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Peter Diamandis - Long-Term X Prizes

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I’m from Long Now Foundation. My name has been Stewart Brand for a while now. No, that’s for Peter Diamandis. I don’t often have job envy. Okay, who gets to go flying at zero-G all the time with famous physicians and other interesting people. These are physicist and who gets people with big money to put up big money to make big things happen then being in the thick of that whole process and then along the way sort of occasionally get people to go into serious space, out to the space station. That’s pretty good gig and as a result because he has been at it for a while and the X PRIZE has had some spectacular successes already, and has some others in the pipeline. My question to Peter has been what I missed about the X PRIZE so far is all the hours extremely difficult. So tonight he’s going to go beyond that, Peter. Thank you, Stewart. It is fun, it is fun and if any of you haven’t either flown in zero-G yet or funded an X PRIZE, I invite you’d be both. So let me give a little bit of background of where this talk came from. I was at the TED conference with Stewart and he asked the question during a lunch-in presentation I was giving about, what about really big X PRIZEs for really difficult things and that has started a series of conversations at the X PRIZE foundation which I internally called mega X PRIZEs and let’s consider this the first public discussion of the subject and let’s see if in the next year or two some of these don’t actually bear fruit. At the end of this presentation, I’m going to put my email address up there and invite you to please share your ideas with me because the ideas you’re going to see here today are the result of one on one conversation. But, one of the things I enjoyed most about what we do is it is the essence of the power of an idea. Literally, the right prize idea once it’s materialized in the person’s mind can easily attract the money, the 10 million or 100 million or billion dollars, and then that money can attract the maverick thinkers to go and try things that might not otherwise do and cause something to come into existence. So you can draw a direct line between the idea and the physical materialization of that and that’s really very enjoyable. My story is, as my wife Christine well knows I started every conversation, at the age of eight my passion was to fly into space and it’s something that has driven me every moment of everyday and I grew up on a tail end of the Apollo program and then decided along the way that there was no way in the world I could possibly become a government employee and go and fly into space through NASA. I was told my chances are one in a thousand of being selected and then even if you were selected, you might in your career get a chance to fly once or twice. In fact half of the astronauts haven’t ever flown. They called them penguins because they have wings but don’t fly. And then the clincher was, I was told to get your flight assignment you have to be really, really good, do what you’re told and so that’s just not me so forget about it. So a good friend of mine Greg (indiscernible) when I was getting my pilot’s license to motivate me to go on and finish it gave a book called the Spirit of St. Louis and I had no idea that Lindbergh actually crossed the Atlantic to win a $25,000 prize. I thought he woke up one day and decided to fly across the Atlantic, you know, sort of go east young man but the fact of the matter was, a young Frenchmen Raymond Orteig who was born in Paris moved to New York and in New York, he became an entrepreneur and eventually owned a hotel. This is just after World War I where aviation made his debut on planet earth and he met a lot of aeronauts and the idea of a competition to fly between New York and Paris came to his mind and he announced it in 1919, $25,000 the first person to go between New York and Paris that’s it. Simple and easy, but he was lambasted in the papers when that was put forward. It was a crazy idea and the thing is, it worked. In 1925, he extended it a number of years. By 1927, nine different teams made the attempt and the number speak for themselves. Nine teams spent $400,000 to win a $25,000 prize. I mean, it’s the most efficient and highly leveraged approach you could possibly take. He didn’t pay anybody with a good idea, anybody who tried, or anybody who came in second. He only paid Lindberg who by the way was considered the “Flying Fool,” that was his nickname before he became Lucky Lindy a few days later. And I kid you not, it’s a great article I have. On May 19th of 1927, The New York Times printed an editorial and I said, “Stop! Don’t do this! You’re gonna kill yourself and setback aviation a decade.” But just the opposite happened, when Lindberg made that flight for thirty three and a half hours, having barely slept the night before. He became a global hero and his name still known to school kids, eighty plus years later. So the other part that got me was within eighteen months of his flight, the number of passengers in the United States went from 6000 to 180,000. It wasn’t like air got thicker or gravity got less and people got it easier to fly. Something that’s truly happened, the paradigm of being able to fly came into people’s minds. That was a powerful thing. The number of pilots tripled, number of airplanes quadrupled, airports doubled. Aviation really took off with this amazing story. And I was reading a book and making notes in the margins mostly about how much money teams were spending. And by the time I’d finished reading this book, the idea of the X PRIZE came into my mind. This was the way I was going to build the space ships that I could eventually fly in personally, my mission being to get humanity off the planet. I didn’t know the name of the person who’s going to put the money, so the letter “X” was my variable to sort of hold the place of that sponsor. I kid you not, it just took me so long to raise the money, the X stuck around. So this was the X PRIZE, $10,000,000. Ten million was enough money to attract the entrepreneurs but not so much to attract the Boeings and Lockheeds. I had no interest in the traditional players playing in this game. This was not about incrementalism. This is about allowing crazy ideas to really materialize. A privately funded shipment that everybody was spending, every penny they had focused on doing this thing. Three people meant the end of the day, you could have these ships going to commercial practice which is an important part of the X PRIZE because I fully expect the team to spend more money than the prize amount which means that there better be a back end business model to this. But a three-person shipment, a pilot and two paying passengers or I like to say an autopilot and three very brave passengers and then a hundred kilometers was the altitude. And this was a very important lesson we originally had it a hundred miles. And in fact, before that, people said to me, “Peter, you got to do this to orbit. Unless you go to orbit, it means nothing.” These are orbital chauvinists as I call them. And I sat there and did the energy calculations which we all do. Energy is the square the velocity and it meant that literally, I’ll be asking people to do something 50 to 60 times harder than this. And I said, “Forget it.” I really wanted the intersection and a prize of audacious and achievable. Now Stewart asked me to change that equation a little bit, but we had a hundred miles. We did the energy calculations for reentry. We dropped it to a hundred kilometers. Unfortunately knowing full well most Americans will know the difference in hundred miles, hundred kilometers anyway. And then the most important rule here was I they have to do two flights within two weeks. And it may be it’s obvious to everybody here but that meant was a cost of the second flight was the fuel and the touch labor. So it was a way of putting an economic boundary on the prize without getting into any account stuck in the loop. So amazingly, it worked again. We had twenty six teams from seven countries who has spent $100,000,000 to win the prize. And on October 4th 2004, SpaceShipOne made its second flight within actually five days. This was built by Burt Rutan backed by Paul Allen, and I think the results that were the most satisfying for us was it really changed the paradigm that space flight was not just for government anymore. We gave birth to a new industry. We created public awareness, and Richard Branson, we expected to launch an industry after the competition but not in the midst of it. You know literally, Richard Branson came in and negotiated the rights to build SpaceShipTwo and has committed over a quarter million and in fact, there has been over a billion dollars committed this personal spaceflight industry since the Ansari X PRIZE was won. Regulatory form, an important attribute of X PRIZEs are in their wake. If they’re big enough and public enough, they can drive regulatory change and it will look something like this about six months before the X PRIZE or about eight months when the X PRIZE was won, I’m sitting in Marion Blakey’s office, the FAA administrator, an amazing woman, and I went, “Marion, the X PRIZE is going to have to be won outside the United States because the rules and regulations here don’t allow it.” And she said, “What do we have to do to change that?” And they did. And the rules and regulations were changed. And we leveraged our sponsor dollars about 50-fold and for me, this was a crowning moment when SpaceShipOne was hoisted in the middle of the Air and Space Museum, right next to the Spirit of St. Louis that inspired it and right above the Apollo 11 capsule, and that was a really magical moment. Five and a half billion media impressions so on the day that the X PRIZE was won and we named it the Ansari X PRIZE for the Ansari family. During Q&A, if you’re interested, we can talk about how this was funded which was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. On the day it was won, we ran out of money, but luckily that Google Doodle appeared with SpaceShipOne flying over the top of the Google logo and I had the chance to go up to Googleplex and present to the folks there. Larry Page introduced himself and ended up joining our Board and saying, “Let’s turn the X PRIZE into a world-class prize organization.” And we have done that. We grew our Board, adding folks like you know Elon Musk, Craig Venter, Dean Kamen, Ray Kurzweil, and Arianna Huffington. Ratan Tata from Tata Motors has joined our Board and really taking the organization forward into a range of different and new areas. So, the fundamentals of prizes are the following, they have extraordinarily high leverage. You put up a $10-million prize, you can expect 10 to 50 times the amount spent to win it if you do it properly. It’s efficient. You only pay the winner and unlike venture capital where you fund one team, by putting up a prize, you literally put a callout to the world and attract every single player to you and you have complete industry knowledge which is really a very powerful thing to do. This is the story of leverage, $2.5 million that St. Louis community gave us when we moved the foundation there in 1996. It got us to $10- million purse from the Ansari family. That’s Anousheh Ansari, who we flew as our fourth private passenger through Soyuz back a few years ago. She’s just back and her husband Hamid is holding her spacesuit after she has landed. That $10 million got leveraged to $100 million and it has been over $1 billion built in to that industry so far. So after the X PRIZE was won, we decided to go into five different market sectors. We have five we call verticals. Energy in the environment is probably our next most critical area we’re focus on and would love that dialogue with you tonight. Global development, how do you use prizes to drive wealth creation as an answer to poverty? Exploration which (indiscernible) means space and underwater, we just received funding to begin looking at underwater X PRIZEs, education and life sciences. So, when do incentive prizes work best? When there is a market failure, things are stuck. People don’t believe something is possible. When there are entrenched bureaucracies and when there is a stigma attached to a notion, people say, you know, cold fusion, that’s terrible! It will never work or whatever it might be. Important attributes, so these are the attributes to an X PRIZE, large cash purses. For us, the $10 million is not the reason teams do it. The $10 million credentials this in the minds of the public as something that is significant. I had teams that would literally go out before the Ansari X PRIZE looking for money for their spaceship. People would say, “Those who had never done a space deal would look at it and then run. Those who would actually invest in a space deal would run before they even heard the …” X problem and not the solution. So with the Ansari X PRIZE, it was tripled to 100 kilometers. We didn’t talk about the kind of propulsion, whether it’s, you know, what type of system to use, it was to get it there. Our goal is to attract maverick thinkers whoever possible. One of the notions that really has hit home for me is that the day before something is truly a breakthrough. It’s a crazy idea, if you stop and you think about that fact. The problem is that governments are resistant to funding things that can have a very public failure but unless you’re funding things that have a high probability of failure, your chances of actually funding things that are through breakthroughs are really small. Large corporations are worried about their stock price plummeting and you end up really with entrepreneurs and mavericks which might go after these prizes and are last people who might ever write an NSF grant. So we say to people, “I don’t care where you’re from, where you’ve gone to school, what you’ve ever done before, you do this and you win the money.” And the goal for us is changing the paradigm. In addition to that, one of our goals is making heroes out of the team. So we are for example on the X PRIZE we’re up right now. We’re on negotiations with the television networks to focus the spotlights on the teams as they’re competing which allows them to go out and raise more money and spend more money which provides more leverage for the prize. We build what we hope are ideally telegenic prizes that drive PR, educate the public, and other thing that we have done traditionally, and this is what Stewart reacted to was, we dial the difficulty of the prizes to be winnable in a three to eight-year time frame. The goal being if it’s won in less than three years, it was too easy. If takes longer than eight years, people in this generation don’t really care anymore outside their time horizon. And for me, it’s the issue of encouraging people to take risk. I had a situation occurred when I was giving a testimony just before the X PRIZE was won in congress, where a congresswoman stand up and say, “Dr. Diamandis, isn’t it true you’re causing people to risk their lives and someone may kill themselves going after this prize.” And I said, “Yes, that is true.” And I said, “And thank God that it is true because 500 years ago, thousands lost their lives crossing the Atlantic and 200 years ago, thousands of Americans lost their lives crossing Great Plains and it would be un-American to stop them from risking their lives for the greatest exploration humanity has ever undertaken.” And she withdrew her question. But we are killing ourselves in this nation by how risk adverse we have gotten. And so for me, being allowed to take intelligent risk is a very important thing. So since the Ansari X PRIZE, we’ve launched three prizes so far and I’ll speak to these in a moment. The Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE but first, a short video… “The X Prize for two consecutive private space trips was won today by…a ten million dollar prize…” The driving force of the X PRIZE is incentivized competition. In 1927, the $25,000 Orteig Prize for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris was won by Charles Lindbergh. It stimulated passenger travel and the birth of today’s $300 billion aviation industry. Directly inspired by the Orteig Prize, the Ansari X PRIZE was announced in 1996 designed to transform how people think about space and space travel. Twenty-six teams from seven nations spent $100 million to pursue the prize, an astonishing 10 to 1 leverage of the prize purse. By creating the first Private Race to Space, the foundation gave birth to a new industry, drove regulatory reform, and changed the paradigm that space is only for governments. It ignited the personal spaceflight revolution. Four years after the Ansari X PRIZE was won, over a billion dollars has been invested in this Personal Spaceflight Industry. That’s the power of an X PRIZE. In 2006, we launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics. In 2007, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and in 2008, we announced the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE receiving over 100 million print and broadcast impressions in the first five days after the launch. The X PRIZE Foundation has dedicated itself to becoming a world-class prize institute, to revolutionized philanthropy, providing benefactors with new highly leveraged platforms with tangible results. The X PRIZE Foundation is tackling the grand challenges of our time. So after the Ansari X PRIZE was won, the next prize was from the cosmic to the microscopic. The Human Genome Project as you might have heard from Craig Venter cost about $3 billion in 12 years. Craig spent about $100 million in a year to sequence his on genome and the Archon X PRIZE is a $10 million purse for the first team to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days. Fundamentally, single genomes, a great scientific piece of discovery and information but it’s not until you get 2000 or millions of genome sequence that medicine could become preventative and predictive in nature. So that’s the goal. Dr. Stewart Brand who is an amazing and wonderful man, he was a geologist who theorized where the largest diamond mine in North America should be, and he went out and found it. And it’s a third largest producer in the world and he’s become a philanthropist now and he funded our second X prize. We have six teams registered, about four to six. We expect about a dozen teams and this to be claimed in the next two to three years. To make it sexier, what we’ve done is we’ve created something called the Genome 100, which are going to be 100 individuals whose genomes were sequencing as result, some of which are up here. Stephen Hawking was the first to step up to this which is how I met him and then later flew him on our Zero-G airplane which is another great story. But the goal is that these are genomic pioneers who will allow us to sequence their genome and then post it either publicly or anonymously to get the database of genomes up there. The second prize we launched was the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Now the story here goes something like this. It’s 2006, we’re looking for a next thing to do in space, I go and speak to NASA and say, “We want to do this Lunar X PRIZE.” They said, “Great.” And we explained to them how it could literally save them 100 of millions or billions of dollars by virtue of being able to go and test hardware in a low-cost way and they said, “Great idea.” And we did a study. They said we could afford $20 million to do this but it would have to be US teams only and I said, “I don’t like the US team only part. We’ll do global prizes.” So I went and spoke to the heads of the European, the Japanese, the Russian Space (indiscernible) about potentially matching it. And then NASA said at the end of their budget process, “We can’t find $20 million.” So two days later, I was at our board meeting and spoke to Larry and Sergey and they said, “Sure.” And it became a $30 million prize that was global enriched. It was almost that simple. It really was, but it’s a $30 million purse, $20 million for the first place prize, $5 million for second place, $5 million performance bonuses and this is something we’re doing that’s new. We learned something from the first X PRIZE which is to have a second place prize. Because a lot of the teams are really pushing hard and if there’s a front runner like there was with Rutan, you want them to have a second place prize to go after. Other part that we learn was using bonuses which is you don’t really want to make it so hard that no one could win but if you can extend the goals they can go after by adding these bonuses. It adds a nice dimension. Now, if you look at the bonuses which are roving further. So all you have to do to win this X PRIZE is build a private robot, land on the surface of the moon, send back photos and video, rove half a kilometer, and send back another mooncast, we call it. That’s it, you get $20 million. Anybody here wants to register, see me afterwards. But one of the things that we learned in prizes are in order to cause the paradigm change we talked about before, it’s important that it’s not be flash in a pan. There’s has to have a time duration to prizes. So remember the two flights within two weeks, when Lindbergh flew, he was in the news for about a week straight and people who missed the newspaper one day, caught it in the second day. So the time dimension of the prizes are very important as we design the rules, so that people see it and see it again and see it again and see it again and they get that it’s now possible to do that. So for us, we debated whether just landing on the moon once. But if you just landed on the moon and send back a photo, people would look at it. “Okay, well now let’s see what’s Britney Spears is doing or something.” They’d be open to the next subject but by literally having to land then rove and send back photos again and then see whether they rove 10 times further to get the roving prize or whether they can survive a lunar night to get the overnight prize or whether they can image a Lunahod or Apollo. So it adds dimensions on which keeps it in the front page of the newspapers. And that element hopes change human paradigm of what is possible. So we announced this, oh one of the things by the way that was interesting when we first start this our friends at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said “Well maybe there might be five players that might register for this,” and within twelve months we’ve had over 1200 registration requests from around the planet for this. Now, we fully registered about fifteen teams and I expect there will be probably two or three times that amount when it’s said and done but a short quick video. “I knew that we never wanted to do something so conventional at Google. I thought we were ever to sponsor or something. It should be something ambitious. Having seen the success of the story I was surprised that in fact having many different entrepreneurs all competing to accomplish this goal is actually first more exciting, second more likely to actually to achieve the goal and third probably less expensive overall. So that was our second prize we launched in 2007 and just this year in 2008 The New York Auto Show with Mayor Bloomberg, we launched the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE and we knew in fact that after the Ansari X PRIZE we want it very much to do something in the energy and environment space, and the idea of an Automotive prize was the first thing we thought about. It took us a long time to find a sponsor and Progressive Insurance stepped up and we are very, very pleased about that. So the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is the following: It is a race. It is a stage race like a Tour de France. We are going to be doing in ten cities of United States, I think New York and San Francisco already stepped up to be of the two of those ten cities. We are doing competitive bid for that. In 2009 is the preliminary race and in 2010 are the finals. There are two categories you can compete in. A city car which is a two seats three and wheel minimum and a highway car which is four seats and four wheels. It is a timed race where it’s the fastest time while still maintaining over a hundred miles per galloon or its energy equivalent. You have to build and provide the car that is beautiful by virtue of the public interest, affordable, manufacturable, and gets over a hundred miles per galloon while still meeting all the EPA emission standards. So we’ve had over a hundred and twenty teams signed the letter of intent to compete and the first stage of this will be happening I think out of New York in the fourth quarter of 2009 and one more, one video. Male Speaker: Today, the power of the X PRIZE comes to automotive. The X PRIZE Foundation is a philanthropic organization creates to address today’s grand challenges to bring about revolutionary breakthroughs that will benefit all of humanity. The automotive X PRIZE is a ten million dollars prize to teams that can produce production- capable, safe, clean and super-efficient vehicles, vehicles that can exceed a hundred miles per galloon or its energy equivalent. We’re not talking about concept cars, we’re talking about real cars that can be brought to the market and in the near term that consumers will want to buy. I’m thrill to be here today. This is an opportunity for Progressive, a 70- year-old company with a rich history of making things better in car insurance to get together with another organization that shares our passion for innovation. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is a competition that will bring more choices of safe, environmentally friendly cars to drive us everywhere. Male Speaker 3: The Department of Energy is particularly excited to work with the Automotive X PRIZE to engage kindergarten through twelve graders and the general public in learning about the benefits of advanced vehicle technologies, energy efficiency, climate change, alternative fuel use and a very science behind efficient, clean, and green vehicle development. Male Speaker 4: I’m proud to announce the funding ground from the U.S. Department of Energy in amount of up to $3.5 million over the next three years to the X PRIZE Foundation. Male Speaker 5: We really do need some new thinking. We need some innovation. I don’t think there’s any bigger threat to our World and to our country and than global warming and our dependency on oil, we’ve got to get people to participate and to change their lives and to understand that we have to use less energy and that we have to find alternative energy sources that are destroying our planet and Peter I just want to thank you and the X PRIZE Foundation for developing this inspiring competition, to innovate and change and Peter, Progressive hearing Nicole and putting up 10 million bucks is exactly the right thing to do. I think it says an awful a lot about your company and the people that work there. Male Speaker 6: Today, we’ve done more than just announced the competition. We’ve issued a challenge to the teams, designs, and enter a vehicle. To the automotive industry and corporations, find new technology for a new century and follow Progressive’s, lead. To prospective donors and sponsors help us increase the per size and support the teams. To decision makers at all levels join these cars and protect our planet. It is a challenge to every one of us. We face these issues together we must solve them together. We welcome you along on what’s going to be and incredible ride. Thank you so much. Peter: So the fun thing there is if we do our job right we’re going to bring a new more efficient and high leverage. So now let’s talk about mega X PRIZES which I define generation of cars onto the road that or going to take everything that we drive today and put them to the history museums, and the fact of the matter is we believed that you can have it all. You can have a car that goes up a hundred miles per gallon that is sexy, that is affordable and that is good for our environment and the fact of the matter is once we changed that paradigm then there’s no going back. Our goal going forward is we’re launching about 10 X PRIZEs over the next four to five years. The goal is about $ 300 million worth of purses driving about $3 billion in team expenditure, addressing the world’s grand challenges. One of my personal goals is to reinvent how we define philanthropy and have 10% of philanthropy done in the forms of prizes which are much more efficient and high leverage. So now let’s talk about mega X PRIZES which I define is where the hundred million to multibillion-dollar category. Now, the fact of the matter is there are twelve hundred billionaires on this planet and (indiscernible) holds that you can’t take it with you and at the end of the day, you can only fund so many museums and university chairs and so forth. And I believe that we will start to see those individuals who are frustrated and want to cause fundamental change and will put on the table large sums of money for things to change. There will be an individual who says, “You know, here’s a billion dollars that stands for the first person to go to Mars and I have those conversation to folks. So that’s the first, so where are these going to get funded from? There will be individuals who want to live a legacy and challenge people in a fundamental way. Second thing, what I call save the future expenditures. The annual health expenditures for AIDS are about 80 billion a year. It is a phenomenally huge amount of money worldwide, over a decade $800 billion. So what’s it worth if you can cure AIDS and cause it to be cured a year early. Is it worth a billion dollar prize? So those are the conversation we’re having with health insurance companies right now. Now the pharmaceutical companies would love to keep a chronic disease because that’s how they sell their drugs but health insurance companies would love to cure it and stop having to pay it out. So this is a very interesting economic engine here that we’re trying to look at, that could fund very large purses to accelerate the curing of diseases. So again, these conversations are just brand new for us. Another area of safe future expenditures, the average space shuttle flight cost about a billion dollars if I’m being kind for that organization. The cost per person to go to orbit on a shuttle is about a $100 million per person if you go with the capitalist Russians it’s less, it is about $30 million but the Socialist U.S Space program is about a hundred million. You can actually calculate the amount of energy it takes to put you in your space into orbits. Easy calculations all done in high schools. It is kinetic energy and the potential energy, mgh and one-half mv squared about 6.6 gigajoules, about 1800 kilowatt hours and at seven cents a kilowatt hour, if you buy off the grid here, the cost for you and your spacesuit, 128 bucks. So, the price improvement we concur we have to getting into space from a hundred million dollars to a hundred dollars. It’s pretty good. We’ve seen that in other areas. It requires some new physics or other stuff but just to put that in people’s mind. So there are four shuttle flights a year times 10 years it’s at 40 billion dollars. What if there were a billion dollar price for bringing the price of space flight down by orders of magnitude? So, when do incentive prizes work best? We discussed these areas and the one that I think from Mega X prized is the most interesting is where people believe something is impossible and so what I’m going to do now is run through those on your list and ask you to please take out your pencils or pens and as we go through, mark the three that you think because frankly, we’re actually very interested in what you have to say. You’ve all seen these clothes in over time. I mean the thing that stops humanities progress the most is the human mind, our belief that we cannot do something. I define an expert as people who know without a doubt what they cannot achieve which the best example I have is that in 1961 when JFK said we’re going to the moon, the average age of the engineers who built the Apollo program, built the navigation and guidance, (indiscernible) the structures, propulsion systems, the average age was 26, and they did it because there was no one to tell them what could not be done and, “Son, this is not the way we do it here at NASA these days” and that’s why it’s costing us ten times more to go to the moon and twice as long when our computers are few billion times faster. So let’s run through that. I was to put on here, here are some categories of things that you might have imagined late 1880s and someone said, “Oh, we’ re going to have people to be flying through the air or you’re going to be able to communicate instantaneously across the Atlantic” and then people said, “What are you, nuts! That’s impossible!” Inconceivable things that a few decades later became very conceivable; space flight, heart transplant, cloning, eradication of small pox, sequencing the human genome, all these things were impossible and viewed. I’m sure by 90% of public is impossible at one point. In fact, I was talking to Ray Croswell two days ago and he was talking about the fact that five years after the human genome project was launched in 1990, in 1995 when the only sequence 1% of the human genome, everybody was saying, “See it’s a ridiculous project. We should cancel it.” So, here are my favorites and I’ve done this by getting comments from people and just accumulating them so if you send me emails or your comments, I’m happy to add these on to the list. So, first, a human mission to Mars and by the way, I believe that the best way to go to Mars is one way. The idea of round trip travel I think is ridiculous. We should go to colonize. It’s a lot cheaper, a lot safer, and a much higher probability of success, and we can talk about that in different time. Faster- than-light communication, send (indiscernible) bits of information from point to point faster than a speed of light. Organ replacement, when I say organ replacement here it is clone and regrow and transplant an individual’s own vital organs. First baby born off to planet. Babelfish, creation of personalized portable instantaneous universal language translation tool. A flying car, build a car that can drive a normal traffic, carry at least two people and also fly distances of over a hundred miles. Artificial intelligence, build a machine that passed the Turing test. Self-replicating non-biological machines. Longevity and this is a low level, only double the length of the healthy human life span. Cancer, now cancer is thousands of different diseases so rather than curing cancer, what about being able to detect it when it’s at the 100-cell stage and zap it any place in the body. Predict an earthquake within hours notice or days notice. Cure to AIDS. Identify extrasolar life-bearing planets of any type of any single organism. Proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. New York to Paris in less than 30 minutes. A private, fully- reusable, Orbital Spaceship, orbit the Earth for less than hundred thousand. Apollo 8 mission privately fly one person around the moon safely back to Earth. Here’s some fun when robotic sports, the first robot to beat Tiger Woods in 18 holes of golf or the first robotic soccer team to beat the championship soccer team or the first robotically driven car to beat the Formula-1 champion. Humans in deep ocean, three people to the ocean bottom twice in three days, this were the Ansari equivalent. Image a 100% of the ocean floor, we only image 3% so far and some of the world’s greatest waterfalls, underwater lakes, and mineral deposits are there. Backup the biosphere, clear the database, a data backup of the internet and the top 10,000 species on Earth, how you judge that would be interesting and place it off the planet. Replicator, device taken to create out of energy and raw material, anything for which a detailed plan as provided. Details desired. I really want that one. Energy extraction what do you mean by that is something along the length of ZeroPoint or Cold Fusion sort energy out of the ether. Sustainable net-energy positive fusion. Vision restoration wire up an eye for better or 20/20 or better. The first brain transplant, but the person has to actually have a full functioning of memory and motor function and live for at least a day. The second person will do much better than that, I hope. Download a brain to a computer with all memory intact. One that I’m thoroughly amazed by brain-to-brain communications at more than 10-fold or current interface. Develop a real-time collective consciousness for group of over hundred people. Eradication of hunger for more than 90% of human population. Eradication of poverty for more than 90% of human population, will be those want to be hungry and always want to be poor but I think at least 90% don’t. Carbon sequestration, create economic devices to extract and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. That would need a better definition. Create an AI that can engage and educate children to their highest possible potential. Develop a learning technique or system that allows increased rate of learning by an ordered magnitude and of course I like the person who believes at Darwin and global warming are both real. So before I will go to questions, I’ll end with this thought which is the most critical tool for solving any challenge is the committed and passionate human mind and that’s what we’re trying to do with X PRIZES is drive people to take risk, do crazy things that the next day become phenomenal breakthroughs. So thank you for that. Let’s I guess collect this and go to Q&A. By the way, I’ll leave my e- mail address is up there, just I’d love your ideas for long-term X PRIZES as much details you want to provide, would be welcomed. : Thank you Peter. That’s great. Let’s have a seat and I got some Chris rush, where are you? Asks how do you persuade donors to give? Why shouldn’t they wait until some other billionaire funds the project? Peter Diamandis: So I guess, a lot of the donors that we’ve had have really been amazing entrepreneurs. We have some you called the Vision Circle which is our group of major donors, Larry was the first, a number of folks from Google, a number of folks at the Ansari family and these are people who are… : We do. : We have a great Board of Trustees and Vision Circle who come in twice a year and we have a fund debate at our Board Vision Circle Member meeting about where we should we doing X PRIZES and those Visions Circle members are really are shareholders who put up the money and we listen to them and say let’s create X PRIZES in these areas. They are the people who can fund them and the people who are typically were engaged in those areas but they’re impatient. They want the leverage. They made their money by having phenomenal leverage and they see this a way of doing things in a more radical fashion faster.

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 14 minutes and 6 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Chris Baldwin for the Long Now Foundation
Views: 139
Posted by: bobappel on Oct 23, 2008

Long Now Foundation
San Francisco, CA
Sep 12th, 2008

Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, speaks at the Long Now Foundation about the history of the X Prize.

The goal of the 10 million dollar prize is to benefit humanity and Diamandis details some of the effects of this generous prize.

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