A young man reading a book with a city in the background.

How will new technologies change our lives for the better? How will money and finance how we know it change?

The world is always evolving, and now it’s changing much faster than ever before.  In The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler discuss why change and technological progress are occurring at breakneck speed.

Read below for a brief overview of The Future Is Faster Than You Think.

The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Imagine commuting to work in a flying ride-share car, having your clothes 3D printed, or grilling a lab-grown steak. These might sound like scenes from a science fiction movie, but what if these technologies we think are decades away are actually right around the corner? In The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler argue that the future is accelerating toward us because exponential technologies—those developing at increasingly faster rates—are starting to merge, leading to innovations and breakthroughs at unprecedented speeds. The authors predict that by 2030, a blend of these exponential technologies could transform major industries and reshape our lives.

Diamandis is an engineer and entrepreneur, having founded over 15 high-tech companies and organizations, such as the XPRIZE Foundation, which hosts competitions to promote technological innovation. Kotler is an expert in peak performance, the founder of a flow research and training organization (the Flow Research Collective), and author of numerous books, such as Stealing Fire and The Rise of Superman.

The Future Is Faster Than You Think is the third installment of Diamandis and Kotler’s series “The Exponential Mindset,” which also includes the New York Times best-selling books Abundance and Bold.

Why the Future Is Accelerating Toward Us

At some point, we’ve all wondered what the future might be like. Whether you imagine it replete with flying cars or personal AI assistants, Diamandis and Kotler contend that it’s likely to become a reality sooner than you might think because change is happening faster and faster.

The authors argue that three forces drive this accelerating pace of change: 1) the exponential growth of technology, 2) the convergence of technology, and 3) upgrades to human life.

Force 1: The Exponential Rate of Technological Progress

First, Diamandis and Kotler argue that a major driver of rapid change is the exponential growth of technology. This means that technology improves not at a steady rate, but at a rate that continually increases over time. More specifically, they define an exponential technology as one that doubles in power at a consistent rate while also becoming less expensive, thus becoming both more powerful and more affordable as it develops. According to computer scientist Ray Kurzweil, we’re about to experience as much technological progress over the next 100 years as we have in the past 20,000.

But why does technology develop exponentially? The authors explain that advances in technology allow us to discover and develop superior systems, processes, and resources. We can then use those improved technologies to make even more discoveries more quickly. This creates a positive feedback loop where technology builds on itself and accelerates its own progress—a concept known as the “Law of Accelerating Returns.”

Force 2: The Power of Convergence

Second, change is further accelerated by the convergence of exponential technologies, the authors write. This is when two different technologies that have been developing independently grow advanced enough to be integrated and combined. Convergence speeds up the rate of change because an innovation made in one type of technology can propel another type of technology further ahead.

For example, artificial intelligence can give robotics smarter functionality, allowing robots to execute more complex tasks. Similarly, more accurate sensor technologies can fine-tune AI capabilities, enabling them to better analyze patterns and make predictions.

Force 3: Upgrades to Human Life

Lastly, Diamandis and Kotler explain that a third accelerant of change comes from the broad upgrades to human life made possible through technological progress. As technologies advance, we get more of the abstract ingredients for progress: time, money, and opportunities.

1. Time: Technology allows us to carry out our day-to-day activities faster and easier, reducing the amount of manual effort we have to put into our tasks and allowing us to put more time toward improving our lives. For instance, instead of wandering through a grocery store and browsing for products, we can order groceries online. Further, thanks to continuous improvements to health care, humans have longer lifespans. We can devote all of this additional time to innovating new and better technologies.

2. Money. Advances in technology lead to increased wealth that can be invested back into the creation of new technologies. Diamandis and Kotler explain that, as technology improves, we learn new ways to use resources effectively and to improve the productivity of systems—which saves money. Also, advances in technology allow us to create more affordable products, so that more people have access to sophisticated tools of progress and innovation.

3. Opportunities: Technological progress also shatters traditional constraints that hold people back from making contributions to society, such as geographical and socioeconomic limitations. This allows more people to, in turn, contribute to technological progress. For example, the internet provides resources like online learning platforms and allows people from across the globe to connect and share ideas.

How Exponential Technologies Will Transform Our Lives

We’ve discussed how change is happening faster than ever and the three forces contributing to the rapid development of key technologies. Now, let’s envision how exponential technologies will dramatically change the world we live in—likely before the year 2030, according to the authors. We’ll explore six major areas: 1) shopping and retail, 2) entertainment and education, 3) food and the environment, 4) health care and medicine, 5) living and transport, and 6) money and finance.

1) Shopping and Retail

As technologies mature and become more widely implemented in the retail industry, Diamandis and Kotler predict that shopping will evolve in two major ways: Shopping will become mostly automated (requiring little involvement from either consumers or sellers), and it will become tailored to your personal preferences and shopping habits.

2) Entertainment and Education

According to Diamandis and Kotler, in the not-too-distant future, the ways we learn and entertain ourselves will also transform dramatically due to exponential technologies. They argue that entertainment and education will become highly interactive and immersive thanks to two major technologies:

  • Virtual Reality (VR): VR allows you to insert yourself into a computer-generated world and interact with characters and diverse settings as if you’re truly there.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR melds the digital and physical world. AR glasses and contact lenses will overlay digital images and information onto our actual environment.

3) Food and the Environment

The authors argue that exponential technologies are paving the way toward a future where we’re less wasteful in the ways we produce and consume food. Technological advances are pioneering better ways to feed a growing global population while also reducing damage to the environment. Specifically, exponential technologies are countering two major issues tied to conventional methods of food production and consumption: waste and the inefficient use of resources.

5) Movement and Space

According to Diamandis and Kotler, advances in sensor technologies, artificial intelligence, and other technologies will allow us to travel faster and farther. They’ll also create opportunities to explore and inhabit new spaces—both real and simulated.

6) Money and Finance

For centuries, banks have been in charge of our money: We rely on them to verify, record, and update our financial transactions. However, Diamandis and Kotler argue that with the advent of digital currencies and block chain technology, banks will no longer be critical to our financial dealings. Instead, money and finance will become increasingly decentralized and personalized.

The authors explain that a digital currency is a type of money that only exists online. Digital currencies, like Bitcoin, allow people to make real-time transactions directly with one another without a bank’s involvement. This has a host of benefits, according to the authors. For example, digital currencies provide people without bank accounts a way to store money, and they save people money by eliminating bank transaction fees.

The underlying technology that makes digital currency possible is called a blockchain, which Diamandis and Kotler explain is essentially a massive digital ledger that verifies and records bitcoin transactions using a secure network of computers. Every transaction ever made adds a “block” to existing blocks, resulting in a chain that anyone can review. This makes it more transparent than traditional banking systems.

The authors add that AI will further refine these new financial systems. AI could give us personalized financial advice, helping us make better decisions about our money without a financial adviser. AI can also make peer-to-peer loans and transactions safer by checking a person’s background and generating an accurate picture of their trustworthiness.

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: Overview & Takeaways

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *