Reflecting on the Abundance 360 Conference

Last month, I was invited to attend Peter Diamandis’ Abundance 360 Conference. Created in cooperation with Singularity University, A360 is Diamandis’ unique summit for a curated group of CEOs, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors to discuss some of the most exciting developments happening in disruptive technology and innovation. Topics ranged from machine learning to synthetic biology and human longevity. The summit emphasized the exponential growth occurring in innovation and focused on how this innovation will impact business at large. Below are some of the topics and ideas that we discussed on the first day of the summit.

  1. Capital – Access to capital has never been more abundant, with 30 billion in venture capital in, 00 billion in crowdfunding, .1 billion in crypto funding invested in 2018 alone. The availability of this capital is changing the world already.

  2. Health & LongevityCRISPR and gene therapy are enabling not only great health, but also an end to addiction. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have helped elimination of a species of mosquitoes that were responsible for +120 million Zika virus infections. Medical advancements will continue to extend healthy, happy, productive life expectancy.

  3. Resources a. Energy – Solar and Storage (batteries) continue to improve at accelerated rates. Villages in Africa are being transformed by access to electricity and infrastructure these technologies enable. The cost of coal compared to solar now makes choosing solar energy a better economic decision (which is great for the environment).b. Food & Water – The ability to feed the world using technologies from AeroFarm, IronOx (San Carlos), JUST egg, Memphis Meats, Beyond Meat, etc. will help solve the worlds’ food issues. A360’s XPrize winner, Skywater Alliance, received a grand prize of .5M for developing an easily deployable high-volume water generator that can be used in any climate, meeting the competition parameters of extracting a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than two cents per liter.

  4. Transportation – Electronic Vehicles and self-driving cars are becoming commonplace. Uber Air, for personal short distance air travel, has been cleared for testing in major markets for 2020 – next year!

  5. Network & Sensors – 5G cellular networks will change the ability for local computing to be everywhere. The sensors that will feed through this network will tell us everything.

  6. Robots – Robots are now learning through various simulations. Check out the Boston Dynamics ATLAS robot run, jump, and hop here.

  7. 3D Printing – Homes can now be “printed” in under 24 hours. Many consumer goods will change – clothing, shoes, food, etc. will be 3D-printed. Nano 3D printing will allow biomaterials for tissue engineering – bone growth. (Experts even gave a rather strange example of a 3D-printed steak that looks, feels, and tastes like regular meat).

  8. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality – Several companies have cracked the code here for virtual work spaces – High Fidelity, Magic Leap, Soul Machinesa. True special recognition in real time… These operate like Pokémon Go on steroids. Real overlay to vision and maps… will provide predictive analytics for many industries in a visual map.

  9. Artificial Intelligencea. No language barriers – The invention of instant language translation will tear down barriers.b. Facial recognition is now two way with Soul Machines “Rachael” being the first digital employee of Autodesk.

c. Google Duplex is on the leading edge of the AI market from Alphabet.
d. 48% of all AI investments are in China
e. For our business (insurance), reading and analyzing contracts, claims, and interpreting likely outcomes will have a huge impact.

  1. Physics & Space a. Fiction is becoming reality… Mars has a 52 mile lake (water on Mars), NASA has signed 9 contracts to outsource space to companies like Space X… Space X has 19 launches, Blue Origin has 00B committed, and Virgin Galactic has successfully launched Starship, Starhopper, and Spaceship II carrying passengers.b. The ability to leverage space, both actual and virtual will become blurred.

c. Leveraging true global resources will dramatically alter how we operate.
1. These advancements will allow people to have Superpowers. To allow people to embrace their fears (risks) to help enable their dreams is where ABD hopes to assist this ecosystem… Imagine what you can achieve if you couldn’t fail!

Check out my next blog post to learn more about my experiences at Abundance 360 Conference and how I plan to use what I learned to keep inspiring innovation and creativity here at ABD.

Brian Hetherington
The Author
Brian Hetherington


Brian Hetherington is Chairman of Newfront, a specialized insurance brokerage headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. Newfront is home to more than 750 employees who serve clients across the United States and globally. We are focused on M&A Advisory, Employee Benefits, Property & Casualty insurance, and 401k programs.

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