AbundanceThere can be no denying that we are experiencing a multitude of problems, both foreign and domestic. These problems are vexing and growing with solutions far from certain. However, at the same time, the path of human progress continues to move inexorably toward abundance. It is easy to lose sight of this progress because it is not something we see on the nightly news. For this reason, I want to share four trends that illustrate we are taking leaps and bounds into a world of growing abundance.

Human Longevity

In 1820, worldwide life expectancy was just 26 years! By 2010, 90 years later, worldwide life expectancy had increased to 67 years.  With companies like Human Longevity, Inc., which is working on increasing the healthy, active human lifespan by at least 40 more years, this trend is almost certain to continue.

Human Poverty

In 1990, approximately 2 billion people worldwide lived on $1.25 or less per day. By 2010, just 20 years later, the number was less than 1 billion. By 2030, it is expected that only a very small percentage of people will live in these poverty conditions. Peter Diamandis has stated that we are “going from a world of ‘have’s and have-nots’ to a world of ‘have’s and super-haves’.”

Human Literacy

Approximately 250 million children worldwide are illiterate. The task of teaching these children with human teachers and school buildings is not feasible. Enter the X Prize Foundation, famous for creating the $10 million Ansari prize for private space travel and the $10 million Progressive prize for the first 100 mpg vehicle.  The Foundation just announced the $15 million Global Learning prize for the first piece of software that can take a child from illiteracy to reading, writing, and numeracy in 18 months. Imagine this software pre-loaded onto every phone or tablet with artificial intelligence facilitating the learning process. The software hasn’t been created yet, but the Foundation has proven in the past that such a prize incentivizes many teams to begin working on the project, and the likelihood of a winner is a good bet.

Disruptive Convergences

It has become axiomatic that the only constant is change—and we are just getting used to change that is very disruptive to the status quo. But at least 4 current trends are about to converge, and these convergences will accelerate both the amount and the rate of disruptions.

  • Trend 1: technologies that are now mainstreaming into daily life: robotics, artificial intelligence, networks, sensors, 3D printing, synthetic biology;
  • Trend 2: technologies that are combining with each to produce game-changers like self-driving cars (that combine robotics, artificial intelligence, and sensors);
  • Trend 3: billions of new digitally-connected people  over the next decade who will become builders and creators;
  • Trend 4: innovation cycles for new products will shorten from years to months to weeks as digitally-connected minds begin to congregate and concentrate together.

So, yes, these are vexing times, and I can’t predict the solutions, but know also that the path of human progress trends firmly in an upward direction.

Jeff

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As a Registered Investment Advisor, one of our responsibilities is to communicate with clients in an open and direct manner. Insofar as some of our opinions and comments are based on current advisor expectations, they are considered “forward-looking statements” which may or may not be accurate over the long term. While we believe we have a reasonable basis for our comments and we have confidence in our opinions, actual results may differ materially from those we anticipate. You can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “anticipate,” and other similar expressions when discussing prospects for particular events and/or the markets, generally. We cannot, however, assure future results and disclaim any obligation to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Further, information provided in this letter should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security.

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