.

Why it's important: Peter often discusses our transition from evolution by natural selection to evolution via intelligent direction. Building on this concept, biomimicry enables engineers and designers to accelerate the optimization and evolution processes even further.

What it is: Presenting at an American Chemical Society meeting, an international team of researchers shared their pioneering work in leveraging the high flexibility and optical versatility of graphene to create artificial retinas. They combined graphene with materials like molybdenum disulfide, gold, alumina, and silicon nitrate to form transparent, flexible structures that can be used to register incoming light signals. While these aren't yet functional, biomedical retina replacements, their ability to register light signals is a foundational first step.

Why it's important: Millions of people currently suffer from retina diseases, and today's artificial implants are rigid and flat -- not the ideal replacement for our flexible, curved natural retinas. More broadly, a transition to carbon-based electronics would leverage the sheer abundance of carbon here on Earth and elsewhere in the universe. Imagine a future in which you can sequester carbon dioxide from the air (CO2 composes over 95 percent of Martian air), separate out the carbon, and print a wide range of electronic (or biomedical) devices at scale.

What it is: In a massive push to acquire cleaner labels and sell healthier products, Nestlé is now piloting a personalized nutrition program in Japan, boasting 100,000 program participants to date. Using AI, DNA testing and meal analysis to collect consumer data on diet and health, the Nestlé "Wellness Ambassador" aims to fine-tune personalized nutrition and extend the lifespan of an aging population. With an annual subscription of roughly $600, participants receive an in-home DNA collection kit, learn about personalized supplements, and can post photos of all their meals in exchange for AI-recommended dietary changes.

Why it's important: As the global population grows older — with over 12 percent aged 60 or older in 2015 — personalized nutrition and functional foods have long become lucrative markets. Today’s market for health-related products alone has been valued at an estimated $15 billion. And as stated by Kozo Takaoka, CEO of Nestlé Japan, "Nestlé must address [health problems associated with food and nutrition] on a global basis and make it our mission for the 21st century." But it is largely more health-conscious consumers that have spurred this trend, pushing food giants like Nestlé to spend billions on acquiring firms ranging from medical research to nutraceuticals. And as household brands start creating treasure troves of genetic and dietary data, personalized nutrition may soon enter the mainstream.

Exponential Tips & Tricks

Unsure whether your next email or business letter will hit the mark? Check out Cognifyd, your next gen business writing assistant that analyzes words, phrases, structure, and tone to give constructive feedback on written business communication.

Experience A360

With all the talk about AI taking over the world, this clip from A360 2018 has Ray Kurzweil talking about the implications of AI in the future.

Ray Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. Magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS selected Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. He is considered one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a 30-year track record of accurate predictions.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360 Dubai, Peter's 360-person executive mastermind, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for business and government leaders who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here.

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to go before the Abundance 360 Dubai Summit on October 29-30, 2018

Read our past issues of the Exponential Times: | Issue 3 | Issue 2 | Issue 1 |