“The pace of progress on Mars depends upon the pace of progress of SpaceX.”–Elon Musk
Oh really, Elon? It seems that Boeing may have something to say about that. We got to the moon because of a frantic race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, propelled by the cold war. If an when we get to Mars, it just might be because of a frantic race between commercial ventures, fueled by the almighty dollar.
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Mars/Space Exploration–Speaking on CNBC recently, Boeing CEO Dennis Mullenberg said, “I firmly believe the first person to set foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket.” There was no immediate comment from Elon Musk, whose SpaceX aims to be there first. Whoever gets there first, maybe they can getaround on the Tesla that Elon intends to launch into Mars orbit next year.
—President Trump announced that the Moon will be the next destination for U.S. astronauts. Whether he intends to put the treasury’s money where his mouth is remains to be seen.
Artificial Intelligence–The IEEE released the second edition of its global treatise on ethics of autonomous and intelligent systems, today. The report can be requested for download here. The report was mentioned in Seeking Delphi™ podcast episode #17, featuring an interview with the initiative’s executive director, John C. Havens. (YouTube video link below).
—Researchers from the University of Texas and the city of Austin are employing deep learning and big data to try to alleviate traffic jams. They will present their findings at an IEEE conference on big data later this month.
—Using A.I. to alleviate traffic? Good! Using A.I. to create fake porn of anybody? Er–not so much. The Verge reports that just a few photographs and some open source A.I. software is all that it takes to graft anybody’s face onto any picture in a convincing manner. As they put it, seeing may no longer be believing.
Biotech–Researchers at the Salk Institute say they have been able to use CRISPR gene editing to reverse disease in mice. They used a new procedure that does not actually cut the genes, but affects the expression–or epigenetics–of genes. It turns them on or off.
—Researchers at the University of Rochester say they have successfully been able to insert new information directly in the the pre-motor cortex of the brains of two monkeys. Anyone for trying this on politicians?
Material Science/Athletics–British sportswear brand inov-8 is partnering with the University of Manchester to introduce graphene-infused athletic footwear in 2018. Laboratory tests have shown the shoes to be stretchier, stronger and more wear resistant than conventional rubber-soled sneakers.
Coming Attractions–SENS foundation co-founder and chief science officer, Aubrey de Grey, will join me for the final Seeking Delphi™ podcast interview of 2017. Look for it in soon.