Tag Archives: elon musk

Building The Blueprint For Life On Mars

What is needed to make life on Mars sustainable for a long time? The main essentials of human life include air, water, food, and shelter. However, people require more than just the basic essentials to live comfortably. The Mars One project is becoming a more discussed topic by the media and public in general by the day. One interesting discussion is the speculation of how the first Mars settlers will create a lasting community on the planet.

The supplies that will be transported from Earth are likely to run out – most of them will probably be used in the seven-month journey to the red planet. When those first citizens arrive on Mars, they will have to come up with systems and processes to ensure sustainable resources for their future. In a nutshell, this is what they may be required to have. Even though humans will be able to produce numerous renewable resources on Mars, they will still need consistent funding from Earth.

According to the Mars One project, the estimated initial cost of settling the first four Mars citizens is around six billion dollars. Cost overruns are also a huge possibility. Future funding of this plan would come from donations by private investors, more so because the U.S has proposed budget cuts to space exploration funding. What began, as a grassroots cause might become a fierce global marketing campaign to get steady financial support.

A small leak in cash flow may cause trouble.  Space travel comes with a ton of health risks. All astronauts go through a thorough medical screening before undertaking a mission and they are monitored from Earth the entire time. However, this close monitoring will not be enough for permanent life on Mars. It is essential for all citizens to be able to access modern medical care.

It is almost impossible to have physicians of every specialty on Mars. Medical robots could act as a good alternative to diagnose the IBM Watson prototype and other conditions. Preventive medical technology such as early-warning software to preempt strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and other events might help. The use of minimally invasive robotic surgery to treat some conditions is also another option. All of these choices still call for equipment, facilities, and expertise. Communication with Earth is vital because of safety, technical support, and research.

Nonetheless, as the Mars community grows, the citizens will need stand-alone channels of communication among themselves. Creating a network of underground cables for the Internet and communications would be costly. A better choice is satellite phone and Internet. Humans and structures have to be protected from the environment. Too much exposure to dust storms, severe climate shifts, and radiation are some of the factors that astronauts need to be concerned about.

Southwest Research Institute has proposed plastic shielding for protection against cosmic radiation as well as wearing lead protective clothing and thick insulation. For structures, a strong outer coating might do. There are so many things to be considered when it comes to life on Mars. Examining them and coming up with solutions increases the chances of dual-planet existence. How will humans live on the red planet? An MIT team created a design concept in answer to this question as part of an international competition, Mars City Design 2017. The competition concentrated on sustainable cities on the red planet to be built within the next century.

The winning urban design by MIT, titled Redwood Forest, built tree habitats or domes, each with a capacity of up to 50 people. These domes offer open, public spaces with plants and water, obtained from the northern plains. The tree habitats will sit on top of networks of roots or underground tunnels that will give access to private spaces and convenient transportation to the rest of the tree habitats in the community. The roots will not only offer connectivity, but also protect residents from extreme thermal variations, micrometeorite impacts, and cosmic radiation.

The MIT team consisted of Caitlin Mueller, assistant professor, and postdoc Valentina Sumini leading nine students from various research groups and departments. Speaking on the project, Sumini says that the city will functionally and physically replicate a forest, utilizing the local resources on Mars such as regolith (or soil), water, the sun, and ice to support life. The forest-like design is also a symbol of the potential of growth as Mars transforms into a green planet.

Each tree habitat consists of an inflated membrane structure and a branching structural system. Since the design workflow is parametric, each habitat is different and is part of a diverse forest. The team seeks to create a comfortable environment for colonists using system architecture and location focused on sustainability—a very critical element for any Martian community.

George Lordos MBA ’00, the man responsible for the Redwood Forest system architecture, talked about the crucial role of water in developing vibrant communities on the red planet. He said that, in the Redwood Forest, each tree habitat would use energy from the sun to process and distribute water to the tree.

Water enters the soft cells in the dome and provides the much-needed protection from radiation, supplies hydroponic farms, and manages heat loads. Solar panels generate energy to break up the stored water for rocket fuel production, oxygen and charging hydrogen fuel cells (these are necessary in powering long-range vehicles and also for backup energy storage when dust storms occur).

According to the designers, most of the features in the Redwood Forest design could also be used on Earth. For instance, electric vehicles using underground multi-level networks might help with the congestion in cities in America. The tree habitat idea could help in creating working and living spaces in very harsh environments such as the sea floor, deserts, and high latitudes. Hydroponic gardening underneath cities could offer a steady supply of fresh vegetables; fish and fruits with lower transportation and land costs. Other member of the MIT team include AeroAstro PhD students Matthew Moraguez,

Alejandro Trujillo and Samuel Wald, Alpha Arsano SM ’17 (Architecture PhD student), Kamming Mark Tam MEng ’15 (research fellow), John Stillman and Meghan Maupin (Integrated Design and management Program graduates) and Zoe Lallas (Civil and Environmental engineering undergraduate). There is an easier way to launch humans to the red planet—the Martian mission could refuel on the moon. This is the suggestion of an MIT study.

Past studies have shown that water ice and lunar soil in specific craters of the moon can be mined and made into fuel. Assume that the necessary technologies are developed when the mission to Mars is set to take place; the MIT team has discovered that a detour to the moon for refueling would cut the mass of the mission by 68%. The team built a model to figure out the best route to the red planet, with the assumption that fuel-generating infrastructure and resources are available on the moon.

They determined that the most mass-efficient path would involve launching a crew with fuel, just enough to get it into orbit around Earth. Tankers of fuel would then be launched into space from a fuel plant on the moon. The Mars-bound crew would pick up the tankers, go to a nearby fueling station and refuel before going on their way. This plan is different from NASA’s direct route. It is against the common idea of how to get to Mars, where you have to go straight, carrying everything with you.

This new detour idea is unintuitive. However, from a big-picture view, it could be the most affordable option. Space exploration programs have employed two major strategies in providing resources to mission crews: the carry-along strategy, where all resources and vehicles accompany the crew at all times and the resupply strategy, which involves replenishing the crew with resources on a regular basis. However, the more humans go beyond Earth’s orbit in exploration, the more these strategies become less sustainable. The destinations are far away and budgets are limited.

The team suggests that missions to distant destinations will have a lot to gain from an “in-situ utilization” supply strategy; where resources and provisions such as fuel, oxygen, and water are produced and collected on the way. The resources generated in space would be used in place of those that would otherwise come from Earth. Ishimatsu came up with a network flow model for various routes to the red planet to see if manned missions would benefit from infrastructure and fuel resources in space. The routes range from a direct flight to those with several pit stops on the way.

The purpose of the model was to reduce the mass launched from Earth. The model focuses on a future situation in which fuel can be produced and distributed from the moon to certain points in space. According to the model, fuel depots are situated at specific gravitationally bound places in space, known as Lagrange points. Ishimatsu argues that this research highlights the importance of having a resource-producing structure in space. He goes on to say that it may not be necessary for the first mission to Mars but its presence will make repeated trips easier and more sustainable. Although the goal is to create a self-sustaining colony on Mars, a ‘road in space’ will make interplanetary travel more affordable. 

Elon Musk and Universal Basic Income

During the World Government Summit in Dubai, Elon Musk brought up crucial ideas on the future of humanity. According to Musk, Universal Basic Income (an economic idea that suggests everyone receives a paycheck from the government for personal spending) is among the few solutions for robotic automation. 

When automation becomes widespread, everything will change.  People are referring to it as the coming of the “post-scarcity economy.” In simple terms, in future (a future that is fast approaching), money will not be a big deal, and all economies will completely collapse. 

Post-scarcity is one of those things that everyone should try to understand. Traditional economies are still functional because things are hard to come by. For instance, food is limited; otherwise, it would be free. You cannot possibly charge for what is infinite like the sun, can you? 

With replicators, which are technically magical boxes that can create anything out of anything in the blink of an eye, things do not have inherent value. You cannot even influence the demand and supply of anything since the demand is not definite and the supply is limitless. In a system like that, the traditional economy is useless and powerless. How would you even draw the demand and supply curve for such a circumstance?

Humans are nowhere near replicators, obviously. And a total post-scarcity system will not be possible for a long time. However, great advancements are about to happen. The number of jobs that robots will grab from humans is significant. Take self-driving cars, for instance, that alone will render about 20% of employees unemployed. 

That is hardly the only industry that will be shaken. So many jobs can be automated easily and eventually cause millions of Americans to become jobless. It might take twenty years—or even thirty—but the truth is that no economy can withstand that.  

   Plans for universal basic income suggest tax robots. This aims at replacing the revenue that will be lost from the unemployed and alternatively created from the robots. Businesses will still gain—money will keep coming in for people to continue spending. According to some conservative estimates, the robots might even pay for themselves several times over. So companies have nothing to lose. 

At the moment (and if nothing changes), this is the only productive solution. Most markets and corporations will remain intact while working with the complicated reality of robots for labor. So somehow, Musk is right. Take time and learn, know the possibilities of the future—because no matter what your job is, it is not safe.

A new study by PwC shows that 40% of jobs in the U.S might be replaced by robots in 15 years. The other developed economies do not face this risk since they have fewer jobs that can be replaced. In the United Kingdom, only an estimated 30% of their jobs face the threat of technical improvement in automation from robotics and Artificial intelligence. For Germany, it is 31% while the estimated percentage for Japan is 21%. 

The reason why so many jobs in the US are threatened by automation is that a majority of the employees in the US work in positions where the tasks are routinized, like filling out paperwork. The industries that face the highest risk of the technological revolution are those related to retail, manufacturing, and transportation. 

How did PwC come up with these estimates? They broke down all the types of tasks of jobs in various industries. The researchers then used an algorithm that put into consideration the “automat ability” of all those tasks and the attributes of the employees hired to do them. 

A good example of how jobs in the US are prone to replacement by automation than those in the UK, as per the research, is in the financial field. Despite the fact that these two countries both have identically service-dominated economies, jobs in the financial service sector in the US are a little bit more routinized and retail oriented. Financial services jobs in the UK, on the other hand, are occupied mainly by professionals who work in international banking. Their jobs are very difficult to automate, and they require higher educational levels.

A bigger portion of Germany’s workforce is employed in the manufacturing sector compared to the U.K’s, which are exactly the kind of jobs that robots will be created to do in the future. This explains why it has a bigger percentage of jobs that faces the threat of replacement by automation. 

Compared to the U.K, U.S, and Germany, Japan has the lowest percentage of jobs that face the risk of automation. Partly, this low percentage is due to the fact that the jobs that are highly replaceable by robots are not so many in Japan. Take retail, for instance; it requires skills and far much more training in Japan—the workers have more organizing and management tasks compared to the same jobs in other economies that were studied. Also, Japan already has widespread automation. The researchers recommend several policy interventions that may be used to address job losses that might accompany automation. One of those policies is workforce retraining programs or the much discussed universal basic income scheme.

Elon Musk’s Tweet Gives Creepy Insight Into Future Of Humanoid Robots

Elon Musk’s predictions about robots is the stuff of nightmares. 


Twitter user Alex Medina captioned a promotional video of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot doing front flips and jumps in an obstacle course with the panicked caption: “We dead.” Musk responded to Medina by essentially telling him to buckle in for a lot more terrifying features to these humanoid robot advancements. 


“This is nothing. In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…,” Musk wrote. 



The Atlas robot is marketed as the “world’s most dynamic humanoid,” but even that impressive advancement might soon be eclipsed by artificial intelligence. The Tesla CEO followed up his creepy comment with a warning about the future of leaving such technology unchecked.


“Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars,” Musk tweeted.

“Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA [wouldn’t] make flying safer. They’re there for good reason.”


So Musk is basically backing up every horror movie theory about artificial intelligence and robots ever. And this isn’t the first time the tech mogul has warned about these types of advancements. Musk said in September that artificial intelligence will probably be the spark that ignites a world war. 


“China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science,” Musk wrote on Twitter in September. “Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.” 


Well, hopefully Will Smith can protect humanity in the upcoming robot apocalypse. 



Elon Musk’s 1,000 hp Tesla Semi truck just became the second most desirable vehicle in the world

See, we’ve been expecting an electric truck from Tesla for a few months now and we expected it to be, well, a truck that runs on electricity. What we didn’t expect was what is possibly the most powerful, highway-legal truck in the world and what could soon be the fastest production car in the world.

First, let’s look at the stats of the Semi:

0-60 mph (96 kph): 5 seconds

0-60 mph with an 80,000 lb (over 36 tonnes): 20 seconds

Range: 500 miles (over 800 km)

Guarantee: 1 million miles (1.6 million km)

Charging speed: 30 minutes for 400 km range

And all of this awesomeness is packed into a Class 8 semi-truck with a drag coefficient that’s lower than that of the $2 mn Bugatti Chiron with a 6.5-foot cab that you can stand in.

This is, frankly, incredible. It’s a vehicle that’s more exciting than any car we’ve ever seen. And it even comes with Autopilot.

The truck is, according to Elon Musk, a big contributor to pollution. They’re large, toxic machines that pollute the Earth. The Tesla Semi, as Musk puts it, runs on sunlight.

The six-wheeled semi is powered by four independent electric motors that draw power from a battery bank in the base of the vehicle. These are the same motors that power the Tesla Model 3, so we are, in effect, looking at a 1000 hp powertrain. As Wired notes in its preview of the vehicle, torque is more important for trucks, and that’s a figure that’s not been disclosed yet.

The four rear wheels are powered by independent electric motors

Regardless, the staggering acceleration and power figures for the vehicle, and the fact that it’s running on a massive, electric powertrain, mean that torque must be, for lack of a better word, chunkmungous.

Musk claims that the vehicle can hit 60 mph in 5 seconds when unladen, and that it will hit that same speed in 20 seconds even when fully laden (around 36 tonnes, according to various highway codes in America). The vehicle will also comfortably manage 65 mph (104 kph), where diesel trucks will only hit 45 mph (72 kph) on average.

The range of 500 miles (804 km) was also a surprise, as was the charging rate. Musk claims that the vehicle will give you 400 miles (643 km) of range after 30 minutes of charging via one of Tesla’s new Megachargers. And yes, these are more powerful than the Superchargers for the Tesla cars.

Thirty minutes might seem like a long time, but Musk shares a different perspective on the matter. He points out that topping up a diesel truck takes about 15 minutes anyway, and that drivers will usually need to stop for about 30 minutes when loading and unloading the vehicle. He also points out that 400 miles of range translates to about 6-7 hours of driving, after which a driver must anyway make a mandatory rest stop.

Another interesting observation was that 80 percent of the routes in America involve less than 250 miles (402 km) of travel. The driver can thus travel to the back of beyond and still make his way back.

The cab is simultaneously futuristic and minimalistic

From the outside, the front of the truck looks vaguely like an inverted boat hull: It’s shaped like a rounded wedge. The rear wheels are encased in a cowl of sorts and massive fins enclose the gap between the cab and the trailer, further improving aerodynamics.

On the safety front, the vehicle is sorted. All trucks will come with Autopilot, which will do things like automatic braking, lane assist and all the other Autopilot features.

Driver comfort is another factor that’s important and judging by the interior, there can’t possibly be much to complain about. The six-and-a-half-foot cab is tall enough for the average person to stand in and the interior layout seats the driver towards the front-centre of the vehicle. A jump-seat is present in the rear. Tesla claims that the design of the cab allows the vehicle to see the point where the truck front meets the road.

The control column is very similar to the Tesla Model 3. It’s a minimalistic design featuring a central driving wheel and two large, 15-inch touchscreens on either side. The touchscreens provide all the information a driver needs and even double as side-view mirrors. In fact, there are no mirrors on the outside of the vehicle. Obviously, the driver need not bother with gears or a clutch.

Cost of ownership

While it’s perfectly fine for geeks like us to drool over the vehicle, it’s the folk who operate trucks that are eventually going to buy the vehicle. To that end, Tesla claims that the cost of ownership of the truck will be at worst 20 percent less than that of a diesel truck. Better yet, the Semi can operate in convoy mode, trailing other Semis, resulting in a 50 percent saving as compared to a diesel.

The vehicle will enter production by 2019, says Musk.

The second most desirable vehicle?

Ah, yes. The truck revealed today is amazing and exciting and was, for all of 10 minutes, the most desirable vehicle on the planet. It had to relinquish that title, however, to the new Tesla Roadster that rolled out of the back of the truck at the end of the presentation.

The announcement of the Roadster caught everyone by surprise

An announcement that took everyone by surprise. The Roadster is not ready for production yet but even at this stage, puts every other gasoline-powered car to shame.

If you thought the truck was awesome, the Roadster is staggering. Musk is promising a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds and the quarter mile (402 metres) in 8.9 seconds!

It features a 200 kWh battery, a 650 mile range (1,046 km), seating for two adults and two small people (kids, dwarfs, midgets, take your pick). Better yet, the roof comes off and Musk also promises a “capacious” boot. That battery is twice the size of the one in the Model 3.

It’s almost seems like the perfect family car, and Telsa promises that it will be the most powerful production car ever made. And did we mention that it’s designed to hit a top speed of over 250 mph (400+ kph)?

And get this, this superfast Roadster is just the base model.

Lest we forget, Tesla also hinted at an upcoming Tesla Pickup truck, but teased no more than an image.

 Published Date: Nov 17, 2017 11:58 am | Updated Date: Nov 17, 2017 12:12 pm

How Elon Musk Is Quietly Helping Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico

With President Trump and the mayor of San Juan in a war of words this weekend over the relief efforts in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and a stream of harrowing images coming out of the island and its neighbors in the Caribbean, it’s easy to feel gloomy about the response to the disaster.

But while dysfunction and ugly politics have been capturing the headlines, companies and celebrities have been mobilizing to aid Puerto Rico. Many of them have been making a ruckus on behalf of those suffering without power, clean water, or access to medical care, but at least one big name has been keeping his efforts relatively quiet–Elon Musk.

Image result for tesla power walls

Bringing power back to Puerto Rico

With the entirety of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid down and some places expected to be without electricity for months, residents of the island are in desperate need of alternative sources of power. That’s something Musk’s Tesla knows plenty about, and thankfully for Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents, the company is happy to help.

“As soon as the storm passed, Tesla began sending hundreds of Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels to the devastated island in an effort to restore electric power there,” reports Fortune, “and the shipments of Powerwall battery systems are continuing.”

Image result for How Elon Musk Is Quietly Helping Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico

There are also Tesla employees on the ground helping install the systems, the article goes on to report, and Musk himself personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort. Some even see the possibility of a small silver lining in these efforts, suggesting that the devastation of the traditional power grid could provide Puerto Rico with an opportunity to build a more sustainable system.

It should also be noted that Musk and Tesla, while providing a characteristically innovative response to the disaster, are far from the only big companies lending aid. Lots of other businesses, from Starbucks to Facebook, are also donating to the relief efforts.

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“With 90 percent of cell towers on the island out of service, people can’t get in touch with their loved ones–and it’s harder for rescue workers to coordinate relief efforts. We’re working to get Puerto Rico back online. We’re sending the Facebook connectivity team to deliver emergency telecommunications assistance to get the systems up and running,” Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post, for instance.

Want to do your own bit to help Puerto Ricans pick up the pieces after Hurricane Maria? Here are some of the best charities to donate to, according to charity rating site Charity Navigator.



Elon Musk revealed a new plan to colonize Mars with giant reusable spaceships

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, has presented an updated plan for colonizing Mars with 1 million people.

The International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, hosted Musk’s presentation on Friday, and SpaceX streamed video of the event via a YouTube Live feed. (You can replay the 42-minute talk here.)

Musk tweeted on Monday that he’d unveil “major improvements” and “unexpected applications” in the talk, which is an update to his one-hour presentation at last year’s IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico — where he revealed his initial plans to build gigantic ships to reach Mars.

“The future is vastly more interesting and exciting if we’re a space-faring civilization and a multiplanet species than if we’re not,” Musk said on Friday. “I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there among the stars.”


Image result for Elon Musk revealed a new plan to colonize Mars with giant reusable spaceships — here are the highlights

Musk said lower cost was the biggest update

“I think the most important thing I’m going to convey in this presentation is that I think we’ve figured out how to pay for it,” he said, referring to the launch system.

Musk previously called it the Interplanetary Transport System, but this year he readopted an older name: the BFR, which is short for “Big F—ing Rocket.”

“We’re still sort of searching for the right name,” he added.

Musk said the goal of the BFR was to “cannibalize” and replace all of SpaceX’s existing launch and spaceflight systems, including its 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket, the coming Falcon Heavy rocket, and Dragon (its spaceship for NASA).

“If we can do that, then all the resources that are used on Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon … can be applied to this system,” he said.

SpaceX is actively building and testing parts of the BFR

Earlier this year, SpaceX built a 39-foot-tall fuel tank for the spaceship made out of carbon fiber.

Engineers then put it on a barge, towed it into the ocean, and pressure-tested it to see whether it could handle the strain of holding 1,200 tons of liquid oxygen.

The test was successful — but Musk said they pushed it as far as it could go to see when it’d burst.

Image result for Elon Musk revealed a new plan to colonize Mars with giant reusable spaceships — here are the highlights

“It shot about 300 feet into the air and landed in the ocean. Then we fished it out,” Musk said.

He added that a working carbon-fiber tank — the core of the BFR spaceship — is essential to keeping the spacecraft lightweight and efficient.

Musk also recapped SpaceX’s progress on its giant Raptor rocket engines.



Elon Musk throws down the gauntlet and challenges Mercedes to spend more than $1 billion on electric cars

News broke last Thursday that Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, was investing $1 billion in its Alabama plant to start building an electric SUV in 2020.

Many outlets said the investment was an obvious challenge to Tesla, a formidable competitor in the US’ electric space that plans to build its own compact SUV, the Model Y, in 2020. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, however, begs to differ.

“That’s not a lot of money for a giant like Daimler/Mercedes. Wish they’d do more. Off by a zero,” Musk said on Sunday on Twitter.

Musk has long welcomed competition in the electric-vehicle space, saying it will help speed the growth of sustainable transportation. He open-sourced patents in 2014 as part of that aim.

Musk’s comment supports his stance that automakers with a bigger cash cushion should do more to advance electric cars.

Tesla Unveils New Battery System

“It doesn’t really harm Tesla but helps the industry,” Musk said during a 2014 call, “And I think actually it will help Tesla, mostly with respect to attracting and motivating the world’s best technical talent.”

Daimler responded to Musk’s tweet, noting that it said in Nov. 2016 that it would spend $10 billion on next-generation electric vehicles and $1 billion on battery production.

Musk replied with a simple “good.”

Daimler has been cutting checks to help advance divisions that go after Tesla’s core businesses, from home energy to electric vehicles. 

In May, Mercedes partnered with Vivint Solar to sell smart solar ecosystems to California residents, a challenge to Tesla’s solar-roof rollout on its home turf.



UK bans fully autonomous weapons after Elon Musk letter

The UK has sided with global robotics and AI experts in formally declaring that humans will always retain control over the country’s robotic weapons systems.

In August, Elon Musk led 116 experts in robotics and AI in calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. The letter, with signatories from 26 countries, was sent to the UN with an ominous warning:

“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

The announcement from the UK Ministry of Defense coincides with the Defense and Security Equipment International show, one of the biggest arms exhibitions in the world.

Mark Lancaster, the minister for the armed forces, said: “It’s absolutely right that our weapons are operated by real people capable of making incredibly important decisions, and we are guaranteeing that vital oversight.”


The reason you’re hearing so much about this issue recently is that autonomous weapons systems are now on the cusp of becoming a reality. Russian arms maker Kalashnikov recently announced it was developing autonomous combat drones that could acquire targets and make decisions by themselves.


Yesterday I reported that Israeli autonomous drone maker Airobotics is entering the defense industry.

Some semi-autonomous weapons, which require some human oversight, are currently in use around the world. One example is South Korean gun turrets along the border with North Korea, which can lock onto human targets.


Missile defense systems are also largely autonomous.

The U.S. Department of Defense doctrine on so-called Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) is somewhat vague. DoD directive 3000.09 states that autonomous weapons systems “shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” which is strikingly non-committal.

Last year, then-current Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Boston Globe, “We will not delegate lethal authority to a machine to make a decision.”

But Work went on to complicate that stance, adding, “The only time we will . . . delegate a machine authority is in things that go faster than human reaction time, like cyber or electronic warfare.”



Elon Musk Talks About The Tesla Model S

Elon Musk Predicts The Cause Of World War III

Elon Musk has a prediction about the cause of World War III, and it’s not President Donald Trump and may not even involve humans at all.  

The head of Tesla and SpaceX on Monday shared a link on Twitter to a report about Russian President Vladimir Putin discussing artificial intelligence:

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Putin was quoted as saying. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”


Musk added:

By comparison, Musk said, the saber-rattling from North Korea wasn’t much to worry about. 

One Twitter follower suggested that private companies, rather than governments, were far better at artificial intelligence. 

Musk replied:

He also apologized for the glum tweets, saying he was depressing himself, and promised: “Fun, exciting tweets coming soon!”



The world’s top artificial intelligence companies are pleading for a ban on killer robots

A revolution in warfare where killer robots, or autonomous weapons systems, are common in battlefields is about to start.

Both scientists and industry are worried.

The world’s top artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics companies have used a conference in Melbourne to collectively urge the United Nations to ban killer robots or lethal autonomous weapons.

An open letter by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries was launched at the world’s biggest artificial intelligence conference, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), as the UN delays meeting until later this year to discuss the robot arms race.

Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales, released the letter at the opening of the opening of the conference, the world’s pre-eminent gathering of experts in artificial intelligence and robotics.


The letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stand on the issue. Previously, only a single company, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics, had formally called for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons.

In December 2016, 123 member nations of the UN’s Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons unanimously agreed to begin formal talks on autonomous weapons. Of these, 19 have already called for a ban.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter says.

“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Signatories of the 2017 letter include:

  • Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and OpenAI (US)
  • Mustafa Suleyman, founder and Head of Applied AI at Google’s DeepMind (UK)
  • Esben Østergaard, founder & CTO of Universal Robotics (Denmark)
  • Jerome Monceaux, founder of Aldebaran Robotics, makers of Nao and Pepper robots (France)
  • Jü rgen Schmidhuber, leading deep learning expert and founder of Nnaisense (Switzerland)
  • Yoshua Bengio, leading deep learning expert and founder of Element AI (Canada)

Walsh is one of the organisers of the 2017 letter, as well as an earlier letter released in 2015 at the IJCAI conference in Buenos Aires, which warned of the dangers of autonomous weapons.

The 2015 letter was signed by thousands of researchers working in universities and research labs around the world, and was endorsed by British physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky.

“Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different,” says Walsh.

“It can help tackle many of the pressing problems facing society today: inequality and poverty, the challenges posed by climate change and the ongoing global financial crisis. However, the same technology can also be used in autonomous weapons to industrialise war.

“We need to make decisions today choosing which of these futures we want. I strongly support the call by many humanitarian and other organisations for an UN ban on such weapons, similar to bans on chemical and other weapons,” he added.”

Ryan Gariepy, founder of Clearpath Robotics, says the number of prominent companies and individuals who have signed this letter reinforces the warning that this is not a hypothetical scenario but a very real and pressing concern.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability,” he says.

“The development of lethal autonomous weapons systems is unwise, unethical and should be banned on an international scale.”



You and Elon Musk Have the Same Number of Hours a Day. 6 Ways to Become More Productive Today

We all have only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Many of us at some point become overworked and underpaid. If you still feel you have some work to do to reach your career goals, perhaps it’s time to make some changes to how you are working.

Elon Musk is a brilliant businessman, engineer, and inventor who has taken the world by storm with his forward thinking. While we may not all be on the same mission, one thing that we may share is a need to improve our work-life balance as entrepreneurs.

Here’s how to get more accomplished each day, the easy way.

1. Start your day off right

Sometimes, coffee is the breakfast of champions. Billionaire Elon Musk wakes up and spends about 30 minutes addressing high-priority emails and having coffee. This allows him to start his day off on the right foot, by crossing critical tasks off his list first thing in the morning. If you’re anything like me (with a penchant for saving the most difficult tasks until the last minute), then this might be a good method to help you boost your productivity.

2. Change the way you look at social media

You hear it all the time: People say that social media marketing is the key to a successful business. Remember to keep in mind that the organic reach of social media is low and the algorithms are ever changing. If you want reach, it’s going to cost you — that’s how social media makes its money these days, after all.

For this method to work for you, unique content is the way to go. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut of sharing others’ work and not creating any of your own, you’ve got to step it up. Get noticed in the media, contribute articles, and get interviewed on podcasts to get exposure.

Another way to utilize social media is to reach out for collaborations with businesses that have a like-minded following. People will share your work via their social platforms when they feel it offers their readers valuable information or even entertaining content.

3. Change the way you chase opportunities

Recognize that today’s tools and technology have opened the doors of opportunity for entrepreneurs. There’s so much you can do if you have the ideas, the initiative, and the will to keep going. Take control of your career, and remember execution is key!

First, get focused by spending time this week giving your business an honest evaluation, and then get to work. Keep an eye out for new opportunities, continue to meet new people and make new connections, and always have goals in place.

Know what you want to accomplish next, and continue to meet and set new goals. Write them down to make them real. Always try to get more exposure, and don’t limit your thinking.

4. Change the way you take advice

When you run your own business, everyone will have advice for you, coaches to friends and family members. Sometimes it’s good advice, but sometimes you have to listen to your instincts and do what you think is right. After all, you are the entrepreneur.

You have to figure out what makes sense for your business. Listen to someone else’s ideas and put your own spin on them. Trial and error has always been my best friend. It allows me to try something my way, and if it fails, I understand why and can move forward without wondering, “What if?”

5. Change the way you work

Some days you feel on top of the world and unstoppable. Other days you might be running low on motivation. Strive to keep focused, and continue to chip away at your goals. Complete the tasks that are not as difficult to get you going. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll be happy that you didn’t waste your time.

6. Change the way you price your work

How much is your time worth? Just because you are good at something, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Is what you’re doing feeding your soul, making you a better person, or feeding your family?

Remember that your time is valuable, and that you don’t have to take jobs you don’t enjoy. If for the time being you’re stuck doing something you’re good at but don’t love, at least make sure it makes sense financially.



Tesla is talking to the music labels about creating its own streaming service

Put this one in the “You can do that, but why would you want to do that?” file: Tesla is talking to the music industry about creating its own streaming music service.


Music industry sources say the carmaker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary music service that would come bundled with its cars, which already come equipped with a high-tech dashboard and internet connectivity.

Label sources aren’t clear about the full scope of Tesla’s ambitions, but believe it is interested in offering multiple tiers of service, starting with a Pandora-like web radio offering.

The bigger question: Why doesn’t Tesla simply integrate existing services, like Spotify or Apple Music, into all of its cars from the start — especially since Tesla already does a deal with Spotify for Teslas sold outside the U.S.?


“We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose,” a Tesla spokesperson said. “Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers.”

But if Tesla does want to provide music to its customers — it delivered over 100,000 cars as of January and has taken 400,000 preorders for the Model 3, due out this summer — the labels are happy to sell their stuff to the company.

They would like as many customers as possible and don’t want to end up in a world dominated by a handful of streaming outlets. Right now, Spotify and Apple have the clear lead: Spotify says it has at least 50 million paying subscribers for its service, and Apple says it has 27 million.



Musk predicts AI will be better than humans at everything in 2030

In response to an article by New Scientist predicting that artificial intelligence will be able to beat humans at everything and anything by 2060, Elon Musk replied that he believed the milestone would be much sooner – around 2030 to 2040.

The New Scientist Study based its story from a survey of more than 350 AI researchers who believe there is a 50% chance that AI will outperform humans in all tasks within 45 years.

At a high level, the data is not shocking, but more of an interesting tidbit from the future. Dive into the details of when those very same AI experts believe machines will be better at specific tasks than humans and things get a little creepy. Experts believe they will be better at translating languages than humans by 2024 – something that is already being done on-the-fly by Google for webpages and for spoken word via Google Translate.

High school students everywhere will be outclassed by AI that is estimated to outperform them in essay writing by 2026. AI moves in to takeover truck driving by 2027 thought we believe this will happen much sooner based on the progress Tesla is making with autonomous driving. Tesla has a fully autonomous cross-country trip planned for later this year that, if successful, will pave the way for autonomous vehicle technology to go mainstream.


The estimates get stranger with AI predicted to be able to write a bestselling book better than humans by 2049 and to perform extremely complex, dynamic surgery by 2053. All human jobs are expected to be automated within 120 years which is admittedly quite a bit farther out than 2060 but that is representative of the long tail of increasingly smaller tasks.

Elon is not all rainbows and sunshine with AI which is why he created the non-profit OpenAI organization. He co-founded the organization specifically to map out a path forward for AI research and development, and to ensure that AI is created in an intentional and safe manner.

OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.

While the individual tasks or groups of tasks that comprise each automated industry from trucking to making tacos at your local taqueria, OpenAI is looking beyond that to the first Artificial General Intelligence. This is an intelligence that will have the ability to adapt dynamically to a situation, learn new tasks, creatively apply itself to the new conditions and to perform much like a human would. OpenAI believes that a dynamic AGI will far surpass the AI implemented in any specific industry and will be a game-changer in AI packing the power to change the world in ways we never imagined.

With that goal in mind, OpenAI is pushing the envelope in an attempt to define the cutting edge of AI and to thereby earn the right to define the future of AI for the world. As famed computer scientist Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Elon surely has his finger on the pulse of AI and believes that it is highly likely that it will have a massive impact on humanity. OpenAI carries this belief forward, stating that,

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be the most significant technology ever created by humans.

Though Elon is confident AI is moving forward at a far faster pace than scientists believe and is actively work to shape its future, he still fears the technology.


Elon Musk’s Tesla starts taking orders for solar glass roof tiles; delivery due this year

Tesla has started taking orders for traditional-looking glass roof tiles that soak up solar power to generate electricity.

Installations are to start next month, beginning with California and gradually rolling out to other U.S. markets, Tesla said. Overseas markets will be added to the mix next year, said Elon Musk, Tesla’s billionaire CEO.

“I think it will be great,” Musk tweeted.

In a blog posting, Tesla said “the typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot” for the product it calls Solar Roof. That’s significantly more than the cost of a traditional asphalt roof, based on Consumer Reports’ estimates, but closer to competitive in price when the anticipated electric-bill savings are factored in.

For a 3,000-square-foot roof in the Seattle area, the estimated cost is $79,500, plus $7,000 for a Powerwall battery system. (The math works out to more than $21.85 per square foot because there’s a higher proportion of power-generating tiles.)

Anticipated savings include a $21,000 tax credit and $41,900 in reduced electricity bills. Net cost over 30 years: $23,600.

That’s close to Consumer Reports’ estimated cost of $20,000 for a 3,000-square-foot asphalt roof, although estimates for the Seattle area could be less.

To check the estimates for your house, try Tesla’s Solar Roof Calculator.

Solar Roof builds on the solar-panel installation business set up by SolarCity, which merged with the Tesla electric-car company last year. Musk had a significant interest in both ventures, and he has repeatedly touted the synergy that comes from integrating solar energy systems with Tesla’s Powerwall batteries and electric cars.

The roof tiles are due to be made on a pilot basis at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., and production is expected to ramp up in the months ahead at a new facility in Buffalo, N.Y. Installation will be performed by SolarCity, which is now a Tesla subsidiary.

“Black glass smooth and textured will be first,” Musk said in a follow-up tweet. “Tuscan and French Slate in about six months.”

Musk discussed the roof tile design, and the business model behind it, last month during a TED talk in Vancouver, B.C.:

“You can adjust the texture and the color to a very fine-grained level,and then there’s sort of micro-louvers in the glass, such that when you’re looking at the roof from street level or close to street level, all the tiles look the same whether there is a solar cell behind it or not.So you have an even color from the ground level. If you were to look at it from a helicopter, you would be actually able to look through and see that some of the glass tiles have a solar cell behind them and some do not. You can’t tell from street level. …

A solar glass roof will be less than the cost of a normal roof plus the cost of electricity. So in other words, this will be economically a no-brainer, we think it will look great, and it will last. We thought about having the warranty be infinity, but then people thought, well, that might sound like we’re just talking rubbish, but actually this is toughened glass. Well after the house has collapsed and there’s nothing there, the glass tiles will still be there.”

Musk said that in most areas of the U.S., houses should have enough roof area to provide power for all of the household’s needs.

“If you, say, were to fast-forward to say 15 years from now, it will be unusual to have a roof that does not have solar,” he said.

The development of electricity-generating roof tiles is part of a dizzying array of technological initiatives that Musk has been juggling over the past few years.

Other initiatives include Tesla’s Model 3, an electric car designed for the mass market, and a soon-to-be-unveiled all-electric truck; SpaceX’s crew-capable Dragon capsule and super-sized Falcon Heavy rocket; the Hyperloop mass-transit concept; an effort to develop lower-cost tunnel boring equipment; and the Neuralink venture to implant wirelessly connected computer chips in human brains.




Surprise! Elon Musk actually gets his tunnel-boring machine at SpaceX

When SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told his Twitter followers in December that he was sick of traffic and planning to build a tunnel-boring machine to “just start digging,” most thought it was a joke.

Musk insisted, on Twitter – his favorite form of public communication – that it was true.

He even proposed a name – The Boring Co. – and a slogan: “Boring, it’s what we do.”

On Thursday, an all-white tunnel-boring machine appeared outside SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters.

“The Boring Company” was written on the side of the massive cylindrical machine sitting in the parking lot. Still in three pieces from its transport, it wasn’t fully put together yet.

SpaceX officials did not comment, and a SpaceX employee immediately took down a photo of the machine he had posted on social media.


Though Musk initially said SpaceX engineers would build the machine, he later said he planned to “get” one and take it apart to learn how to make it more efficient.

Last week, a tunnel-boring machine used by L.A. Metro to carve out 2 miles of earth for the new Crenshaw/LAX line was removed from the future Leimert Park Station in South Los Angeles in three pieces.

No one confirmed whether the 950-ton, 400-foot-long steel grinder would go to SpaceX. Metro had dubbed the machine “Harriet,” in honor of Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist instrumental in the Underground Railroad, after a student contest.


The day Harriet finished work for Metro, Musk submitted plans to Hawthorne officials to build an underground pedestrian tunnel from SpaceX headquarters to its parking garage across Crenshaw Boulevard.

A vertical tunnel shaft already has been dug in the SpaceX parking lot.

Now, The Boring Co. machine will dig – cheese grater-style – a 500-foot-long, horizontal pedestrian tunnel that is 20-by-150 feet and 13.5 feet in diameter, according to interim Hawthorne City Manager Arnie Shadbehr.


While Musk said he wants to build tunnels for automobiles, he hasn’t specified where or how he would do that.

Tunneling would fit nicely with Musk’s Hyperloop plan, which he announced in a 2013 white paper as a new kind of mass-transit technology that would propel passenger pods through vacuum-sealed tubes at hundreds of miles per hour.

At the first-ever university Hyperloop-pod prototype competition in January outside SpaceX headquarters, Musk discussed his tunneling plans. He said his ultimate goal is to improve tunnel engineering to build tunnels better and faster.

“We started digging a hole on Crenshaw just in front of SpaceX,” Musk said. “There’s a giant hole. So, that’s going to be the start for the tunnel-boring machine.

“We’re going to try to figure out what it takes to improve tunneling speed between 500 and 1,000 percent. So we’re just sort of muddling along. We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re going to get this (tunnel-boring) machine, take it apart (and) figure out how to make it go faster while still being safe and not affecting people on the surface.”




The crucial money decision Elon Musk made when he was broke

In a span of less than four months, Tesla Motors (TSLA) founder and CEO Elon Musk has added $2.3 billion to his personal wealth . Musk is now worth more than $13 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, but it could have worked out very differently.

In fact, a crucial decision Elon Musk was forced to make in 2010 when, by his own account, the billionaire was broke, is one of the reasons Musk has been able to cash in on Tesla’s rapid share rise this year: Musk held on to shares at the very moment when a sale to raise cash would have made financial sense.

Musk, who had $200 million in cash at one point, invested “his last cent in his businesses” and said in a 2010 divorce proceeding, “About four months ago, I ran out of cash.” Musk told the New York Times’ DealBook at that time, “I could have either done a rushed private stock sale or borrowed money from friends.”

It’s a dilemma that many entrepreneurs face, but there is a big difference between the options available to Musk and the options available to most business owners. Musk was able to live on $200,000 a month in loans from billionaire friends — while still flying in a private jet — rather than sell any of his Tesla stake. Though the root of the problem is the same: intangible assets or, in other words, a business owner who is “asset rich” and “cash poor.” And it can lead business owners to the most difficult decision of all: having to sell a piece or even all of their company.

This is not a problem limited to founders of technology start-ups based in California.

“It’s really one of those tough scenarios with no good answers,” said Richard Stumpf, CFP and managing partner of Wichita, Kansas-based Financial Benefits. Stumpf has worked with farmers in this situation, and sometimes for reasons that are similar to what drove Musk to admit he was broke: divorce.

“It happens all the time here,” he said. “Farming 2,000 acres … asset-rich, cash-poor. And the options are limited, quite frankly.”

Even if you have friends as nice as Elon’s, borrowing money can cause problems. Years ago a friend of Stumpf’s, who owned a heavy road construction company, got into a bind and borrowed money from buddies. He eventually paid them back, but got behind and risked ruining relationships. In the end the business survived better than his strained friendships.

Even for business owners with collateral to back the loan, the cash flow needs to be coming in to meet debt payments. And in many cases lenders are picky about asset types they will accept. Intangible assets are not the type of collateral that a typical commercial lender will accept, said Andrew Sherman, partner at Seyfarth Shaw, who has worked with companies at all stages of development.

“The bank is in the business of collecting interest, not foreclosing on collateral,” Stumpf said. “Selling the business or some of the ground that you don’t want to sell can be the only way to survive,” he said.


This can be a good problem for business owners who have contracts lined up that will create significant cash flow but for which expansion is first needed. But selling equity to fund expansion is often a dreaded decision — and for good reason.

“You don’t want to go the way of angel investors, because you know you’re giving away a whole lot more than you’re getting,” Stumpf said. “In a fast-growing business, you sell 10 percent for cash to make it continue to grow, but when you’re growing 30 percent to 40 percent a year, that’s a heck of a return on capital” being given to someone else. “It’s a shame when that happens with a viable business,” Stumpf added.

Sherman said many entrepreneurs need to turn to the equity markets to solve cash flow problems, reaching out to angels, angel networks, online funding or private placements, especially when they lack real estate or inventory or equipment to pledge as collateral. In the short term it can be attractive, since it does not need to be paid back, but in the medium and long run it can be “a very costly source of capital” for a business that is growing and can expect its equity to increase in value, Sherman said.

One hybrid strategy is to partner with an angel for a bank loan, where the angel provides a guaranty with its personal balance sheet to secure the loan and receives equity or warrants in return. The business owner is still giving up equity, but far less equity than in a straight sale, since the risk to the investor is much lower, Sherman said.

There is an operating principle of entrepreneurship that makes it likely that business founders will face this situation at some point in a company’s development. Owners plow profits back into a business, and the business itself is often 80 percent to 90 percent of their net worth, Stumpf estimated. In a fast-growth business, retained earnings should be low because the owner is reinvesting in the business.

“They will do whatever they can to keep the business alive,” Stumpf said. His prime example is himself. “What I took out of paycheck in the first few years was insignificant. I was buying new computers or subscribing to information services or doing marketing programs. I don’t have a million dollars’ worth of a factory behind me, but I was still doing same thing — reinvesting in the business rather than taking big paychecks home.”

As CEO and co-founder of small-business finance company Biz2Credit, Rohit Arora has a lot of experience with business founders facing the decision to sell as a result of early success. Owners of quickly growing business are barely paying themselves and can only withstand so much of a lack of equity in the business before it becomes a cash flow challenge. “While you’re doing great on paper, just to keep operating at the expanding scale, we have seen owners have to get an equity infusion,” Arora said.

Entrepreneurs can raise money in the debt market, but after a certain point debt gets very expensive. “It’s a classic mousetrap,” Arora said. “A growing business that looks good and there’s lots of money going in and out, plenty of cash flow, but any time there is a hiccup, all the cash flow gets sucked up.”

One of Arora’s clients, an entrepreneur in his 30s who rapidly grew a series of franchised smartphone stories in New York City, borrowed often from the Biz2Credit platform as the business grew to 50 stores over four years. The expansion was so swift that it turned into an asset-rich, cash-poor situation, with the entrepreneur needing more money to run the 50 stores, and for reasons from payroll to stocking expensive smartphones. The notorious Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fire recall put this owner in an immediate cash crunch — he had to wait three to four months for compensation from Samsung.

He really only had two options: Sell a stake or sell the entire operation. He ended up doing both, initially selling a stake but ultimately selling the entire business to a large distributor of phone accessories who was keen to reach customers directly.

“I’ve seen it so many times,” Arora said. “He needed to give up equity, and once he got it, it stabilized the company. But as an entrepreneur, it was difficult working for someone else. He decided it was better to get totally out.”

“In any high-growth business, I don’t think you can do anything much different to avoid it,” Arora said, though he does suggest that geographic expansion beyond an existing successful footprint be considered with caution.

For entrepreneurs, the good news is that there’s always another business to create with the proceeds from a sale. The smartphone store entrepreneur could have sold to a bigger chain or even at a higher price if his hand hadn’t been forced, Arora said. But he made good money and is now back with several new businesses, including one in the smartphone accessories market.

He took what he learned about selling accessories and doing smartphone repairs to the online world, where margins and volume are higher. And instead of lamenting the loss of physical stores, the entrepreneur has eliminated the risk of a cash crunch associated with retail locations.


The Rise Of Artificial Intelligence Passing The Point Of No Return Elon Musk Google And Robots!

Ahead of Elon Musk, this self-made millionaire already launched a company to merge your brain with computers

Silicon Valley titan Elon Musk has announced that he will be launching yet another company, Neuralink, which will focus on connecting the human brain to computers.

With his deep pockets and bold ambitions, Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, attracts attention whatever he tries. But Musk is not the first to experiment with neural prosthetics. In August, self-made millionaire Bryan Johnson launched a company that seeks to connect the brain with computer intelligence.

Johnson’s company, Kernel, a Los Angeles start-up with 20 employees, is working to make “chips” to insert in the human brain. These chips, which are actually neurotechological hardware designed to read and write neural code, will be used at first for individuals with diseases or deficiencies to restore normal brain function.


In the future, Johnson expects the technology to progress so that even healthy humans can get chips implanted in their brains — and become, in effect, superhuman.

Implanting computing power in the brain could help humans have near-perfect memory, read books instantaneously and communicate with other implanted humans telepathically, or without speaking, explains Johnson.


For the first generation of implantable neural prosthetics, a neurologist will have to surgically implant the computer chip into a person’s brain. The goal for the future, however, is to be able to implant chips into human brains laparoscopically and using other less invasive methods.

Johnson believes that our generation will be defined by the way we wrestle with the prospect of merging humans with machine technology.

“A generation’s time and place is defined by the debates they have. So, for example, we have civil rights and human rights and marriage rights and abortion rights. I think the coming discussion for our society will be evolution rights,” Johnson tells CNBC.

As a society, humans will have to decide whether it is acceptable to opt for genetic or neurological enhancement once the technology becomes available. Also, we will have to debate how those rights are managed and how technology is distributed. What will be legal? Who can access the new technology first?

Johnson expects the conversation to break on national borders. Some countries will allow genetic enhancements and others will not.

“There’s a general reluctance for humans to adopt certain forms of enhancement,” says Johnson. For example, when plastic surgery first became technically possible, it was largely feared and relegated to the fringes. Now, however, cosmetic surgery is commonplace, says Johnson. “I think we will see the same thing happen as we gain more powerful forms of enhancements in genetics and neurological enhancement and physical augmentation.”


To launch Kernel, Johnson, now 39, contributed $100 million of his own money. That’s not money he was born with. In his early 20s, Johnson struggled.

“I was broke. And I had two kids at home and I couldn’t pay my bills. I was up to my eyeballs in debt and I couldn’t find a job. I applied for 60 jobs. Nobody would hire me. Nobody would even give me an interview,” he says.

At the time, Johnson emailed 50 wealthy individuals introducing himself, saying that he was a hard worker, smart and hungry for a chance. He got no responses.

Finally, Johnson found a job selling credit-card processing door-to-door. He was paid on commission. He pounded the pavement and broke all previous selling records, he says. He also came up with an idea for a business.

“I just found this broken industry in payments and I thought there’s this amazing opportunity to build an exceptional company,” he says. Johnson went on to found and launch Braintree, a credit-card processing company, which he grew and sold to eBay in 2013 for $800 million.

Financially liberated, Johnson was driven by his desire to make an impact on the world. He decided that unlocking the brain was the most noble and challenging goal.


“I arrived at the conclusion that human intelligence was the most consequential technological advancement ever — that everything we are, everything we seek to become, everything we create is a result of our brain,” says Johnson. And our brains are fundamentally the same as they were a couple thousand years ago, he says. “On the other hand, we have this form of intelligence we have given birth to in artificial intelligence, which is improving very rapidly.

“And there’s this huge potential to co-evolve with our technology.”


While it may take people a while to get used to the idea of implanting chips in the brain, Johnson expects that when the idea normalizes, the demand will be enormous.

“The market for implantable neural prosthetics including cognitive enhancement and treatment of neurological dysfunction will likely be one of, if not the largest, industrial sectors in history,” says Johnson, in a Medium post he wrote announcing his own investment in the company. He expects Kernel to raise $1 billion from private and public sources.

And while Kernel is not making any money yet, Johnson says if even one product goes on the market, it could mean billions of dollars in sales.

In the past two decades, Johnson has gone from broke and unable to land an interview to working in the same space as Elon Musk, arguably one of the world’s most influential inventors.

As for competing with Musk, though, Johnson isn’t worried. “I couldn’t be more excited that Neuralink will join Kernel in this extremely challenging and promising pursuit,” says Johnson. “The neurotech industry will be one of the largest to ever emerge. I’m happy others will be pushing the field forward as well.”



Elon Musk’s SpaceX Just Announced Hundreds of Open Positions

If you simply walked past SpaceX’s headquarters, you may not realize that Elon Musk’s space travel project is looking for more staff — the futuristic company is way too cool to display an archaic “Help Wanted” sign out front. Those of you who do your job searches digitally, however, will find a wide array of job openings across 41 departments on the company’s careers website.

SpaceX is looking to fill a whopping 473 open positions at posts around the United States. A great majority, 313, of these positions are at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Other locations include posts on both coasts of the U.S., as well as in Texas and Washington D.C.

The jobs run the gamut of experience, from highly skilled engineering positions that require advanced degrees in astronautics, mechanical engineering, or physics to experienced line cooks looking to feed the bodies that hold the brains of rocket scientists. According to Business Insider, “About half of the positions call for engineers, 33% for technicians, 5% for machinists, 5% for specialists, 5% for managers, and 1% for directors,” so there are a lot of ways to play a part in the future of space travel.


It’s no wonder that SpaceX is currently looking to ramp up operations. Late last week the company made history by being the first to launch a mission into space using reusable rocket parts.

This achievement is going to revolutionize the way we get to space, and we will likely see a boost across the entire space travel sector as a result of it. In addition to keeping those already involved with SpaceX inspired, this recent success should motivate competitors like Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to up their own games.

Now that reusing rocket parts is a proven concept, we should see a greater push to get technology and even humans up into space. These rockets will save considerable money, allowing space tourists, companies, and other entities greater access to that final frontier.



Elon Musk launches Neuralink, a venture to merge the human brain with AI

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing devices.

Musk has hinted at the existence of Neuralink a few times over the last six months or so. More recently, Musk told a crowd in Dubai, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He added that “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” On Twitter, Musk has responded to inquiring fans about his progress on a so-called “neural lace,” which is sci-fi shorthand for a brain-computer interface humans could use to improve themselves.

These types of brain-computer interfaces exist today only in science fiction. In the medical realm, electrode arrays and other implants have been used to help ameliorate the effects of Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, very few people on the planet have complex implants placed inside their skulls, while the number of patients with very basic stimulating devices number only in the tens of thousands. This is partly because it is incredibly dangerous and invasive to operate on the human brain, and only those who have exhausted every other medical option choose to undergo such surgery as a last resort.

This has not stopped a surge in Silicon Valley interest from tech industry futurists who are interested in accelerating the advancement of these types of far-off ideas. Kernel, a startup created by Braintree co-founder Bryan Johnson, is also trying to enhance human cognition. With more than $100 million of Johnson’s own money — the entrepreneur sold Braintree to PayPal for around $800 million in 2013 — Kernel and its growing team of neuroscientists and software engineers are working toward reversing the effects of neurodegenerative diseasesand, eventually, making our brains faster and smarter and more wired.

We know if we put a chip in the brain and release electrical signals, that we can ameliorate symptoms of Parkinson’s,” Johnson told The Verge in an interview late last year. (Johnson also confirmed Musk’s involvement with Neuralink.) “This has been done for spinal cord pain, obesity, anorexia… what hasn’t been done is the reading and writing of neural code.” Johnson says Kernel’s goal is to “work with the brain the same way we work with other complex biological systems like biology and genetics.”

Kernel, to its credit, is quite upfront about the years of medical research necessary to better understand the human brain and pioneer new surgery techniques, software methods, and implant devices that could make a consumer brain-computer interface a reality. The Wall Street Journal says Neuralink was founded as a medical research company in California last July, which bolsters the idea that Musk will follow a similar route as Johnson and Kernel.

To be fair, the hurdles involved in developing these devices are immense. Neuroscience researchers say we have very limited understanding about how the neurons in the human brain communicate, and our methods for collecting data on those neurons is rudimentary. Then there’s the idea of people volunteering to have electronics placed inside their heads.


“People are only going to be amenable to the idea [of an implant] if they have a very serious medical condition they might get help with,” Blake Richards, a neuroscientist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, told The Verge in an interview earlier this year. “Most healthy individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of having a doctor crack open their skull.”

Competition for space innovation heats up between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk

Jeff Bezos has revealed his space firm Blue Origin has finished building its first ‘megarocket’ engine.

The BE-4 engine will be one of seven powering the firm’s  New Glenn 2- and 3-stage rocket.

Like its predecessor the New Shephard and SpaceX’s Dragon, it will be a reusable space vehicle with a first stage capable of returning to the launch site and landing itself upright after each flight.


The engine is a major step forward for the fledgling space firm

‘1st BE-4 engine fully assembled. 2nd and 3rd following close behind,’ Bezos tweeted.

Unlike the smaller New Shepard, the Glenn will have enough power (using either configuration) to put heavy cargo payloads and astronauts into orbit around the Earth, putting it in direct competition with SpaceX’s upcoming Dragon Heavy, which will also launch paying customers around the moon, it was revealed last week.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4287364/Jeff-Bezos-reveals-Blue-Origin-s-megarocket-engines.html#ixzz4aeGM6JDk
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Elon Musk Has a New Timeline for Humans Living on Mars

Do we really need to explore Mars? According to tech innovator Elon Musk, it’s not just a choice we have to make, it’s a necessity. “We will stay on Earth forever, and eventually there will be an extinction event…and the alternative is to become a spacefaring and multiplanetary species—That’s what we want.”

But when exactly are we getting there? Originally, SpaceX’s first foray to Mars, via a lander called Red Dragon, was expected to happen by 2022—which was considered a fairly feasible timeline. However, bolstered by numerous successful launches and Musk’s powerful vision, SpaceX moved their target date up to 2018. Now, a new announcement from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell confirms that they are changing the timeline yet again. A mission, named Red Dragon, to Mars is now set to launch in 2020 so that SpaceX can focus on other equally ambitious projects like their commercial crew program and Falcon Heavy programs.

“We were focused on 2018, but we felt like we needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program. So we’re looking more for the 2020 time frame for that,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said at a recent pre-launch conference.

Earlier this year, Musk stated that SpaceX’s manned missions to Mars could begin as soon as 2022, which is a full three years sooner than his previous estimate of 2025. However, given this latest development, it seems that humans will have to wait a little bit longer to walk on the Red Planet.

However, if Musk’s previous accomplishments are any indication, it will only be a little bit longer.




Missions to Mars would ideally be launched every 26 months when the planet is aligned with Earth. The 2020 planned lander will be critical for future possible manned missions as it will test technology required to land heavy equipment on the Martian surface—a task that, given Mars’ unfamiliar terrain and thin atmosphere, could be difficult to execute. Heavy payloads entering Mars won’t have the planet’s atmosphere to cushion their landing and so there is the risk of very abrupt and hard landings.

What sets Red Dragon apart from other Mars landers is its use of a supersonic retro-propulsion—which means it will use rockets embedded in the hull to allow for larger spacecraft to land safely. Should the technique prove to be successful, this lander will be the biggest vehicle to land on the planet thus far.

Moving the launch to 2020 also means that SpaceX will be able to join several other Mars-bound expeditions stemming from government agencies and private outfits. NASA is expected to launch its next Mars rover within the same year. The ExoMars mission, a joint initiative from the Roscosmos and European Space Agency (ESA) who originally planned its second phase to take place in 2018, has also been moved to the end of the decade. There’s also talk of the United Arab Emirates sending an orbiter to the red planet by then, along with China who has expressed its intent to reach Mars by 2020.

If all these missions make their targets, it will indeed be a busy 2020 for the red planet.



Elon Musk is getting serious about digging a tunnel under Los Angeles

Elon Musk wants to build a tunnel to cut down on traffic in Los Angeles — and it looks as though he’s actually going to make it happen.

Musk said early Wednesday morning on Twitter that he is making progress with his plan to dig a tunnel under Los Angeles. He said digging would start in Crenshaw, California, at Interstate 105, just five minutes from Los Angeles International Airport and across from his desk at SpaceX.

Musk has for a few years been a proponent of more car tunnels. He brought up the topic on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “StarTalk” radio show in March 2015 when he said tunnels were a far better way to reduce traffic than flying cars would be.

“If you were to extrapolate that to cars and have more car tunnels, then you would alleviate congestion completely. You would not need a flying car in that case,” Musk said at the time. “And it would always work, even if the weather is bad. It would never ice up, and it would never fall on your head.”

But it seems Musk got serious about pursuing the idea when he got stuck in particularly nasty traffic in December.

“Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging,” he tweeted on December 17. “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company,'” he added.

Shortly after, he added “tunnels” to his bio on Twitter alongside his current ventures: Tesla, SpaceX, and OpenAI.

Musk has met with President Donald Trump, who has said he plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure projects, twice — once in New York, with other tech CEOs, and more recently in the White House, for a discussion on US manufacturing with other company executives.

That could help Musk get some political leverage to make his tunnel vision a reality, especially since it could create quite a few American jobs.



After a Twitter complaint, Elon Musk makes a rapid fix

Some owners of electric cars have made it a habit to use charging stations as parking spots well after their charge is complete, and other electric car drivers are getting sick of it.

One took the problem straight to Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week when he tweeted to him, “The San Mateo supercharger is always full with idiots who leave their tesla for hours even if already charged.” Within minutes, Musk replied: “You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.” Six days later he did, and while some are debating the merits of his solution, others are applauding his fast response, as strategy consultant Richard Jhang did when he wrote on LinkedIn: “Idea to execution in 6 days. Copy that.” To remedy the problem, the company is “introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability,” per a Tesla blog post.

“For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee.” If the car is moved within five minutes, the fee is waived.

(An app alerts Tesla owners when the charge is nearly complete.) Inc.com calls it exemplary customer service, while Loic Le Meur, the man whose tweet got the ball rolling, writes on Medium that it was Musk’s personal response that won him over.

“That is one of the reasons he is so successful,” he writes. “He manages a 30,000 employee public company like an agile startup.”