Let’s rewind 100 years and look at the pace of innovation a century ago. In 1922, the world was just emerging from the aftermath of the Spanish flu—1922 ushered in a new era for progress and rebirth.
In that year, in the United States:
There were ~12 million cars on the road
The price of gas was 11 cents per gallon
The Ford Model-T cost a mere $319 It is estimated there are 100,000 Model T's still on the roads of the world and still running.
Only 40% of Americans had electricity in their homes
Only 35% had a telephone
Life expectancy was 58 years for men and 61 years for women (about 20 years less than today)
Top breakthrough inventions 1922? There were ONLY 7 (that I could find)...
The first water skis were demonstrated using wooden boards and a clothesline Why was water skiing invented?
One winter, while skiing down snowy hills with fellow neighborhood kids, Ralph Samuelson had an idea. “If you could ski on snow,” he wondered, “why not on water?” In the summer of 1922, Samuelson, then 18, began his attempts to stand up on skis on Lake Pepin, just a few blocks from his house in Lake City, Minnesota
The first manually retractable, convertible car hardtop was invented
The electric blender was invented for making malts and milkshakes
The radial arm saw was invented to cut and shape long pieces of stock material
The use of insulin for the first time in a person to treat diabetes
Vitamin E was discovered
The Australians invented Vegemite
In today’s blog, I’ll identify the top 22 breakthroughs/innovations of 2022. For each, I’ll describe “what it is” and “why it matters.”
We’ll look at breakthroughs in 7 categories: Space, Energy, Health, Food, Robotics, Quantum, and AI.
It’s safe to say that the speed of innovation has accelerated a fair amount over the past century.
Let’s dive in…
(#1) The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
What it is: The successful launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the most sophisticated and complex observatory ever constructed, is an engineering and operations phenomenon. At a cost of >$10 billion, JWST is an infrared observatory orbiting the Sun about 1 million miles from Earth in the second Lagrange point (L2). Its primary mirror is 21.3 feet (6.5 meters) across and can image objects 9x fainter than its predecessor, the Hubble Telescope.
Why it matters: JWST was designed to study the most distant objects in the universe, including the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. JWST’s mission is to unveil unprecedented details about the universe’s origins and lead us to new cosmological discoveries––and perhaps even allow scientists to search for signs of life on other worlds. Scientists have seen into the early universe as it was a mere 100 million years after the Big Bang, which happened about 13.8 billion years ago.
(#2) Successful Asteroid Deflection
What it is: On September 26th, NASA smashed the "fridge-size" Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Spacecraft into a little moon (160-meter-wide) named Dimorphos orbiting a large asteroid. The impact velocity was 14,000 miles per hour. The change in Dimorphos’ orbit was 26 times larger than NASA had set as its goal. The mission was a great success.
Why it matters: The Earth is in constant danger of being impacted by an asteroid. In 1903 the Tunguska Incident, an asteroid impact over northern Siberia, leveled 1,000 square kilometers (400 square miles) of forest with a 12 Megaton blast. Tunguska-sized events happen about once every thousand years, with 5-kiloton air bursts averaging about once per year. So far, however, astronomers have only detected about 40% of the estimated 25,000 near-Earth asteroids large enough to decimate a large city and common enough to pose a threat. The DART mission demonstrates a human capability to alter the course of an asteroid (e.g. planetary defense).
(#3) Net Positive FUSION Achieved!
What it is: In December 2022, scientists at California's National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced they achieved a net energy gain in a fusion reactor for the first time (resulting in a net energy gain of 1.5 megajoules). In this fusion reaction, two hydrogen nuclei are fused to form Helium. A small amount of mass is converted into enormous amounts of energy, according to Einstein's formula E = MC^2. Research on fusion has been pursued for decades. While this particular form of fusion will require a lot more work to reach commercial utility, it inspires us to show what is possible in the future. It is worth nothing that there are currently 37 privately funded fusion companies working on commercializing various forms of fusion. One example is Commonwealth Fusion Systems, spun out of MIT in 2017, which is building a tokamak the size of a tennis court, backed with $250 million in private capital.
Why it matters: Fusion requires a very small amount of hydrogen. Hydrogen in a glass of water could provide enough energy for your lifetime. Unlike fission (which splits atoms), fusion creates NO radioactive waste. The U.S. has pledged to eliminate all CO2 emissions from the electricity sector by 2035. Solar, wind, hydropower, and mini-fission nuclear reactors (a new generation much safer and cheaper than the current generation) would help achieve this audacious goal. But nuclear fusion would be far superior, providing a massive abundance of clean energy.
(#4) Modular Nuclear Reactors Achieve NRC Approval
What it is: After a 2.5-year application process, the NuScale Power Module became the first and only Small Modular Reactor (SMR) to receive design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At less than 80 feet tall, the reactor can generate enough clean electricity to power a city of 60,000 homes. The first NuScale Power Module is expected to be completed in Utah and be running by the end of the decade. These NuScale plants are expected to operate continuously for 60 years.
Why it matters: Shrinking reactors makes nuclear power safer, cheaper, and faster to implement. The NuScale reactors will be manufactured off-site and will have lower operating costs than traditional reactors. Globally, nuclear power supplies just 11% of electrical power, down from approximately 18% in 1996. NuScale’s SMR will take up 1% the space of a conventional reactor, which will allow for SMRs to be stacked side-by-side and efficiently minimize space while maximizing power production. It is hoped that these SMRs, being smaller, cheaper, and safer will allow nuclear power to increase its footprint in global energy production.
(#5) Synthesizing Life Without Sperm or Eggs
What it is: This summer, scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel were able to grow mouse embryos in a lab without the use of sperm, egg, or a womb. The scientists were able to do so by growing the mouse embryos inside a bioreactor made up of stem cells cultivated in a Petri dish. Using a mechanical uterus combined with a novel cocktail of stem cells—some of which were chemically programmed to overexpress genes that switched on the development of the placenta and yolk-sac—the team produced embryos with gene expression patterns 95% similar to natural mouse embryos of the same age. The embryos developed normally, elongating on Day 3, folding their neural tubes and budding tails by Day 6, and developing beating hearts by Day 8. This marked the first time ever that scientists successfully managed to grow fully synthetic mouse embryos outside the womb.
Why it matters: By watching the embryos in a lab instead of a uterus, scientists can get a better understanding as to how some pregnancies might fail and how to prevent this from happening. This also marks a major leap forward in our ability to grow a supply of available organs for transplant. Perhaps this will even pave the way for new treatment strategies in diseases like cancer. Imagine, for instance, a patient with untreatable leukemia that needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. In the future, we may be able to biopsy skin cells from that patient, rewind those skin cells back into stem cells that are grown in naive conditions, and then put those cells into this specialized bioreactor system. The final result? A stockpile of bone marrow stem cells that can efficiently be given to that same leukemia patient without them having to anxiously wait for a donor match.
(#6) 100% Remission of Early-Stage Rectal Cancer in All Patients
What it is: A New England Journal of Medicine study revealed that the cancer immunotherapy dostarlimab—a checkpoint inhibitor—led to complete remission in early-stage rectal cancer in all treated study patients. Approved by the FDA in August last year, dostarlimab is a kind of cancer immunotherapy treatment referred to as a “checkpoint inhibitor.” The name comes from the fact that checkpoint inhibitors block (i.e., inhibit) the brakes (i.e., checkpoints) that tumors use to fend off our immune system’s T cells. There are approximately 45,000 patients per year diagnosed with rectal cancer in the United States. Although this was a small study, the results are both timely and impressive.
Why it matters: This breakthrough matters for two reasons: First, because the rate of this cancer is increasing in younger adults. By 2030, cases will increase by 124.2% in patients (age 20-34) and 46% in patients (age 35-49). Conceivably, this could eliminate the need for surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy one day for rectal cancer patients—with immune memory preventing future cancer spread. Second, this finding may lead to more breakthroughs in cancer therapies and the use of checkpoint inhibitors in other forms of malignant cancers. This is a major win in the “war against cancer.”
(#7) Breakthrough Vaccine for Malaria and All Influenza Strains
What it is: In September, a novel malaria vaccine developed by Oxford University scientists was found to be up to 80% effective at preventing infection. This December, a research team led by George Washington University developed two highly-effective mRNA vaccines that reduced both malaria infection and transmission. In November, an mRNA-based experimental influenza vaccine was found to induce protection against all known influenza subtypes in animals. Using an mRNA-based approach, Scott Hensley and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania created a vaccine that produced antibody responses against all 20 known strains of influenza A and B in tests on mice and ferrets, with lasting protection for 4 months.
Why it matters: According to the CDC, nearly 90 countries and territories live in areas at risk of malaria transmission. Malaria kills an estimated 627,000 people per year, the majority of them children younger than five years old. Furthermore, fighting the flu represents a yearly challenge because influenza viruses are constantly evolving and evading immune response. As of early December 2022, the CDC has already recorded 4,500 flu deaths since October 1st, compared to 5,000 in all of last season. Some years flu vaccines are effective and in other years, they miss the mark. Instead of playing a continual “cat-and-mouse game,” public health officials now have a tool to fight all potential influenza strains. Blunting the harm of seasonal flus or a potentially vicious flu of pandemic proportions is a big win for public health, especially at times when hospitals are overloaded with patients suffering from COVID-19 and RSV.
(#8) AI Predicts ALL Known Protein Structures: DeepMind & Meta
What it is: The Grand Challenge of computer modeling since the 1960’s has been known as the “protein folding problem,” in which a program must predict the 3D structure of a protein solely from an amino acid sequence. Earlier this year in July, an AI program called AlphaFold—built by the Google-owned company DeepMind—solved the 3D structures of the roughly 200 million proteins known to science. This past November, researchers from Meta AI (formerly Facebook) announced they used AI to predict the structures of roughly 617 million proteins from bacteria, virus, and other microorganisms that haven’t been fully characterized. This effort by Meta AI took just two weeks, and the structures and underlying code are freely available for use.
Why it matters: Scientific teams around the world are using DeepMind’s AlphaFold2 software to conduct research on COVID-19, cancer, and antibiotic resistance. DeepMind has additionally set up a public database for protein structures predicted by AlphaFold2. This database currently has ~1 million entries, and DeepMind says it will add more than 100 million entries in the next year. Meta AI’s database, the ESM Metagenomic Atlas, will allow scientists to quickly achieve protein structures using an API. This is all significant because nearly everything your body does, it does with proteins. Understanding both the structure and function of individual proteins is crucial for understanding disease and drug development. By scaling up 3D structure prediction capacity, the root causes of disease can be precisely pinpointed, and drugs can be developed with enhanced safety and efficacy.
(#9) Organs Revived in Dead Pigs
What it is: This August, researchers at Yale University were able to successfully revive cells in the hearts, livers, kidneys, and brains of pigs that had been lying dead in a lab for an hour. This was accomplished by using a device similar to a heart-lung machine to pump a unique solution, called OrganEx, into the bodies of the pigs. Amazingly, this caused the pig hearts to start beating and to pump the solution throughout the pig’s body. While the pigs did not survive, their organs became functional again, with the potential to become viable transplant candidates.
Why it matters: In the U.S. alone, there are 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. Each day, 17 people die waiting for a life-saving organ and a new name is added to the transplant waiting list every 9 minutes. In the short term, scientists hope that these findings could help doctors preserve the organs of recently deceased individuals for later use in transplant. In success, this can provide doctors with viable organs from bodies long after death. Scientists also believe that this technology may be useful in limiting damage to hearts from heart attacks and to brains from strokes. The longer-term implications reveal the potential to possibly reverse sudden deaths (e.g., reviving soldiers that bleed out on the battlefield, resuscitation of hospital patients, etc.).
(#10) Illumina Unveils $200 Human Genome Sequence
What it is: Genomics giant Illumina unveiled its newest genome sequencing machines: NovaSeq X series. The machines are the company’s most cost-efficient and fastest yet and can sequence a human genome for $200 (compared to $10,000 a decade ago and $600 today) and produce a readout twice as fast. Illumina says the NovaSeq X series machines will cost around $1 million and generate 20,000 whole genomes per year.
Why it matters: The first human genome cost about $3 billion. The next about $100 million. Since then, the cost has been dropping at 5 times the speed of Moore’s Law. Genome sequencing has led to multiple advances in medicine: from blood tests that can detect cancer early and genetically-targeted drugs, to rare disease diagnosis and even the Covid-19 vaccines. But one thing holding back sequencing from being used more broadly is cost. Illumina’s newest machine has the potential to take genomic medicine mainstream. Imagine a future in which every child born is automatically sequenced to anticipate childhood disease. And a future that you’re automatically sequenced when admitted to a hospital to learn which medications/treatments are best for you.
ART IS SCIENCE MADE CLEAR
1926 Jean Cocteau
(#11) Cancer Vaccine Shows Positive Results in Phase 2 Clinical Trial
What it is: A combination of Moderna’s experimental cancer vaccine, referred as mRNA-4157/V940, and Merck’s immunotherapy called Keytruda has been shown to be successful against melanoma, considered the deadliest skin cancer. The Phase 2 clinical trial results showed that the combined therapies reduced the risk of recurrence or death by 44% compared to the standard treatment of using the Keytruda immunotherapy alone.
Why it matters: Your immune system is responsible for finding and stopping cancers throughout your life. Sometimes your immune system gets exhausted or evaded and it fails to catch cancer early on. The idea of a “cancer vaccine” that would supercharge your immune system to fulfill its mission has been discussed for decades. This is the first major demonstration that it might actually work! Cancer is a group of more than 200 diseases affecting millions of people around the world. In the US in 2022 alone, estimates suggest that there will be nearly 2 million new cancer cases. Globally, there are almost 10 million cancer-related deaths each year. The Moderna and Merck study is the first demonstration of the efficacy of a mRNA-based cancer treatment in a randomized clinical trial. The results pave the way for a Phase 3 clinical trial, the potential future approval of the first mRNA cancer vaccine, and the possibility of using the technology to treat other cancers.
(#12) FDA Approved Lab-Grown Meat
What it is: In November, California-based startup Upside Foods became the first U.S. company with FDA approval for lab-grown meat (chicken). This breakthrough is not necessarily one about technology, but rather about regulatory clearance. While this is a promising start, more obstacles remain. Before Upside Foods can start selling their lab-grown chicken commercially, they will need a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to greenlight the manufacturing process—which they expect to have in coming months. This marks the second time a country has approved lab-grown meat. In December 2020, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) granted Eat Just Inc. (USA) with approval to sell its lab-grown chicken created from cultured chicken cells in Singapore.
Why it matters: 70 of the 80 billion animals raised and slaughtered every year for human consumption are chickens. The available amount of chicken meat per person has more than sextupled in the last 100 years. Lab-grown meat has the potential to address a number of challenges associated with traditional livestock farming, including animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food security. Notably, this FDA decision can pave the way for additional approvals both in the US and abroad, thereby allowing the lab-grown food movement to scale up and expand production.
(#13) Perennial Rice (PR23) Enables Food Abundance Revolution
What it is: Researchers at Yunnan University in China have created a new variety of perennial rice called PR23 and published their findings in the journal Nature Sustainability. Unlike regular rice, which needs to be planted every season, PR23 can yield 8 consecutive harvests over 4 years. The Yunnan University researchers showed that PR23 required 60% less farm labor and reduced rice production costs (e.g., seed, fertilizer) by 50% while producing the same amount of grain. The initial results suggest that PR23 may also bring environmental benefits.
Why it matters: Rice is a stable food for 4 billion people around the world, and it’s the world’s most consumed grain. But annual rice harvesting is a costly, labor-intensive process that also contributes to environmental problems such as soil erosion. More and more farmers in Asia have begun cultivating PR23 thanks to support from Yunnan University. In fact, more than 15,000 hectares were planted in southern China this past year, a 4-fold increase from 2020. PR23 and similar varieties are being tested in Africa as well. PR23 has the potential to transform the rice production process and the entire agriculture industry if researchers can use these findings to create perennial alternatives for other major crops such as corn and wheat.
(#14) Tesla’s Humanoid Robot (Optimus) Unveiled
What it is: Tesla unveiled its humanoid robot called Optimus, which stands about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a head that contains Tesla’s AI chip. The current version of Optimus can lift 150 pounds, carry up to 45 pounds, and travel 5 miles per hour. Future versions of Optimus will be able to climb stairs, walk up hills, and use tools such as a drill or screwdriver—among other abilities.
Why it matters: Elon’s intent is to mass produce them—millions of them—and to sell them for less than $20,000 each. If Tesla can achieve this vision of Optimus humanoid robots being produced at scale, then the company will completely reshape the economy and society. The robots would be able to perform boring, repetitive, and unsafe tasks and free humans up to do safer, more productive work. "This means a future of abundance,” says Musk. “A future where there is no poverty, where you could have whatever you want in terms of products and services. It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.”
(#15) $10M XPRIZE ANA AVATAR Awarded to NimbRo
What it is: The $10M ANA XPRIZE Avatar aimed to create an avatar system that can transport human presence and actions to a remote location in real time. NimbRo, the team from the University of Bonn, Germany was able to create a human-driven avatar system where an operator could hear, see, and interact as if they were there in person. The operator through the NimbRo avatar successfully accomplished 10 tasks in the competition earning a perfect score.
Why it matters: The successful development of avatar robots will allow human expertise to be globally democratized and taken into places which are dangerous, or where the human talent is not available. Applications for Nimbro-like avatars range from operating in a nuclear reactor accident and assisting in bomb removal, to disaster relief or providing care to elderly patients.
(#16) Driverless Ride-Hailing Services (Robotaxis) Win Approvals
What it is: Alphabet’s Waymo and GM’s Cruise, two of the leading companies creating robotaxis, won key approvals in 2022. Waymo first offered fully autonomous public rides to “Trusted Testers” in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020, and is now expanding the service to the public. In November 2022, Waymo won approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to carry passengers in its autonomous robotaxis without a safety driver present under a new pilot program. Likewise, Cruise opened its fully driverless ride-hailing service in San Francisco in early 2022, expanding beyond Austin and Phoenix.
Why it matters: Electric and autonomous car-transport has the potential to lower the cost of personalized transport by 4-fold, allowing the poorest to be “chauffeured”, increasing convenience, and lowering transport costs. In some cities, as much as 50% of the land area is dedicated for cars (streets, parking, parking lots). Autonomous “Car-Sharing” mean fewer cars on the road and fewer parking requirements, ultimately allowing cities to recapture much of its blacktop, paved surfaces for living or parks.
(#17) EVTOLs (Flying Cars): Regulatory Progress & Partnerships
What it is: In 2022, the U.S. FAA proposed new rules that help pave the way for commercial air taxi operations by 2025, with the goal of air taxis in operations by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Here’s a quick update on the top eVTOL companies. Joby Aviation: This year the FAA awarded Joby Aviation a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate, to begin on-demand commercial air taxi operations. In addition, Delta Air Lines formed a long-term partnership with Joby to launch eVTOL aircraft services (including a $60 million investment). Lilium: This year Lilium’s demonstrator, Phoenix-2, achieved a full transition from hover to wing-borne flight. Also, Saudia Airlines signed an MOU to purchase 100 eVTOLs and develop an eVTOL network across the Kingdom. In November Lilium closed a $119 million capital raise. Archer Aviation: This year Archer and United Airlines formed a partnership with a $10 million pre-delivery payment for 100 of Archer’s production aircraft, planning their first passenger route between Newark Airport and a heliport in downtown Manhattan. BETA Technologies: In March 2022, two U.S. Air Force pilots became the first Airmen to fly an electric aircraft with military airworthiness approval with the ALIA, BETA’s eVTOL.
Why it matters: Aerial ridesharing with eVTOLs will become fully operational in most major metropolitan cities this decade. The global urban air utility market, which includes eVTOL aircraft, has the potential to reach nearly $30 billion by 2030. Where we live and work will begin to transform as eVTOL networks shrink travel time and distance. Previously difficult to reach geographies (islands, rural areas, mountain tops) will become accessible. Individuals seeking the solitude of the country will also have access to the shopping, food, and entertainment of metropolitan city centers, connected through eVTOL technology.
(#18) Quantum Computing Qubit Lifetimes Extended by 500%
What it is: Researchers in quantum technologies achieved several breakthroughs in 2022. Here are a few examples. Scientists from MIT and the University of Chicago demonstrated that they can extend qubit lifetimes (coherence time) by a factor of 5, by changing the surrounding crystal’s structure to be less symmetric. Similarly, physicists at Arizona State University and Zhejiang University in China demonstrated that large numbers of qubits can be tuned to interact with each other while maintaining coherence “for an unprecedentedly long time” using a mechanism called quantum many-body scarring (QMBS). This addresses one of the biggest challenges in quantum information science.
Why it matters: Longer coherence times in quantum computing create more useful qubits in applications ranging from long-distance communication to medicine. We don’t yet know what new innovations will arise once quantum computing matures and takes off. But what we do know is incredibly exciting. For example, because physics and chemistry are quantum processes, computing in qubits will enable an era of discovery in new chemicals, new drugs, and new materials. McKinsey estimates that 4 industries in particular—automotive, chemicals, finance, and pharmaceuticals—will be the first to take advantage of quantum technologies. Quantum applications in those industries have the potential to capture up to $700 billion in value by 2035.
(#19) IBM Unveils Largest Quantum Computer to Date
What it is: IBM launched its most powerful quantum processor yet called Osprey, a 433-qubit machine. Osprey is more than 3 times the size of IBM’s 127-qubit Eagle machine that was announced last year. The new processor has the potential to perform complex quantum calculations far beyond the capabilities of any classical computer. As IBM points out, “the number of classical bits that would be necessary to represent a state on the IBM Osprey processor far exceeds the total number of atoms in the known universe.”
Why it matters: The number of qubits is an indication of the power of a quantum computer. As quantum computers become more powerful, we’ll be able to solve existing problems in new ways and even begin tackling previously intractable problems. For example, earlier this year, Toronto-based company Xanadu used its 216-qubit quantum chip called Borealis to tackle the “Gaussian boson sampling” problem, a benchmark task used to measure quantum computing prowess. The quantum chip achieved the task in just 36 microseconds—compared to conventional computers which would have taken over 9,000 years. IBM’s newest chip has double the qubits, and the company plans to release a version with over 1,000 qubits in 2023.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
(#20) Synthetic Data Revolution Accelerating AI Training
What it is: Data is the lifeblood of AI systems. But quality, real-world data can be messy, expensive, time-consuming, and riddled with biases. It also raises ethics and privacy concerns. For example, the research firm Gartner has estimated that up to 85% of AI projects will deliver erroneous outcomes due to bias in the data, algorithms, or the teams managing them. That’s where synthetic data comes in—artificial data that mimics real-world observations and is used to train AI and machine learning models. 2022 is an inflection point in this field. Evidence suggests that synthetic data isn’t only cheaper and easier to access, it may also be more accurate. For instance, researchers at MIT, IBM Watson, and Boston University built a synthetic dataset of 150,000 video clips that captured a range of human actions and used it to train a set of machine learning models. They found that for videos with fewer background objects, the synthetically trained models performed even better than those trained on real data.
Why it matters: Synthetic data could accelerate the already disruptive field of AI. For example, data labeling is required for the current AI paradigm, and represents a massive industry with companies spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars each year on data labeling services. Synthetic data could completely disrupt this industry, making training much cheaper and accurate. By 2030, Gartner projects that synthetic data will completely overshadow real data in AI models. Synthetic data will reshape AI and further accelerate the spread of the technology by democratizing access to data.
(#21) Generative-AI Eruption (DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion)
What is it: 2022 witnessed the release of multiple generative AI tools representing a significant development in AI-human collaboration. One of the most prominent examples of this is the use of OpenAI’s image-generation platform DALL-E 2, which was made available to everyone earlier this year. DALL-E 2 is an advanced machine learning model built to understand natural language and turn it into an image. It creates creepily accurate renderings of almost any description imaginable, and now anyone can access it for free. The text-to-image platform’s roughly 1.5 million active users are creating over 2 million images each day. And OpenAI has signed partnerships with a number of companies, including Microsoft and Shutterstock, which will only increase the platform’s use and influence. Stable Diffusion (by Stability AI) is another leading AI-based text-to-image platform already being used by more than 10 million people. And apps from TikTok to Lightricks have developed their own AI-powered art generators.
Why it matters: People are working with generative AI tools to transform the fields of art and design and redefine creative expression. Creatives are using these tools to work more efficiently, be more productive, and generate new ideas. For example, The New York Times recently interviewed several creative professionals on how they partner with AI to generate more creative ideas—faster. In one instance, an Australia-based filmmaker, who has worked on hit shows including “Westworld,” is now using AI-generated art in his pitches to film studios. But generative AI isn’t limited to images—it can generate everything from text to computer code. We are about to witness an explosion of AI-human collaboration and new modes of creativity.
(#22) The ChatGPT Revolution
What it is: ChatGPT is a conversational chatbot created by OpenAI that is based on the recently released GPT 3.5 language model. The chatbot represents yet another tool that is taking AI-human collaboration to the next level. ChatGPT, which works by taking a prompt and then producing code or text, has been used to do everything from answer coding queries and run a virtual Linux machine, to write song lyrics and Shakespeare verses. According to The Verge, fiction authors are using ChatGPT to help write their novels, which are then published on Kindle.
Why it matters: ChatGPT is one of several tools bringing AI to the mainstream. OpenAI released it on November 30th and by December 5th over 1 million people had used it. As an example of this, one reporter tells the story of a friend who “isn’t particularly tech-minded,” but nonetheless used ChatGPT to write an Excel macro that saved him a few hours of work.
What new forms of art and business will we create when everyone and every profession has an AI co-pilot? As I’ve said before: “By the end of this decade there are going to be two kinds of companies: those that are fully utilizing AI and those that are out of business.”
“THE FUTURE IS FASTER THAN YOU THINK”
Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that in the next 10 years, humanity will experience as much progress as we have had in the past 100 years. If that’s the case, what might the year 2032 look like? That’s not too far from now.
Does that excite you or scare you?
Biology is shifting to an AI and Quantum driven science, at the same time as a tsunami of novel AI tools are transforming every industry and how we live our lives. Robots are becoming human-like and energy advances offer a glimmer of healing our planet’s biosphere. Knowledge and the tools of education are becoming more ubiquitous and abundant than ever, with the promise of uplifting ALL of humanity.
Undoubtedly, the convergence of exponential technologies is permanently changing the arc and trajectory of human innovation. Unfathomable breakthroughs are on the horizon. How these breakthroughs will be used is up to all of us.
What will life look like in 10 years, let alone in 100 years from now?
To those who have asked whether human technology “should” be moving this fast, let me mention that there is no “on/off” switch on innovation, there’s no velocity dial to turn down.
If any nation should regulate against any particular innovation, companies and innovators are likely to move to another jurisdiction with more permissive laws.
The nations of our planet have “technologically porous borders” where information, ideas and technology can travel and exchange across borders at the speed of light.
Rather than fear what is coming, our mission, for each of us, should instead be to steer... “to inspire and guide” how and where these technologies being are used.
Remember that the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities. And the technologies of the decade ahead will offer us unprecedented abilities to slay many of our grand challenges
.Learn more about Peter's Member Community and Summit
An ever-accelerating future is coming...prepare yourself for warp speed, the future is faster than you think.