Innovate, Or Get Out of the Way!
"I define an expert as someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done," says X Prize founder and Chairman Peter Diamandis.
What's the Big Idea?
In the preface to his play, The Doctor's Dilemma, George Bernard Shaw made the famous observation that all professions "are conspiracies against the laity." In short, they shield their own shortcomings from the public out of self-interest.
Indeed, the protection of professional interests can be traced to pre-industrial times, when the earliest guilds began to exert tight control over the secrets of their respective crafts. Master craftsmen, the professional heirs to the "experts" of today, formed these associations for the purpose of mutual protection, not innovation.
Indeed today, when an industry gets too comfortable, it becomes anti-innovation. "I define an expert as someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done," says Peter Diamandis, who has done perhaps more than any other man to disrupt the space industry, a feat he accomplished by designing the Ansari X Prize for the first successful private manned spaceflight, which was won by SpaceShipOne in 2004.
For Diamandis, disrupting an entire industry was not just a matter of coming up with a brilliant idea. He had to test the idea--the design for his competition--against the feedback from experts in the field. As Diamandis tells Big Think, it was really a matter of asking the right questions of the right people.
Watch the video here:
What's the Significance?
Instead of relying on the traditional aerospace players like Boeing, Lockheed and NASA ("the dinosaurs," as he likes to say), Peter Diamandis turned to another group of experts ("the fury mammals," as he likes to say) to help shape the Ansari X Prize competition. And ultimately it was groups of small teams, not corporations and governments, that prevailed in the "big boy business" of building private spacecraft.
The other key to solving a market failure, according to Diamandis, is to ask these key questions:
In the case of private space flight, Diamandis realized that capital wasn’t flowing into the market because "no one believed private space flight was really possible" and regulations didn’t allow for it.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Neuroscience is working to conquer some of the human body's cruelest conditions: Paralysis, brain disease, and schizophrenia.
- Neuroscience and engineering are uniting in mind-blowing ways that will drastically improve the quality of life for people with conditions like epilepsy, paralysis or schizophrenia.
- Researchers have developed a brain-computer interface the size of a baby aspirin that can restore mobility to people with paralysis or amputated limbs. It rewires neural messages from the brain's motor cortex to a robotic arm, or reroutes it to the person's own muscles.
- Deep brain stimulation is another wonder of neuroscience that can effectively manage brain conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson's, and may one day mitigate schizophrenia so people can live normal, independent lives.
As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.
- The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
- But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
- Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
A recent study gives new meaning to the saying "fake it 'til you make it."
- The study involves four experiments that measured individuals' socioeconomic status, overconfidence and actual performance.
- Results consistently showed that high-class people tend to overestimate their abilities.
- However, this overconfidence was misinterpreted as genuine competence in one study, suggesting overestimating your abilities can have social advantages.
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