ICCF24 Presents: Peter Diamandis and Huw Price - Why Prizes Accelerate Moonshot Technologies

ICCF24 Presents: Peter Diamandis and Huw Price - Why Prizes Accelerate Moonshot Technologies

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Please welcome to the stage virtually,  Peter Diamandis and Hugh Price. Hello, everyone, as you can see, you've got  the real me. And I hope, a virtual Peter.   Hello, Peter. Hi. Good to see you  again. And thank you for joining us.   Now, what we're going to do today is to have a  fireside chat with the whole room. But first of   all, Peter, I'm going to raise a few questions  on my own. I'm going to take advantage of the   fact that I've got you to myself for a few  minutes before we open it up for general Q&A.  

Peter, of course, everyone knows the XPrize brand.  But we don't all know the history -- and here,   I'm including myself. Perhaps you could start  off by telling us where the idea came from,   how it started, what the  philosophy was, that sort of thing? Sure, I'll do it in brief. The reality is that  prizes are not a very new concept. They've  

been around for a while, the Longitude Prize.  Probably the prize that got me excited about this   was something called the Orteig Prize that was  offered in 1919 by a Frenchman, Raymond Orteig.   For the first person to fly  nonstop between New York and Paris,   or Paris and New York. But with the trade winds,  you go eastward. And that $25,000 prize offered  

in 1919 sparked nine different teams to spend  $400,000 trying to win this $25,000 prize. And   what was important was the prize was offered  in 1919. It was considered a crazy idea. The   idea of flying nonstop over that far distance.  And by 1927, when Lindbergh made the flight,   he was the most unlikely person to pull it off.  Meaning, he had flown far fewer hours than any of   the other teams that went in. But yet, he won. And when I read Lindbergh's biography called,  

The Spirit of St. Louis, I was blown away  by the economics of the prize. That $25,000   prize drove $400,000 in team expenditures.  And that that prize really launched today's,   you know, quarter billion dollar aviation  industry. You can trace it back very clearly. So by the time I finished reading that book, the  idea of an incentive competition, right. There are  

historical prizes like the Pulitzer Prize, the  Nobel Prize, that reward someone for work done   a few years ago -- or in some  cases, three decades ago.   This was an incentive competition. This is,  I don't care where you're from, where you   went to school, what you've ever done. If you  solve this problem and demonstrate it, you win. And so I launched, on the heels of reading  that book, something called the Ansari XPRIZE,   the XPRIZE for private spaceflight, offering up  $10 million, money I didn't have at the time.   Regardless, for the first person who could build  a private spaceship carrying three adults up into   space, land safely do it again within two weeks.  And it took me from 1994 when I had the idea to   1996, when we announced it under the arch of  St. Louis. It took another eight years to 2004  

for the prize to be won. On the heels of that,  we've since launched about $300 million in prizes. Last year, we launched our largest ever, $100  million prize that Elon funded, for gigaton   carbon removal. But we've had prizes for mapping  the ocean floor, for pulling oil out of the ocean   from oil spills, to educating kids in the middle  of Tanzania with no literate adults or schools.   Any place where you can describe a  concrete, measurable, objective goal that   typically people think can't be done. If  it could be done and it's happening anyway,   it's not a great place for a prize.  A prize can accelerate those things.   But it's really, prizes do an amazing  job where it's getting people to say,   "I wonder, could I do that?" "How would I do  that?" And you get parallel innovation going.  

For the gigaton carbon removal prize, we've had  1,100 teams enter that competition, as an example.   We'll typically have at least a few dozen, to  hundreds. In this case, we broke over 1,000 teams. Do you have a favorite prize? So,   you've been running for almost  20 years since the space prize... Oh, I think I'll jokingly use the line that Burt  Rutan shared: "My favorite airplane is my next   one." So my favorite prize is my next one.  We have a few that are amazing. We have one  

we're on the verge of getting funded. It's  a wildfire prize. For any of us living in   California, that is an issue. This prize is  asking teams, Can you detect a wildfire at   ignition? And if it's greater than two meters in  size, or if it's moving, put it out in 10 minutes? Avoid the campfires, avoid the grill,  identify a wildfire that shouldn't exist,   and put it out. And I don't care  how you put it out, Water balloons,   water cannons, drones, robots,  doesn't matter. But it's, you know,  

when's the best time to detect a wildfire?  At start, right? And same thing for cancer. Another XPRIZE that I'm diligently working  on right now is an age reversal XPRIZE.It's   a $101 million prize. Chip Wilson has underwritten  half of it. He put up $51 million. You might ask,   why is it 101? Well, he wanted it to be bigger  than Elon's prize, which is $100 million.   And that's for reversing biological human age by  20 years or more with a therapeutic that lasts for   under a year. So we're two thirds funded for that  prize and really want to get launched this year.  

I'm contributing there. I think it's  an area that can use new thinking,   new innovators, and attention. One of the  things that we do with prizes, in particular,   that's an advantage is we bring brand new talent  into the field that didn't exist before, new   approaches. A lot of times in these competitions  the traditional players, like with the original   XPRIZE for spaceflight, we did not have  Boeing, or Lockheed, or Orbital Sciences,   or any of the traditional players because  there's no incentive for them. If they lose,   people say, "Well, look, you just  lost to a startup." And if they win,   they say, "What, you did this for a $10 million  prize and you couldn't have done it on your own   before?" So it really brings typically smaller  parties, non traditional teams, to the table.

The other thing that these prizes do,  Huw, as we've discussed is they provide   a level playing field so that we can  compare lots of different approaches. So another prize that was a great  one was when the BP Oil Spill hit,   in 2010. James Cameron was on my board  at that time, and he said we got to do   something about this spill. It was mucking up  the beaches, it was going on and on and on.   And we ended up coming up with an idea that  we couldn't cap the spill on the the BP   platform. But what if we could reinvent how to  clean up the spill faster? Or we could clean up   the oil on the ocean surface before it hits beach  land and messes up the fisheries and the beaches? And we had 430 teams enter  that competition. We basically   narrowed them down to 10 finalists. And we said,  your solution has to fit a shipping container. And  

your shipping container needs to be the top 10 to  send their shipping container to a facility in New   Jersey for the world's largest oil spill cleanup.  And so we had 10 different approaches show up in   this facility. One of the teams was a fishing  family out of Alaska that really invested their   life savings. They came in like, third. One of  the teams was a team that came out of Las Vegas,   a tattoo artist who had the idea for the prize  and the engineering of it. And one of his   customers funded it. They tested it in the  guy's Jacuzzi because they couldn't get access  

to a larger facility. And it actually became  one of the top four or five solutions. So you   get very non traditional players going after  these things. And sometimes traditional ones,   too. But it's got to be measurable. It's got to  be objective. And ultimately, we ended up getting  

not a single solution but lots of solutions,  and hopefully kicked off an entire industry. So there are lots of elements that make these  prizes really work well with innovation. Okay, yeah, there's a great tradition of   technological solutions in bathtubs.  I'm thinking of Archimedes.  

Okay, you've told us about lots of  great things. Are there any XPRIZEs   that you feel were a dud, or failures,  or simply weren't won by anyone? So, great question. And I'm fond of saying, if   100 percent of the prizes we launch are  won then we're clearly making a mistake   because it's too easy. We're looking for the  intersection of audacious and achievable prizes. In 2007, I think it was thereabouts, Larry  Page introduced me to Craig Venter. And Craig   had sequenced his human genome in 2001, and put up  a half million dollar prize for the $1,000 genome.   And Craig ended up joining our board and put  his $500,000 forward towards a larger prize. And  

we ended up raising a $10 million prize called the  Archon Genome XPRIZE, for the first $1,000 genome.   And we had started the prize, we had the capital,  we had the rules going, but what happened was that   the rate at which sequencing breakthroughs  were occurring, if you've ever seen sort of   the cost of human genome sequencing, they were  dropping at five times Moore's Law. There's a   very beautiful chart with that occurring. And we  got to a point where he said, you know, this is   happening with or without a prize. And it's not  a good place for a prize to be. So we ended up,   much to the chagrin of particular one of the  teams, who really had some beautiful technology,   not launching the prize, even  though it was ready to launch.  

And today, we've gotten from $100 million  for Craig's Genome in nine months,   down to $100 per genome in seven hours. So  it's been progressing pretty extraordinarily. Another prize that didn't get one was our Google  Lunar prize. So after the original prize was   was won for spaceflight, we were having dinner  at the Googleplex with a group of our board   members and benefactors and said, "What's our  next space prize going to be?" And we said,   "How about a private lunar landing prize --  not for humans, but for a robot?" And the prize   that was set -- it was another learning  from this -- was, a $30 million prize.   And it was going to be for the first team  who could land a private robot on the moon.   Take photos and videos. I should say photos  and YouTube videos, send them back to Earth,  

rove half a kilometer, you could rove or you could  hop, and then send back more photos and videos. And we had about 30 teams enter that competition.  And it was originally set to expire in six years.   Google did an amazing job of extending it a  few additional times. By the end of 10 years,   the the period of the prize had run out. And  it turned out a year later, the Israeli team  

that had competed in this competition did make  a landing on the moon, albeit a kinetic landing. They didn't survive the impact that had difficulty  with the software on the descent stage. But   a number of teams that entered that, there's a  massive amount of startup capital that went in,   and a number of companies that are now part of  NASA's Lunar economy came out of that competition.   So we're proud of that. I would say one of the  lessons we learned from that competition was we   made it a little bit too difficult. Meaning,  rather than just saying, land on the moon   privately and send back a photo, the idea of  having to land and then move and then send   back more photos and videos... as if a private  landing on the moon wouldn't have been enough? So,  

there are lessons learned every time  that we succeed and every time we fail.   Some of the things that we do today in  prizes, that we didn't do originally was,   we'll offer out tiered prizes where 80 percent of  the prize purse may be for the ultimate solution.   But we might offer 10 percent of the prize purse  a year or two into the competition, to the top   teams. And another 10 percent to a smaller subset  of teams. All the teams can continue to compete.   But it just puts capital into the field. Because  sometimes even that small amount of capital,   $100,000 here or there, can make a big  difference for a startup team in the lab.

Thank you, Peter. That's, that's all fascinating.  I've learned a lot that I didn't know. And as an   Australian, I'm particularly pleased to hear about  the Wildfire prize. We have that problem, too.   Let's now move on from the history of XPRIZE,  to talk about the field of these people here:   New Energy Solutions. Perhaps I could start by  asking, why hasn't there been an XPRIZE in this  

field? I'm aware that a few years ago there was a  competition for, I think it was called, Designing   a Breakthrough Energy Prize. I think that was a  sort of proposal for an XPRIZE, is that correct? We do want and desire, I mean, we have energy  and environment sustainability as one of the core   cornerstones of the areas that we're  looking at prizes. And we've talked about,   one of the questions on prizes is always: Is the  economy, is industry, driving it sufficiently?   With a prize, you don't want to set up a prize for  something that's going to happen anyway, right?   The analogy I use is, you don't want to go and  kiss the winner in the winner's circle. Like,  

"Oh, you were going to do this anyway.  Here's a prize so we can get glory for the   prize benefactor or the prize organization."  That's not a good idea. You really want to   have prizes for areas that are not moving fast  enough, or there's no capital flowing into that   sector, or people think it's not possible. Which  brings us to, you know, sort of the topic at hand. I've always felt like, a great use for use for an  XPRIZE would be something around Cold Fusion, low   LENR type. Because obviously, a few decades ago,  there was a series of events that led to a great   stigma about, "well, you can't do research in that  area". One of the prizes I'm working on right now,  

which I mentioned, is this age-reversal prize  which five to 10 years ago would have had a   similar type of reaction from people saying,  "Oh, that's a crazy idea. I cannot believe   you're funding that!" And, you know, with the  work that Dr. David Sinclair and George Church,   and others have done, it's become really a  hot area of research. And our hope is not   just bringing more capital  and talent to the table,   but also to change the perspective  of what people think is possible. I think one of the things that prizes do is  people go from, "Oh, interesting. Can that   happen?" to "When is it going to happen?" Right,  it provides that sort of question, that vector.

So, I do believe that LENR and related  fields are potentially a great place.   You know, where if people are working on a  subject that people consider kind of crazy,   I like to say, "The day before something is  truly a breakthrough, it's a crazy idea."   So, we do need to have a sufficient number of  people inside government, inside companies, inside   scientific institutions, working on crazy ideas.  Otherwise, you're stuck in incremental-ism. So how do we incentivize people to take shots at  what traditional communities consider crazy ideas,   and not damage their careers? Well, I think  incentive competitions are a great way to do that.   Cuz it gives you an excuse to say, "well, why are  you going to risk your career on that?" "Well,   have you heard there's $100 million prize  to go and win that? Of course, I'm going   to give it a shot, you know, even if there's a  small chance." So anyway, let me pause there.

But perhaps I could press you a little bit on  the question as to why it hasn't happened before,   because the the kinds of factors that you've  just described have been fairly constant,   going back several years. now. When I  first wrote publicly about this field,   I was interested, as a philosopher of science,  in the reputation problems, and suggested that   given that it was clear that work in  this field needed to be done. Because the   cost of missing something could be so high,  given the need for new sources of energy. And  

even to someone like me, coming from philosophy,  I could see we needed to change the incentive   structure. And I actually suggested in that  first piece, that perhaps we need an XPRIZE.   And that was six or seven years ago. So, as I  said, I was aware that there was a competition   to try to design an XPRIZE. I'm  curious about why it didn't happen.

So I would say that the reason that we haven't  gone as pure play would, as going saying a cold   fusion prize, or LENR prize, is we've got  to find the capital behind these things. And   what we typically will do is get a grant to figure  out what the rules would be, is there a viable   prize there, first and foremost. So like, for  example, on the age reversal prize, Sergei Young   and Michael Antonov put up the seed capital.  They put up a half a million bucks and said,  

"Let's figure out if there's a there, there." And  then, I was then able to get Chip Wilson to commit   to his, and then I've committed capital to it,  and others, and it starts to build momentum there.   And so I think, in this area there, it hasn't  been clear, you know, heretofore, where that   seed capital or where the price capital  would come from. And there's just a lot   of pressing problems. But this one is a  disproportionate, you know, reward potential.   So, I do, it's something that I'm,  I remain excited by and, you know,   lend my voice to something that I think we should  be doing. But it's, I think it's, I think it's  

access to capital, right? Who's going to step  up and put up the money? By the way, you know,   with all of these prizes, if no one wins, you  don't pay out the money. I mean, it's like,   it's like throwing yourself a touchdown pass.  It's, it's, it's crazy not to be doing. And for   me, I think there's so much capital sitting on the  sidelines doing nothing that it just angers me. Do you think that there's a significant  difference between a prize in this field   and in all or most of the other fields, in that in  this case, it would be more about basic science,   about a sort of proof of principle of the  existence of certain kinds of phenomenon,   rather than a clear technological goal?  Does, would that makes a big difference? I think, and talking to some of the individuals  who hopefully will step up to the microphone in   our Q&A, and share what we've been talking about  -- I think the the issue here is that the most   important thing in this realm is repeatability,  replicability. It's, can you actually, when we   write it, when we come up with a prize, it's got  to be clear, measurable, objective. And you need  

to know when you've done it, and the world needs  to know when you've done it. And in this arena,   it's not going to be enough for someone to claim,  "Tada! I've done it. Here's the printout." It's   going to be fundamental that it be replicated  independently at least once, if not more.  

And only then. And that begins, right, that's zero  to one. And then that begins the process of now,   can we can we actually turn this into a  viable energy source, and commercialize? Okay, I think it's time to open up the Q&A to the  floor. I'm very curious to hear the questions from   this fascinating group of people we have here. The  practicalities: we've now got two microphones, one   on either side of the room, by the white pillars.  So could you line up at one or the other of them?  

And please, please introduce yourself  before you ask you your question. Sure. I'm Rob Kimball with Soulytic.  And I'm wondering, do you have a   timeframe, roadmap, for when the prize would  be offered? That do, is this paced by when   the capital is secured, or the metrics for  measuring are secured? What's the roadmap for ...

So, thank you for your question. And, you know,  this is a prize in concept. You can imagine the   analogy to the movie industry where we have just  the beginnings of a script here that's got to be   turned into a screenplay. And then it's got to  have the actors attached to it, and funded. I'm   based in LA, so that's an analogy. Or maybe the  better analogy is the pharma industry. But we've   had some conversations back and forth, between  XPRIZE and Anthropocene, just brainstorming   rule sets. Matt, who's in the audience there, and  Carl, have been part of the ongoing conversations.  

And, you know, I think we first, we have a set  of guidelines that we're trying to feel out,   and we think there is a viable construct for  a prize. I personally think this should be   something like a $100 million prize, in that  it should bring players from around the world,   and pull people out of their labs  and out of the closet, so to speak,   to go and work on this. Because, you know, if  it's one, it's a huge, huge payoff for the planet.   We, you know, these prizes would need to  have a viable Test Lab, that would be a...   So, we need someone who's going to fund the  prize. XPRIZE, if this were a funded prize,   would be super happy to promote, operate, support.  We need a lab that's going to be doing the third   party independent testing. So, when we did the  oil spill cleanup facility, cleanup XPRIZE,  

we ended up partnering with the government,  which has a large facility called OHSMETT. I   have no idea what the acronym stands for, but it's  the world's largest oil spill cleanup facility.   Didn't know there was one of those, but there was  one in New Jersey. And all of the teams tested   their equipment head-to-head in that facility.  We had a very accurate gallons per hour removed   in that regard. So we would need to find a  lab that would be the gold standard -- to say,  

"Yea, verily, we replicated this," or Nope,  didn't get replicated, we don't buy it." I forgot to mention, you can also submit your  questions using the app and they will appear in   front of me here. One has just appeared, but I'm  going to try to keep the queue. You're next sir. Hi, there. My name is Oliver  Barham from the US Navy,  

mechanical engineer, and I have two questions.  One of them is about raising the capital. How   do you convince the people with access to  capital to give money for a prize versus   investing in a company that could potentially  bring them a lot of reward? And then second,   and not necessarily related but, have there  ever been any unintended negative effects   from a prize? Was there ever a time where a prize  didn't work out the way you expected, or had any   effect that was negative in any way? Because  it seems like the prize is just a great idea,   and we should be doing them all the time. So  I'm curious if there's any negatives. Thanks. So, Oliver, thanks for your  questions. To my knowledge,   there haven't been any negatives? I'm sure there  have been that I don't know of, or could be. So  

you know, nothing's perfect, you know. In  terms of the economic incentives for this,   we have had, you know, for our age reversal  prize, for example, one of the rules we have   is that, if you're a benefactor for the  prize, we will negotiate with the teams   options for you to invest in the company, or early  access to treatment. So that can be part of the   ruleset, if that's desired. But, you know, there's  trillions of dollars on the sidelines right now   from everybody, all the billionaires worldwide.  This is not a corporation that's going to fund   this, this is going to be an individual or  a foundation that this is just part of their   portfolio play. And one of the other benefits  of these prizes, Oliver, is that a lot of times   you think you know who the players are in a  field. Like, you know, it's two or three. In the  

venture capital business it's this way, where you  pre-choose -- Okay, I know that company and that   company, and I'm going to invest in that company.  When you put up a prize, instead of looking for a   needle in the haystack, the needle comes to you.  So you don't know all the players out of you know,   around the world. These are typically global  prizes. So you'll see teams from places unexpected  

come forward with their ideas. Remember, I  mentioned that unless you're enabling crazy ideas,   you're stuck in incrementalism. So one of the  benefits of prizes is you see a multitude,   you get a relationship with hundreds of teams.  And there's no restriction for you to be able to,   you know... When a team wins this thing, it's  just the beginning of the race. it's not the end,  

right? It's they're going to need to scale and  commercialize and get the bugs out, and so forth.   So I think there's plenty of room for capital. I  just think a lot of times, the reason people don't   get involved in prizes that are big and audacious  like this, is they're afraid of being embarrassed.   They are afraid of putting their name on a prize  that other people may think is kind of crazy.  

And that's unfortunate, but  it's part of the human dynamic. Thank you, Peter. Next question over here, please. Okay, my name is Alan Smith, from  Net Zero Scientific in England.  

I want to loop back to your question about all  your your thoughts on the parameter space, because   LENR is a very broad church, it covers a  whole variety of technologies and techniques.   And, for example, I could see the situation  where somebody could produce a device that   costs five bucks, that produces a few milliwatts  of electricity, for example, and it's very small   and very compact. And yet, somebody else may  have spent half a million dollars producing a   machine that produces perhaps 100 Watts. They're  very different in concept, in construction,   and in principles of operation. How  can you decide between those things?

Yeah, listen, Alan, I agree with you.   I don't have an answer. It's still early.  We've been bouncing back and forth ideas.   You know, we're... Let me back up a second. When  we originally were trying to figure out the rules  

for the Ansari XPRIZE for spaceflight, I want  you to imagine the conversation. Saying, "Listen,   this prize should be a prize that goes to the  moon," or "This prize should be a prize to go   into orbit." And I'm like, "No, no, this is  going to be a suborbital prize." In fact,   we started in 100 miles altitude, and  lowered the altitude target from 100   miles to 100 kilometers, knowing full well  most Americans won't know the difference   between 100 miles and 100 kilometers,  anyway. But, we looked at the reentry   thermal characteristics for composites. 100  miles was too high an altitude. And we just,  

we wanted to get something. So the goal is, I like  to say this, "The ratio of something to nothing is   infinite." We wanted to get something that was  opening up the commercial spaceflight industry.   And we ended up, through that competition, getting  a lot of attention globally. You know, I've known   Bezos since college, and Elon for 23 years now.  And Branson, God knows I pitched him a dozen times   on funding the original prize. But that lowered  the activation entry for commercial companies.   We also got the laws and regulations in the  United States changed for commercial spaceflight,   because of that prize. It didn't exist beforehand.  And Marion Blakey, the head of the FAA, basically  

got the regulations to allow a US private  team to make this kind of a flight, versus   having one in Russia or Argentina. So I think we  don't know the ruleset yet. I think the goal is   to get lots of players, and unleash capital  and imagination, and get people thinking   in non traditional fashion to move  this field forward, bringing more   more cognitive surplus to the  table, so to speak. But we do have   we have a lot more work to do on,  "Is a there, there?" on the ruleset. Okay, thank you. I would say you're  talking about unleashing capital.   It's possibly important to  remember, in a field like this,   you need to unleash a little capital at  the beginning, as well as at the end.

I totally, I totally get it. One of the  elements, Alan, that I, uh, you know,   a winner take all scenario is not where XPRIZE has  been heading, of late. We're looking to design the   prizes so that the top teams are the most, the  most promising teams, if you would. The teams   that have interesting approaches are getting  small aliquots of capital in the beginning,   and then larger along the way. We're staging  it, still, with a big carrot at the end. It's a great plan. Thank you. Thank you, Alan. The next question  is going to come from the app, here.  

And it's from Bob Grenier, who says, "What about  trying a prize for practical solutions to making   nuclear waste extinct -- remediation, perhaps,  using LENR? To do this would be transformational   to energy generation transitions via nuclear,  and also to acceptance of the LENR field." So, listen, I believe that energy  remains a very fertile place for us to   be finding XPRIZES. You know, I'm a fan of other  areas like room temperature superconductors   for transmission lines, and power beaming at  distance. And there's, you know, there's so many   places that we can improve. So we are going to  be switching up XPRIZE from XPRIZE... XPRIZE 1.0   was me looking to fund the original spaceflight  prize. XPRIZE. 2.0 is what we've been doing,   which has been a little bit of a random walk  in different areas. XPRIZE 3.0 is going to  

be much more intentional, and energy  and environment is one of our core...   And so we're going to be doing a broad call  for ideas and prizes. And I welcome that.   And we'll be sharing where people can put  forward their prize ideas. Next, please. Thank you, Peter. Next question. You, sir. Hi, Peter, my name is Les Moon,  and I'm with Green Tech Talks. And,   you know, Carl had brought up the importance of  community. And I'm curious, with regard to the  

discussions of laboratories and the impact or the,  you know, the role of the technology research,   what role can public private partnerships play  in promulgating and kind of leveraging the money   that's going into the XPRIZE initiatives?  In other words, do you see opportunity to   not just promulgate investors down the road, but  maybe governments and the community in general? So, I think the the general community here needs  to be an amplifier to anything we do, right? In   terms of reaching out to people, to prospective  teams, a lot of what an XPRIZE does is also change   the conversation. And it's, the breakthrough is  just the beginning. But the expectation of what   the future is going to be like given this, an  education is definitively key for the community.   Having a breakthrough occur in silence is a  failure mode, for us. It's really important  

that when anything, when we announce this prize  -- hopefully it will be an XPRIZE, sometime,   when it's announced? The world needs to be  excited about it. People need to understand   why this is so exciting. What does this  mean? How does this transform society?   I think, otherwise, if it's so, if it's  not properly understood, the value of this   will not meet the potential  magnitude it has for for humanity.

Thank you. Yes, sir. Yes, hello. My name is David Niebauer,  I'm with Brillouin Energy. And my   question or comment really kind of follows on what  we were just talking about, it does seem to me,   in order to fund this prize, we need a review  committee that has of very high prestige.  

Scientists or are individuals who are  recognized. And maybe like, first,   someone to lead a review committee like that,  you know, what is the profile of that individual?   I think of something like Neil deGrasse Tyson,  you know, or somebody like that, who has, who was   recognized, generally speaking, but also can come  and bring some prestige to the review committee to   gain excitement and energy and interest. And then,  you know, from people who don't know the field,   they'll also say, Well, you know, this person is  looking at this, there must be something there.  

So this is kind of an appeal to the community  to think about, what is the profile of that   individual to lead the review committee? And  can we kind of reach into our contacts and   find somebody who could be a At that level of  prestige that could help lead the the effort,   both from financing and also recognition  around around the world for what's going on. Sure, good points. And anybody you know, I think  Anthropocene is going to be the conduit and the   receptacle for ideas here. So Frank and Carl and  the team there is this really has been championed   by them. XPRIZE is, you know, again, it will  support if we're able to capitalize this properly  

launching this, but that's not our core area of  expertise. Right. This is, this is for adequacy.   I will say that when I announced the original  XPRIZE, I had a concept I'll share with you   along the lines you just said called giving birth  to an idea above the line of super credibility.   So there's this line of credibility in our minds.  And if you announced an idea below the line of   credibility to the world, people dismiss it out  of hand, that's stupid. Never happen, right?   If your kid next door says you're gonna fly to  Mars, you dismiss it. Then there's this line of   credibility, where if you announce an idea  above the line of credibility, people will   follow it and say, interesting, wow, it's He's  really doing it's getting better and better.  

Or, you know, no, I gave it I gave it a shot,  but it's not happening. And then there's this   line of super credibility that if you announce  an idea above the line of super credibility,   people go, Oh, my god, that's amazing. How can I  be part of it? So when I announced the original   Ansari XPRIZE, back in 1996, May 18, under the  Arch in St. Louis, I didn't have the money back   then. And let me just preempt a question. My board  will never allow me to launch a prize, but having   money in place again. So that isn't gonna happen.  But what I did do was we announced it under the  

Arch in St. Louis, I had not one astronaut,  but 20 astronauts on stage. And Dan Goldin,   the head of the FAA and Patti Grace Smith, I'm  sorry, dangle the head of NASA and Patti, head of   commercial space or space at FAA. The Lindbergh  family was there. And when it was announced,   we had enough super credibility that was front  page around the world. And no one asked you have   the money, which we didn't have any teams, which  we didn't, but it was by virtue of our Purigen,   who was with us on stage, it had so much  credibility that that that transmitted strongly,   so we would need to do the same. When this  is announced, having the right leadership  

from the government, the right leadership, from  from commercial industry, and from the appropriate   scientists on the planet to say, you know, this  is important for science to take a shot at. I'm going to bring in now here  a brief question from the app.   Which button you've just answered. Peter, Mark  Owensby says, Is it possible to offer a prize   pending funding? This would make it more concrete  to potential investors ie: The Gates Foundation? Yeah, I mean, the short answer is is no, I  think it discredits the rest of the prizes.  

You know, we when we launch a prize, we enter  into a contractual agreement with the teams   through a master team agreement in which  we say if you accomplish A, B and C   in a in the measure in this fallen way, then  we'll write you a check for this amount. But   it's not just the money of course, it's promoting  them to the world. And for us, the worst that can   happen is a lot of energy happens a lot of people  and then never never materializes. I remember,   it took me we announced in May of 96, I met  Newsha Ansari, who is now the CEO of the   XPRIZE she funded our first XPRIZE we named it the  Ansari XPRIZE and her honor, she's since travelled   to the space station privately and very proud.  She came back three years ago to serve as the   CEO of the organization, she runs  it I served as executive chairman.  

During the five years between announcing  the prize and finally and God knows,   I asked 150 people to fund that $10  million prize and everyone said,   can anyone really do it? isn't someone gonna die  trying and you know, why isn't acid doing it?   Ultimately, I had teams calling me every  week saying we're building our ship. We've   had a reliance on you. Are you visiting funded  yet? I just wanted to go through that again. I think we've got time for one  more short question. Gentleman   over here has been waiting for some time.

My name is Dan Shumsky, I'm an independent  scholar. And I guess the I'm relating to   what you're saying about the review of these  projects, and I'm Think back to Thomas Kuhn   and his Structure of Scientific Revolution, in  which he talks about the person who comes up with   the paradigm as being someone who is, first  of all brand new to the field, an outsider,   someone who doesn't really have the background  to do what they are doing. And I think about the   review process that goes on in  the science community today,   and the review process that you have to undergo,  which is, I hope somewhat different because ... success in this field is at risk is risky  to everybody else in the field, right? When you   have a breakthrough, it means a new paradigm the  experts no longer the experts there has bins. So   you have a disincentive in some degree to have a  transformation in any revolution in any field. It   and so the existing players  may not want you to succeed.

The scientific principles have to be open   to question and open to  acceptance in a different light Thank Thank you, sir. I'm afraid we're  out of time. So I'd just like you   all to join me in thanking Peter for what I  found to be a really fascinating conversation.

2022-08-20 03:36

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