Abundance is a new book written by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, both of whom hope that humanity will be able to solve most of its major problems within two or three decades. The ambitious scale of this hope is undeniable, but the pair believe that evidence in the world around us suggest that things are getting better at a staggering rate, despite what many might assume.
Technology is the focus of Abundance and the authors are keen to point out that the book is not about creating a world in which everyone is rich, but one in which the quality of life is universally improved to a point far beyond current expectations.
The authors identify mobile technology as being one of the most important driving forces behind an abundant planet. Smartphones and other portable devices, which allow for a greater degree of interconnectedness that transcends geographic locations, will help to create new markets and drive the global economy. Meanwhile the five billion people who will be able to log onto the internet by 2020 will further allow an international audience to join the global conversation, according to the authors of the book.
The democratisation of communication tools is a central part of the argument in Abundance, which suggests that big problems do not need enormous teams and huge amounts of funding thrown at them to be solved. Instead smaller groups, or a collaborative global movement, can approach things like healthcare, food and education and look to remedy issues as a collective.
While there is plenty of doom and gloom in the media on a daily basis, Abundance aims to put a positive spin on the current state of the world. It looks at the so-called `rising billion`, otherwise known as the poorest billion people across the globe and points out that they are now forming a rising market which is helping to shrug off the sever poverty in which they were trapped in the past. Even between 2005 and 2008 the number of people living in poverty declined significantly according to the World Bank, which is evidenced by the authors as being indicative of ever-growing abundance.
The power of technology will help with what the authors call dematerialisation, which essentially refers to the lower cost of computing power and a decreasing emphasis on physical products which are required to get the job done. The power of cloud computing, which is beginning to permeate the markets for smartphones and tablets used by consumers and not just the business world, will have a significant role to play in this. If you have any interest in the future shape of the world and the way in which technology and people can influence it in a positive way, then Abundance will almost certainly have something to offer. It is uplifting, but more important is the fact that it remains interesting throughout, easily justifying the hype which has surrounded it and its position on the best-sellers list.