... In his presentation, Diamandis offered a rebuttal filled with optimism. We’re looking at our problems the wrong way, he argues: While we do have serious, urgent issues to be dealt with on a global scale, contextually, we’re still doing better than we ever have in human history.
It’s simply a matter of context. “In America, the majority of people under the poverty line have things like electricity, water, toilet access,” Diamandis says. “Scarcity is contextual.”
Think of a human’s life centuries ago; our average lifespan has more than doubled since then. Costs of essentials like food, water and electricity have plummeted. Instead of looking at how far we’ve come as a people, Diamandis says, we’re setting our expectations far too high.
And our savior, of course, is in the technology. “Tech is a resource liberating force,” says Diamandis. ...
... But whatever is to come, Diamandis and Gilding seem to agree on one thing. “I have very little confidence in governments and large corporations,” Diamandis says, echoing some of Gilding’s pessimism. “I have extraordinary confidence in the innovators that are out there.”
Both also agree that progress (the constructive sort) is possible, albeit through very different spurs to action. Gilding believes that pain will be our great motivator; first, our situation will get ugly, and only then will humanity be fearful enough to change its consumption habits.
Diamandis thinks otherwise — through our fervor for technology and our increasingly connected society accessing the internet at a faster pace, we will find our way. By 2020, Diamandis projects, we will have 3 billion more global users connected to the internet than we have today, a surge in users that increases the possibilities of collaborative innovation. “Rather than economic shutdown, we’ll have the biggest economic injection ever,” he says. ...