ILTA 2014 opening keynote by Peter Diamandis: Our world of abundance
ILTA 2014 kicked off with a bang on Monday morning in Nashville, TN, with a keynote by Peter Diamandis, author, innovator and co-founder/executive chairman of Singularity University, the leading institution for the study of exponentially growing technologies.
The theme at this year’s ILTA conference is “Imagine,” and Diamandis capitalized on that theme by asking the audience to imagine several future scenarios related to technology, crowdsourcing and abundance. During his keynote, titled “Innovation on the Road to Abundance,” Diamandis talked about how we’ve redefined poverty in America because of technology. In 10 years, it’s predicted that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies today will no longer exist because of linear versus exponential technologies. Simply put, the world is speeding up due to technology, according to Diamandis. The first computers were electromechanical, then transistor, then integrated circuit, and so on. We keep using faster computers to make faster computers. This is likely to continue, and this exponential growth of computing is what makes us feel like the world is speeding up, he said.
Diamandis uses a framework called the 6Ds: Digitize, deceptive, disruptive, dematerialize, demonetize, and democratize. Anything that becomes digitized goes through exponential growth, according to Diamandis. When he talks about deceptive, he means that the early days of any technology is very slow. Take 3D printing, for example. It’s been around for 30 years, but we are only hearing about it in recent years because the beginning years of development were very slow. After going through disruptive growth, a technology dematerializes. This means that in the span of 20 years, several technologies dematerialize into one small technology. For example, a boom box, TV, flashlight, camera and alarm clock can now all be found on a smart phone in the form of apps. This dematerialization is constant and seen later in demonetization, where the taxi cab is replaced by companies like Uber and Lyft, or bookstores are replaced by amazon.com and the like. Finally, democratization comes in when a technology spreads across the world. It is predicted that there will be a billion handsets in Africa in 2016, which is a good example of this kind of democratization.
Diamandis went on to talk about how things like artificial intelligence and sensor explosion (i.e., the first digital camera in 1976 versus the digital camera today is a billion times better) are transforming our world. “We are living in a period of sensor explosion,” he said. “Imagine where we will be in 30 years. Molecular. Free. Everywhere.”
He also talked about how we are seeing a paradigm change in the form of robotics, how 3D printing will become a disruption to intellectual property in years to come (“What happens to intellectual property when we can go and scan anything and print it? Disruption in IP.”), and genome sequencing and synthetic biology.
Diamandis concluded his talk by summarizing his four insights on technology:
1) The only constant is change and the rate of change is increasing
2) You either disrupt your own company/products or someone else will. Standing still = death.
3) Competition is no longer the multinational overseas. It is the explosion of exponentially empowered entrepreneurs.
4) If you’re depending on innovation solely from people inside your company, you are missing out on huge opportunities.
In summary, Diamandis said, “Technology is what has transformed our world of scarcity to our world of abundance.”