Peter Diamandis: Keep Your Eye on Virtual Reality in 2015

Every year, Peter Diamandis ruminates on the kinds of technology ready to leap from "deceptive" to "disruptive." In this video, he explores virtual reality as an innovation ready to take the leap.

Peter Diamandis: Every year I spend time thinking about what are the technologies going from deceptive to disruptive this year that today’s exponential leaders need to be thinking about and actually beginning to work with. And for this coming year, for the next few years, my view is that virtual reality is part of that. And, you know, it’s got different terms, there are different elements of it, virtual world, virtual reality, augmented reality. And really the kickoff was the purchase of Oculus Rift by Facebook for a couple of billion dollars. But in addition to that what we’ve seen is a number of technologies coming together, infinite computing, very cheap high-resolution cameras, machine-learning capabilities, low-latency/high-bandwidth networks. All of these things are coming together to reinvent the virtual world experience.

I’ll give you one example of the virtual world that I think is important. Today when I go to a mall to buy things it’s a disastrous experience, right. You spend half an hour getting to the mall. You park. You go. You try to find a particular jacket or outfit, whatever it might be. You look; you can’t find what you’re looking for. You take a few things to the dressing room; you try it on; it doesn’t fit. You know you spend hours — it’s a wasted experience and you walk away frustrated. In the future what I project happening is at home: you will have yourself 3D scanned down to the millimeter where it’s a private file, but my body shape exactly is in a file. I then enter into a virtual world and I have an AI there that is my shopping advisor. It says, “Peter, what are you looking for?” I’m saying, “You know I’m going to this amazing Hollywood party tomorrow night and I’m looking for something that’s stylish. I want to wear black.” And all of a sudden in this virtual world everything I see is in my size, in the colors I want, recommended by this AI.

And I can say, “You know, I’d love to see a fashion show.” And all of a sudden on a runway are avatars of me wearing all these different outfits walking by and I can say, “I want to see that one and that one.” And all of a sudden I’m looking in a virtual mirror and I’m wearing that outfit and I can look around, see what it looks like. And I go, “This is it. I want that.” Boom, it’s produced, manufactured to my exact size probably using 3D-printing capabilities or robotic capabilities that afternoon in the local factory and delivered the next morning and it fits perfectly. So it’s an experience where when I want something I know I will get exactly what I’m looking for, fitting for me. So that’s the future of the virtual retail store if you would and why I think virtual reality is going to do effectively a hundred-fold improvement over what the Amazon experience is today.

Directed / Produced by Elizabeth Rodd, Jonathan Fowler, and Dillon Fitton


Every year, Peter Diamandis ruminates on the kinds of technology ready to leap from "deceptive" to "disruptive." In this video, he explores virtual reality as an innovation ready to take the leap. Exponential entrepreneurs should keep a keen eye on VR, says Diamandis, because capabilities are really beginning to come together in exciting ways. As an example, he projects what a futuristic clothes-buying experience will be like in the virtual reality world.

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

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