Book Review: The Future Is Faster Than You Think

Jul 5, 2021
4 min read

"The Future Is Faster Than You Think" is not only a bestseller but also a reality that might be daunting for a few of us. In the next 10 years, you will probably be commuting to work by flying taxis, going on vacations through rockets, 3D printing your lunch, living on Mars, and much more.

How will all this take place? The technicalities that might occur, the insights into how various advances will affect us as a society, and the analysis required to bring out an accurate extrapolation have been well cared for by the authors' Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Peter H. Diamandis was recently named by Fortune as one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders". He is the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions. He is also an executive founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world's leaders on exponentially growing technologies.

Steven Kotler is an American author, journalist, and entrepreneur. His articles have appeared in over 70 publications, including Wired, The New York Times Magazine, LA Times,  Time magazine, GQ, Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men's Journal, Details, and National Geographic Adventure.

Their latest book is well structured and divided into three major parts. The first part has emphasized the overreaching trends of how various independent lines of accelerating technologies are converging to form disruptive innovations. For instance, take smartphones, which combines the functionality of a camera, a music player, a telephone, and a digital personal assistant (among other things) into one device, and this convergence is not just limited to technology; it extends to almost every element of the society. Blockchain-the exponential technology of record-keeping, AI, Gene Sequencing, Augmented and Virtual Reality, 3D printing-a single exponential technology that threatens the entire $12 trillion manufacturing sector, and many more such technologies converge to bring about Disruptive Innovation.

The second part of the book helps to visualize and make sense of the impacts and secondary effects that most of the converging exponentials belonging to the top 10 economic contributors and the ones with the most significant impact on our everyday lives will make.

We know that global warming caused due to emissions, detritus of carbonized coal, oil, and natural gas, necessitates the shifting of the world towards a more sustainable way of energy generation and, looking at renewable power that has been riding exponential growth curves for decades, dropping in price and rising in performance on an incredibly consistent basis "This price-performance curve is like nothing we've ever seen in energy," explains Ramez Naam, the head of Energy, Climate and Innovation for Singularity University. "The explosion of solar is almost like a digital transformation in the most fundamental category of infrastructure.", Hence, it will not be wrong to think that there might be a complete inversion in the traditional power paradigm as the poorest countries in the world are also the sunniest. It's theories like these backed by research and quantification that make the book worth its weight in gold, or should I say bitcoin.

In part three, we broaden our horizons and discuss a series of dangers heading our way, like environmental, economic, and existential risks that threaten the progress we have made. We will also look at a more comprehensive picture, extending our focus from the coming decade to the century ahead, exploring five great tech-driven migrations: economic relocations, climate change migrations, virtual world explorations, outer space colonization, and hive-mind collaborations, all of which are equivalent to fishes living on land.

It might seem like a lot expected out of such a short time frame as most of us haven't seen such tremendous amounts of development during our lifetime, but the book gives very valid points as to why this is what will occur. "Ray Kurzweil did the math and found that we're going to experience twenty thousand years of technological change over the next one hundred years." Firstly, technology has shrunk the time it takes for innovative development and what this means is that saved time isn't just a benefit of technology; it's also a driver of innovation- another force accelerating our acceleration. Secondly, according to the Stanford-Binet scale, 1 percent of the population qualifies as geniuses; this makes for 75 million people worldwide. Until now, most of this genius was either squandered or unable to unlock its potential due to not being born wealthy, third-grade education, not being recognized, and so on. Now, thanks to the future of a hyper-connected world and the exponential explosion of networks, these intellectuals will no longer be casualties of class, country, or culture and hold knowledge at their fingertips, eventually leading to hive-minded communities sharing ideas and accelerating the rate at which we develop.

If we consider our development of exponential technologies to be among the leading examples of human intelligence, then Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is the crowning achievement of those examples. BCI's may also be our only way to survive the AI-dominated world filled with robots, machines that have the ability to compute with significantly greater processing power when compared to a normal human brain. Facebook has plans for neurotech that replaces the need to type with the mind as the ultimate social media interface, and Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has gotten involved as it sees potential for next-gen battlefield tech that can record a million neurons simultaneously while stimulating a hundred thousand.

The future where our brains could be connecting to the cloud would mean a massive boost in processing power and memory and, at least theoretically, could give us access to all the other minds online. And this begs to differ towards a society where our ordinary brain-based singular consciousness converts into a cloud-based collective consciousness, both a hive mind and a reminder that "the most remarkable journeys are often inward toward our psyche rather than outward toward the stars."

The book gives you several variables to prognosticate the possibilities the future holds in a very systematic way with a lot of context and examples of incredible developments that are taking place in every significant industry, hence being an excellent read for anyone and everyone, especially entrepreneurs, business owners, researchers, and students, to prepare for what to expect from the future and to thrive over it.