Serious Wonder had the opportunity to attend the FutureMed Conference this year at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. We have a few writers that will be covering the technical and scientific implications of what we learned during this event. I would like to focus on the philosophy of FutureMed and will be forever grateful to Singularity University for organizing this opportunity.
After a long drive to San Diego, with all the chaos and stress as a result of preparing for this event, I sit in comfortable white designer leather chairs, perfectly arranged so there is not a disappointing seat in this incredible and historic ballroom. The beautiful venue of Hotel Del, combined with the aesthetic coordination of lighting, visuals, seating and quality of speakers seduced you into the minds presenting. It was not rare to have a cascade of goosebumps roll over you as you would hear personal testimonies of how the advancements in healthcare are fixing our decaying, antiquated, and fragile biological bodies.
This conference was an intense four-day experience starting at 7 in the morning, going until 10 o’clock at night. Arriving at FutureMed, my first encounter was with a telecommunications robot, augmenting a person’s presence in real time and with incredible definition. I was amazed with how quickly I started to naturally interact with this augmented person. I was directed to registration where I had my first introduction to the Singularity University staff. The excitement, enthusiasm and help they provided calmed me and prepared me for the first talk given by Daniel Kraft. He laid out a number of new technologies that will be impacting healthcare, which we would be shown over the next few days. He kept elaboration to a minimum, which provoked excited anticipation.
The environment and venue was attractive and intoxicating. Conversations during the breaks, or over delicious meals, allowed a deep connection with the material presented and people involved. As a futurist, it’s part of my job to follow exponential trends and extrapolate those into future predictions. It’s like a cartographer of old, speculating on a new world across the sea. Futurists attempt to map out a probable location and destination of a new world. Going into this event I felt I had a rather good grasp on what was on the horizon. I see now, I was only looking down the road.
One great highlight will always be the moment that Dr. Peter Diamandis took the stage and once again became an inoculation against any pessimism about our future and the abundance we will experience in these exponential times to come. The next few speakers continued to validate the perspectives and impacts these discoveries and technologies will bring. From 3-D printing to DNA sequencing, I am convinced that the future is indeed ‘[easyazon-link asin=”1451614217″ locale=”us”]Better Than You Think[/easyazon-link]’. Here are the takeaways from Peter’s talk:
- [accordion titles=”Takeaways”]The human mind evolved to be both “local and linear” – local in that until recently humans spent their provincial lives only being influenced by those in their immediate vicinity, and linear in that we have trouble fathoming exponential trends. [/accordion]
- [accordion titles=”Linear thinking”]Linear thinking was responsible for the demise of many great companies such as Kodak, which in 1996 had a market capitalization of $28 billion and 140,000 employees but, because they did not realize the disruptive potential of the digital camera technology that they developed, they went bankrupt. [/accordion]
- [accordion titles=”Framework of 6 “Ds'”]Framework of 6 “Ds” that can be used to think about exponential growth processes in technology: Deceptive, Disruptive, Digitized, Dematerialized, Demonetized, Democratized [/accordion]
These scientists, researchers, and all that adapt exponential thinking have already set sail. They are voyaging into a new age. Let me try to give some weight to this prophetic metaphor. Our brains evolved to process the world with linear thought. It has kept us safe and given us the ability to outthink our predators, limited to predicting where the lion will strike. The problems and dangers that face society today, if processed with this system of thinking, will only lead to linear solutions.
Another part of the brain has evolved that processes the world exponentially. All problems are soluble through the lens of exponential thought. This is not the predominant way we process the world. FutureMed structured these talks, presentations and demos in such a way that it allowed so many of those in attendance to get somewhat of a glimpse into the future. We would activate, stimulate and saturate our frontal lobes just to take in the reality of what we were experiencing. Information synesthesia; that is to say.
So, what are the future implications of what Singularity University has accomplished by bringing together some of the most brilliant and influential minds on earth? What happens when you immerse them in environments saturated with inspiration and optimism? In pondering these questions I am reminded of Matt Ridley’s quote; “You need to understand how human beings bring together their brains and enable their ideas to combine and recombine, to meet and, indeed, to mate. In other words, you need to understand how ideas have sex.”
Don’t miss part two and day 2 of this piece as I will go into the networking, conversations and interactions that were so common among all FutureMed participants.