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Jack Burns

Jack Burns

4 months ago

Here's what to expect from NASA Artemis 1 and why it's significant.

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Will Lockett

Will Lockett

4 months ago

Thanks to a recent development, solar energy may prove to be the best energy source.

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Perovskite solar cells will revolutionize everything.

Humanity is in a climatic Armageddon. Our widespread ecological crimes of the previous century are catching up with us, and planet-scale karma threatens everyone. We must adjust to new technologies and lifestyles to avoid this fate. Even solar power, a renewable energy source, has climate problems. A recent discovery could boost solar power's eco-friendliness and affordability. Perovskite solar cells are amazing.

Perovskite is a silicon-like semiconductor. Semiconductors are used to make computer chips, LEDs, camera sensors, and solar cells. Silicon makes sturdy and long-lasting solar cells, thus it's used in most modern solar panels.

Perovskite solar cells are far better. First, they're easy to make at room temperature, unlike silicon cells, which require long, intricate baking processes. This makes perovskite cells cheaper to make and reduces their carbon footprint. Perovskite cells are efficient. Most silicon panel solar farms are 18% efficient, meaning 18% of solar radiation energy is transformed into electricity. Perovskite cells are 25% efficient, making them 38% more efficient than silicon.

However, perovskite cells are nowhere near as durable. A normal silicon panel will lose efficiency after 20 years. The first perovskite cells were ineffective since they lasted barely minutes.

Recent research from Princeton shows that perovskite cells can endure 30 years. The cells kept their efficiency, therefore no sacrifices were made.

No electrical or chemical engineer here, thus I can't explain how they did it. But strangely, the team said longevity isn't the big deal. In the next years, perovskite panels will become longer-lasting. How do you test a panel if you only have a month or two? This breakthrough technique needs a uniform method to estimate perovskite life expectancy fast. The study's key milestone was establishing a standard procedure.

Lab-based advanced aging tests are their solution. Perovskite cells decay faster at higher temperatures, so scientists can extrapolate from that. The test heated the panel to 110 degrees and waited for its output to reduce by 20%. Their panel lasted 2,100 hours (87.5 days) before a 20% decline.

They did some math to extrapolate this data and figure out how long the panel would have lasted in different climates, and were shocked to find it would last 30 years in Princeton. This made perovskite panels as durable as silicon panels. This panel could theoretically be sold today.

This technology will soon allow these brilliant panels to be released into the wild. This technology could be commercially viable in ten, maybe five years.

Solar power will be the best once it does. Solar power is cheap and low-carbon. Perovskite is the cheapest renewable energy source if we switch to it. Solar panel manufacturing's carbon footprint will also drop.

Perovskites' impact goes beyond cost and carbon. Silicon panels require harmful mining and contain toxic elements (cadmium). Perovskite panels don't require intense mining or horrible materials, making their production and expiration more eco-friendly.

Solar power destroys habitat. Massive solar farms could reduce biodiversity and disrupt local ecology by destroying vital habitats. Perovskite cells are more efficient, so they can shrink a solar farm while maintaining energy output. This reduces land requirements, making perovskite solar power cheaper, and could reduce solar's environmental impact.

Perovskite solar power is scalable and environmentally friendly. Princeton scientists will speed up the development and rollout of this energy.

Why bother with fusion, fast reactors, SMRs, or traditional nuclear power? We're close to developing a nearly perfect environmentally friendly power source, and we have the tools and systems to do so quickly. It's also affordable, so we can adopt it quickly and let the developing world use it to grow. Even I struggle to justify spending billions on fusion when a great, cheap technology outperforms it. Perovskite's eco-credentials and cost advantages could save the world and power humanity's future.

Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

8 months ago

Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.

Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs


A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.

Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.

According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.

Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.

“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.

A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.

Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.

Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.

“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.

Sam Warain

Sam Warain

2 months ago

Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, foresees the next trillion-dollar AI company

“I think if I had time to do something else, I would be so excited to go after this company right now.”

Source: TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently discussed AI's present and future.

Open AI is important. They're creating the cyberpunk and sci-fi worlds.

They use the most advanced algorithms and data sets.

GPT-3...sound familiar? Open AI built most copyrighting software. Peppertype, Jasper AI, Rytr. If you've used any, you'll be shocked by the quality.

Open AI isn't only GPT-3. They created DallE-2 and Whisper (a speech recognition software released last week).

What will they do next? What's the next great chance?

Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently gave a lecture about the next trillion-dollar AI opportunity.

Who is the organization behind Open AI?

Open AI first. If you know, skip it.

Open AI is one of the earliest private AI startups. Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, and Rebekah Mercer established OpenAI in December 2015.

OpenAI has helped its citizens and AI since its birth.

They have scary-good algorithms.

Their GPT-3 natural language processing program is excellent.

The algorithm's exponential growth is astounding. GPT-2 came out in November 2019. May 2020 brought GPT-3.

Massive computation and datasets improved the technique in just a year. New York Times said GPT-3 could write like a human.

Same for Dall-E. Dall-E 2 was announced in April 2022. Dall-E 2 won a Colorado art contest.

Open AI's algorithms challenge jobs we thought required human innovation.

So what does Sam Altman think?

The Present Situation and AI's Limitations

During the interview, Sam states that we are still at the tip of the iceberg.

So I think so far, we’ve been in the realm where you can do an incredible copywriting business or you can do an education service or whatever. But I don’t think we’ve yet seen the people go after the trillion dollar take on Google.

He's right that AI can't generate net new human knowledge. It can train and synthesize vast amounts of knowledge, but it simply reproduces human work.

“It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to add to the sum total of human scientific knowledge.”

But the key word is yet.

And that is what I think will turn out to be wrong that most surprises the current experts in the field.

Reinforcing his point that massive innovations are yet to come.

But where?

The Next $1 Trillion AI Company

Sam predicts a bio or genomic breakthrough.

There’s been some promising work in genomics, but stuff on a bench top hasn’t really impacted it. I think that’s going to change. And I think this is one of these areas where there will be these new $100 billion to $1 trillion companies started, and those areas are rare.

Avoid human trials since they take time. Bio-materials or simulators are suitable beginning points.

AI may have a breakthrough. DeepMind, an OpenAI competitor, has developed AlphaFold to predict protein 3D structures.

It could change how we see proteins and their function. AlphaFold could provide fresh understanding into how proteins work and diseases originate by revealing their structure. This could lead to Alzheimer's and cancer treatments. AlphaFold could speed up medication development by revealing how proteins interact with medicines.

Deep Mind offered 200 million protein structures for scientists to download (including sustainability, food insecurity, and neglected diseases).

Source: Deep Mind

Being in AI for 4+ years, I'm amazed at the progress. We're past the hype cycle, as evidenced by the collapse of AI startups like C3 AI, and have entered a productive phase.

We'll see innovative enterprises that could replace Google and other trillion-dollar companies.

What happens after AI adoption is scary and unpredictable. How will AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) affect us? Highly autonomous systems that exceed humans at valuable work (Open AI)

My guess is that the things that we’ll have to figure out are how we think about fairly distributing wealth, access to AGI systems, which will be the commodity of the realm, and governance, how we collectively decide what they can do, what they don’t do, things like that. And I think figuring out the answer to those questions is going to just be huge. — Sam Altman CEO

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Jussi Luukkonen, MBA

Jussi Luukkonen, MBA

2 months ago

Is Apple Secretly Building A Disruptive Tsunami?

A TECHNICAL THOUGHT

The IT giant is seeding the digital Great Renaissance.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai— Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Recently, technology has been dull.

We're still fascinated by processing speeds. Wearables are no longer an engineer's dream.

Apple has been quiet and avoided huge announcements. Slowness speaks something. Everything in the spaceship HQ seems to be turning slowly, unlike competitors around buzzwords.

Is this a sign of the impending storm?

Metas stock has fallen while Google milks dumb people. Microsoft steals money from corporations and annexes platforms like Linkedin.

Just surface bubbles?

Is Apple, one of the technology continents, pushing against all others to create a paradigm shift?

The fundamental human right to privacy

Apple's unusual remarks emphasize privacy. They incorporate it into their business models and judgments.

Apple believes privacy is a human right. There are no compromises.

This makes it hard for other participants to gain Apple's ecosystem's efficiencies.

Other players without hardware platforms lose.

Apple delivers new kidneys without rejection, unlike other software vendors. Nothing compromises your privacy.

Corporate citizenship will become more popular.

Apples have full coffers. They've started using that flow to better communities, which is great.

Apple's $2.5B home investment is one example. Google and Facebook are building or proposing to build workforce housing.

Apple's funding helps marginalized populations in more than 25 California counties, not just Apple employees.

Is this a trend, and does Apple keep giving back? Hope so.

I'm not cynical enough to suspect these investments have malicious motives.

The last frontier is the environment.

Climate change is a battle-to-win.

Long-term winners will be companies that protect the environment, turning climate change dystopia into sustainable growth.

Apple has been quietly changing its supply chain to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

“Apple is dedicated to protecting the planet we all share with solutions that are supporting the communities where we work.” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment.

Apple's $4.7 billion Green Bond investment will produce 1.2 gigawatts of green energy for the corporation and US communities. Apple invests $2.2 billion in Europe's green energy. In the Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Israel, and South Africa, solar installations are helping communities obtain sustainable energy.

Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. -Apple.

Apple invests in green energy and forests to reduce its paper footprint in China and the US. Apple and the Conservation Fund are safeguarding 36,000 acres of US working forest, according to GreenBiz.

Apple's packaging paper is recycled or from sustainably managed forests.

What matters is the scale.

$1 billion is a rounding error for Apple.

These small investments originate from a tree with deep, spreading roots.

Apple's genes are anchored in building the finest products possible to improve consumers' lives.

I felt it when I switched to my iPhone while waiting for a train and had to pack my Macbook. iOS 16 dictation makes writing more enjoyable. Small change boosts productivity. Smooth transition from laptop to small screen and dictation.

Apples' tiny, well-planned steps have great growth potential for all consumers in everything they do.

There is clearly disruption, but it doesn't have to be violent

Digital channels, methods, and technologies have globalized human consciousness. One person's responsibility affects many.

Apple gives us tools to be privately connected. These technologies foster creativity, innovation, fulfillment, and safety.

Apple has invented a mountain of technologies, services, and channels to assist us adapt to the good future or combat evil forces who cynically aim to control us and ruin the environment and communities. Apple has quietly disrupted sectors for decades.

Google, Microsoft, and Meta, among others, should ride this wave. It's a tsunami, but it doesn't have to be devastating if we care, share, and cooperate with political decision-makers and community leaders worldwide.

A fresh Renaissance

Renaissance geniuses Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Different but seeing something no one else could yet see. Both were talented in many areas and could discover art in science and science in art.

These geniuses exemplified a period that changed humanity for the better. They created, used, and applied new, valuable things. It lives on.

Apple is a digital genius orchard. Wozniak and Jobs offered us fertile ground for the digital renaissance. We'll build on their legacy.

We may put our seeds there and see them bloom despite corporate greed and political ignorance.

I think the coming tsunami will illuminate our planet like the Renaissance.

Keagan Stokoe

Keagan Stokoe

1 month ago

Generalists Create Startups; Specialists Scale Them

There’s a funny part of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson where Jobs says that Bill Gates was more a copier than an innovator:

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas….He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Gates lacked flavor. Nobody ever got excited about a Microsoft launch, despite their good products. Jobs had the world's best product taste. Apple vs. Microsoft.

A CEO's core job functions are all driven by taste: recruiting, vision, and company culture all require good taste. Depending on the type of company you want to build, know where you stand between Microsoft and Apple.

How can you improve your product judgment? How to acquire taste?

Test and refine

Product development follows two parallel paths: the ‘customer obsession’ path and the ‘taste and iterate’ path.

The customer obsession path involves solving customer problems. Lean Startup frameworks show you what to build at each step.

Taste-and-iterate doesn't involve the customer. You iterate internally and rely on product leaders' taste and judgment.

Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda explains this method. In Creative Selection, demos are iterated and presented to product leaders. Your boss presents to their boss, and so on up to Steve Jobs. If you have good product taste, you can be a panelist.

The iPhone follows this path. Before seeing an iPhone, consumers couldn't want one. Customer obsession wouldn't have gotten you far because iPhone buyers didn't know they wanted one.

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes:

“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about — figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. As a result, innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.“

One path solves a problem the customer knows they have, and the other doesn't. Instead of asking a person what they want, observe them and give them something they didn't know they needed.

It's much harder. Apple is the world's most valuable company because it's more valuable. It changes industries permanently.

If you want to build superior products, use the iPhone of your industry.

How to Improve Your Taste

I. Work for a company that has taste.

People with the best taste in products, markets, and people are rewarded for building great companies. Tasteful people know quality even when they can't describe it. Taste isn't writable. It's feel-based.

Moving into a community that's already doing what you want to do may be the best way to develop entrepreneurial taste. Most company-building knowledge is tacit.

Joining a company you want to emulate allows you to learn its inner workings. It reveals internal patterns intuitively. Many successful founders come from successful companies.

Consumption determines taste. Excellence will refine you. This is why restauranteurs visit the world's best restaurants and serious painters visit Paris or New York. Joining a company with good taste is beneficial.

2. Possess a wide range of interests

“Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place… The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves.” — Steve Jobs

I recently discovered Edwin Land. Jobs modeled much of his career after Land's. It makes sense that Apple was inspired by Land.

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War notes:

“Land was introverted in person, but supremely confident when he came to his ideas… Alongside his scientific passions, lay knowledge of art, music, and literature. He was a cultured person growing even more so as he got older, and his interests filtered into the ethos of Polaroid.”

Founders' philosophies shape companies. Jobs and Land were invested. It showed in the products their companies made. Different. His obsession was spreading Microsoft software worldwide. Microsoft's success is why their products are bland and boring.

Experience is important. It's probably why startups are built by generalists and scaled by specialists.

Jobs combined design, typography, storytelling, and product taste at Apple. Some of the best original Mac developers were poets and musicians. Edwin Land liked broad-minded people, according to his biography. Physicist-musicians or physicist-photographers.

Da Vinci was a master of art, engineering, architecture, anatomy, and more. He wrote and drew at the same desk. His genius is remembered centuries after his death. Da Vinci's statue would stand at the intersection of humanities and science.

We find incredibly creative people here. Superhumans. Designers, creators, and world-improvers. These are the people we need to navigate technology and lead world-changing companies. Generalists lead.

Eric Esposito

6 months ago

$100M in NFT TV shows from Fox

Image

Fox executives will invest $100 million in NFT-based TV shows. Fox brought in "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon to create "Krapopolis"

Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) will develop these NFT TV shows with Bento Box Entertainment. BCL markets Fox's WWE "Moonsault" NFT.

Fox said it would use the $100 million to build a "creative community" and "brand ecosystem." The media giant mentioned using these funds for NFT "benefits."

"Krapopolis" will be a Greek-themed animated comedy, per Rarity Sniper. Initial reports said NFT buyers could collaborate on "character development" and get exclusive perks.

Fox Entertainment may drop "Krapopolis" NFTs on Ethereum, according to new reports. Fox says it will soon release more details on its NFT plans for "Krapopolis."

Media Giants Favor "NFT Storytelling"

"Krapopolis" is one of the largest "NFT storytelling" experiments due to Dan Harmon's popularity and Fox Entertainment's reach. Many celebrities have begun exploring Web3 for TV shows.

Mila Kunis' animated sitcom "The Gimmicks" lets fans direct the show. Any "Gimmick" NFT holder could contribute to episode plots.

"The Gimmicks" lets NFT holders write fan fiction about their avatars. If show producers like what they read, their NFT may appear in an episode.

Rob McElhenney recently launched "Adimverse," a Web3 writers' community. Anyone with a "Adimverse" NFT can collaborate on creative projects and share royalties.

Many blue-chip NFTs are appearing in movies and TV shows. Coinbase will release Bored Ape Yacht Club shorts at NFT. NYC. Reese Witherspoon is working on a World of Women NFT series.

PFP NFT collections have Hollywood media partners. Guy Oseary manages Madonna's World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. The Doodles signed with Billboard's Julian Holguin and the Cool Cats with CAA.

Web3 and NFTs are changing how many filmmakers tell stories.