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Will Innovation Save Us?

X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis says innovation will save us and “The Future Is Better Than You Think.”

This Oct. 4, 2004 file photo shows SpaceShipOne and X Prize team members posing with a U.S. flag carried aboard the spacecraft after its successful flight into space and landing at Mojave, Calif. From left are prize sponsors Anousheh Ansari and her brother-in-law, Amir Ansari, Peter Diamandis, chairman of the Ansari X Prize Foundation, project backer Paul Allen, SpaceShipOne creator Burt Rutan, pilot Brian Binnie and Sir Richard Branson.   (AP)

This Oct. 4, 2004 file photo shows SpaceShipOne and X Prize team members posing with a U.S. flag carried aboard the spacecraft after its successful flight into space and landing at Mojave, Calif. From left are prize sponsors Anousheh Ansari and her brother-in-law, Amir Ansari, Peter Diamandis, chairman of the Ansari X Prize Foundation, project backer Paul Allen, SpaceShipOne creator Burt Rutan, pilot Brian Binnie and Sir Richard Branson. (AP)

Between global warming and gas prices and melting ice caps and the Mayan calendar of apocalypse, it’s awfully easy to slide into a funk on the future these days.  Peter Diamandis says cut it out.

The doomsayers, he says, don’t factor in innovation.  And innovation is going to save our bacon.  Bring us an age of abundance.  It’s in gear already.  It’s going to get better.  But is it?  Are we lined up, fundamentally, to innovate our way out of drought and food shortage and energy crisis and over-population?

This hour, On Point:  big innovation, and the road ahead.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation and author of the new book The Future Is Better Than You Think.

Robert Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “But we idealize America’s present culture of innovation too much. In fact, our trailblazing digital firms may not be the hothouse environments for creativity we might think. I find myself arriving at these doubts after spending five years looking at the innovative process at Bell Labs, the onetime research and development organization of the country’s formerly monopolistic telephone company, AT&T. ”

Wall Street Journal “The timing of “Abundance” is propitious. Given that we are besieged by Christian end-times soothsayers, Mayan-calendar doomsayers, gloomy environmentalists and the warnings of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which just advanced its Doomsday clock to five minutes to midnight, how can anyone be optimistic? With seven billion people now pressing up against the Earth’s carrying capacity, certain problems can seem intractable. Isn’t pessimism the appropriate response? Who is right, the optimists or the pessimists?”

 HuffingtonPost “As we move further into the presidential campaign, we’re going to hear a lot about the ways we’re lacking and where we fall short. And though the conversation has rightly and finally shifted to the need to grow the economy, much of it is still dominated by hysterical and destructive demands to impose deficit-cutting austerity even before the economy gets back on its feet (which would only increase, not cut, the deficit).”

Excerpt: The Future Is Better Than You Think

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