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Keeping an optimistic outlook

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Profiles in Leadership

Peter Diamandis, who runs the X Prize Foundation, believes we’re on the cusp of a “world of abundance.”

As he sees it, “abundance” is about creating a life of possibility. And he views the biggest, most foreboding topics­—water scarcity, climate change, population explosion—in terms of that possibility.

Take the fact that the Earth’s population just passed the 7 billion mark.

“In 2010, we had just short of 2 billion people online, connected,” he says. That number will shoot to 5 billion online users by 2020.

That’s 3 billion people who’ve never been part of the global conversation before, and 3 billion people who want and desire things.

“And rather than having economic shutdown, we’re about to have the biggest economic injection ever. These people represent tens of trillions of dollars in­­jected into the global economy,” he says.

What else will those 3 billion people bring? Perhaps a solution to other big problems.

Diamandis gives this example: An online game called “Foldit” challenges anyone, anywhere, to do something that a supercomputer would normally do: Figure out how a sequence of amino acids will fold.

Hundreds of thousands of people have played the game online. And what it showed is that humans are better at folding proteins than the best computers.

In fact, one human turned out to be better at it than anyone else, even better than the MIT professors who tried their hand at folding. It was a woman in England, who worked as an executive assistant at a rehab clinic. She turned out to be the best protein folder.

Yes, people represent the best possibility of all.

— Adapted from “Abundance is our future,” Peter Diamandis, TED.

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