Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think (New York: Free Press, 2012).

I love the ideas in this book and I’m a big fan of Peter Diamandis. Here, Diamandis teams up with the journalist Stephen Kotler to help popularise the counterintuitive idea that the future will be increasingly disruptive, dematerialised, and digital.

The implications? The rapid development of transhumanist technologies could soon usher in a world of radical abundance. Hard labour will disappear, material goods will be 3D printed or nano-assembled at a marginal cost of almost nothing, we will have the means to feed the hungry and educate the poor, the global pool of collective intelligence will expand, and we will be able to engineer sophisticated solutions to the many deleterious effects of climate change.

Although there may be many bumps along the way, the authors argue that there is a good chance that the future will be much better than you ever imagined!

The book is enjoyable, and the ideas discussed are pertinent. However, the authors have a tendency to draw very sweeping conclusions from narrow and incomplete examples without discussing the relevant complexities or counterarguments. The text also jumps around abruptly in places between argument and narrative segues, which often leave you with lingering questions and an unsatisfied feeling that you haven’t really got a handle on the issues being discussed – or seen the proof to back the author’s claims.

Nevertheless, Abundance contains some great examples and wonderful explanations and will give you a basic insight into some of the most exciting ideas and technologies in the world right now. While some points and examples are a little thin, the conclusion is solid and worth thinking about: the future really could be much better than you think!

 

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