“My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.”–Elon Musk
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”–Alan Kay
Technology was everywhere in 2017. And everywhere technology went, Elon Musk was sure to lead. Perhaps we should paraphrase Alan Kay. The best way to predict the future, is to watch Elon. If anybody is inventing it, it’s him. Tesla, Solar City, SpaceX, Neuralink, Hyperloop. If it involved renewable energy, autonomous vehicles, space commerce, transhumanism, or warnings about artificial intelligence (lot’s of warnings), it probably involved Elon.
With that, I name Elon Musk, in total, our first Future Story of The Year, for 2017. Here’s a very brief history of his year, along with some of the other top stories from 2017.
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Tesla– Even as the lower priced ($35,000) model 3 production lagged way behind predictions, Elon revealed the new Tesla semi. It’s great that he aims high, but in 2018 he will need to deliver, not just promise.
SpaceX—As of this writing, the Falcon Heavy rocket sits on pad 39A at Cape Canaveral. It’s the precursor of even heavier launch vehicles that Elon hopes will send humans to Mars by 2030.
Hyperloop—Musk may have invented it, but Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One is making the bulk of the headlines these days. Kudos to Elon, though, for open sourcing the concept and allowing competition to rapidly develop it.
The Boring Company—While aiming to odominate the transportation on the surface of the earth (Tesla) and space above it (SpaceX) , Elon also created The Boring Company to drill tunnels below it. give him credit for a sense of humor with this company’s name.
Neuralink–When it comes to A.I., Elon’s motto seems to be “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” He created Neuralink to accelerate the merger of mind and machine.
So…how many new technology ventures will he create in 2018, as he continues to invent the future? I’d put the over/under at 2 1/2.
Other top stories of the Year.
Artificial intelligence, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, self-driving cars, Bitcoin and blockchain, reversing aging and the future of work, were all frequently in the news in 2017. Somewhat less visible were stories about laboratory grown meat, reversing aging, hypersonic weapons, 3D printing and advanced drone technology. Here are few top story lists from other sources.
Wired Magazine’s top stories of 2017
Favorite 2017 Science Stories, The Verge
Science Fiction vs. Science Fact: Replicating Machines (my article from the first issue of Age of Robots)
IEEE Spectrum best stories of 2017
Dave Barry’s less than reassuring look back at 2017
Seeking Delphi™ finished the year with a podcast interview with SENS foundation,s chief science officer, Aubrey de Grey, on ending aging.
Happy New Year, all. 2018 figures to be quite a ride.
Coming Attractions–2018 will kick off with an interview with Bioviva CEO Elizabeth Parrish, the first person to edit parts of her own genome to reverse aging.
A reminder that the Seeking Delphi™ podcast is available on iTunes, PlayerFM, blubrry , and has a channel on YouTube. You can also follow us on Facebook.