EDIT: Hi Reddit, thanks for all your questions today - it's been fun!

My short bio: Hi I’m Peter Diamandis and I believe that the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself. At XPRIZE www.XPRIZE.org, we’re designing and operating incentivized competitions, challenging global innovators to come up with solutions to the world’s Grand Challenges. Like creating a medical tricorder, landing the first commercial robots on the Moon with Google, and learning how to heal the ocean. Oh yeah, I’ve also founded an asteroid mining company and have brought Stephen Hawking on a Zero-G flight. Ask me anything

My Proof: https://twitter.com/PeterDiamandis/status/388735111002587136

Comments: 322 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

sp300039 karma

Hi Peter, love your work, it truly makes me fascinated with what the future of humanity will be able to achieve. A few questions:

1) If abundance and amazing technology is our future, what will be the motivation for anyone to disconnect from Matrix-like, fully immersive, virtual worlds (where anything imaginable might be possible)? Also, considering that advanced alien civilizations probably reach the technological ability to create virtual reality like this before interstellar space travel, would this be a valid explanation for the Fermi Paradox?

2) Being in medical school I am extremely interested in what being a physician will actually entail two decades from now. You have a unique perspective since you actually went to Harvard Medical School (and somehow started you own space company and university while attending) but decided not do your residency afterwards. If you were graduating today, what residency would you choose (i.e., has the greatest potential)?

Keep up the inspiring work and please also see if you can get your buddy Ray to do an AMA too! Hopefully he'll have the time, even though I've heard that Google has locked him in a room and won't let him out until he creates a strong A.I.

PeterDiamandis50 karma

(1) The human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells working together... i think we are heading towards the transformation of humanity being a collection of 9 billion human brains working together... towards a "Meta-INtelligence" where you can know the thoughts, feelings and knowledge of anyone. that's where tech is driving us... As such, i don't know that i would want to live outside of this, just like any one of your human cells has a disadvantage living outside of your body.

(2) Wow, Medicine is going to change ALOT. I can imagine a time in the near future where the patient is saying "NO WAY... I don't want that human doctor doing the surgery, he/she makes mistakes... i only want the robot... its done 300,000 perfect surgeries in a row."

Wishborn6 karma

We are building the framework for that Meta-Intelligence, it's called Bliss and uses impact as a currency. A techno-telepathy is one of the many forecasted beneficial outcomes of an impact based economy. When people ask me "What problem does it solve?", the easy answer is "all of them".

PeterDiamandis6 karma

Cool

AhabFXseas15 karma

I know a handful of smart, motivated people who are interested in working to advance science and technology (specifically space exploration, neuroscience, and probably a couple other areas), but are only semi-technical, and don’t really have a chance of working directly for a company in the field.

How can people in this situation make meaningful contributions to the science/tech fields they consider important? One of our ideas is to generate enough disposable income that we can afford to make investments in new companies that are doing important things, but might be too risky to appeal to traditional angel/VC investors. Is there something better that we should be considering?

PeterDiamandis26 karma

It takes ALL kinds to make any business happen. Alot of the most brilliant "tech" people don't have the social skills of a 10 year old... so they need help. The massively connect world we are creating allowing teams to come together. I blog on this thru www.diamandis.com all the time. I think we have alot of ability for people to "team up" and complement their skills

FourOneFour15 karma

Hi Peter. Hypothetically, if there were an enormous X Prize, more on the order of $100 million, what kind of goal would it be for?

PeterDiamandis23 karma

I think we'll eventually see $100M XPRIZEs coming... We SHOULD have them in the field of Cancer. We typically tie the purse size either to (i) Level of importance the donor gives to the issue; or, (ii) the amount of money a team would probably end up spending.

SpaceSteak12 karma

Hi Dr. D!

Over the last few years you've inspired me to really think about where our species is going and how technology will intertwine with our lives even more. However, that's also made me wonder if humans can truly rise above our current predicaments, or if we'll continue to be doomed to a century of living mostly in unhappiness, surrounded by mindless entertainment that solely promotes nihilistic materialism.

You seem to be ahead of the curve in understanding how our current societal paradigms will totally shift in the next few decades due to technology. It's clear that our current global economic system will not survive in its current form, however, due to some factors like greed, people in power seem to want to prevent this from happening, even with something as simple as healthcare in the USA or religious zealotry in the Middle East. From my point of view, it doesn't seem as if there's much chance myself or my children will be able to see a post-materialism world, but thinking of the Singularity gives me hope.

  1. Will nearly unlimited production be enough to make global governments and society realize that our current capitalist system is not sustainable and thus change towards a [technology controlled] resource based system?

  2. My girlfriend and I would love the option to raise children while we maintain a small plot of land and I work either physically or intellectually. But this small dream seems out of our reach. Will the Singularity allow humans to go back to their roots and live a simple life, if they choose, while maintaining the benefits of technology? In other words, Modern society has destroyed this option for my generation, but will technology bring it back?

  3. I'm currently studying computer science and want to focus on brain-to-computer interfaces, which I think will open up many clues for the next generation of AI. What role do you foresee BCIs having? Are they the key to a global hivemind and consicousness-transfer, or just another user interface?

My aim in life is to hopefully add to the human body of knowledge, while continuing the beautiful cosmic life cycle humans are a part of. Your innovative and knowledge-seeking spirit embodies what is great about our species. Thank you.

PeterDiamandis7 karma

Can you break this into a few different, short quick Q's i can answer?

SpaceSteak5 karma

That was indeed a longer wall of text than it should have been. :)

  1. What sort of changes will near-unlimited production potential have on the current global economic paradigms?

  2. When the Singularity does happen, will new options open up in terms of human freedom, or are there too many factors working against freedom for the masses to live as they want? (IOW: is a universal basic income ever going to be a thing?)

  3. Brain-computer-interfaces. Currently studying CS and trying to focus on the software side of BCIs. Do you think BCIs are the next big thing in technology?

PeterDiamandis9 karma

(1) It will drive massive competition and diversity, eventual demonetizing almost everything.; (2) I think we will go from "Occupation" where we do stuff to earn a living, to "Occupation" where we occupy our time in ways we love and entertain us; (3) I thing BCI is big, but another decade out... We need to learn more about the brain first and need better models and material science... but it is coming and will be critical

capoglou12 karma

I dream of working for XPRIZE Foundation on day. What kind of skills are you looking for?

PeterDiamandis13 karma

We are look for SMART, PASSION, CURIOUS and great program managers. We are Growing... probably by 50% this next year.

weinbergfoundation11 karma

Hi Peter,

We at the Weinberg Foundation are real fans of your work - inducement prizes are such a fantastic way to provoke innovation. We are followers of Alvin Weinberg, the American physicist and Oak Ridge laboratory director.

We believe there is a new way for nuclear power by switching from light water reactors to a safer, cleaner and cheaper paradigm - that of Thorium-fuelled molten salt reactors.

Would you consider doing an XPRIZE to address the market failure in nuclear innovation with us?

PeterDiamandis14 karma

I think Thorium reactors are great. I've read about them at some length. As i discuss in Abundance, i think Nuclear has gotten a bum rap on Earth, especially in the U.S. The question i would have is "What would the XPRIZE be for?" An XP is something that a small team for a few dozen graduate students can fund, design, build and demonstrate.

joshuakrafchin11 karma

Has XPRIZE considered teaming up with Kickstarter to micro-fund a prize?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but traditionally XPRIZEs have had one or a small number of large corporate/individual sponsors. Are you open to creating a derivative brand that leverages crowd-sourcing to build large prizes? (E.g. no more than $10,000 donations to that prize -- the Kickstarter limit)

I have a strong hunch that we could build enough buzz to do it.

I was thinking a $20,000,000 space elevator prize (40x the 2006 prize you created) but defer to you on what you think would be the right candidate.

PeterDiamandis16 karma

Thanks Joshua. Two answers: (1) We are going to start inviting the public to co-fund the prize purse thru crowdfunding platforms like KS and IndieGogo... (2) we are also launching something soon called HeroX which will be a social site where the publich can design, fund and operate smaller prizes that are local and needed. I think this is a huge potential.

NatvoAlterice10 karma

Dr. Diamandis, thank you so much for this AMA.

What would be your advice to young aspiring entrepreneurs who are from a non-scientific background, but still want to contribute to the field of emerging technologies actively?

How should they go about in terms of presenting their ideas to investors, or looking for funding & resources?

PeterDiamandis13 karma

Thanks for the question... i actually blog about this constantly at www.Diamandis.com -- my next book BOLD is on this subject, advice for Enterprenerus. You can also follow my twitter exploits: #PeterDiamandis.

Bottom line YES, there is great opportunity for you to partner with Tech-folks. Most critical step for you is focusing on your passion and becoming knowledgable and curious on that subject.

bostoniaa10 karma

Hi Peter. First of all, I want to thank you. You are one of my personal heroes and Abundance has irrevocably changed the way I see the world and live my life. Your passion for improving humanity is admirable and inspiring. I have many questions for you, but I will keep it short as I know your time is valuable.

What would your advice be to a college senior hoping to one day attend Singularity University? Work in a tech start up? Work for a think tank? It is one of my highest ambitions in life to attend SU and I would love to hear your input.

P.S. We are big fans of yours over at /r/futurology, a 115,000 person community dedicated to studying the future.

PeterDiamandis9 karma

My advice: (1) Apply for SU's summer program. best experience in the world! (2) Find your inner passion -- do that which drives you most. Don't do anything FOR someone else, do it for you; (3) Do something. Commit, take action. Everything big, bold and meaningful in life is hard work. Take the first step.

k_lander9 karma

Hi Peter. What is your opinion on crypto-currencies like bitcoin?

PeterDiamandis7 karma

I believe that we're going to have some new global currencies coming into existance this next decade. Whether or not bit-coin will succeed and dominate is tbd, but the easy and need is clearly there.

amshep8 karma

Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for doing this talk and congratulations on your PopMech Breakthrough Leadership Award!

Do you think the government will continue to have a role funding science and tech? Or do you think the private sector will take the lead, much like it has in the space industry?

PeterDiamandis11 karma

Thanks for the Congrats! I get my award this Tuesday in NYC from PopMech.

I am massively excited about Crowd Funding, which is growing exponentially. I'm also excited about the new generation of "Techno-philanthropists" folks who made their billions in the Tech areana and now want to have a massive impact on the world.

I would LOVE to have the government do more, but unfortunately the most interesting work is the riskiest work and alot of agencies aren't funding that risk. DARPA of course being one of the noted exceptions.

I think we need to get to a point where 50% of the work being funded by NIH, NASA, etc is for "HIGHLY RISKY WORK"... That would be my hope and desire. Until that happens i'll depend on amazing companies like Google and SpaceX to do this stuff... oh yeah, and XPRIZE and Planetary Resources too.

esahr7 karma

Mr. Diamandis,

First of all, I just wanted to tell you that becoming a part of SEDS completely changed my life, and for that I thank you.

Now on to my question: Your photo on your Wikipedia article depicts you flying in Microgravity, however it doesn't appear to be Zero-G Corp's 727. I've always wondered, what plane was this? It has so much space!

PeterDiamandis5 karma

GREAT Observation... that photos is in the IL-76 the Russian cargo plane used for Zero-G flights in Star City -- this was the first time i flew in Zero-G... and this was before i was able to convince the FAA to allow us to do Zero-G legally in the US.

BTW, SEDS ROCKS... Its where i learned everything i know use in business.. Students FOr the Exploration and Development of Space -- Go SEDS!

Halcyon_Red7 karma

Hi, Peter.

We're seeing exponential technologies quickly being incorporated into the job market. Software, AI, robotics provide unprecedented possibilities for automation: We're seeing machines demonstrate capabilities they've never ever had before.

As a result of automation, one could argue that wealth is being concentrated more and more toward the people who own the automation. Fewer and fewer people need to be employed while productivity is continuing to increase at an incredible rate.

What do we do about the fact that robots/AI/software are taking human jobs at an ever increasing rate? Would you support a minimum basic income?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

We're heading from a world of "Have" and "Have-nots" to a world of "Haves" and "Super-haves". I think the final result of technology is a sort of "Technology-socialism" where tech is handling our basic needs... now i'm personally a libertarian-capitalist by nature.

jnarauz7 karma

Hi Peter,

A year ago someone brought up the question of abundance and its implication on labor. As technology takes over more complex tasks (via automation) less labor is needed. However, if we reach a critical point where labor needs decrease dramatically there is no economic population to purchase the output (as they would have no jobs). While total "abundance" is perhaps unreachable there has to be a tipping point where labor markets and automation balance each other out. Would you mind commenting on this concept, its implications and perhaps limitations? Thank You.

PeterDiamandis9 karma

GREAT question.... There is a race to the bottom. What you say above is true. It is also true that were we spend our money... Health, education, energy etc is "Demonetizing" i.e. tech is making it effectively FREE, so we will need less money. ALSO, and ultimately we will partner with technology. I'm an engineer and i look at boundary conditions... the final result is nanotech.. and if i have a nanobot, i don't need any money.

Edmundson7 karma

If you get to mine asteroids in space, would you go on one of the missions?

PeterDiamandis16 karma

I have every expectation that we will be mining asteroids well within the next decade. While I have every personal desire to make a trip to the moon, and also to the surface of Mars, heading out to an asteroid 100 million plus miles away doesn’t sound like a fun adventure. I think I’ll let the robots take care of that one.

prizepossession7 karma

Hi Peter,

Do you regret withdrawing the genetic prize? Couldn't it be argued that significant progress was partially spurred on by the prize so it was doing what it should have?

You said about the genetics prize that it was good sign when X prize failed. Other than that example, what was the x-prize's biggest failure to date?

There has been significant consolidation recently in the prize industry (IC, TopCoder and Spigit all acquired or merged). Where do you see the prize industry in 5 years?

Thanks for your answers!

PeterDiamandis4 karma

Great question. This was a VERY difficult decision, one in which took alot of internal conversation and guidance from our advisors. I was told by a number of the teams that the existence of the prize did spur movement, but what we also saw was the acceleration of genome sequencing at an accelerated rate independent of the prize.. taking it from $100M to under $5K (now about $2K). Driven by a billion-dollar market place. we decided that the competition was not incentivizing the technological changes that our prize chair and Scientific Advisory Board had intended. Clearly we could always be wrong. Our goal here is doing the right thing for the world. We have no other intension. Time will tell.

ion-tom6 karma

Your ethos is one of the most modern and invigorating perspectives in any public figure. The world needs more pushers like you, who realize that cutting red tape and thinking in parallel is essential to building a better future.

You are also stress the importance of experimentation and the acceptance of failure. An iterative approach to success and design is part of the rational scientific worldview, which I believe is largely ignored by the diametric/polarized politics in the US.

I've followed your work since X-prize and SpaceShipOne, and have drawn a lot of inspiration from your work. I think that the competition approach to progress will benefit the world tremendously. And now, Massive Online Ecosystems are letting people connect in a way never before possible.

Through reddit, which is a miracle of communication in itself, I have started an group /r/Simulate dedicated to complete parallel world simulation. I attracted experts from many different fields, programmers of all types, and we started several open source github projects. Now I'm trying to diversify with a politically charged project called the Nucleus Collaboration. I take your ethos to heart, striving towards projects of passion is very fulfilling, even though it can't replace everyone's day job (yet).

There is also an entire community dedicated to future based thinking, /r/Futurology, where discussion of trends and disruptive technologies are an everyday digest for people. Being a moderator on there, I've noticed it has become an echo chamber for folks who have dreams of an abundant future. Which is both good and bad. I really think that as a society we need to start perceiving a world where we can come up with technical solutions to social problems. However, I also think that many young futurists fail to realize how logistically challenging it can be to cut through all of the red tape. I think seeing tragedies like Aaron Swartz really drives home how much personal risk is required to make societal progress.

The US also has a whole host of serious problems which I'm not sure can be overcome unless there is some type of massive regime overhaul. We have 1/4 of our citizens in prison, 16% of people don't have food security, and we require continual warfare and mass surveillance to support the high valuation of USD. We have a patent system where patent protection is more lucrative than production, and we have severe monopoly problems due to big subsidies in BigAg, Oil, Energy. ISPs vassalize municipalities and take ownership of cities and enforce artificially high rates. Then we have the Trans-Pacific-Partnership which might make all P2P networks nearly illegal regardless of the content they host.

It's not the fact that we can mitigate the worlds technology through progress, I simply fear that instinctual motives like dominance shape institutions to a greater magnitude than most people imagine. I also believe that disruptive technology continues to lessen the power of nation states, mass-surveillance and authoritarian use of power will increase. This won't come from political partisans, it will come from secretive intelligence agencies which require state funding to stay alive.

Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? (Orwell)

So I have two questions for you:

  1. What is the biggest barrier to progress today? Is "Forced Artificial Scarcity" by authoritative power something which you perceive as a threat to radical abundance? ( ie. File Copying <> Theft)
  2. Have you ever needed to protect yourself from actors who want to destroy your goals? Is "money" the only defense available? How do you overcome injustice in the world if very powerful people benefit from that injustice and do not want to relinquish control?

P.S. As a former astronomy student I'm really excited for what the Arkyd series is going to offer! I also have some really cool ideas on how to gamify the Asterank app P.R. purchased, thank you for keeping the project open source!

PeterDiamandis8 karma

(1) The biggest barrier, in my opnion is the brittle government regulatory system and miopic, radicalized religious beliefs; (2) I've not had to really protect myself... i've had to do battle with myopic legal bureaucrats. Not fun. (3) Regard Asterrank... great. You should email the PRI team about this directly. Open source is critical.

Simcurious6 karma

Dr. Diamandis, thank you doing this AMA. What do you think of D-Wave's quantum computer? What do you think will the consequences be for the future of humanity if it keeps speeding up as expected?

PeterDiamandis9 karma

I think D-Wave's machines a very remarkable. What i've heard about them are extraordinary. My friends at Google & NASA Ames just purchased their latest 512 qbit model to start experimenting. Can't wait to see what they do.

pappalardojoe6 karma

How will the Lunar Xprize help foster spaceflight? Do you think any team is going to make it there? Thanks!

PeterDiamandis9 karma

Yes, i think we can have a winner of the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). Ultimately the purpose for GLXP is to help create a space ecomomy beyond Low and Geo Earth orbit. On the moon we have access to water (H2 & O2), i.e. fuel, and very useful materials. My friend and mentor Gerard K O'Neil taught me how useful the Moon is as jumping point for humanity to become a multiplanetary species.

twinkling_star6 karma

Hi Peter,

It feels to me that humanity seems to be approaching a critical point. As you talk about in Abundance, there are a lot of technologies that are maturing now that offer a lot of promise for humanity's future. Yet at the same time, we see that our unsustainable use of existing resources, combined with our excessive pollutiuon, is catching up with us fast. It doesn't seem possible at this point to find a sustainable means to support the current population of the planet, and attempting to do so would likely result both in significant loss of life, and reduction in quality of life for those that survive. So, to put it simply, our only way through the situation is to work at developing these new technologies to help us before our bad choices catch up.

Do you feel that our potential to reach a future of abundance faces significant threats from these sorts of negative factors? (environmental damage and resource depletion, and the unrest that has potential to ferment in such conditions) Are there any areas that you feel need critical attention to avoid derailing a successful future?

PeterDiamandis9 karma

I actually am an optomist about human nature and people usually do "bad things" in the shadows. As tech continues to drive towards MASSIVE Transparency, where you can't hide, it will actually cause us to be safer in society and allow us to take action more quickly when things are heading in a negaive direction. Knowledge is the Bright light we need.

grahag5 karma

As abundance becomes the standard, what do you see happening to the value of money? Would there be a new currency such as Time, Materials, or Ideas or would we just continue to use some sort of common denomination to pay for goods and services?

PeterDiamandis5 karma

I answered a similar question. The end result of technology is "technological socialism" where our basic needs are being met by Tech. I do think we will be re-inventing the economy (or what ever that means) and will end up where energy and information are the two most precious resources.

bball1niner5 karma

Loved your book Abundance. Really put the my mind in the state that it needs to be to make big things happen. In the next 3-5 years, what is one project you would like to see XPRIZE go after? Thank you.

PeterDiamandis3 karma

In the next 3 - 5 years we're doing a lot of fun and important prizes. I want to disrupt our educatoin system and healthcare system for one. They are both massively broken and need revitalization. I would love to do an Earthquake predicition xprize and an organogensis xprize.

anthonywatcher5 karma

When will we be able to install software on our brains?

PeterDiamandis6 karma

Technically now. There are implants for various neuro-related diseases that are software driven. But what you mean, more like BCI related work, i think we'll start with the first real efforts within 10 years and then have "Google On the Brain" as an app inside of 20.

scitechjunkie5 karma

Hello Mr. Diamandis. My name is B.J. Murphy, I've been following closely on your excellent G+ posts in relation to your upcoming book, and I'm also one of the few lucky to becoming a member of the newly formed Planetary Community Vanguard of your company Planetary Resources. No pressure. haha My question to you, though, is: what exactly do you feel will be the greatest contribution in the next 4-5 decades in regards to both Earth-domestic technological advancements and in space exploration/colonization?

PeterDiamandis22 karma

Over the next 30 - 40 years (not 40 - 50) humanity will establish itself in space, independent of Earth. We finally have the technology at hand to do this... and the wealth... and the will. That is HUGE. Millions of years from now, as people look back at these next few decades, it will be the moment in time that we broke away irriversibly and became a multiplanetary species. Not since lung fish cralwed out of the oceans onto land has this happened!

michaellenny5 karma

Our financial system and economic thinking is based on scarcity, but you and others argue there is in fact an abundance of resources.

As technology unlocks more resources (where yesterday we used oil/gas for energy, now we look to renewable energy sources, etc.) do you see any structural changes to the global financial system?

PeterDiamandis7 karma

Michael, we are heading towards a massive chance in our economic system. When most everything you need is "effectively free" what does that mean? How does that work? Probably looking a bit like the Star Trek universe when your replicator can create any material thing you want. Ultimately (i) Energy and (ii) information will be the two critical currencies.

PocketK4 karma

If you could magically solve one problem with the Ocean tomorrow, what would it be and why?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I think there are two problems that I’m concerned about – one is acidification, which is why we launched the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, and the second is the depletion of various large fish from our oceans. I am a scuba diver and I love exploring the beauty of this magical underwater world, and the notion that my kids will not have access to that beauty concerns me greatly. I think that awareness, access to real measureable data and the intelligent use of technology is the lever we have to make a difference and we at the XPRIZE intend to use this to solve these problems to the greatest degree we can.

zachalicious4 karma

To me, the world seems overpopulated. Would you ever consider a prize for some kind of population control (e.g. incentives not to procreate, easy/quick/cheap voluntary sterilization, and just overall better family planning services)?

PeterDiamandis28 karma

GREAT Question -- the answer is much simplier. The biggest inhibitor to procreation is making a population Wealth, Healthy and educated. Those like the U.S. and Japan are in negative growth. As i write about in detail in Abundance (hint hint) Over population is not an issue in a world of Abundance. Morocco is a great case studie... went from 7.8 childen per family to 2.8 per family when the new King &Queen improved health and education in the country. it is an elegant solution.

bipolarfuchs4 karma

Hi Peter, last year Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources participated in a feasibility study regarding NASA's planned Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization mission.

Are you content with the involvement of the private sector so far? How do you think is the Asteroid Initiative going to shape the future of Planetary Resources or private spaceflight in general?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I'm super psyched about the progress of PRI. We've got an incredible team and we're going to be making it happen. I hope that the government (NASA) will have the insight to partner and inspire entrepreneurial companies. The deal they got by backing SpaceX has been extraordinary... probably saved them 10X the $$ and wouldn't have never gotten the results from contracting with a traditional player.

SirViracocha4 karma

  • What mundane day to day thing on earth would you miss if you decided to live in space and eventually Mars?
  • Do you have any cool news regarding innovation in Agriculture?

PeterDiamandis5 karma

I think i'd miss ALOT about Earth... but definitely not the LA Traffic. Its all about choice. Peter's second law: When given a choice take both.

Agriculture Innovation is Urban/Vertical Farming and re-engineering plants to make them more efficient and produce the proteins we need/want.

UdoKre4 karma

Peter - Thank you for all of your inspiring work. I am a professional engineer with a good job, loving family and I am very blessed. I also am an inventor so many ideas to that can make the world a better place. I, like so many, lack the financial resources (and the time) to transform these ideas into reality. The XPRIZE model is wonderful, but it doesn't help with the seed money to be able to compete. My question is: can you recommend or are you aware of non-conventional ways to raise capital outside of banks, angel investors and venture capitalists?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I understand what you mean. Luckily there is a solution in crowd funding. If you look at the availability of $$ from Kickstarter, INdieGoGo, RocketHub, etc it is growing exponentially. $2.8B in 2012 growing to $15B in 2015. There is natural tie here that is very exciting where the public funds the teams solving the problems of greatest interest to them.

RalfLippold4 karma

Hello Peter, glad to join the conversation (once again). Many thanks to engage with the crowd despite your packed schedule.

We have just started a science art prize to encourage scientists in the nano- and bio-tech field (as this is strong here in Dresden) in order to give scientists a way to express their research findings in new, and disruptive ways while working together with an artist on a project.

My question: what advice do you have to accelerate the process of engagement of scientists & artists to bring innovations to the public (through a new vehicle: art)?

Thanks a lot, and best regards Ralf

PeterDiamandis6 karma

Ralf, great to hear from you. thank you for all of your continued help promoting my work! You are awesome. Marissa sends here best.

I think the XPRIZE is my solution to your question... Also XPRIZE is working on a new platform called HeroX to help take what XPRIZE does to massive scale.

rabid_hippo3 karma

Hey Peter, I have a bit of a hypothetical for you.

If we (humanity) discovered that some form of faster than light travel were possible (via small scale lab experiments or what have you), and it was at least conceivable to be scaled up (as apposed to a method that would require unobtainable amounts of energy), how quickly do you think we would jump on that opportunity? Do you think there would be a "explosion" of efforts? or would it be more likely that the funding would be unimpressive?

Thanks!

PeterDiamandis3 karma

Interesting question. The similar situation exists today with Cold Fusion... or zero-point energy. I have alot of incredbility brilliant friends who swear that it is real. Why isn't there more money being spent to figure that out? Because there's still a big controversy. It has to get to super credible and then he money will pour in...

capoglou3 karma

Are you preparing an XPRIZE realated to 3D printing?

PeterDiamandis7 karma

Great idea. I'd love to. I'm a huge of 3D (digital printing) but don't have an XPRIZE there. 3D is more a solution than a challenge. We've thought a Rapid Home contruction XPRIZE for post disaster or poor nations.. 3Dp could play a role here.

Bugpowder3 karma

How long did it take you to paint the space mural in your room at TDC?

PeterDiamandis5 karma

That's funny. The mural in my room in TDC is actuall wall paper that i purchase and put up. My nickname at TDC was "Pete In Space" -- which often got reduce to PIS... and for that reason my room was named the Urinal, because PIS lives there. I wanted to call it the Galactic Empire... but i lost :-(

silverdeath003 karma

Hey Peter,

Sorry to flatter, but I was a student at a talk you gave via Skype to the UK Space Conference. That talk is what persuaded me to become an entrepreneur..

Anyway my question: With the work of Planetary Resources focusing on unmanned exploitation of asteroids, what economic roles do you see manned space travel fulfilling in the solar system in the near future?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

Hi there. Thanks! I think human participation is critical. Its about expanding humanity and civiliation and culture. We humans are the carriers of culture. Also i think people want to explore... we have an "Exploration Gene phenotype" so pure desire and adventure.

ThatchNailer3 karma

Hey Peter, two questions:

As we move towards a world of abundance and greater connectivity, do you see us abandoning cities in favor of a more decentralized rural life?

With initiatives like Bitgov and The Online Party of Canada, when will we see the shift to digital direct democracy take root?

PeterDiamandis6 karma

I think that we are social creatures and like handing out. I thing we may move towards smaller cities, but most of us will want to be in some populatoin centers. I do think that the biggest impact here willbe virtual worlds with very high (think "Avatar the movie") level realism which is coming ver soon.

I would love to see a "true democracty" evolve, but i fear that this won't happen gracefully for larger nations... and will likely happen in smaller governments or off world.

Pepepipipopo3 karma

Hey Peter.

What do you think are the best places (worldwide) for a company to develop? (tax-wise , Grant-wise, Laws etc...) Mainly biotech and focused on GMOs because eventhough the cultural backlash is strong at the moment the potential for revolutionary technologies to sprout from this area is amazing. But it can be hold back by society and laws... any thoughts on that also... Thanks for the AMA this is a great opportunity

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I still think America and Silicon Valley in particular is the best place for an entrepreneur to give birth to bold ideas (maybe even at the Singularity University Labs that are being set up). But the FDA regulatory regime will be challenging at best. I think that certain countries will end up with laws that encourage bio/synBio/entrepreneurs with more flexible rules. Might be places in Asia. I don't know where yet, but i imagein they will materialize soon.

epSos-DE3 karma

Is the X Prize working out financially for the organizers and would you encourage people in other countries outside of USA to start similar organizations ???

PeterDiamandis5 karma

The XPRIZE is a non-profit, so there's not a financial measure of benefit to the organizers. There is a benefit to humanity that the effort is working. What i can say is that we are opening XPRIZE India next spring, so i'm excited about that and are working with benefactors and companies around the world. I do believe (expect, hope) others will emulate us in success... we're also willing to partner with those who are serious players.

oceanbluesky3 karma

Hi Peter, thank you for this AMA, wondering if you have more to add about Mars to Stay mission architectures...this has been one of my favorite quotes of yours:

“I think privately funded missions are the only way to go to Mars with humans because I think the best way to go is on “one-way” colonization flights and no government will likely sanction such a risk. The timing for this could well be within the next 20 years. It will fall within the hands of a small group of tech billionaires who view such missions as the way to leave their mark on humanity.”

Thank you

PeterDiamandis10 karma

I've had a number of conversations with Elon Musk on this subject. Elon thinks that he can have the vehicles to take passengers on a Round Trip to Mars at a price of $500K (each) in about 15 years. Clearly this is incredible and i would take this trip in a heartbeat. But event if he is wrong by 10x or 100x that is still incredible. And even if its $500K for a one way... still amazing. We are on the verge of the greatest exploration humanity has ever undertaken... and we can ALL Participate!

j4de9203 karma

Hi Peter,

Thanks for doing this AMA. What have you competed in and lost, and what have you learned from that?

PeterDiamandis4 karma

I have started about 15 companies over the last few decades and a number of those have been spectacular failures and some of been great successes. In the failures there’s one in particular that comes to mind, it was a company called International Microspace, which was focused on building very low cost launch vehicles. The original vision was a launch vehicle that could take 100 kilograms to orbit for 1 million dollars. When we launched that company it was an impossible goal and because the nearest money available was from the defense department we started chasing DOD contracts which wanted a launch vehicle that looked much larger and met all the DOD requirements which meant it was going to be much more expensive. Ultimately we ended up building that vehicle and winning $100 million contract from the government, but the vehicle never got built and was never launched. I learned to really stay true to your visions and not go chasing someone else’s requirements because if you do you’ll end looking like everyone else.

DamienSomerset3 karma

What field needs to be disrupted next?

PeterDiamandis6 karma

I think the world of healthcare and education are massively ripe for disruption and if left on their own will collapse. But I hope through the work at the XPRIZE and Singularity University, we can accelerate this process. My dad recently went through our healthcare system and it scared the living daylights out of me. How could it be so bad? How can it be so confusing? How can it be so impersonal? I think that technology and entrepreneurs will reinvent this field causing many of the large giants to become disrupted in this next decade. Also, because I have two toddlers at home, I think about how they will be educated, how they will learn. Again, I think that our current education system was designed for the last century and there are much better ways to enable our children to learn what is important in society today.

Jonny_Osbock3 karma

Hey Peter, thx for doing the AMA! My question: How can we organize economy in a world in which machines do all the work and how can we avoid people degenerating to stupid and bored individuals without a purpose in this world?!

PeterDiamandis2 karma

The first part is going to look more like star trek. I think the second part is going to result as we merge with technology and increase our congnitive and physical ability.

gonzoblair3 karma

Hey Peter, my question is how will automation and abundance change every day life in the next decade? The next two decades? Oxford has already released a report saying they expect almost half of all American jobs to be lost in the next 20 years. Do you agree and what impact positive or negative will that have on our societies?

Side note: EVERYONE should read Peter's book 'Abundance'. It's terrific and available in abundant digital format http://www.abundancethebook.com/

PeterDiamandis4 karma

I believe the change to society will be significant and accelerate over the next 3 decades. Yes, we will loose the majority of jobs, but we will be creating ALOT of new jobs and alot of new ways to occupy peoples time. Occupation will have a new definition... not how you earn your living but how you spend your time.

newhere343 karma

Is a brain/neuroscience XPRIZE in the works?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

We have been talking about a brain computer interface (BCI) XPRIZE for some time now. We do not have one designed, and are looking for good ideas. We have had discussions around the idea of an Alzheimer's XPRIZE for neural implants to augment memory.

Vampus823 karma

G'day Peter. With the growth of the private space industry, a lot of talk is focused on space based resources acquisition; Moon, Mars, Asteroids and less commonly "Atmospheric" (Gas giant and Earth upper atmosphere). What role do you think terrestrial resources will play in the "New Space Age"? Specifically:

1) What role do you think resource reclamation and re-utilisation will play? Do we need to focus on utilising our resources more as if they were part of a closed system or as an open system subsidised by offworld resources? Should there be an XPRIZE which seeks to enhance our processes and technology to reuse and reclaim our terrestrial resources?

2) Looking further towards the future, what role should "resource synthesis", either natural or artificial play? For example, Helium-3 via radioactive decay or precious metals via particle accelerators and/or irradiation. Should we be headed in a direction of exploring ways to safely and affordably CREATE resources in quantities sufficient for commercial usage? Should there be an XPRIZE that moves us towards this goal?

PeterDiamandis4 karma

As humanity goes from 1,8 billion poeple connected on line to 7B plus over the next 10-15 years we are going to need all the resources we can get our hands on... so yes, of course using terrestrial resources and using them efficiently is critical... space base resources for use in space will also allow us to expland our footprint and i expect some of he SBR will be useful back here too.

DancingBear19883 karma

Pete in Space! Fellow brother here from TDC @ MIT.

One question, will you be attending Alumni Banquet this year? I believe it's scheduled for November 9.

PeterDiamandis2 karma

Yup, PIS here. I wish i could... its been too many years, but alas no I'm slammed solid. ITB, -pis

stpdkd2 karma

Hey Peter! Where do you think humanity will be in the year 2113??

PeterDiamandis5 karma

A hundred years is an extraordinarily long horizon to predict, especially since the rate of innovation is accelerating. I believe that in a hundred years society will look nothing like it does today, we will be engineering life in fundamentally new ways. We will have expanded far beyond the earth’s surface, beyond the moon and mars; we will have co-evolved with robots and AI in unique ways that we cannot predict.

mastersun2 karma

[deleted]

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I get the question of xprizes with regard to government alot. xprizes are for areas where amall team of innovative graduate students could make a disruptive change... as such, i fear it won't work for the USG.

sayrith2 karma

Do you have any plans to expand Singularity University either physically or have more public accessibility? Now it seems that innovation is in the area of the few and elite. For there to be larger adoption of amazing tech and breakthroughs I believe that we should all have easy access either to the physical product/tech or idea.

PeterDiamandis4 karma

YES, we have a plan to take it online. Impacting the world of innovators is key.

TheBookey2 karma

Peter, you've obviously thought a lot about various global issues facing us throughout the years. So what is humanity's grandest challenge?

PeterDiamandis5 karma

Ultimately I think humanity’s grandest challenge is the transformation we’re going to undergo over the next 30 years as technology begins to transform how we live every aspect of our life, what it means to be human and even the very nature of the fabric of society. I don’t know what the answer is, but we’re going to begin to co-evolve with technology in some unique fashions which will scare a lot of people but also relieve a lot of suffering. So our grandest challenge is the evolutionary process that we are now entering that will accelerate over the next three decades.

TheBookey2 karma

I'm so inspired by your mission of innovation. How can I get involved with XPRIZE?

PeterDiamandis2 karma

Go to www.xprize.org and sign up. Follow us. Send us your ideas. Spread the word!

emdotbee2 karma

Peter, how can I keep up with your research?

PeterDiamandis2 karma

Thanks for asking! You can follow me on Twitter: #peterDiamandis also i put out a blog every week.. you can sign up for this at www.diamandis.com; Of course you can go to www.xprize.org and www.singularityU.org as well.

Nefarious_Jackson2 karma

What are the advantages of a privatized future-tech industry, as opposed to gov't funded? Like SpaceX vs NASA..

Seems that if the US gov't is going to pay for the ships to get to the ISS through a contract with SpaceX, wouldn't it be more economical (in the long run) to just invest more in its own space-agency?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

Government is not about efficiency. Private industry is. Ultimately government (NASA) should be more like DAPRA, setting goals, prizes, etc and incentivizing private industry to do it faster, cheaper and better.

innov8ion012 karma

How near is the Singularity?

PeterDiamandis4 karma

That is a question that I really don’t think about while my good friend, business partner, and XPRIZE trustee Ray Kurzweil can give you his answer, which I believe is within the next 30 years or so. I’m personally not focused on “The Singularity,” I’m more focused on the transformation of humanity into a world of abundance where people have their basic needs be met. So I’m also focused more on the next 2-10 years and how technology is transforming the ability of an entrepreneur to solve the world’s grand challenges and changing the fabric of society. I think most people don’t realize how powerful the changes coming this decade will be.

WLinW2 karma

What do you prize the most?

PeterDiamandis3 karma

I prize a world of abundance which is why I wrote the book. This is the world in which people have their basic needs being met. It’s not a world of luxury, it’s a world of possibility. Where people have access to water, energy, healthcare, learning, housing, food in a fashion which enables them to spend their time contributing to society versus scraping to get by.

Dkyost2 karma

Peter, I am interested in seeing more innovation in clean technology. Investment dollars have dropped off considerably in this area recently. I know that the XPrize foundation is sponsoring some prizes here. What can we do to encourage clean tech innovation to ramp up dramatically?

PeterDiamandis2 karma

We're getting ready to announce some battery - related XPRIZEs so i hope this will help! Regarding advice for Clean Tech innovators, its important that the work be "Super Credible" and "Sexy".. people need to care about it and relate to it.

PerceptionHacker2 karma

Main stream Media has virtualized and digitized the plains of Africa keeping our amygdellas primed and active. Our airwaves resonate with a frequency of fear. Our brains, if seen like a radio receiver, pick up on this fear frequency first, and above all others. A preset station, evolved over millions of years to keep us safe from predators. Its now the Glen Beck's, Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh's that hunt us for our attention. How do we tune out this fear frequency that is so pervasive in our society?

PeterDiamandis4 karma

Love it! For me, i've bascially stopped watching the news... stop being fed what THEY want to feed me. INstead i filter my news by virtual of what GoogleNews or my social circles tell me is relevant and interesting to me.

PocketK2 karma

iPhone or Droid? What app can't you live without?

PeterDiamandis6 karma

For me, the answer is Android. While I love the design and beauty of the iPhone, I am very much an “open source kind of guy.” I think in the final result open source will trump any closed ecosystem and I think ultimately android will outpace and outstrip anything that the apple universe can create. Regarding apps I can’t live without, I probably would have to answer my navigation applications since my personal ability to navigate is limited to up and down! I have zero sense of direction. And in a world of Google maps, I appear to be much smarter than I actually am.

robertthewise2 karma

Dr. Diamandis, first of all thanks for taking these questions! Your work and specifically your book Abundance has helped inspire my young career in government/policy. My motivation is to allow entrepreneurs who create these solutions to actually implement then by having a government that empowers them and doesn't stop then through unnecessary regulations.

What is your take on the governments role in a 21st century world?

PeterDiamandis5 karma

Great question. I believe it is going to be changing alot. Many of our government policies, procedures, laws were designed for the 1800's and how we're going to deal with the explosive growth of Tech and its empowerment of individuals is going to be "interesting" at best. I honestly wondering this question myself!

gregtidwell2 karma

Good morning, Peter!

How will the US Government be disrupted and what will it look like in 20 years?

If you could have an X Prize for absolutely anything, what would it be?

If you could add anyone as an advisor to the X Prize Foundation, Singularity University, or Planetary Resources who would it be and why?

PeterDiamandis11 karma

Large government don't disrupt gracefully... that is a problem. SO how will our Patent (IP) System look when the number of inventions increase x1000? What will happen to social security when human lifespan is >120. These things will happen and they will cause some havock. I think we are going to end up with alot of "parallel" non-gov systems providing more efficient services in virtual worlds and by public general adoption.

My XPRIZE??? Hmmm... I love the idea of BEAM POWER LAUNCH... power a rocket ship to orbit using RF or Lasers. I LOVE the idea of a "Transporter XPRIZE" to move people with an autonomous electric helicopter from Point A to Point B. Also i would love to live >500 years.. so life extension is a must!

Honestly (and i'm very proud of this) i think we have them onbaord already! What i want next is to tap into the global crowd and start doing GLOBAL VISIONEERING where we ask the world what they want, have them design the prize and then fund those prizes... this is in process

Dongerding0 karma

How is the brain-computer interface XPRIZE coming along? I remember Kurzweil talking about it on one of his appearances but not much info about it on the website

PeterDiamandis1 karma

We're still trying to figure out "What it would be" and we need to find a sponsor. SO currently its just an idea.

Balyhu0 karma

Good Morning, How would you go about educating the mass public about caring more for our oceans? Inside of this question also would be a statement about practices that would be more sustainable in their own homes surrounding keeping the oceans healthy for future generations

PeterDiamandis1 karma

This week we're going to be announcing our GO DEEPER campaign asking the public for ideas about where to focus on next with regard to Ocean-related XRPIZEs... please submit your ideas!