Elon Musk

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pages: 328 words: 96,141

Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz

Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, business climate, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, multiplanetary species, mutually assured destruction, new economy, nuclear paranoia, paypal mafia, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pets.com, planetary scale, private space industry, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize, Y2K

“Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly”: Elon Musk (@elonmusk), Twitter, June 15, 2016, 8:07 a.m., https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/743097668725940225. “get you back down again”: David Woods, “The Saturn V Launch Vehicle,” Omega Tau podcast, episode 239, March 12, 2017, http://omegataupodcast.net/239-the-saturn-v-launch-vehicle. 14. Pushing the Envelope “don’t take a week off”: Matt McFarland, “Elon Musk Needs a Vacation,” Washington Post, September 29, 2015, accessed November 11, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/09/29/elon-musk-needs-a-vacation. “fault tree analysis”: Elon Musk (@elonmusk), “There was an overpressure event,” Twitter, June 28, 2015, 8:48 a.m., https://twitter.com/elonmusk /status/615185076813459456. “Thanks :)”: Elon Musk (@elonmusk), Twitter, June 28, 2015, 8:23 a.m., https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/615178702343786498.

“more progress since Apollo”: Elon Musk, remarks at Stanford University Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, October 8, 2003. “we did new stuff”: Rebecca Hackler, “Interview with Hans Koenigsmann,” NASA Oral History Project, January 15, 2003. “made of magic”: Musk, remarks at Stanford University Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders. “doesn’t feel good”: Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (New York: HarperCollins, 2015), 132. “the cost of a part”: Rebecca Hackler, “Interview with Mike Horkachuck,” NASA Oral History Project, November 6, 2012. fifteen hundred tons of thrust: Elon Musk, “June 2005–December 2005,” SpaceX blog, December 9, 2005, accessed September 12, 2017, http://www.spacex.com/news/2005/12/19/june-2005-december-2005. between the two facilities: Vance, Elon Musk, 124.

“to what they are today”: Rebecca Hackler, “Interview with Mike Horkachuck,” NASA Oral History Project, November 6, 2012. “not reaching orbit”: Elon Musk, “Plan Going Forward,” SpaceX blog, August 2, 2008, accessed September 22, 2017, http://www.spacex.com/news/2013/02/11/plan-going-forward. “rather than Falcon 9”: Elon Musk, “Falcon 1, Flight 3 Mission Summary,” SpaceX blog, August 6, 2008, accessed September 19, 2017, http://www.spacex.com/news/2013/02/11/falcon-1-flight-3-mission-summary. “one number, nothing else”: Rebecca Hackler, “Interview with Hans Koenigsmann,” NASA Oral History Project, January 15, 2003. “(starting the company)”: Elon Musk, “Flight 4 Launch Update,” SpaceX blog, October 7, 2007, accessed November 14, 2017, http://www.spacex.com/news/2013/02/11/flight-4-launch-update. “I love you guys!: Scott Pelley, “Billionaire Elon Musk on 2008: ‘The Worst Year of My Life,’” 60 Minutes, CBS, March 28, 2014, accessed November 12, 2017, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/billionaire-elon-musk-on-2008-the-worst-year-of-my-life. 10.


pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

The opening section on Elon Musk draws on the following sources: Tim Fernholz, Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018); Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (New York: Ecco, 2015); Chris Anderson, “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars,” Wired, October 21, 2012, www.wired.com/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/all; Tim Fernholz, “What It Took for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Disrupt Boeing, Leapfrog NASA, and Become a Serious Space Company,” Quartz, October 21, 2014, https://qz.com/281619/what-it-took-for-elon-musks-spacex-to-disrupt-boeing-leapfrog-nasa-and-become-a-serious-space-company; Tom Junod, “Elon Musk: Triumph of His Will,” Esquire, November 15, 2012, www.esquire.com/news-politics/a16681/elon-musk-interview-1212; Jennifer Reingold, “Hondas in Space,” Fast Company, February 1, 2005, www.fastcompany.com/52065/hondas-space; “Elon Musk Answers Your Questions!

Mark Strauss, “Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction,” Smithsonian Magazine, March 15, 2012, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ten-inventions-inspired-by-science-fiction-128080674. 49. Tim Fernholz, Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), 69. 50. Dylan Minor, Paul Brook, and Josh Bernoff, “Data From 3.5 Million Employees Shows How Innovation Really Works,” Harvard Business Review, October 9, 2017, https://hbr.org/2017/10/data-from-3-5-million-employees-shows-how-innovation-really-works. 51. Neil Strauss, “Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow,” Rolling Stone, November 15, 2017, www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/elon-musk-the-architect-of-tomorrow-120850. 52. Snow, Smartcuts. 53. Tom Junod, “Elon Musk: Triumph of His Will,” Esquire, November 15, 2012, www.esquire.com/news-politics/a16681/elon-musk-interview-1212. 54. Michael Belfiore, “Behind the Scenes with the World’s Most Ambitious Rocket Makers,” Popular Mechanics, September 1, 2009, www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a5073/4328638. 55.

The discussion on the Falcon 1 is based on the following sources: Tim Fernholz, Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018); Snow, Lateral Thinking; Chris Bergin, “Falcon I Flight: Preliminary Assessment Positive for SpaceX,” Spaceflight.com, March 24, 2007, www.nasaspaceflight.com/2007/03/falcon-i-flight-preliminary-assessment-positive-for-spacex; Tim Fernholz, “What It Took for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Disrupt Boeing, Leapfrog NASA, and Become a Serious Space Company,” Quartz, October 21, 2014, https://qz.com/281619/what-it-took-for-elon-musks-spacex-to-disrupt-boeing-leapfrog-nasa-and-become-a-serious-space-company; Max Chafkin, “SpaceX’s Secret Weapon Is Gwynne Shotwell,” Bloomberg Quint, July 26, 2018, www.bloombergquint.com/businessweek/she-launches-spaceships-sells-rockets-and-deals-with-elon-musk; Elon Musk, “Falcon 1, Flight 3 Mission Summary,” SpaceX, August 6, 2008, www.spacex.com/news/2013/02/11/falcon-1-flight-3-mission-summary; Dolly Singh, “What Is It Like to Work with Elon Musk?


pages: 390 words: 108,171

The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Burning Man, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, obamacare, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, private space industry, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, X Prize, zero-sum game

“Our parents had no idea”: Tom Junod, “Elon Musk: Triumph of His Will,” Esquire, November 14, 2012. “I thought the Internet”: Elon Musk, “The Future of Energy and Transport,” Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, November 14, 2012. “Well, I don’t think you’ll be coming back”: Elon Musk, “Stanford University Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders” lecture, October 8, 2003. “The online financial payment system”: Ibid. Given the size of the rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaW4Ol3_M1o. “We were both interested”: Junod, “Elon Musk.” “Because, of course”: Elon Musk, “Mars Pioneer Award” acceptance speech, 15th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 4, 2012. “I just did not want Apollo”: Pat Morrison Q & A with Elon Musk, “Space Case,” Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2012. As a winged spaceplane: Elon Musk, Stanford lecture.

As a kid in South Africa: Ashlee Vance, “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” Ecco, May 19, 2015, 40. “I’ve never heard”: Renae Merle, “U.S. Strips Boeing of Launches; $1 Billion Sanction over Data Stolen from Rival,” Washington Post, July 25, 2003. So, SpaceX filed suit: Space Exploration Technologies Corporation v. The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation, US District Court, Central District of California, case number CV05-7533, October 19, 2005. Boeing was just as dismissive: Leslie Wayne, “A Bold Plan to Go Where Men Have Gone Before,” New York Times, February 5, 2006. The failures were so frequent: Vance, Elon Musk, 124. “I tell folks”: Sandra Sanchez, “SpaceX: Blasting into the Future—A Waco Today Interview with Elon Musk,” Waco Tribune, December 22, 2011.

THE RISK “The United States is a distillation”: Elon Musk, “Mars Pioneer Award” acceptance speech, 15th Annual International Mars Society Convention, 2012. As a guidebook pointed out: David Goodman, Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast (Boston: Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 2010). In modern society: Paul O’Neil, The Epic of Flight, Barnstormers & Speed Kings (New York: Time-Life Books, 1981). “If we die”: John Barbour, “Footprints on the Moon,” Associated Press, 1969. Gene Kranz, the flight director: Nova online, interview with Gene Kranz, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tothemoon/kranz.html. Musk had always had a bit: Kerry A. Dolan, “How to Raise a Billionaire: An Interview with Elon Musk’s Father, Errol Musk,” Forbes, July 12, 2015. His maternal grandparents: “Tesla and SpaceX: Elon Musk’s Industrial Empire,” Segment Extra, “Elon Musk on His Family History,” 60 Minutes, March 30, 2014.


pages: 352 words: 87,930

Space 2.0 by Rod Pyle

additive manufacturing, air freight, barriers to entry, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, mouse model, risk-adjusted returns, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, telerobotics, trade route, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Y Combinator

He has since spent well over $100 million of that money on SpaceX, an investment that has netted him NASA contracts worth billions, as well as launches for the US Air Force and private satellite companies. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX. Image credit: SpaceX SpaceX, like Blue Origin and a select few other companies in Space 2.0, is largely personality-driven. It’s a big-vision company, directed by a larger-than-life individual with big ideas. “If the objective was to achieve the best risk-adjusted return,” Musk noted in 2016, “starting a rocket company is insane. But that was not my objective. I had certainly come to the conclusion that if something didn’t happen to improve rocket technology we would be stuck on earth forever. And the big aerospace companies had no interest in radical innovation. All they wanted to do was make their old technology slightly better every year, and sometimes it would actually get worse.”51 Elon Musk meets Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, 2012.

Space News, April 11, 2016. 49Howell, Elizabeth. “How to Poop in Space: NASA Unveils Winners of the Space Poop Challenge.” Space.com, February 15, 2017. CHAPTER 8: SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES COR P. 50Masunaga, Samantha. “SpaceX track record ‘right in the ballpark’ with 93% success rate.” Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2016. 51Sam Altman interview with Elon Musk for Y Combinator, September 2016. 52Dillow, Clay. “The Great Rocket Race.” Fortune, October 2016. 53Brown, Alex. “Why Elon Musk Is Suing the U.S. Air Force.” The Atlantic, June 5, 2014. 54De Selding, Peter. “SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9: What are the real cost savings for customers?” SpaceNews, April 25, 2016. 55This figure is quoted across a wide range. Lowest estimates fall at about $1,200 per pound via SpaceX, and go up to about $7,500 per pound for other launch providers.

“Is SpaceX Changing the Rocket Equation?” Air & Space Magazine, January 2012. 58Besides SpaceX, only Bezos’s Blue Origin and, over twenty years ago, McDonnell Douglas’s DC-X prototype have had substantive success in recovering reusable rockets. For more on DC-X, see Gannon, Megan. “20 Years Ago: Novel DC-X Reusable Rocket Launched into History.” Space.com, August 16, 2003. 59Wall, Michael. “Elon Musk Calls for Moon Base.” Space.com, July 19, 2017. www.space.com/37549-elon-musk-moon-base-mars.html. Accessed June 10, 2017. 60Etherington, Darrell. “SpaceX spent ‘less than half ’ the cost of a new first stage on Falcon 9 relaunch.” Techcrunch, April 5, 2017. techcrunch.com/2017/04/05/spacex-spent-less-than-half-the-cost-of-a-new-first-stage-on-falcon-9-relaunch. Accessed June 7, 2017. 61Koren, Marina. “What Would Flying from New York to Shanghai in 39 Minutes Feel Like?”


pages: 307 words: 90,634

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar

Most prominent on the site was an autoplaying video on the home page that featured foreboding music and the dark, smoky-voiced narration of a true-crime TV show. It spent two minutes shifting through B-roll footage and clips pilfered from documentaries about Musk. The video announced itself with the title American Swindler: The Elon Musk Story and carried an ominous-sounding warning: Foreign-born billionaire Elon Musk. His companies are synonymous with technology and wealth, and his jet-setting lifestyle is the envy of the world. But how exactly did Musk’s companies come about? Who has Elon Musk exploited along the way? And whose world is he actually changing? The truth may startle you. The video proceeded to suggest that Musk has been using his “unprecedented access to the halls of power” to line the pockets of politicians in an effort to secure billions of dollars of subsidies for his ventures Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity—all at the expense of the unsuspecting American taxpayer.

“They want a simple story that boils down nicely to the sound bite, to the headline, and they want to run with it. And so it ends up being the Koch brothers are bad, and climate change is bad, and Exxon is bad—and, you know, I think people ought to be for stuff, not against stuff. I think you could be much more effective if you were for something, rather than being against the Koch brothers.” Then Sears’s tone brightened. “Elon Musk—whatever you think of Tesla—Elon Musk didn’t build Tesla by whining about the internal combustion engine.” “Right,” I agreed. “He could’ve!” “Well, now he is whining about the Kochs,” I said, adding: “Quote unquote ‘whining.’” “Okay, fine,” Sears said with a sigh. “He’s wasting his time. He needs to focus on something more positive. But seriously, what he has done, what he has built, was not built through whining.”

Just over a century later, Elon Musk unveiled the Model S at a time when civilization is more than ready for a cultural rebirth—one that could be catalyzed by something as innocuous as a beautiful car that drives itself. Autonomy, after all, is a term not limited to the automatic control of a motor vehicle. Its meaning also speaks of self-determination. It is through the power of this autonomy that we can turn a revolution into a renaissance. A NOTE ON SOURCES This book relies on a combination of my own reporting and that done by others. For all Tesla-related content, I have relied only on publicly available sources, including news stories, magazine profiles, blog posts, videos, documentaries, court documents, and company filings. For the sections about Tesla’s and Elon Musk’s histories, I am indebted especially to Ashlee Vance’s biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Drake Baer’s reporting for Business Insider, and Max Chafkin’s 2007 profile of Musk for Inc.


pages: 70 words: 22,172

How We'll Live on Mars (TED Books) by Stephen Petranek

California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, Elon Musk, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, nuclear winter, out of africa, Richard Feynman, trade route

Brian Cox explains how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation and a profound appreciation of our existence. Burt Rutan The Real Future of Space Exploration In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambastes the US government-funded space program for stagnating and asks entrepreneurs to pick up where NASA has left off. Elon Musk The Mind Behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity . . . Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a man with many plans. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX sits down with TED curator Chris Anderson to share details about his visionary projects, which include a mass-marketed electric car, a solar energy leasing company, and a fully reusable rocket. Stephen Petranek 10 Ways the World Could End How might the human race end? Stephen Petranek lays out ten terrible options and the science behind them.

And although there is no shortage of private projects intending to send people to Mars, only one company can currently make a realistic promise to deliver human bodies to the Red Planet before NASA finally gets around to it. • • • In the same way we can draw a line from Wernher von Braun straight to Apollo 11, when a spaceship carrying astronauts lands on Mars in 2027, we may well be able to draw a line straight to Elon Musk—because that Mars lander will most likely have the SpaceX logo on it. Musk is arguably the most visionary entrepreneur of our time. Seven years after he quit a PhD program in applied physics at Stanford University, he sold his share of PayPal and Zip2, companies he cofounded, giving him a reported net worth of $324 million. He rolled his money into Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a company he founded in 2002, then went on to cofound Tesla Motors, which is poised to revolutionize the automobile world.

Let us pause, for a moment, to look twice at the name of Musk’s company—Space Exploration Technologies. Note the word Exploration. Like von Braun before him, Musk is in love with the idea that humans should become a spacefaring society. He is keenly aware that Earth will not be habitable forever. Musk seems frustrated by our denial about what we are doing to our habitat, and is ever cognizant of a simple fact: humans will become extinct if we do not reach beyond Earth. Elon Musk’s appearance as a rocket man came none too soon. The technology had advanced very little from 1969, when Neil Armstrong placed his boot on the moon, to 2002, when Musk began SpaceX. In fact, according to Musk, space travel since the Apollo program not only hasn’t moved forward much, it has gone “backward.” He says, “Once we could go to the moon, and now we can’t. That’s not forward, or even sideways.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

“The Earth is the gem”: Loren Grush, “Jeff Bezos: ‘I Don’t Want a Plan B for Earth,’ ” Verge, June 1, 2016. See: https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/1/11830206/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-save-earth-code-conference-interview. Elon Musk doesn’t disagree: Dave Mosher, “Here’s Elon Musk’s Complete, Sweeping Vision on Colonizing Mars to Save Humanity,” Business Insider, September 29, 2016. See: https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-speech-transcript-2016-9. “Mars Oasis”: Chris Anderson, “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars,” Wired, September 21, 2012. See: https://www.wired.com/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002: Michael Sheetz, “The Rise of Spacex and the Future Of Elon Musk’s Mars Dream,” CNBC, March 20, 2019. See: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/20/spacex-rise-elon-musk-mars-dream.html. See also: Tim Fernholz, “The Complete Visual History of Spacex’s Single-Minded Pursuit of Rocket Reusability,” Quartz, July 1, 2017, https://qz.com/1016072/a-multimedia-history-of-every-single-one-of-spacexs-attempts-to-land-its-booster-rocket-back-on-earth/.

Whatever the case, transportation ten years from today is going to look radically different—and this prediction doesn’t include everything that happened after Elon Musk lost his temper. Hyperloop On an empty swatch of desert outside of Las Vegas, perched atop a high-tech stretch of track, a sleek silver pod begins to quiver. Less than a second later, it’s not just moving, it’s a hundred-mile-per-hour blur. Ten seconds after, it’s zipping down the Virgin Hyperloop One Development Track at 240 mph. If these tracks continued—as they someday will—this high-speed train would take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in the time it takes to watch a sitcom. Hyperloop is the brainchild of Elon Musk, just one in a series of transportation innovations from a man determined to leave his mark on the industry. In BOLD, we explored his first two forays: SpaceX, his rocket company, and Tesla, his electric car company.

The Future of Surgery 2030s, when NASA is planning to launch the first human exploration mission: Jeff Foust, “Bridenstine Says NASA Planning for Human Mars Missions in 2030s,” Space News, July 16, 2019. See: https://spacenews.com/bridenstine-says-nasa-planning-for-human-mars-missions-in-2030s/. .06 percent per person per year: Richard Summers, “Emergencies in Space,” The Practice of Emergency Medicine/Concepts, 2005. See: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a102/d4e61620dd77f93639cf47492f7ca6f8c44f.pdf. Elon Musk once explained: Watch Elon Musk’s speech at the SS R&D Conference on July 19, 2017 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqvBhhTtUm4. Kim is part of the research team behind STAR: Alan Brown, “Smooth Operator: Robot Could Transform Soft-Tissue Surgery,” Alliance of Advanced Biomedical Engineering, August 14, 2017. See: https://aabme.asme.org/posts/smooth-operator-robot-could-transform-soft-tissue-surgery. are roughly 50 million surgeries undertaken in the US each year: Margaret J.


pages: 321 words: 89,109

The New Gold Rush: The Riches of Space Beckon! by Joseph N. Pelton

3D printing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, global pandemic, Google Earth, gravity well, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, life extension, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, megastructure, new economy, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-industrial society, private space industry, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, Tim Cook: Apple, Tunguska event, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, X Prize

In short, there are changing opportunities, new corporate activities in space, new sources of wealth, and even new sources of disputes that could lead to conflict over the future of space. The New Space industry leaders may not be who you think they are. The new operatives in the commercial space game are organizations such as Google, Facebook, and the Tesla-SpaceX complex (within the empire of Elon Musk). Indeed this New Space push is fueled by who we call the space billionaires. At the head of the space billionaire pack are Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com; Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft; Elon Musk (founder of Space X, Paypal, and Tesla); Robert Bigelow, owner of Budget Suites; Sir Richard Branson, head of Virgin Galactic; Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook; and electronic game inventor John Carmack, who created “Doom” and “Quake.” It is these people that are upending the world of technology and global enterprise at planetary levels who will be prominent in the space business during the twenty-first century.

However, for most who are planning for the new space economy the opinion of space philosophers doesn’t really float their boat. Legislators, bankers, and aspiring space entrepreneurs are far more interested in the views of the super-rich capitalists called the space billionaires. A number of these billionaires and space executives have already put some very serious money into enterprises intent on creating a new pathway to the stars. No less than five billionaires with established space ventures—Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson, and Robert Bigelow—have invested millions if not billions of dollars into commercializing space. They are developing new technologies and establishing space enterprises that can bring the wealth of outer space down to Earth. This is not a pipe dream, but will increasingly be the economic reality of the 2020s. These wealthy space entrepreneurs see major new economic opportunities.

Thirty years from now, there'll be a base on the Moon and on Mars, and you would need a million people to be going back and forth on SpaceX rockets…to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars…people to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just—there. No oil.”(Elon Musk, president of SpaceX and Tesla.) On his space business, Virgin Galactic: We'll go into orbit. We'll go to the Moon. This business has no limits. (Richard Branson, reported in Wired magazine January 2005.) On why space is the next frontier: What should exist? To me, that's the most exciting question imaginable. What do we need that we don't have? How can we realize our potential? As a species, we've always been discoverers and adventurers, and space and the deep ocean are some of the last frontiers.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, superconnector, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Also see Marcia Brown, Stone Soup (New York: Aladdin Picture Books), 1997. 17 AI with Hagel. 18 John Hagel, “Pursuing Passion,” Edge Perspectives with John Hagel, November 14, 2009, http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2009/11/pursuing-passion.html. 19 Gregory Berns, “In Hard Times, Fear Can Impair Decision Making,” New York Times, December 6, 2008. Chapter Six: Billionaire Wisdom: Thinking at Scale 1 Elon Musk, “The Rocket Scientist Model for Iron Man,” Time, http://content.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,81836143001_1987904,00.html. 2 Unless otherwise noted, historical details and Musk quotes come from a series of AIs between 2012 and 2014. 3 AI, XPRIZE Adventure Trip, February 2013. 4 Thomas Owen, “Tesla’s Elon Musk: ‘I Ran Out of Cash,’ ” VentureBeat, May 2010, http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/27/elon-musk-personal-finances/. 5 Andrew Sorkin, Dealbook: “Elon Musk, of PayPal and Tesla Fame, Is Broke,” New York Times, June 2010, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/sorkin-elon-musk-of-paypal-and-tesla-fame-is-broke/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0. 6 SpaceX, “About Page,” http://www.spacex.com/about. 7 Kenneth Chang, “First Private Craft Docks With Space Station,” New York Times, May 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/science/space/space-x-capsule-docks-at-space-station.html. 8 Elon Musk interviewed by Kevin Fong, Scott’s Legacy, a BBC Radio 4 program, cited in Jonathan Amos, “Mars for the ‘average person,’ ” BBC News, March 20, 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-17439490. 9 Diarmuid O’Connell, Statement from Tesla’s vice president of corporate and business development, reported in Hunter Walker, “White House Won’t Back Tesla in Direct Sales Fight” in Business Insider, July 14, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-wont-back-tesla-2014-7. 10 Daniel Gross, “Elon’s Élan,” Slate, April 30, 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/04/tesla_and_spacex_founder_elon_musk_has_a_knack_for_getting_others_to_fund.html. 11 Kevin Rose, “Elon Musk,” Video Interview, Episode 20, Foundation, September 2012, http://foundation.bz/20/. 12 Daniel Kahneman, “Why We Make Bad Decisions About Money (And What We Can Do About It),” Big Think, Interview, June 2013, http://bigthink.com/videos/why-we-make-bad-decisions-about-money-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-2. 13 Chris Anderson, “The Shared Genius of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs”, Fortune, November 21, 2013, http://fortune.com/2013/11/21/the-shared-genius-of-elon-musk-and-steve-jobs/. 14 AI, September 2013. 15 Eric Kelsey, “Branson recalls tears, $1 billion check in Virgin Records sale,” Reuters, October 23, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/us-richardbranson-virgin-idUSBRE99N01U20131024. 16 Forbes, The World’s Billionaires: #303 Richard Branson, August 2014, http://www.forbes.com/profile/richard-branson/. 17 Richard Branson, “BA Can’t Get It Up - best stunt ever?

_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0. 6 SpaceX, “About Page,” http://www.spacex.com/about. 7 Kenneth Chang, “First Private Craft Docks With Space Station,” New York Times, May 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/science/space/space-x-capsule-docks-at-space-station.html. 8 Elon Musk interviewed by Kevin Fong, Scott’s Legacy, a BBC Radio 4 program, cited in Jonathan Amos, “Mars for the ‘average person,’ ” BBC News, March 20, 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-17439490. 9 Diarmuid O’Connell, Statement from Tesla’s vice president of corporate and business development, reported in Hunter Walker, “White House Won’t Back Tesla in Direct Sales Fight” in Business Insider, July 14, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-wont-back-tesla-2014-7. 10 Daniel Gross, “Elon’s Élan,” Slate, April 30, 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/04/tesla_and_spacex_founder_elon_musk_has_a_knack_for_getting_others_to_fund.html. 11 Kevin Rose, “Elon Musk,” Video Interview, Episode 20, Foundation, September 2012, http://foundation.bz/20/. 12 Daniel Kahneman, “Why We Make Bad Decisions About Money (And What We Can Do About It),” Big Think, Interview, June 2013, http://bigthink.com/videos/why-we-make-bad-decisions-about-money-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-2. 13 Chris Anderson, “The Shared Genius of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs”, Fortune, November 21, 2013, http://fortune.com/2013/11/21/the-shared-genius-of-elon-musk-and-steve-jobs/. 14 AI, September 2013. 15 Eric Kelsey, “Branson recalls tears, $1 billion check in Virgin Records sale,” Reuters, October 23, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/us-richardbranson-virgin-idUSBRE99N01U20131024. 16 Forbes, The World’s Billionaires: #303 Richard Branson, August 2014, http://www.forbes.com/profile/richard-branson/. 17 Richard Branson, “BA Can’t Get It Up - best stunt ever?

Exponential technologies added physical leverage, psychological tools provided a mental edge, and the combination allows entrepreneurs to become true forces for disruption. This chapter, which marks the end of that psychological exploration, focuses on the mind hacks of four remarkable men, a quartet of entrepreneurs who have already harnessed exponential technology to build multibillion-dollar companies that forever changed the world: Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page. I’ve had the chance to work in varying degrees with each of these men. Elon Musk and Larry Page are both trustees and benefactors of the XPRIZE Foundation; Jeff Bezos ran the SEDS chapter at Princeton and has been passionate about opening space for the past forty years; and Richard Branson licensed the winning technology resulting from the Ansari XPRIZE to create Virgin Galactic. All four exemplify the central idea in this book, exhibiting a commitment to bold that’s fierce, enduring, and masterfully executed.


pages: 398 words: 108,889

The Paypal Wars: Battles With Ebay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth by Eric M. Jackson

bank run, business process, call centre, creative destruction, disintermediation, Elon Musk, index fund, Internet Archive, iterative process, Joseph Schumpeter, market design, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, telemarketer, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Turing test

See also promotions market leader, X.com (PayPal) as, 79 Martin, Paul, 64–66 AuctionFinder and shipping tools, 259–260 background, 97 customer service solutions, 108 departure from PayPal, 264–266 life after PayPal, 312 move to oust Elon Musk, 157–159 positions at X.com (PayPal), 75, 119 reaction to sale of PayPal, 279 response to credit card limit crisis, 127–128 “turn off Checkout” tool, 232 . See also “PayPal Paul” MasterCard sanctions on PayPal, 148, 198 McCormick, Andrew, 255 media coverage CEO change at X.com (PayPal), 112–113 Citigroup C2it, 177 eBay Billpoint tactics, 209–210 eBay buyout of PayPal, 289 eBay “Checkout” feature, 231 Elon Musk’s departure, 177–178 negative, towards PayPal, 179–180, 293–294 PayPal anti-fraud measures, 202–203 PayPal at eBay Live, 275 PayPal IPO, 224–225, 236 PayPal sales of shares, 246–247 positive, towards PayPal, 178 startups, 178–180, 310 town named after startup, 132 meetings communication by, at eBay, 297–298 at Confinity, 24–25 fine for latecomers at PayPal, 197 Melton, Bill, 10 merchant services team at PayPal, 212, 260 mergers and acquisitions Confinity and X.com, 69, 72–73 difficulties from, 113 by eBay, 307 PayPal and eBay, 302 message boards adding to PayPal site, 139 as customer service solution, 101, 107–108, 138–139 “damage control” on, 127 Metcalfe’s law, 42 Microsoft eBay’s tactics compared with, 205, 231 PayPal as “Microsoft of payments,” 26 “Million Auction March,” 186 mission PayPal, 26, 28 PayPal, difference from eBay’s, 307 .

See also legal actions against PayPal regulatory risks with PayPal, 121 less than banks with gaming, 214 need for clarification, 168 robot bidder, 55–60 Rockower, JoAnne background, 135 discovery about Billpoint listings, 206 life after PayPal, 312 role at eBay Live, 271 transfer to marketing, 234 “turn off Checkout” tool, 232 Rowe, Amy, 119, 124, 155 Ruckstuhl, Ann, 209 Sacks, David attempt to retain Paul Martin, 266 attitude towards competition, 56–57 cashflow crisis approach, 136–137 collaboration with Elon Musk, 110–111 continuation at PayPal under eBay, 295–296 debate over fee transactions, 149–150 deferral to Elton Musk production halt, 154 departure from PayPal, 303 The Diversity Myth, 7 eBay Live plan, 269–270 employee relations, 23 Eric’s concern about reporting to, 114 fight to keep PayPal name, 155 handwriting on wall, 301–302 hiring by Confinity, 15 life after PayPal, 312 management strength, 311 management style, 126, 184, 269 meeting with employees about eBay buyout, 287–288 Meg Whitman’s thanks to, 285 message board proposal, 100–101, 107 move to oust Elon Musk, 157–159 nickname, 32 PayPal banner ads innovation, 46–48 PayPal expenses reduction effort, 170 position at X.com (PayPal), 75 product team meeting at P/X, 117–119 reaction to Eric’s first day, 18 refusal to stop brands survey, 156 response to Eric’s call to break Billpoint, 261–262 “Scotty” promotion suggestion, 30 signoff on Palm application termination, 146 temperament, 46, 184 transaction guarantee rollout, 137–138 “turn off Checkout” tool order, 232 sales.

See PayPal milestones Super Bowl commercials, 30 Sydney Olympics, 155 telephone customer service at startups, 100 telephone networks, 41–42 Templeton, Jamie, 18 auction logo insertion tool (AutoLink), 52 dotBank feature challenge, 39 update of PayPal Web site, 81 web server crisis, 101–103 Thiel, Peter announcement of PayPal sale to eBay, 282–283 appointed day-to-day manager of X.com (PayPal), 162 attempt to retain Paul Martin, 266 blue hair dare, 198 career before PayPal, 7 CEO appointment in 2001, 197 choice of employees, 21 concern for employees’ opinions, 216–217 conflict with Bill Harris, 109–110 decision to diversify PayPal, 211 decision to sell PayPal, 302 discussion of Confinity and X.com merger, 73–74 founding of Confinity, 8–9 hiring of Eric, 5–7 IPO moves, 223, 244 leadership after Elon Musk’s departure, 163–165 life after PayPal, 312 machine analogy for PayPal, 196 main objective for Confinity, 41 management strength, 311 management style, 196–198 on “Nightly Business Report” (PBS), 202–203 one million dollar challenge to Eric, 43 out of loop, with Meg Whitman, 301 PayPal valedictory address, 293–295 PayPal “world domination” speech, 25–26, 269 position in X.com (PayPal), 70 public image, 298 reaction to eBay buyout offer, 237–238, 290 reaction to IdeaLab funded competition, 63 resignation from PayPal, 303 resignation from X.com (PayPal), 108–109 role in buyout by eBay, 285 role in Elon Musk ouster, 160 speculation about his leaving, 295 speech after Confinity/X.com merger, 77–78 tactics to combat “eBay threat,” 191 tactic to speed up IPO, 244 venture capital financing, 10, 14, 32–33, 89–91, 197 view of government, 8, 293–295 visit to White House, 197–198 Today Show, 132 transaction payment margins effect on PayPal deficit, 195 Peter Thiel’s explanation of, 196 trust bank status, 168, 241 Tuckfield, Paul, 153, 154 Tumbleweed Communications, 240 TV ads, PayPal’s non-use of, 30 TV publicity for startups, 132, 202–204 United Parcel Service.


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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

Thanks for Everything. CONTENTS DEDICATION 1 ELON’S WORLD 2 AFRICA 3 CANADA 4 ELON’S FIRST START-UP 5 PAYPAL MAFIA BOSS 6 MICE IN SPACE PHOTOGRAPHIC INSERT 7 ALL ELECTRIC 8 PAIN, SUFFERING, AND SURVIVAL 9 LIFTOFF 10 THE REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR 11 THE UNIFIED FIELD THEORY OF ELON MUSK EPILOGUE APPENDIX 1 APPENDIX 2 APPENDIX 3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS NOTES ABOUT THE AUTHOR ALSO BY ASHLEE VANCE CREDITS COPYRIGHT ABOUT THE PUBLISHER 1 ELON’S WORLD DO YOU THINK I’M INSANE?” This question came from Elon Musk near the very end of a long dinner we shared at a high-end seafood restaurant in Silicon Valley. I’d gotten to the restaurant first and settled down with a gin and tonic, knowing Musk would—as ever—be late. After about fifteen minutes, Musk showed up wearing leather shoes, designer jeans, and a plaid dress shirt.

The venture capitalists were all running for the hills.” What separated Tesla from the competition was the willingness to charge after its vision without compromise, a complete commitment to execute to Musk’s standards. 11 THE UNIFIED FIELD THEORY OF ELON MUSK THE RIVE BROTHERS USED TO BE LIKE A TECHNOLOGY GANG. In the late 1990s, they would jump on skateboards and zip around the streets of Santa Cruz, knocking on the doors of businesses and asking if they needed any help managing their computing systems. The young men, who had all grown up in South Africa with their cousin Elon Musk, soon decided there must be an easier way to hawk their technology smarts than going door-to-door. They wrote some software that allowed them to take control of their clients’ systems from afar and to automate many of the standard tasks that companies required, such as installing updates for applications.

The oddity of the moment left me speechless for a beat, while my every synapse fired trying to figure out if this was some sort of riddle, and, if so, how it should be answered artfully. It was only after I’d spent lots of time with Musk that I realized the question was more for him than me. Nothing I said would have mattered. Musk was stopping one last time and wondering aloud if I could be trusted and then looking into my eyes to make his judgment. A split second later, we shook hands and Musk drove off in a red Tesla Model S sedan. ANY STUDY OF ELON MUSK must begin at the headquarters of SpaceX, in Hawthorne, California—a suburb of Los Angeles located a few miles from Los Angeles International Airport. It’s there that visitors will find two giant posters of Mars hanging side by side on the wall leading up to Musk’s cubicle. The poster to the left depicts Mars as it is today—a cold, barren red orb. The poster on the right shows a Mars with a humongous green landmass surrounded by oceans.


Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere by Christian Wolmar

Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, BRICs, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, deskilling, Diane Coyle, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, wikimedia commons, Zipcar

Neither of these predictions turned 28 The hard sell out to be correct, so why should we believe Google’s latest claims? Ford’s chief executive Mark Fields said in February 2015 that fully autonomous cars would be on the market by 2020, though he did not say they would be made by Ford. Anthony Foxx, then US Transportation Secretary, claimed in January 2016 that driverless cars would be in use all over the world by 2025. And yet even an article headed ‘Elon Musk is right: driverless cars will arrive by 2021’ on a website called ‘The Next Web’ concluded that ‘2021 might be a tad optimistic but it seems we are closer than decades away.’ It is not only politicians, the auto manufacturers and tech companies making these predictions either. Uber’s (later-ejected) chief executive Travis Kalanick tweeted in August 2015 that he expected Uber’s fleet to be driverless by 2030 and that the service would then be so inexpensive and ubiquitous that car ownership would be obsolete.

The network of charging points required to service such housing would be incredibly expensive to provide, and it is not at all clear who would fund it. Because of the vehicles’ shortcomings, their greater cost and the lack of charging points, take-up has been 33 Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere slow, though it has accelerated recently. At the high end, Tesla – a start-up firm created by Elon Musk, the serial entrepreneur and inventor, as well as a powerful and leading advocate for driverless vehicles – produced its Model S in 2012. It has a range of 200 miles for the basic model, extending to 335 for the most expensive version. Tesla does not use single-purpose, large battery cells like those in other electric vehicles. Instead, it uses thousands of small, cylindrical, lithium-ion cells similar to those in laptops and other electronic devices.

While sales of electric vehicles are clearly set to grow, there are major logistical and practical problems to overcome before they can become the car of choice for most people. 35 Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere The key issue is whether enough batteries can be produced. Tesla is constructing what will become the biggest building in the world (in terms of its footprint) in Nevada to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, and it is eventually expected to produce enough batteries for 1.5 million cars per year. Elon Musk is planning several more such ‘gigafactories’ but there is clearly, at the moment, huge undercapacity of battery manufacturing in relation to the demand that would be created if even 10 or 20 per cent of cars, let alone a majority, were electric powered. While this is not an insuperable problem, there are also questions about the availability of sufficient lithium to produce these batteries. An article in the Financial Times in June 2017 warned that prices might begin to rise rapidly as production of electric vehicles increases, and it suggested that there would need to be a twenty-fold increase in worldwide production of lithium to meet demand by 2030 in order to ‘electrify the world’s fleet of vehicles’.18 Autonomy There is much confusion, which is often reflected in media coverage – or even originated in it – on the definition of a ‘driverless’ car.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion Dollar Crusade,” p. 89. 27. Barrat, Our Final Invention, p. 19. 28. Ibid., p. 265. 29. Pinker, Enlightenment Now, p. 300. 30. Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (New York: Henry Holt, 2018), p. 135. 31. Damien Cave, “Artificial Stupidity,” Salon, October 4, 2000. 32. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion Dollar Crusade,” p. 90. 33. Sam Thielman, “Is Facebook Even Capable of Stopping an Influence Campaign on Its Platform?” Talking Points Memo, September 15, 2017. 34. James Walker, “Researchers Shut Down AI that Invented Its Own Language,” digitaljournal.com, July 21, 2017. 35. Cade Metz, “Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and the Feud over Killer Robots,” New York Times, June 9, 2018. 36. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion Dollar Crusade,” p. 91. 37.

Curtis White, We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2015), p. 19. 15. Kai-Fu Lee, “The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence,” New York Times, June 24, 2017. 16. Bill Joy, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” Wired, April 1, 2000. 17. Sarah Marsh, “Essays Reveal Stephen Hawking Predicted Race of Superhumans,” Guardian, October 4, 2018 18. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion Dollar Crusade.” 19. James Vincent, “Elon Musk Says We Need to Regulate AI Before It Becomes a Danger to Humanity,” theverge.com, July 17, 2017. 20. Stephen Hawking, “Artificial Intelligence Could Be the Greatest Disaster in Human History,” Independent, October 20, 2016. 21. James Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013), p. 34. 22.

Plastic garbage bins were reduced to mere stains on the pavement.”54 But that was October, right at the end of the state’s traditional fire season. So, people breathed a sigh again, and began the work of cleaning up, knowing they had a little time—until, in December, record heat and dryness in Southern California touched off what became the largest blaze in California history, a blaze that “jumped ten-lane highways with unsettling ease”55 and threatened the homes of Rupert Murdoch, Elon Musk, and Beyoncé. It burned till the New Year, and then, as 2018 began, people breathed a sigh again, and welcomed the prospect of a little winter rain. The first storm hit, and it brought prodigious amounts of water, half an inch inside of five minutes in some places. That water fell on the burned-over hills, where there were no plants left to hold the flood, and so it turned into a mudslide. Twenty-one people died.


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Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, superconnector

The SpaceX history in this chapter comes primarily through personal interviews with former SpaceX employees, NASA historians, and aerospace academics, and from video footage of Falcon launches. An independent fact checker verified the information in my reporting and I delivered material from this chapter to Elon Musk himself for firsthand verification. (Musk did not return anything.) Two major magazine profiles of Musk provide further biographical details: Chris Anderson, “The Shared Genius of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs,” Fortune, November 2013, and Tom Junod, “The Triumph of His Will,” Esquire, November 2012. 171 “I didn’t think there was anything I could do”: Chris Anderson, “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars,” Wired, October 21, 2012, http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/all/ (accessed February 15, 2014). 172 NASA employed about 18,000: NASA’s headcount comes from “Space Organizations Part 1: NASA—Nasa’s Workforce,” Library Index, http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/987/Space-Organizations-Part-1-NASA-NASA-S-WORKFORCE.html, and the catalog of collaborators on the Apollo project is documented by Catherine Thimmesh, Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006). 172 “To make life multiplanetary” and the continuation of “human consciousness”: Musk often repeats these phrases in interviews, such as David Pescovitz, “Elon Musk on Making Life Multi-Planetary,” Boing Boing, April 10, 2012, http://boingboing.net/2012/04/10/elon-musk-on-making-life-multi.html (accessed February 15, 2014), and Junod, “The Triumph of His Will.” 174 over-the-top demonstration to create buzz: For more on Lady Gaga, Baumgartner, Alexander the Great, and 10x Storytelling, visit shanesnow.com/10xstorytelling. 175 “We choose to go to the moon”: John F.

As they waited beneath the giant screens broadcasting their rocket’s video feed from 4,955 miles away, the man behind their mission stepped into the mission control trailer at the back of the room. Elon Musk. The dark-haired South African entered, wearing his usual outfit—fitted T-shirt and jeans—and took command. The oft-mythologized billionaire—after whom Robert Downey Jr. modeled his character, Tony Stark, in the Iron Man films—was at the time simply a millionaire and perhaps not even that. Into SpaceX he’d plunged his personal fortune, which over six years had been whittled down to a stump. A few years ago, Musk had disclosed that he had enough money to attempt three rocket launches. He regretted saying it. Now, after two unsuccessful attempts to reach orbit, the eyes of his 300 exhausted employees, many of whom had worked 80-hour weeks during the summer, stared at the Falcon 1 video feed. And so did thousands of spectators around the globe. ELON MUSK GREW UP in Pretoria, South Africa, in a family of five whose patriarch left when the kids were young.

Two major magazine profiles of Musk provide further biographical details: Chris Anderson, “The Shared Genius of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs,” Fortune, November 2013, and Tom Junod, “The Triumph of His Will,” Esquire, November 2012. 171 “I didn’t think there was anything I could do”: Chris Anderson, “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars,” Wired, October 21, 2012, http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/all/ (accessed February 15, 2014). 172 NASA employed about 18,000: NASA’s headcount comes from “Space Organizations Part 1: NASA—Nasa’s Workforce,” Library Index, http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/987/Space-Organizations-Part-1-NASA-NASA-S-WORKFORCE.html, and the catalog of collaborators on the Apollo project is documented by Catherine Thimmesh, Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006). 172 “To make life multiplanetary” and the continuation of “human consciousness”: Musk often repeats these phrases in interviews, such as David Pescovitz, “Elon Musk on Making Life Multi-Planetary,” Boing Boing, April 10, 2012, http://boingboing.net/2012/04/10/elon-musk-on-making-life-multi.html (accessed February 15, 2014), and Junod, “The Triumph of His Will.” 174 over-the-top demonstration to create buzz: For more on Lady Gaga, Baumgartner, Alexander the Great, and 10x Storytelling, visit shanesnow.com/10xstorytelling. 175 “We choose to go to the moon”: John F. Kennedy, “Moon Speech,” Rice Stadium, Houston, September 12, 1962, http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm (accessed February 15, 2014). 176 “The Internet taught me nearly everything”: Kosta Grammatis, Kosta.is, http://kosta.is/ (accessed December 20, 2013). 177 to provide free Internet: Kosta Grammatis’s “Buy This Satellite” campaign was featured in an article by Jim Fields, “Q&A: As Egypt Shuts Down the Internet, One Group Wants Online Access for All,” Time, January 31, 2011, http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2045428,00.html (accessed February 17, 2014).


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The Doomsday Calculation: How an Equation That Predicts the Future Is Transforming Everything We Know About Life and the Universe by William Poundstone

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, digital map, discounted cash flows, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, Elon Musk, Gerolamo Cardano, index fund, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, Turing test

“If I were a character in a computer game,” MIT physicist Max Tegmark said, “I would also discover eventually that the rules seemed completely rigid and mathematical. That just reflects the computer code in which it was written.” He likened this to the mathematical nature of physics. Harvard physicist Lisa Randall disagreed. She put the probability of our being a simulation at “effectively zero.” For her the real question was “why so many people think it’s an interesting question.” One who takes simulations seriously is entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has helped fund Nick Bostrom’s work. “The strongest argument for us being in a simulation,” Musk said at the 2016 Recode conference, “is the following: 40 years ago, we had Pong. Two rectangles and a dot. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic 3D simulations with millions playing simultaneously. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality.

There is often disagreement about whether the schemes would work, even in principle. Nearly all involve technology well beyond what’s presently available. One exception is a low-tech device, the quantum suicide machine. Quantum Suicide Machine Max Tegmark has led a charmed life. In high school in Sweden he made a small fortune coding a video game. He’s now an MIT cosmologist whose work has been funded by Elon Musk. Yet a share of Tegmark’s popular fame is due to some half-joking remarks he made in 1997. Like a lot of other physicists, Tegmark had racked his brain trying to come up with an experimental test of many worlds. He eventually came up with a notion known as a quantum suicide machine. In David Papineau’s words, the high concept is: Get in the box with Schrödinger’s cat. Well, there doesn’t have to be a box.

Summoning the Demon The Future of Humanity Institute is in England but not quite of it. Located in Oxford, the home of William of Ockham and Lewis Carroll, the institute was founded by Swedish-born Nick Bostrom and has been financed largely by the American technology industry. Lead donor James Martin was a former IBM employee in New York who struck it rich as a corporate consultant and futurist. More recently Elon Musk donated $1.5 million to study policy questions, much of which has been channeled to the institute. The irony is that Bostrom, who decided the doomsday argument is inconclusive, now spends his days trying to stave off doomsday. FHI is a think tank whose goal is to prevent the end of the world. Bostrom and colleagues attempt to identify threats to human existence and devise ways to deal with them.


pages: 452 words: 126,310

The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment

Kenneth Chang, “Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX's Ambition into Orbit,” New York Times, February 6, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/science/falcon-heavy-spacex-launch.html (accessed October 14, 2018). 6. Noah Robischon and Elizabeth Segran, “Elon Musk's Mars Mission Revealed: SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System,” Fast Company, September 27, 2016, https://www.fastcompany.com/3064139/elon-musks-mars-mission-revealed-spacexs-interplanetary-transport-system (accessed October 14, 2018). 7. Robert Zubrin, “Colonizing Mars: A Critique of the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System,” New Atlantis, October 21, 2016, https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/colonizing-mars (accessed October 14, 2018). 8. Adam Baidawi and Kenneth Chang, “Elon Musk's Mars Vision: A One-Size-Fits-All Rocket. A Very Big One,” New York Times, September 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/science/elon-musk-mars.html (accessed October 14, 2018). 9. Carol Stoker and Carter Emmart, Strategies for Mars (San Diego: Univelt, 1996); Robert Zubrin, From Imagination to Reality: Mars Exploration Studies of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (San Diego: Univelt, 1997). 10.

It is interesting to note that an innovative American-founded space launch start-up called Firefly has chosen to locate its research and development branch in Ukraine rather than in Russia. While both nations have inherited significant parts of the Soviet Union's space technology, relatively free Ukraine's smaller portion is far more investible than that of kleptocratic Russia. CHAPTER 2. FREE SPACE 1. James Titcomb, “Elon Musk Plans London to New York Flights in 29 Minutes,” Telegraph, September 29, 2017, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/09/29/elon-musk-unveils-plans-london-new-york-rocket-flights-30-minutes/ (accessed October 14, 2018). Note the BFR, “Big F…ing Rocket,” was originally introduced by Musk as the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) in September 2016 and renamed BFR in early 2017, under which title it became widely known and discussed. It was then renamed Starship in November 2018.

In August 2018, a much-publicized paper by University of Colorado professor Bruce Jakowski, the principal investigator of the MAVEN orbiter, asserted that there could not be enough CO2 on Mars to create an appreciable atmosphere, because on the basis of MAVEN measurements, Mars has lost about 7 psi of pressure to space over the past four billion years. In fact, these results show the exact opposite, since Mars would have needed more than 20 psi of CO2 in its atmosphere four billion years ago to have been warm enough for liquid water. So plenty of CO2 must still be soaked in the soil. Mike Brown, “Elon Musk Wants to Terraform Mars, and He's Refusing to Back Down,” Yahoo News, August 1, 2018, https://www.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-wants-terraform-mars-123100942.html (accessed October 15, 2018). CHAPTER 5. ASTEROIDS FOR FUN AND PROFIT 1. John Lewis, Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets (New York: Helix Books, 1996). 2. David Harland, Jupiter Odyssey: The Story of NASA's Galileo Mission (Chichester, UK: Praxis, 2000). 3. Jim Bell and Jaqueline Mitton, Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). 4.


pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Thomas Davenport, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Davenport, “Let’s automate all the lawyers,” Wall Street Journal 25 March 2015, http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2015/03/25/lets-automate-all-the-lawyers (accessed 21 October 2016). 6. Kevin Kelly, “The three breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world,” WIRED 27 October 2014, http://www.wired.com/2014/10/future-of-artificial-intelligence (accessed 21 October 2016). 7. Matt McFarland, “Elon Musk: ‘With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon,’ ” Washington Post 24 October 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2014/10/24/elon-musk-with-artificial-intelligence-we-are-summoning-the-demon (accessed 21 October 2016). 8. Rory Cellan-Jones, “Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind,” BBC 2 December 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540 (accessed 21 October 2016). 9. “Hi Reddit, I’m Bill Gates and I’m back for my third AMA.

Effects of Autonomy and Transparency on Attributions in Human– Robot Interaction” (in: RO-MAN 2006—The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T., 2006), M.I.T. (undated), http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~taemie/papers/200609_ROMAN_TKim.pdf (accessed 21 October 2016). 14. Kirsten Korosec, “Elon Musk says Tesla vehicles will drive themselves in two years,” Fortune 21 December 2015, http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview (accessed 21 October 2016). 15. Max Chafkin, “Uber’s first self-driving fleet arrives in Pittsburgh this month,” Bloomberg 18 August 2016, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-08-18/uber-s-first-self-driving-fleet-arrives-in-pittsburgh-this-month-is06r7on (accessed 23 October 2016). CHAPTER THIRTEEN 1. Generali (undated) http://www.generali.es/seguros-particulares/auto-pago-como-conduzco (accessed 21 October 2016). 2.

The Concorde was and, ironically, remains the future of aviation. Unfortunately, all the Concordes are grounded. Airlines found the service too expensive to run and unprofitable to maintain. The sonic boom angered communities. The plane was exotic and beautiful but finicky. Perhaps most important of all, it was too expensive for the majority, and there was no obvious way to make its benefits available more broadly. This is part of the genius of Elon Musk as he develops Tesla: that his luxury company is rapidly moving downstream to become a mass-market player. Clearly, though, in the case of the Concorde, the conditions necessary for a futuristic disruption were not in place. They still are not, although some people are trying, including Musk himself, with his Hyperloop transportation project. Another anecdote from London: in 1990, a car service called Addison Lee launched to take a chunk out of the stagnant taxi market.


pages: 469 words: 132,438

Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons

Neither of those storage technologies is anywhere near as flashy as the battery packs on the Desperate Housewives set under Elon Musk’s solar roofs. But they are nonetheless important pieces for solving the puzzle of how the world can harness sunlight to meet not only its energy needs, but also other basic needs, such as food and water. Notes 1.  “Tesla Bid for SolarCity ‘Shameful,’” BBC News, June 22, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36602509. 2.  Robert Ferris, “Too Early for Tesla to Merge with Solarcity? Elon Musk Says Deal ‘May Even Be a Little Late,’” CNBC, November 4, 2016, http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/04/tesla-solarcity-merger-may-even-be-a-little-late.html. 3.  Elon Musk, “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (Just between You and Me),” Tesla, Inc., June 28, 2012, https://www.tesla.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-between-you-and-me. 4.  

Amy Gahran, “Germany’s Course Correction on Solar Growth,” Greentech Media, November 3, 2016, https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/germanys-course-correction-on-solar-growth. 8.  Fraunhofer ISE, “Recent Facts About Photovoltaics in Germany,” Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, 2017, https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/publications/veroeffentlichungen-pdf-dateien-en/studien-und-konzeptpapiere/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf. 9.  Carmine Gallo, “Tesla’s Elon Musk Lights Up Social Media with a TED Style Keynote,” Forbes, May 4, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2015/05/04/teslas-elon-musk-lights-up-social-media-with-a-ted-style-keynote. 10.  “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2017, https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/query. 11.  Jesse D. Jenkins and Samuel Thernstrom, “Deep Decarbonization of the Electric Power Sector: Insights from Recent Literature,” Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP), March 2017, http://innovationreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/EIRP-Deep-Decarb-Lit-Review-Jenkins-Thernstrom-March-2017.pdf. 12.  

James Peltz, “Despite Tesla Frenzy, Electric Car Sales Are Far from Robust,” Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-agenda-electric-cars-20160411-snap-htmlstory.html. 4.  Tian Ying, “China Considers Dialing Back or Delaying Electric Car Quota,” Bloomberg, March 5, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-05/china-considers-dialing-back-electric-car-quota-after-opposition. 5.  Chisake Watanabe, “Japan Makes Big Push for Hydrogen Fuel Cells Scorned by Elon Musk as Impractical,” Japan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/10/business/tech/japan-makes-big-push-for-hydrogen-fuel-cells-scorned-by-elon-musk-as-impractical. 6.  “Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle: Yoshikazu Tanaka Q&A,” The Official Blog of Toyota GB, March 4, 2014, http://blog.toyota.co.uk/toyota-fuel-cell-vehicle-yoshikazu-tanaka-qa. 7.  Akshay Singh, Evan Hirsh, Reid Wilk, and Rich Parkin, “2017 Automotive Trends,” PwC/Strategy&, http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/trend/2017-automotive-industry-trends. 8.  


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Nobody will be driving a truck in the next ten years, but someone is sitting at home and tele-operating 100 fleets out there and making sure that they’re all on track. There may instead be a job where someone needs to intervene, every so often, and take human control of one of them. MARTIN FORD: What is your response to some of the fears expressed about AI or AGI, in particular by Elon Musk, who has been very vocal about existential risks? RANA EL KALIOUBY: There’s a documentary on the internet called Do You Trust This Computer? which was partially funded by Elon Musk, and I was featured in it being interviewed. MARTIN FORD: Yes, in fact, a couple of the other people I’ve interviewed in this book were also featured in that documentary. RANA EL KALIOUBY: Having grown up in the Middle East, I feel that humanity has bigger problems than AI, so I’m not concerned. I feel that this view, about the existential threat that robots are going to take over humanity, takes away our agency as humans.

MARTIN FORD: There are a number of other companies in the same general space as Kernel. Elon Musk has Neuralink and I think both Facebook and DARPA are also working on something. Do you feel that there are direct competitors out there, or is Kernel unique in its approach? BRYAN JOHNSON: DARPA has done a wonderful job. They have been looking at the brain for quite some time now, and they’ve been a galvanizer of success. Another visionary in the field is Paul Allen and the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The gap that I identified was not understanding that the brain matters, but identifying the brain as the primary entry point to everything in existence we care about. Then through that frame, creating the tools to read and write neural code. To read and write human. I started Kernel, and then less than a year later both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg did similar things.

Evidence of racial and gender bias has been detected in certain machine learning algorithms, and concerns about how AI-powered technologies such as facial recognition will impact privacy seem well-founded. Warnings that robots will soon be weaponized, or that truly intelligent (or superintelligent) machines might someday represent an existential threat to humanity, are regularly reported in the media. A number of very prominent public figures—none of whom are actual AI experts—have weighed in. Elon Musk has used especially extreme rhetoric, declaring that AI research is “summoning the demon” and that “AI is more dangerous than nuclear weapons.” Even less volatile individuals, including Henry Kissinger and the late Stephen Hawking, have issued dire warnings. The purpose of this book is to illuminate the field of artificial intelligence—as well as the opportunities and risks associated with it—by having a series of deep, wide-ranging conversations with some of the world’s most prominent AI research scientists and entrepreneurs.


pages: 431 words: 107,868

The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future by Levi Tillemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, car-free, carbon footprint, cleantech, creative destruction, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demand response, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, factory automation, global value chain, hydrogen economy, index card, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, manufacturing employment, market design, megacity, Nixon shock, obamacare, oil shock, Ralph Nader, RFID, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, zero-sum game, Zipcar

It is losing to tiny groups of strategically minded technologists and regulators in Sacramento and Kanagawa. In California—a state whose entire population is smaller than commonly accepted rounding errors for China’s citizenry—a clutch of indefatigable policy activists and techies have spent two decades grappling with Detroit, trying to force this revolution. And their efforts are finally paying off. In 2012, Tesla Motors’ Model S—conceived and built in California by the pugnacious visionary Elon Musk—was anointed “car of the year” by Motor Trend magazine. Consumer Reports called the “S” the best car it had ever driven. The all-American Chevy Volt was similarly acclaimed as Consumer Reports’ highest consumer satisfaction vehicle and repeatedly topped J. D. Power’s consumer appeal survey. On the other side of the world, in Japan, this revolution was sparked by a different sort of iconoclast: a nuclear engineer at the sprawling Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) named Takafumi Anegawa.

All California needed was a “federal waiver” for its policies—which it had never before been denied.6 It soon became clear, however, that under the Bush administration, there was a first time for everything. Iron Man 1 But even in the face of federal opposition, the political and technological momentum behind the EV industry was again rising. In California this tide was personified by two iron men: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elon Musk. Both of them seemed unlikely champions. A decade earlier, Schwarzenegger had driven the transformation of the HMMWV—the Hummer—from a military workhorse to a status symbol of 1990s consumerism. He was the “Hummer guy.” But in 2003, with the recall of California’s governor Gray Davis—during which much political blood was spilled—the Golden State’s megalithic action hero threw his hat into the gubernatorial race.

Shoulder to shoulder with CARB chairman Nichols and Attorney General Jerry Brown—formerly and subsequently governor—California’s entire political establishment launched a fusillade. Schwarzenegger made it clear that he would make the EPA’s life miserable if it did not approve California’s waiver. “We will sue!” he threatened. And what if they lost? “We sue again, and sue again, and sue again, until we get it. We’re going to win!” he swore.7 Iron Man 2 Just south of San Francisco, another iron man was quietly making his own declaration of intent. Elon Musk was not a bodybuilder, nor a movie star, nor a politician. He was a nerd. But in his own way, he was just as intense, just as driven, and just as much of a celebrity as California’s iron man governor. Musk was Edison meets Generation X. He had “big ideas,” he was brilliant, and he had swagger. This was the nerd made good. So much so that he served as the real-life inspiration for a bit of Hollywood iconography.


pages: 302 words: 95,965

How to Be the Startup Hero: A Guide and Textbook for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs by Tim Draper

3D printing, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, business climate, carried interest, connected car, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fiat currency, frictionless, frictionless market, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Don’t Do It! Stop! Take Elon Musk's advice. “Don’t do it!” Most people are not cut out for being an entrepreneur. They are content living out their lives by not making waves, not obsessing about rules, drawing inside the lines, and staying inside the box. But you bought this book, or at least you are reading it, so it is possible that you are different. With a little training, you might become an entrepreneur, a revolutionary, a Startup Hero. Read on and you might be the one making the waves, making the rules, drawing the lines, and asking, “What box?” I took a Draper University group of students (who we call “heroes in training” or “HITS”—we dropped the “Super” or “S” part of the acronym for obvious reasons) to the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, to watch as Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and one of the most extraordinary and successful entrepreneurs in history, launched the Model S.

He went on to say that that was the best advice he could give to an aspiring entrepreneur, because if you accepted that advice, you really aren’t ready to be an entrepreneur and he would have just saved you from going through a brutal, extraordinary effort when your heart isn’t really in it. And if you didn’t, well then…send me a business plan. I can only imagine what Elon was going through that day. He was notably sweating, looked very thin, had circles under his eyes and was firing up for his proud moment. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. But Elon Musk has brought us PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla, so all that work that he puts in has shown amazing results and generated real change. After all, he is on a mission. He has a swirling desire in his gut telling him that he must save our planet. Anyway, if you accept Elon’s advice, so be it. You can drop this book off with a friend, stick with the safe choices and remain an upstanding member of the status quo.

We decided to make a smaller investment ourselves, but to work with other venture capitalists to “syndicate” the investment so that we could share the capital risk. By making a smaller investment, we figured we could keep some “dry powder” for future rounds of funding that would almost certainly come up in the future. And we were lucky we did. Tesla ran out of money just over one year later and was having a hard time finding a bold enough investor to take the car forward. Martin was still working on the first prototype and the well was dry. Enter Elon Musk. Elon was an early and very active investor in the company and sat on its board. He believed that Tesla was going to help save the world from the greenhouse effect created by carbon emissions. He also had a shrewd business mind. He offered to save the company with a $10 million investment as long as he would run it from here on out. The board, which Steve Jurvetson would eventually join, supported the idea, and the rest is history.


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

It’s hard to do, but this kind of “complex sales” is the only way to sell some of the most valuable products. SpaceX shows that it can be done. Within just a few years of launching his rocket startup, Elon Musk persuaded NASA to sign billion-dollar contracts to replace the decommissioned space shuttle with a newly designed vessel from SpaceX. Politics matters in big deals just as much as technological ingenuity, so this wasn’t easy. SpaceX employs more than 3,000 people, mostly in California. The traditional U.S. aerospace industry employs more than 500,000 people, spread throughout all 50 states. Unsurprisingly, members of Congress don’t want to give up federal funds going to their home districts. But since complex sales requires making just a few deals each year, a sales grandmaster like Elon Musk can use that time to focus on the most crucial people—and even to overcome political inertia. Complex sales works best when you don’t have “salesmen” at all.

But perhaps White spent a little too much time worrying about the competition: while he was busy creating billboards, Informix imploded in a massive accounting scandal and White soon found himself in federal prison for securities fraud. If you can’t beat a rival, it may be better to merge. I started Confinity with my co-founder Max Levchin in 1998. When we released the PayPal product in late 1999, Elon Musk’s X.com was right on our heels: our companies’ offices were four blocks apart on University Avenue in Palo Alto, and X’s product mirrored ours feature-for-feature. By late 1999, we were in all-out war. Many of us at PayPal logged 100-hour workweeks. No doubt that was counterproductive, but the focus wasn’t on objective productivity; the focus was defeating X.com. One of our engineers actually designed a bomb for this purpose; when he presented the schematic at a team meeting, calmer heads prevailed and the proposal was attributed to extreme sleep deprivation.

Bill Gates even goes so far as to claim that he “was lucky to be born with certain skills,” though it’s not clear whether that’s actually possible. Perhaps these guys are being strategically humble. However, the phenomenon of serial entrepreneurship would seem to call into question our tendency to explain success as the product of chance. Hundreds of people have started multiple multimillion-dollar businesses. A few, like Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk, have created several multibillion-dollar companies. If success were mostly a matter of luck, these kinds of serial entrepreneurs probably wouldn’t exist. In January 2013, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square, tweeted to his 2 million followers: “Success is never accidental.” Most of the replies were unambiguously negative. Referencing the tweet in The Atlantic, reporter Alexis Madrigal wrote that his instinct was to reply: “ ‘Success is never accidental,’ said all multimillionaire white men.”


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

+Department+of+Transportation+Releases+Policy+on+Automated+Vehicle+Development [clxxxiv] http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/autos-driverless/ [clxxxv] http://www.wired.com/2015/04/delphi-autonomous-car-cross-country/ [clxxxvi] http://recode.net/2015/03/17/google-self-driving-car-chief-wants-tech-on-the-market-within-five-years/ [clxxxvii] http://techcrunch.com/2015/12/22/a-new-system-lets-self-driving-cars-learn-streets-on-the-fly/ [clxxxviii] http://cleantechnica.com/2015/10/12/autonomous-buses-being-tested-in-greek-city-of-trikala/ [clxxxix] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-16/google-said-to-make-driverless-cars-an-alphabet-company-in-2016 [cxc] http://electrek.co/2015/12/21/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-drops-prediction-full-autonomous-driving-from-3-years-to-2/ [cxci] http://venturebeat.com/2016/01/10/elon-musk-youll-be-able-to-summon-your-tesla-from-anywhere-in-2018/ [cxcii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/01/11/elon-musk-says-teslas-autopilot-is-already-probably-better-than-human-drivers/ [cxciii] http://electrek.co/2016/04/24/tesla-autopilot-probability-accident/ [cxciv] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35280632 [cxcv] http://www.zdnet.com/article/ford-self-driving-cars-are-five-years-away-from-changing-the-world/ [cxcvi] http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/autos-driverless/ [cxcvii] http://www.wired.com/2015/12/californias-new-self-driving-car-rules-are-great-for-texas/ [cxcviii] http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/autos-driverless/ [cxcix] It has been suggested that electric cars should make noises so that people don’t step off the pavement in front of them.

The term “singularity” became associated with a naïve belief that technology, and specifically a superintelligent AI, would magically solve all our problems, and that everyone would live happily ever after. Because of these quasi-religious overtones, the singularity was frequently satirised as “rapture for nerds”, and many people felt awkward about using the term. The publication in 2014 of Nick Bostrom's seminal book “Superintelligence” was a watershed moment, causing influential people like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates to speak out about the enormous impact which AGI will have – for good or for ill. They introduced the idea of the singularity to a much wider audience, and made it harder for people to retain a blinkered optimism about the impact of AGI. For time-starved journalists, “good news is no news” and “if it bleeds it leads”, so the comments of Hawking and the others were widely mis-represented as pure doom-saying, and almost every article about AI carried a picture of the Terminator.

Suffice to say, we should make strenuous efforts to ensure that if and when we do create the first machines which are destined become superintelligences, we experience a positive outcome rather than a negative one. Anders Sandberg of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute summarised it well by saying that we should aim to become the mitochondria of superintelligence rather than its boot loader. He was referring to Elon Musk’s metaphor for how, if we are unwise and / or unfortunate, we could create the thing which destroys us, and saying that we should aim instead for the fate of the prokaryotic cell which was absorbed by another, larger cell and became an essential component of a new, combined, and more complex entity, the first eukaryotic cell. This book is concerned with the impact of “narrow” AI systems which fall considerably short of AGI.


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Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hedonic treadmill, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

Technological unemployment could force us to adopt an entirely new economic structure, and the creation of superintelligence would be the biggest event in human history. Surviving AI is a first-class introduction to all of this. Brad Feld, co-founder Techstars The promises and perils of machine superintelligence are much debated nowadays. But between the complex and sometimes esoteric writings of AI theorists and academics like Nick Bostrom, and the popular-press prognostications of Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, there is something of a gap. Calum Chace’s Surviving AI bridges that gap perfectly. It provides a compact yet rigorous guide to all the major arguments and issues in the field. An excellent resource for those who are new to this topic. John Danaher, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) Calum Chace strikes a note of clarity and balance in the important and often divisive dialogue around the benefits and potential dangers of artificial intelligence.

Perhaps computers will never demonstrate common sense. Perhaps they will never report themselves to be conscious. Perhaps they will never decide to revise their goals. But given their startling progress to date and the weakness of the a priori arguments that conscious machines cannot be created (which we will review in chapter 4), it seems unwise to bet too heavily on it. A lot of people were surprised when Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk said in 2014 that the future of artificial intelligence was something to be concerned about. Both men applauded the achievements of AI research, and the benefits it has delivered. They went on to ask what will happen if and when computers become smarter than people, and we find that we have created a super-intelligence. We will look at the detail of what they said later on, but putting that to one side for the moment along with the question of whether they are right to be concerned, why were so many people surprised?

A few scientists, like Roger Penrose, think there is something ineffable about human thought which means it could not be recreated in silicon. This type of extreme scepticism about the AGI field is rare. So the debate today is not so much about whether we can create an AGI, but when. It is this question that we will address next. CHAPTER 5 WHEN MIGHT AGI ARRIVE? 5.1 – Expert opinion Some people think it will be soon Elon Musk has made a name for himself as a Cassandra about AI, with remarks about working on AGI being akin to summoning the demon, and how humans might turn out to be just the boot loader (startup system) for digital superintelligence. Not only does he see AGI as an existential threat to humanity: he also thinks the danger will manifest soon. In a post at Edge.com (36) which was subsequently deleted, he said “The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast.


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Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider

artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Elon Musk, Extropian, hive mind, life extension, megastructure, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, Stephen Hawking, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons

“Biological Naturalism,” in S. Schneider and M. Velmans, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell. Seung, S. 2012. Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Shostak, S. 2009. Confessions of an Alien Hunter. New York: National Geographic. Solon, Olivia. 2017. “Elon Musk says humans must become cyborgs to stay relevant. Is he right?” The Guardian, February 15, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/15/elon-musk-cyborgs-robots-artificial-intelligence-is-he-right. Song, D., B. S. Robinson, R. E. Hampson, V. Z. Marmarelis, S. A. Deadwyler, and T. W. Berger. 2018. “Sparse Large-Scale Nonlinear Dynamical Modeling of Human Hippocampus for Memory Prostheses,” IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 26(2): 272–280.

In the long term, the tables may turn on humans, and the problem may not be what we could do to harm AIs, but what AI might do to harm us. Indeed, some suspect that synthetic intelligence will be the next phase in the evolution of intelligence on Earth. You and I, how we live and experience the world right now, are just an intermediate step to AI, a rung on the evolutionary ladder. For instance, Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom, Elon Musk, Max Tegmark, Bill Gates, and many others have raised “the control problem,” the problem of how humans can control their own AI creations, if the AIs outsmart us.2 Suppose we create an AI that has human-level intelligence. With self-improvement algorithms, and with rapid computations, it could quickly discover ways to become vastly smarter than us, becoming a superintelligence—that is, an AI that outthinks us in every domain.

After all, if merging with AI leads to superintelligence and radical longevity, isn’t it better than the alternative—the inevitable degeneration of the brain and body? The idea that humans should merge with AI is very much in the air these days, being offered both as a means for humans to avoid being outmoded by AI in the workforce, and as a path to superintelligence and immortality. For instance, Elon Musk recently commented that humans can escape being outmoded by AI by “having some sort of merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence.”4 To this end, he’s founded a new company, Neuralink. One of its first aims is to develop “neural lace,” an injectable mesh that connects the brain directly to computers. Neural lace and other AI-based enhancements are supposed to allow data from your brain to travel wirelessly to one’s digital devices or to the cloud, where massive computing power is available.


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Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

As a result, the need to have a car designed around the act of driving will probably be trumped by the need to design the “carriage” space and how you utilise it when you are being driven. Despite the suggestion of self-driving cars being considered fantastical by some, we may actually be much closer to that reality than many anticipate. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, believes we are much closer to that future. “We’re going to end up with complete autonomy, and I think [Tesla] will have complete autonomy in approximately two years.” Elon Musk, from an interview with Fortune magazine, 21st December 2015 Google’s self-driving cars have now accumulated close to 2 million driving miles (autonomous and manual driving combined) without causing a single incident, accident or fatality.1 A Google self-driving car has been pulled over by police, although it somehow avoided getting a ticket.2 An average American driver is likely to have an accident every ten years or so, or about once in every 165,000 miles.3 So Google is already more than ten times safer than the average human driver on a purely statistical basis.

Hanson shows that at such levels, this could produce savings of US$157,000 per year in front-desk receptionist costs in a hotel scenario alone. Now for the other—more controversial—reason why robots need emotions; so they won’t kill us all. This is the concept behind some of the most innovative artificial general intelligence minds today. We need to ensure that robots like us and have empathy for mankind. Asimov’s Three Laws are not sufficient enough to protect us from the unknowable future of artificial intelligence. Some, like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, believe we need to build in very basic motivations as the foundation to all future AI, one that enforces a basic love of humans and our planet(s). The problem, of course, is that any safeguards we are able to implement will always be able to be circumvented by any intelligence greater than our own. So the challenge is to programme and incentivise these intelligent beings so that fundamentally they want to protect us and allow us to remain free.

People with enhanced intelligence could still have human-level morality, leveraging their vast intellects for hedonistic or even genocidal purposes. Artificial general intelligence, on the other hand, can be built from the ground up to simply follow a set of intrinsic motivations that are benevolent, stable and self-reinforcing. We can build constraints into AIs that we may not have with IA. Indeed, you could argue that the warnings of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk about the development of full AI not benefitting humanity in the longer term are because they are inputting typical human motivations like greed, selfishness and ambivalence onto AI. ____________ 1 Rock and Ice 2 “The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs,” NPR Radio, aired 10 August 2011. 3 Hugh Herr interview on Who Says I Can’t? aired July 2012 4 The earliest description of an ear trumpet appears to have been given by French Jesuit priest and mathematician Jean Leurechon in his work Récréations mathématiques dating back to 1624. 5 A volunteer group started by Albert Manero, a PhD engineering student from the University of Central Florida 6 Yahoo, 21 July 2011 7 Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour, has said it was such named because it was based on the 39th prototype that they had produced. 8 Lauren Goode, “Under Armour and HTC want to sell you a box full of fitness products,” Verge, 5 January 2016.


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Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner

Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

We will return to this feature in Chapter 4. 15“Homepage”, Neuralink Website, https://​www.​neuralink.​com/​, accessed 1 June 2018; Chantal Da Silva, “Elon Musk Startup ‘to Spend £100m’ Linking Human Brains to Computers”, The Independent, 29 August 2017, http://​www.​independent.​co.​uk/​news/​world/​americas/​elon-musk-neuralink-brain-computer-startup-a7916891.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. For commentary on Neuralink, see Tim Urban’s provocative blog post “Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future”, Wait But Why, 20 April 2017, https://​waitbutwhy.​com/​2017/​04/​neuralink.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. 16Tim Cross, “The Novelist Who Inspired Elon Musk”, 1843 Magazine, 31 March 2017, https://​www.​1843magazine.​com/​culture/​the-daily/​the-novelist-who-inspired-elon-musk, accessed 1 June 2018. 17Robert M. Geraci, Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 147. 18For the distinction, see David Weinbaum and Viktoras Veitas, “Open Ended Intelligence: The Individuation of Intelligent Agents”, Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 29, No. 2 (2017), 371–396. 19See Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Nonetheless, we think these labels provide a helpful summary of current attitudes. 119Ray Kurzweil, “Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence”, Time, 19 December 2014, http://​time.​com/​3641921/​dont-fear-artificial-intelligence/​, accessed 1 June 2018. 120Alan Winfield, “Artificial Intelligence Will Not Turn into a Frankenstein’s Monster”, The Guardian, 10 August 2014, https://​www.​theguardian.​com/​technology/​2014/​aug/​10/​artificial-intelligence-will-not-become-a-frankensteins-monster-ian-winfield, accessed 1 June 2018. 121Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 124–125. 122Elon Musk, as quoted in S. Gibbs, “Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is Our Biggest Existential Threat”, The Guardian, 27 October 2014, https://​www.​theguardian.​com/​technology/​2014/​oct/​27/​elon-musk-artificial-intelligence-ai-biggest-existential-threat, accessed 1 June 2018. 123“Open Letter”, Future of Life Institute, https://​futureoflife.​org/​ai-open-letter/​, accessed 1 June 2018. 124Alex Hern, “Stephen Hawking: AI Will Be ‘Either Best or Worst Thing’ for Humanity”, The Guardian, 19 October 2016, https://​www.​theguardian.​com/​science/​2016/​oct/​19/​stephen-hawking-ai-best-or-worst-thing-for-humanity-cambridge, accessed 1 June 2018. 125See The Locomotives on Highways Act 1861, The Locomotive Act 1865 and the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Act 1878 (all UK legislation). 126See, for example, Steven E.

Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1996). 108Though one academic has even gone as far as writing a “message to future AI”, suggesting various instrumental reasons why a superintelligent entity (which might one day come to read the paper) ought not to destroy humanity: Alexey Turchin, “Message to Any Future AI: ‘There are Several Instrumental Reasons Why Exterminating Humanity Is Not in Your Interest’”, http://​effective-altruism.​com/​ea/​1hj/​message_​to_​any_​future_​ai_​there_​are_​several/​, accessed 1 June 2018. 109Dylan Hadfield-Menell, Anca Dragan, Pieter Abbeel, and Stuart Russell, “The Off-Switch Game”, arXiv preprint arXiv:1611.08219 (2016), 1. 110The exact location is a secret guarded by the US Forest Service. 111Roslin Institute, “The Life of Dolly”, University of Edinburgh Centre for Regenerative Medecine, http://​dolly.​roslin.​ed.​ac.​uk/​facts/​the-life-of-dolly/​index.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. 112Art. 20a, Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. For discussion, see Erin Evans, “Constitutional Inclusion of Animal Rights in Germany and Switzerland: How Did Animal Protection Become an Issue of National Importance?”, Society and Animals, Vol. 18 (2010), 231–250. 113Aatif Sulleyman, “Elon Musk: Humans Must Become Cyborgs to Avoid AI Domination”, Independent, 15 February 2017, http://​www.​independent.​co.​uk/​life-style/​gadgets-and-tech/​news/​elon-musk-humans-cyborgs-ai-domination-robots-artificial-intelligence-ex-machina-a7581036.​html, accessed 1 June 2018. 114Website of Neuralink, https://​www.​neuralink.​com/​, accessed 1 June 2018. It is based on a concept first invented by science fiction writer Iain M. Banks: “neural lace”, wireless mesh which interlinks brain tissue and computer processors.


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Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by P. Diamandis and S. Kotler 2012. New York: Free Press. 18. Quoted in “The New Space Race: Complicating the Rush to the Stars” by D. Bennett for the Tufts Observer, online at http://tuftsobserver.org/2013/11/the-new-space-race-complicating-the-rush-to-the-stars/. 19. “At Home with Elon Musk: The (Soon-to-Be) Bachelor Billionaire” by H. Elliott in Forbes Life, online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahelliott/2012/03/26/at-home-with-elon-musk-the-soon-to-be-bachelor-billionaire/. 20. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by D. Kidder 2013. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. 21. See The Economist, online at http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21603238-bill-stone-cave-explorer-who-has-discovered-new-things-about-earth-now-he. 22.

He would empathize with what Robert Goddard said after the New York Times had declared his goals unachievable: “Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once achieved, it becomes commonplace.”16 In humanity’s future, Diamandis foresees “nine billion human brains working together to a ‘meta-intelligence,’ where you can know the thoughts, feelings, and knowledge of anyone.”17 The Transport Guru Elon Musk wants to die on Mars. Like Peter Diamandis, he’s sure that our future is in space and that we must become an interplanetary species. He was influenced by Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, but his vision has a darker, dystopian slant, since it’s also a hedge against threats to our survival: “An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us.

Musk’s life, however, continues to be a white-knuckle ride. In late 2013, his net worth dropped by $1.3 billion after reports of weak earnings by Tesla and SolarCity, and he separated from his second wife. Figure 21. The Falcon 9 rocket is designed by Space X and built in California. Its two-stage rocket can carry 15 tons to low Earth orbit and 5 tons to geostationary transfer orbit. Space X was founded by Elon Musk, the South Africa–born inventor and investor who made his fortune as the founder of PayPal. Musk has also been an innovator in terrestrial travel with his car company Tesla Motors. We see in this progression of space entrepreneurs the march toward youth: Rutan is in his early seventies, Branson in his early sixties, Diamandis in his early fifties, and Musk in his early forties. Yet they’re all connected.


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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future by Andrew Yang

3D printing, Airbnb, assortative mating, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, call centre, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, falling living standards, financial deregulation, full employment, future of work, global reserve currency, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Narrative Science, new economy, passive income, performance metric, post-work, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unemployed young men, universal basic income, urban renewal, white flight, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

Barack Obama, June 2016: Chris Weller, “President Obama Hints at Supporting Unconditional Free Money Because of a Looming Robot Takeover,” Business Insider, June 24, 2016. Barack Obama, October 2016: Scott Dadich, “Barack Obama, Neural Nets, Self-Driving Cars, and the Future of the World,” Wired, November 2016. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, January 2017: Charlie Rose, interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Columbia University, January 2017. Elon Musk, February, 2017: Chris Weller, “Elon Musk Doubles Down on Universal Basic Income: ‘It’s Going to Be Necessary,’” Business Insider, February 13, 2017. Mark Zuckerberg, May 2017: Mark Zuckerberg, commencement speech, Harvard University, May 2017. … adopting it would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent…: Michalis Nikiforos, Marshall Steinbaum, and Gennaro Zezza, “Modeling the Macroeconomic Effects of a Universal Basic Income,” Roosevelt Institute, August 29, 2017

The family that owns Purdue Pharma… is now the 16th richest family in the country…: Alex Morrell, “The OxyContin Clan: The $14 Billion Newcomer to Forbes 2015 List of Richest U.S. Families,” Forbes, July 1, 2015. The big banks eventually settled with the Department of Justice for billions of dollars…: Kate Cox, “How Corporations Got the Same Rights as People (but Don’t Ever Go to Jail),” Consumerist.com, September 12, 2014. Elon Musk in 2017 called for proactive regulation of AI…: Samuel Gibbs, “Elon Musk: Regulate AI to Combat ‘Existential Threat’ before It’s Too Late,” The Guardian, July 17, 2017. Tristan Harris… has written compellingly about how apps are designed to function like slot machines…: Tristan Harris, “How Technology Is Hijacking Your Mind—from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist,” Thrive Global, May 18, 2016. …“the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads”: Drake Baer, “Why Data God Jeffrey Hammerbacher Left Facebook to Found Cloudera,” Fast Company, April 18, 2013.

Beyond the hundreds of thousands of additional job losses, many communities may risk losing a sense of purpose without thousands of truckers coming through each day. For example, in Nebraska one out of every 12 workers—63,000 workers—works in and supports the trucking industry. Truck drivers do not see it coming. Indeed, when Bloomberg’s Shift Commission in 2017 asked truck drivers about how concerned they were about their jobs being replaced by automation, they almost uniformly weren’t concerned at all. Let me assure you it’s coming. Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla will be offering a freight truck as of November 2017. Musk also proclaimed that by 2019, all new Teslas will be self-driving. “Your car will drop you off at work, and then it will pick other people up and make you money all day until it’s time to pick you up again,” Musk proclaimed. “This will 100 percent happen.” It is obvious that Tesla trucks will eventually have the same self-driving capabilities as their cars.


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Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Billions Fewer than We Thought’, Guardian, 28 February 2012: theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/feb/28/how-many-neurons-human-brain 10 Stoller-Conrad, Jessica, ‘Controlling a Robotic Arm with a Patient’s Intentions’, Caltech, 21 May 2015: caltech.edu/news/controlling-robotic-arm-patients-intentions-46786 11 Kever, Jeannie, ‘Researchers Build Brain-Machine Interface to Control Prosthetic Hand’, University of Houston, 31 March 2015: uh.edu/news-events/stories/2015/March/0331BionicHand.php 12 Kurzweil, Ray, ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’, 7 March 2001: kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns 13 Linden, David, ‘The Singularity Is Far: A Neuroscientist’s View’, BoingBoing, 14 July 2011: http://boingboing.net/2011/07/14/far.html 14 http://2045.com/press/ 15 Hayworth, Ken, ‘Killed by Bad Philosophy’, Brain Preservation Foundation, January 2010: brainpreservation.org/content-2/killed-bad-philosophy/ Chapter 8: The Future (Risks) of Thinking Machines 1 Cook, James, ‘Elon Musk: Robots Could Start Killing Us All Within 5 Years’, Business Insider, 17 November 2014: uk.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-killer-robots-will-be-here-within-five-years-2014–11 2 Hern, Alex, ‘Elon Musk Says He Invested in DeepMind Over “Terminator” Fears’, Guardian, 18 June 2014: theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/18/elon-musk-deepmind-ai-tesla-motors 3 Hawking, Stephen et al., ‘Stephen Hawking: “Transcendence Looks at the Implications of Artificial Intelligence … ”’, Independent, 1 May 2014: independent.co.uk/news/science/stephen-hawking-transcendence-looks-at-the-implications-of-artificial-intelligence-but-are-we-taking-9313474.html 4 Hill, Doug, ‘The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again)’, Atlantic, 11 June 2014: theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/norbert-wiener-the-eccentric-genius-whose-time-may-have-finally-come-again/372607/ 5 Good, I.

It was a bold pronouncement and, at the time of writing, we have yet to see the end result. Zuckerberg’s ‘personal challenge’ looked to be the first time he had created a New Year’s resolution that would be unavailable to the rest of us. After all, by likening his plan to Iron Man’s AI butler J.A.R.V.I.S., it was a real-life billionaire referencing the creation of fictitious billionaire Tony Stark. It was a bit like Elon Musk announcing that he planned to use his fortune to build a fully working version of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. In fact, over the past five years, functional, AI-driven chatterbots have increasingly become part of our daily lives. Most famous of these is probably Siri, the Apple-owned AI assistant which first shipped with the iPhone 4s in late 2011. Using Siri, iPhone owners can ask natural language questions like ‘What is the weather today?’

There are other illustrations, too, referring to areas we may not even currently view as fraught with ethical challenges. At present, an average of 43,000 people die in the United States each year due to traffic collisions. That’s a higher figure than those killed by firearms (31,940), sexually transmitted diseases (20,000), drug abuse (17,000) and other leading causes of death. Advances in AI and automation will certainly help to cut down on these deaths. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has argued that, once we reach the point where self-driving cars are widespread, it would be unethical to continue letting humans drive vehicles. ‘It’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine,’ he said during an appearance at an annual developers conference for Nvidia, a Silicon Valley company which specialises in computer vision. Musk thinks the transition will take some time due to the number of cars already on the road, but feels that it could happen within the next two decades.


pages: 590 words: 152,595

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre

active measures, Air France Flight 447, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, brain emulation, Brian Krebs, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, DevOps, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, Flash crash, Freestyle chess, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, ImageNet competition, Internet of things, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, pattern recognition, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sensor fusion, South China Sea, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Turing test, universal basic income, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, William Langewiesche, Y2K, zero day

Bill Gates has proclaimed the “dream [of artificial intelligence] is finally arriving,” a development that will usher in growth and productivity in the near term, but has long-term risks. “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent,” Gates said. “That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.” How much of a concern? Elon Musk has described the creation of human-level artificial intelligence as “summoning the demon.” Bill Gates has taken a more sober tone, but essentially agrees. “I am in the camp that is concerned about superintelligence,” he said. “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” Hawking, Gates, and Musk are not Luddites and they are not fools. Their concerns, however fanciful-sounding, are rooted in the concept of an “intelligence explosion.” The concept was first outlined by I.

See also Perrow, Normal Accidents, 271–281. 154 “failures . . . we hadn’t anticipated”: John Borrie, interview, April 12, 2016. 154 Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003): On Challenger, see National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident,” June 6, 1986, http://history.nasa.gov/rogersrep/51lcover.htm. On the Columbia accident, see National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Columbia Accident Investigation Board, Volume 1,” August 2003, http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-107/investigation/CAIB_medres_full.pdf. 154 “never been encountered before”: Matt Burgess, “Elon Musk Confirms SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Explosion Was Caused by ‘Frozen Oxygen,’ ” WIRED, November 8, 2016, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/elon-musk-universal-basic-income-falcon-9-explosion. “Musk: SpaceX Explosion Toughest Puzzle We’ve Ever Had to Solve,” CNBC, video accessed June 7, 2017, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000565513. 154 Fukushima Daiichi: Phillip Y. Lipscy, Kenji E. Kushida, and Trevor Incerti, “The Fukushima Disaster and Japan’s Nuclear Plant Vulnerability in Comparative Perspective,” Environmental Science and Technology 47 (2013), http://web.stanford.edu/~plipscy/LipscyKushidaIncertiEST2013.pdf. 156 “A significant message for the”: William Kennedy, interview, December 8, 2015. 156 “almost never occur individually”: Ibid. 156 “The automated systems”: Ibid. 156 “Both sides have strengths and weaknesses”: Ibid. 156 F-16 fighter aircraft: Guy Norris, “Ground Collision Avoidance System ‘Saves’ First F-16 In Syria,” February 5, 2015, http://aviationweek.com/defense/ground-collision-avoidance-system-saves-first-f-16-syria. 156 software-based limits on its flight controls: Dan Canin, “Semper Lightning: F-35 Flight Control System,” Code One, December 9, 2015, http://www.codeonemagazine.com/f35_article.html?

See also James Barrat, Our Final Invention (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2013). 232 “development of full artificial intelligence”: Rory Cellan-Jones, “Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind,” BBC News, December 2, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540. 232 “First the machines will”: Peter Holley, “Bill Gates on Dangers of Artificial Intelligence: ‘I Don’t Understand Why Some People Are Not Concerned,’ ” Washington Post, January 29, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/01/28/bill-gates-on-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence-dont-understand-why-some-people-are-not-concerned/. 232 “summoning the demon”: Matt McFarland, “Elon Musk: ‘With Artificial Intelligence We Are Summoning the Demon,’ ” Washington Post, October 24, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2014/10/24/elon-musk-with-artificial-intelligence-we-are-summoning-the-demon/. 233 “I am in the camp that is concerned”: Holley, “Bill Gates on Dangers of Artificial Intelligence: ‘I Don’t Understand Why Some People Are Not Concerned.’ ” 233 “Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined”: Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine.” 233 lift itself up by its own boostraps: “Intelligence Explosion FAQ,” Machine Intelligence Research Institute, accessed June 15, 2017, https://intelligence.org/ie-faq/. 233 “AI FOOM”: Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky, “The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI Foom Debate,” http://intelligence.org/files/AIFoomDebate.pdf. 233 “soft takeoff” scenario: Müller, Vincent C. and Bostrom, Nick, ‘Future progress in artificial intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion, in Vincent C.


pages: 294 words: 96,661

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cognitive bias, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, estate planning, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, full employment, Hans Rosling, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mary Lou Jepsen, Moravec's paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

The experts on these various topics, all intelligent and informed people, make predictions about the future that are not just a little different, but that are dramatically different and diametrically opposed to each other. So, why do Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates fear artificial intelligence (AI) and express concern that it may be a threat to humanity’s survival in the near future? And yet, why do an equally illustrious group, including Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Ng, and Pedro Domingos, find this viewpoint so farfetched as to be hardly even worth a rebuttal? Zuckerberg goes so far as to call people who peddle doomsday scenarios “pretty irresponsible,” while Andrew Ng, one of the greatest minds in AI alive today, says that such concerns are like worrying about “overpopulation on Mars.” After Elon Musk was quoted as saying “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization,” Pedro Domingos, a leading AI researcher and author, tweeted, “One word: Sigh.”

One can easily see in the public comments of those in the tech industry a wide range of views on what an AGI would mean to the human species. For instance, Elon Musk tweeted, “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” On another occasion, he was even more macabre: “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s sure he can control the demon, [but] it doesn’t work out.” Bill Gates threw his hat in the ring on the side of the concerned: “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” Jaan Tallinn, one of the cofounders of Skype, refers to AI as “one of the many potential existential risks.”

Andrew Ng, one of the most respected AI experts on the planet, says, “There’s also a lot of hype, that AI will create evil robots with super-intelligence. That’s an unnecessary distraction.” Rodney Brooks directly answers some of the concerns above by saying that the generalizations about AI made by those who aren’t deep in the technology are “a little dangerous.” He then goes on to add, “And we’ve certainly seen that recently with Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, all saying AI is just taking off and it’s going to take over the world very quickly. And the thing that they share is none of them work in this technological field.” And finally, many in the industry are almost giddy with optimism about AI. Kevin Kelly is one of them. He believes that AI will “enliven inert objects, much as electricity did more than a century ago.


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The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, means of production, Mitch Kapor, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

It provides a clear path for not only creating a wildly successful organization, but affecting meaningful change on a systemic scale. It is a step-by-step guide to understanding how to make an impact as an investor, academic, employee, or simply as a voter. It does not belong to any one sector, and it transcends organizational structure. Electric Cars and the Diffusion of Innovations Theory Elon Musk is the man behind PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors. He has successfully built a number of companies, but more importantly, he has moved markets. Elon Musk had a different kind of vision from the start: to build a market for electric cars, beginning with luxury cars, and then expanding over time to reach a broader consumer base. This was a rather specific vision; that is, it wasn’t simply about building an amazing electric car, it was also about creating an environment in which it could be successful.

Erik Hurst, Bob Epstein and Nicole Lederer, Ryan Gravel, Cathy Woolard, Tom Cousins, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Craig Jelinek, Bernie Glassman, Juliet Ellis, Freelancers Union, Paul Rice, Charles Montgomery, Jacob Wood & William McNulty, Jennifer Pahlka, Melinda Gates, Jeffrey Stewart, Indra Nooyi, Ryan Howard, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Steve Ells, Ray Oldenburg, Vivek Kundra, Tony Hsieh, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, John Tolva, Rob Spiro and Alon Salant, Yancey Strickler, Charles Adler, Perry Chen, Meg Garlinghouse, Mitchell Baker, Dr. Tom X. Lee, Elon Musk, Peter Koechley & Eli Pariser, David Payne and Michael Tavani, Michael Bloomberg, Rachel Kleinfeld, John Mackey, Michael Pollan, Brad Neuberg, Chris Anderson, David Edinger, Scotty Martin, Dr. Regina Benjamin, Frank Perez, Al Gore, Zack Exley and Judith Freeman, Ben Goldhirsh, Adam Grant, David Javerbaum, Dr. Jon Kingsdale, Jane Jacobs, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Jorge Montalvo, Judge Jonathan Lippman, Justin Hall, Molla S.

Groundbreaking change was possible. And as the dot-com sector regained its footing after the crash, we saw whole industries transformed, as well as the way most Americans communicated and engaged in society. So many of the pioneers in social entrepreneurship, social media, and sustainability are from Generation X and were in some way engaged with the dot-com boom. Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger of Wikipedia, Max Levchin, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel of PayPal, and Chris Anderson of Wired and now 3DRobotics are just a few examples. The core leadership of the Purpose Economy today is from this often forgotten generation, who in many ways produced the architects and catalysts of the new economy. 4. Environmental, Economic & Political Turmoil The growing uncertainty in our society is moving people to find stability within themselves, and to identify the need, to develop empathy for those affected by turmoil.


pages: 346 words: 97,330

Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building a New Global Underclass by Mary L. Gray, Siddharth Suri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, bitcoin, blue-collar work, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, deindustrialization, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, hiring and firing, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, market friction, Mars Rover, natural language processing, new economy, passive income, pattern recognition, post-materialism, post-work, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, two-sided market, union organizing, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

Tarleton Gillespie, Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018), 18–19. [back] 11. See Frederick Daso, “Bill Gates and Elon Musk Are Worried for Automation—But This Robotics Company Founder Embraces It,” Forbes, December 18, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickdaso/2017/12/18/bill-gates-elon-musk-are-worried-about-automation-but-this-robotics-company-founder-embraces-it/; Jasper Hamill, “Elon Musk’s Fears of AI Destroying Humanity Are ‘Speciesist’, Said Google Boss,” Metro (blog), May 2, 2018, https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/02/elon-musks-fears-artificial-intelligence-will-destroy-humanity-speciesist-according-google-founder-larry-page-7515207/; “Stephen Hawking: ‘I fear AI may replace humans altogether’ The theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author talks Donald Trump, tech monopolies and humanity’s future,” Wired, November 28, 2017, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/stephen-hawking-interview-alien-life-climate-change-donald-trump.

Economy to the Next Economy (blog), November 10, 2015. https://wtfeconomy.com/common-ground-for-independent-workers-83f3fbcf548f#.ey89fvtnn. Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books, 1985. Daso, Frederick. “Bill Gates and Elon Musk Are Worried for Automation—But This Robotics Company Founder Embraces It.” Forbes, December 18, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickdaso/2017/12/18/bill-gates-elon-musk-are-worried-about-automation-but-this-robotics-company-founder-embraces-it/. Dayton, Eldorous. Walter Reuther: The Autocrat of the Bargaining Table. New York: Devin-Adain, 1958. Deng, J., W. Dong, R. Socher, L. Li, Kai Li, and Li Fei-Fei. “ImageNet: A Large-Scale Hierarchical Image Database.” In 2009 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, 248–55.

Originally published in Monthly Labor Review, June 1978. https://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/flsa1938.htm. Hamari, Juho, Mimmi Sjöklint, and Antti Ukkonen. “The Sharing Economy: Why People Participate in Collaborative Consumption.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 2015. Hamill, Jasper. “Elon Musk’s Fears of AI Destroying Humanity Are ‘Speciesist’, Said Google Boss.” Metro, May 2, 2018. https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/02/elon-musks-fears-artificial-intelligence-will-destroy-humanity-speciesist-according-google-founder-larry-page-7515207/. Hara, Kotaro, Abi Adams, Kristy Milland, Saiph Savage, Chris Callison-Burch, and Jeffrey Bigham. “A Data-Driven Analysis of Workers’ Earnings on Amazon Mechanical Turk.” 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Paper No. 449, 2018.


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Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

We are narrow thinkers, we are noisy thinkers, and it is very easy to improve upon us. I do not think that there is very much that we can do that computers will not eventually [learn] to do. Elon Musk and Daniel Kahneman are both confident about AI’s potential and simultaneously worried about the implications of unleashing it on the world. Impatient about the pace at which government responds to technological advances, industry leaders have offered policy suggestions and, in some cases, have acted. Bill Gates advocated for a tax on robots that replace human labor. Sidestepping what would normally be government’s purview, the high-profile startup accelerator Y Combinator is running experiments on providing a basic income for everyone in society.2 Elon Musk organized a group of entrepreneurs and industry leaders to finance Open AI with $1 billion to ensure that no single private-sector company could monopolize the field.

James Vincent, “Twitter Taught Microsoft’s AI Chatbot to Be a Racist Asshole in Less Than a Day,” The Verge, March 24, 2016, https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-chatbot-racist. 17. Rob Price, “Microsoft Is Deleting Its Chatbot’s Incredibly Racist Tweets,” Business Insider, March 24, 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-deletes-racist-genocidal-tweets-from-ai-chatbot-tay-2016-3?r=UK&IR=T. Chapter 19 1. James Vincent, “Elon Musk Says We Need to Regulate AI Before It Becomes a Danger to Humanity,” The Verge, July 17, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/17/15980954/elon-musk-ai-regulation-existential-threat. 2. Chris Weller, “One of the Biggest VCs in Silicon Valley Is Launching an Experiment That Will Give 3000 People Free Money Until 2022,” Business Insider, September 21, 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/y-combinator-basic-income-test-2017-9. 3. Stephen Hawking, “This Is the Most Dangerous Time for Our Planet,” The Guardian, December 1, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality. 4.

The CDL’s dominance in this domain resulted partly from our location in Toronto, where many of the core inventions—in a field called “machine learning”—that drove the recent interest in AI were seeded and nurtured. Experts who were previously based in the computer science department at the University of Toronto today head several of the world’s leading industrial AI teams, including those at Facebook, Apple, and Elon Musk’s Open AI. Being so close to so many applications of AI forced us to focus on how this technology affects business strategy. As we’ll explain, AI is a prediction technology, predictions are inputs to decision making, and economics provides a perfect framework for understanding the trade-offs underlying any decision. So, by dint of luck and some design, we found ourselves at the right place at the right time to form a bridge between the technologist and the business practitioner.


pages: 315 words: 89,861

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox

Now 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality. —Elon Musk, Code Conference, 20163 One of the main reasons so many scientists, philosophers, and technologists have started to take the simulation hypothesis more seriously now, in the early 21st century, rather than in earlier eras of computing, is because of the sophistication and rapid advancement of video games and graphics technology. Speaking at the Code Conference in 2016, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, reflected on how far we had come with video game technology since the creation of Pong some 40 years ago. He conjectured that if video game technology continued its rapid pace of improvement, then it was inevitable that we would be able to create hyper-realistic simulations that would be indistinguishable from physical reality.

Even the Western religions have a similar concept of this world (the “here”) and the other, eternal world (the “hereafter”). Psychiatrists like Carl Jung have probed the question of mental projection, where each of us is perceiving the world slightly differently based upon what is going on inside our minds. In this view, most of what we think of as being “out there”—the physical world—is actually “in here,” meaning in our heads, like a dream, there being no objective physical reality. More recently, Elon Musk, world-famous entrepreneur and founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has put forth this idea as being very likely. In fact, he estimates the chances that we are in a simulation at a billion to one. His remarks have ignited serious debate. There are good reasons for Musk to put forth this argument at this point in time. A few years ago, I started the Play Labs accelerator at MIT for startups using the latest video game technology.

For a game like Space Invaders or Breakout, this meant only moving left and right, but all the old games were built on taking input in the form of 18 possible joystick movements. The team showed that it was possible for an AI to “learn” to play arcade-style games. Given the response times available to AI algorithms, can we expect that AI will learn to play other video games, such as first- person shooters and fighting? Recently, Elon Musk funded OpenAI and announced that it had learned to play DOTA 2, an extremely popular fantasy-themed fighting game. Competitive video gaming, or eSports, is played by professionals and has become a popular spectator sport in the same way sports such as basketball, baseball and football developed in the last century. OpenAI announced that a team of five bots were competitive enough to qualify to play against professional teams!


pages: 276 words: 81,153

Outnumbered: From Facebook and Google to Fake News and Filter-Bubbles – the Algorithms That Control Our Lives by David Sumpter

affirmative action, Bernie Sanders, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Nelson Mandela, p-value, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, selection bias, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, traveling salesman, Turing test

Both Harm at Microsoft and Tomas Mikalov at Facebook saw a risk in giving neural networks fancy names and making big claims. The founder of the company Harm now works for seems to agree with him. In September 2017, Bill Gates told the Wall Street Journal the subject of AI is not something we need to panic about. He said he disagreed with Elon Musk about the urgency of the potential problems. So if we are currently mimicking a level of ‘intelligence’ around that of a tummy bug, why has Elon Musk declared AI such a big concern? Why is Stephen Hawking getting so worried about the predictive power of his speech software? What causes Max Tegmark and his buddies to sit in a row and declare, one after another, their belief that superintelligence is on its way? These are smart people; what is clouding their judgement?

The biggest problem with the service is that it is overwhelmed with meaningless links trying to get you to go to Amazon and buy more crap. And finally, there have been some interesting developments in neural networks recently, but the question of whether we can create a general AI remains wide open. We can’t even get a computer to learn to play Ms Pac-Man properly.’ Everyone looks at me. ‘Oh, and Elon Musk is an idiot,’ I add. I hate myself. I hate the boring arsehole that I have become. This boring idiot who has read all the scientific papers, who has to spoil everything with details and caveats. I don’t even have that much against Elon Musk. He is just doing his job. I added that, so the conversation would return to a modicum of light-heartedness. I know that I have misjudged the situation. I am being pedantic and petty. Beyond the small inaccuracies in the details, the people I am talking to have genuine worries about how society is changing.

The machines might even consider us surplus to requirements. At a meeting of the Future of Life Institute – a charitable organisation in Boston, Massachusetts, focused on dealing with future risks – in January 2017, theoretical physicist Max Tegmark hosted a panel debate about general artificial intelligence.1 The panel included nine of the most influential men in the field, including entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk; the Google guru Ray Kurzweil; DeepMind’s founder Demis Hassabis and Nick Bostrom, the philosopher who has mapped our way to, what he calls, ‘superintelligence’. The panel members varied in their views as to whether human-level machine intelligence would come gradually or all of a sudden, or whether it will be good or bad for humanity. But they all agreed that a general form of AI was more or less inevitable.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

Apple makes terrific smartphones and provides world-class customer support, but the company also has dodged taxes using a scheme that Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz once called a “fraud.” Amazon Prime is an amazing service, but Amazon abuses workers in its headquarters and warehouses. Customers love Uber, but Uber operates a toxic workplace and exploits its drivers. Tesla makes very sexy electric cars, but by many accounts, Elon Musk behaves abominably toward his employees and has earned a reputation for being less than forthcoming with customers. “I don’t believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, a disappointed Tesla owner, said in 2018. In the past few years I’ve come to the uncomfortable conclusion that, for various reasons mostly related to greed, the very people in Silicon Valley who talk so much about making the world a better place are actually making it worse—at least when it comes to the well-being of workers.

Even some of Facebook’s venture capital investors and employees believe the company has become dangerous. “No one stopped them from running massive sociological and psychological experiments on their users,” Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and early Facebook backer, wrote in Washington Monthly in the spring of 2018, in an article calling for greater regulation of Facebook and other online platforms. In fifth place on the Vanity Fair list was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose factory workers complained to the Guardian in 2017 about stressful, dangerous working conditions, and overworked colleagues collapsing on the production floor. Also on the list were Uber founder Travis Kalanick and his successor as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, whose company exploits drivers so badly that they have repeatedly sued the company. In 2016, Uber offered a proposed $100 million settlement for a lawsuit brought by drivers demanding to be categorized as employees, with salaries and benefits.

The new oligarchs don’t seem to care very much about their community, nor do they show much regard for their workers, or for human beings in general. It’s almost as if, having imagined a world in which robots and artificial intelligence can do everything, they resent the fact that for now they still must put up with messy, inferior biological beings. Tesla’s forty-seven-year-old South African–born CEO Elon Musk has become a hero to many, who view him as a real-life version of Tony Stark from Iron Man. Yet so far Musk hasn’t proved to be very good at making cars or making money. After fourteen years in business, Tesla has lost billions of dollars, and in 2017 the company sold only one hundred thousand cars—half as many as Toyota sells in a week. Nevertheless, Musk is worth more than $20 billion, thanks to Tesla’s soaring stock price.


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Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Tesla “I should add a note here to explain why Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future. The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability” Elon Musk, CEO Tesla, Master Plan, Part Deux[111] Founded by maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk, Tesla has built its reputation on all electric vehicles that challenged the established automakers and their reliance on gasoline. Although small by car manufacturer standards (25,000 cars produced in Q1, 2017 is a little over 10% of the volume Ford produces in a quarter), Tesla is growing fast. Tesla grabbed headlines when it announced its Autopilot Beta feature in October 2015.[112] This was a software update for its vehicles enabling them to automatically steer down the highway, change lanes, and adjust speed in response to traffic, but is not a full driverless cars solution.

Tesla claims to have collected 1.3 billion miles of data covered by its vehicles - even when Autopilot isn’t switched on it operates in “shadow mode,” with sensors tracking real-world data to help train Tesla’s software. Master Plan Tesla’s CEO took the unusual step of publishing his plans for his company on his web site for everyone to see.[115] Rather than the standard corporate approach of not unveiling future plans, Elon Musk once again eschewed normal behaviour. His somewhat grandiosely titled “Tesla Master Plan Part Deux” was published in July 2016, ten years after his first Master Plan, which was largely achieved. Two of the four pillars of the plan relate to self-driving cars and Tesla’s plans to be a leader in this emerging space: ● Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning ● Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it More generally, Musk reiterated his vision for the future: "All cars will be fully autonomous in the long term.

In freight operations, workers would likely still need to load and unload cargo. Otto (now a division of Uber) "We want to get the technology to the point where it's safe to let the driver rest and sleep in his cabin and we can drive for him, exit to exit" Lior Ron, co-founder, Otto Google has long held the PR spotlight in developing driverless technology; however, with the emergence of Otto[255] and Elon Musk’s announcement of a Tesla Semi,[256] driverless trucks are coming to the forefront of the autonomous vehicle conversation. Heavily-funded start-up Peloton[257] is also active in this space. Otto was acquired by Uber for $680m in August 2016, just months after it was founded by alumni from some of Silicon Valley’s leading companies. Otto doesn’t make its own trucks - it instead offers kits to retrofit existing lorries.


The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work by Vishen Lakhiani

Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, performance metric, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, web application, white picket fence

The Power of a Mission I learned another powerful lesson about visionaries one day in L.A. in 2015. I was invited to visit SpaceX with a group of board members of the XPRIZE Foundation, a technological development nonprofit that funds innovations that benefit humanity. As a member of this group of global changemakers, I was granted behind-the-scenes access to many of the world’s leading tech innovation labs. When I walked into the massive industrial building that housed Elon Musk’s rockets I was immediately struck by the sheer grandiosity of how badasses like Elon think. Back then his companies SpaceX and Tesla were the two companies rated most desirable to work for among the Silicon Valley engineers. Their missions are literally out of this world, yet also quite possible to execute and achieve. Both companies have missions so massive they plan to save the human race.

People who join SpaceX and Tesla don’t expect Elon to know how to solve the problems the companies are confronting or what the timeframe might be. Remember that when you have such a grand mission, you don’t have to know the how. You start with the why and the what. You rally the troops. The point is to then figure out the how together. A compelling mission is incredibly powerful to attract these troops. Both Elon Musk and Richard Branson know how to attract talent through the power of a compelling mission. They also know how to keep their teams engaged by giving them inspiring work. Human beings are goal-driven creatures. We’re hardwired to hunt for the next meal. Or to spot the berries on the tree. And in an age where we get our meat and berries from the corner grocery store, we get bored if we aren’t using this goal-driven component of our brains.

We are more connected than we’ve ever been. And according to writer-philosopher Tim Urban, we’ve actually become a new type of species: the Human Colossus. Meet the Human Colossus Tim Urban, who writes the Wait But Why blog, is a fascinating character. He doesn’t write regular blog posts. Instead, they run up to sixty thousand words. That’s 80 percent of the length of this book. This gets him some very special fans. Elon Musk approached Urban in 2017 to write a piece to explain the work of his latest mega-concept company, called Neuralink. It required Urban’s explanation expertise, because what the company aims to create is a seamless brain-to-computer connection. To explain Neuralink, Urban wrote a post called “Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future” (read the full post here: https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html), which takes readers back 3.5 million years and runs them through a timeline of man’s evolution.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The pain is already being felt. For the first time, life expectancy is actually declining in America, and what was once its rich industrial heartland has too often become a landscape of despair. For everyone’s sake, we must choose a different path. Loss of jobs and economic disruption are not inevitable. There is a profound failure of imagination and will in much of today’s economy. For every Elon Musk—who wants to reinvent the world’s energy infrastructure, build revolutionary new forms of transport, and settle humans on Mars—there are far too many companies that are simply using technology to cut costs and boost their stock price, enriching those able to invest in financial markets at the expense of an ever-growing group that may never be able to do so. Policy makers seem helpless, assuming that the course of technology is inevitable, rather than something we must shape.

In fact, the market value of Google is greater than the entire amount of taxpayer dollars spent on the NSF since it was first founded in 1952. The Internet itself was originally a government-funded project. So was the Interstate Highway System. Not to mention that the government funded the original computer and memory chip development that gave us Silicon Valley, the research behind Siri and self-driving cars, and actually provided much of the capital for building out Elon Musk’s bold ventures in electric vehicles, rooftop solar, and commercial space travel. But government as a platform means far more than R&D funding. Would our cities thrive without transportation, water, power, garbage collection, and all the other services we take for granted? Like an operating system providing services for applications, government provides functions that enable private sector activity.

They go on, thousands of them, voices crying out their fear and pain and helplessness, the voices of people whose lives have been crushed by the machine. From 2001’s HAL to The Terminator’s Skynet, it’s a science fiction trope: artificial intelligence run amok, created to serve human goals but now pursuing purposes that are inimical to its former masters. Recently, a collection of scientific and Silicon Valley luminaries, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, wrote an open letter recommending “expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do.” Groups such as the Future of Life Institute and OpenAI have been formed to study the existential risks of AI, and, as the OpenAI site puts it, “to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.”


pages: 307 words: 88,180

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, ImageNet competition, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, pirate software, profit maximization, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Y Combinator

UTOPIA, DYSTOPIA, AND THE REAL AI CRISIS Kurzweil predicts: Dom Galeon and Christianna Reedy, “Kurzweil Claims That the Singularity Will Happen by 2045,” Futurism, October 5, 2017, https://futurism.com/kurzweil-claims-that-the-singularity-will-happen-by-2045/. “the biggest risk we face”: James Titcomb, “AI Is the Biggest Risk We Face as a Civilisation, Elon Musk Says,” London Telegraph, July 17, 2017, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/17/ai-biggest-risk-face-civilisation-elon-musk-says/. “summoning the demon”: Greg Kumparak, “Elon Musk Compares Building Artificial Intelligence to ‘Summoning the Demon,’” TechCrunch, October 26, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/10/26/elon-musk-compares-building-artificial-intelligence-to-summoning-the-demon/. median prediction of 2040: Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 19. Hinton and his colleague’s landmark paper: Geoffrey Hinton, Simon Osindero, and Yee-Whye The, “A Fast Learning Algorithm for Deep Belief Nets,” Neural Computation 18 (2006): 1527–1554.

By 2017 the hybrid juggernaut was fielding 20 million different orders a day from a pool of 280 million monthly active users. Most customers had long forgotten that Meituan began as a group-buying site. They knew it for what it had become: a sprawling consumer empire covering noodles, movie tickets, and hotel bookings. Today, Meituan Dianping is valued at $30 billion, making it the fourth most valuable startup in the world, ahead of Airbnb and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. ENTREPRENEURS, ELECTRICITY, AND OIL Wang’s story is about more than just the copycat who made good. His transformation charts the evolution of China’s technology ecosystem, and that ecosystem’s greatest asset: its tenacious entrepreneurs. Those entrepreneurs are beating Silicon Valley juggernauts at their own game and have learned how to survive in the single most competitive startup environment in the world.

Behind that caution is an underlying philosophy: build the perfect product and then make the jump straight to full autonomy once the system is far safer than human drivers. It’s the approach of a perfectionist, one with a very low tolerance for risk to human lives or corporate reputation. It’s also a sign of how large a lead Google has on the competition due to its multiyear head start on research. Tesla has taken a more incremental approach in an attempt to make up ground. Elon Musk’s company has tacked on limited autonomous features to their cars as soon as they became available: autopilot for highways, autosteer for crash avoidance, and self-parking capabilities. It’s an approach that accelerates speed of deployment while also accepting a certain level of risk. The two approaches are powered by the same thing that powers AI: data. Self-driving cars must be trained on millions, maybe billions, of miles of driving data so they can learn to identify objects and predict the movements of cars and pedestrians.


pages: 407 words: 90,238

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal

3D printing, Alexander Shulgin, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, high batting average, hive mind, Hyperloop, impulse control, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning

In 2015, a team of scientists led by Oxford’s Molly Crockett: Author interview May 12, 2016, and Burning Man Journal, http://journal.burningman.org/2016/05/black-rock-city/survive-and-thrive/researchers-share-first-findings-on-burners-transformative-experiences. 8. all combine to create a temporary autonomous zone: Hakim Bey, “The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism,” http://hermetic.com/bey/taz_cont.html, anti-copyright, 1985, 1991. 9. “I like going to Burning Man”: Will Oremus, “Google CEO Is Tired of Rivals, Laws, Wants to Start His Own Country,” Slate, May 15, 2013. 10. In 2007, Elon Musk did just that: Gregory Ferenstein, “Burning Man Founder Is Cool with Capitalism, and Silicon Valley Billionaires,” TechCrunch, September 3, 2013. 11. He also came up with the ideas: Sarah Buhr, “Elon Musk Is Right, Burning Man Is Silicon Valley,” TechCrunch, September 4, 2004; Ferenstein, “Burning Man Founder Is Cool with Capitalism, and Silicon Valley Billionaires.” 12. Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh: David Hochman, “Playboy Interview: Tony Hsieh,” Playboy, April 2014. 13. While much has been made of the fact’: Zack Guzman, “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Shares What He Would Have Changed About his $350M Downtown Las Vegas Project,” CNBC, August 9, 2016, and Jennifer Reingold, “How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling,” Fortune, March 4, 2016. 14.

But today, the ranks of Burners, as attendees call themselves, include members of a high-powered subculture, a tech-nomadic glitterati that have access to capital, markets, and global communication platforms. When Tim Ferriss mentioned that nearly all of the billionaires he knows in Silicon Valley take psychedelics to help themselves solve complex problems, Burning Man is one of their preferred locations to step out and go big. “If you haven’t been [to Burning Man], you just don’t get Silicon Valley,”3 serial entrepreneur and longtime attendee Elon Musk noted in Re/Code. “You could take the craziest L.A. party and multiply it by a thousand, and it doesn’t even get fucking close.” Among certain circles, mention of “the playa” or “Black Rock City” gains you instant camaraderie with those who have shared that baptism by fire. Participation in successful Burning Man camps has morphed from countercultural street cred to career-building material. “So embedded, so accepted has Burning Man become4 in parts of tech culture,” wrote journalist Vanessa Hua in the San Francisco Chronicle, “that the event alters work rhythms, shows up on resumes, is even a sanctioned form of professional development—all signs that the norm has adopted parts of the formerly deviant happening.”

Three years later, the actual president,6 Barack Obama, joked about the event at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, saying: “Just recently, a young person came up to me and said she was sick of politicians standing in the way of her dreams—as if we were actually going to let Malia go to Burning Man this year. Was not going to happen. Bernie [Sanders] might have let her go. Not us.” If the President of the United States is moved to comment on the event, and Elon Musk is claiming it’s central to Silicon Valley culture, then perhaps there’s more going on than just a weeklong party. And that’s the second thing to explore in our assessment—why so many creative and talented people go so far out of their way to congregate there once a year. By simple elimination, it can’t just be the sex, drugs, or music. Those indulgences, however tantalizing, are little more than commodities in any major city.


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Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Hillary Clinton: Hillary Rodham Clinton, What Happened (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017), 239. the Black Lives Matter movement: “Reparations,” The Movement for Black Lives, July 26, 2016, https://policy.m4bl.org/​reparations/. Bill Gates: Bill Gates, “I’m Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ask Me Anything,” Reddit, Mar. 3, 2017, https://www.reddit.com/​r/​IAmA/​comments/​5whpqs/​im_bill_gates_cochair_of_the_bill_melinda_gates/. Elon Musk: Kathleen Davis, “Elon Musk Says Automation Will Make a Universal Basic Income Necessary Soon,” Fast Company, Feb. 13, 2017. are starting…in Germany: “Geschichten: Was wäre, wenn du plötzlich Grundeinkommen hättest?,” Mein Grundeinkommen, https://www.mein-grundeinkommen.de/​projekt/​geschichten. the Netherlands: Sjir Hoeijmakers, telephone interview by author, Oct. 16, 2017. Finland: Antti Jauhiainen and Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen, “Why Finland’s Basic Income Experiment Isn’t Working,” New York Times, July 20, 2017.

In the past few years—with the middle class being squeezed, trust in government eroding, technological change hastening, the economy getting Uberized, and a growing body of research on the power of cash as an antipoverty measure being produced—it has vaulted to a surprising prominence, even pitching from airy hypothetical to near-reality in some places. Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, the Black Lives Matter movement, Bill Gates, Elon Musk—these are just a few of the policy proposal’s flirts, converts, and supporters. UBI pilots are starting or ongoing in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Canada, and Kenya, with India contemplating one as well. Some politicians are trying to get it adopted in California, and it has already been the subject of a Swiss referendum, where its reception exceeded activists’ expectations despite its defeat.

And self-driving cars are not the only technology on the horizon with the potential to dramatically reduce the need for human work. Today’s Cassandras are warning that there is scarcely a job out there that is not at risk. If you have recently heard of UBI, there is a good chance that it is because of these driverless cars and the intensifying concern about technological unemployment writ large. Elon Musk of Tesla, for instance, has argued that the large-scale automation of the transportation sector is imminent. “Twenty years is a short period of time to have something like 12 [to] 15 percent of the workforce be unemployed,” he said at the World Government Summit in Dubai in 2017. “I don’t think we’re going to have a choice,” he said of a UBI. “I think it’s going to be necessary.” In Detroit, that risk felt ominously real.


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To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

Tesla’s idea of a race of robots “doing the laborious work of the human race” was clearly some distance from realization, but there didn’t seem to be any doubt that this was what capitalism’s most advanced engines were driving toward. A solid indicator of this trend was offered, as it happened, by a business named after Tesla himself: the Silicon Valley electric car company Tesla Motors, whose production line was almost entirely roboticized, and whose CEO, Elon Musk—the same Elon Musk who was so publicly terrified by the prospect of artificial superintelligence—had recently announced the company’s plans to develop its own self-driving system within three to five years. Although I had not beheld him with my own human eyes, I understood that Musk had come to the Fairplex that weekend to observe the robots and meet with their engineers. And I understood, too, that Google’s cofounder Larry Page, a Singulatarian of note, had descended from the summit of Mountain View to be among these machines, in whose future his own company had invested considerable money.

Transhumanism’s influence seemed perceptible in the fanatical dedication of many tech entrepreneurs to the ideal of radical life extension—in the PayPal cofounder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s funding of various life extension projects, for instance, and in Google’s establishment of its biotech subsidiary Calico, aimed at generating solutions to the problem of human aging. And the movement’s influence was perceptible, too, in Elon Musk’s and Bill Gates’s and Stephen Hawking’s increasingly vehement warnings about the prospect of our species’ annihilation by an artificial superintelligence, not to mention in Google’s instatement of Ray Kurzweil, the high priest of the Technological Singularity, as its director of engineering. I saw the imprint of transhumanism in claims like that of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who suggested that “Eventually, you’ll have an implant, where if you just think about a fact, it will tell you the answer.”

Which is why when I began to read about the growing fear, in certain quarters, that a superhuman-level artificial intelligence might wipe humanity from the face of the earth, I felt that here, at least, was a vision of our technological future that appealed to my fatalistic disposition. Such dire intimations were frequently to be encountered in the pages of broadsheet newspapers, as often as not illustrated by an apocalyptic image from the Terminator films—by a titanium-skulled killer robot staring down the reader with the glowing red points of its pitiless eyes. Elon Musk had spoken of AI as “our greatest existential threat,” of its development as a technological means of “summoning the demon.” (“Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence,” he’d tweeted in August of 2014. “Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.”) Peter Thiel had announced that “People are spending way too much time thinking about climate change, way too little thinking about AI.”


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Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again by Eric Topol

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, blockchain, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, digital twin, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Google Glasses, ImageNet competition, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nudge unit, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, text mining, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Communications of the ACM, 2017. 60(2): pp. 40–42. 75. Dowd, M., “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse,” Vanity Fair. 2017. 76. Strategic Plan FY 2014–2018. HHS Strategic Plan 2017. 77. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse”; Russell, S., “Should We Fear Supersmart Robots?,” Scientific American. 2016, pp. 58–59. 78. Metz, C., “Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and the Feud over Killer Robots,” New York Times. 2018. 79. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse”; Tegmark, M., Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. 2017. New York: Penguin Random House. 80. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse.” 81. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse.” 82.

We have clearly been inoculated with the idea, however, after exposure to cumulative doses of Skynet in The Terminator, HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Agent Smith in The Matrix. These extremely popular films portrayed sentient machines with artificial general intelligence, and many sci-fi movies have proven to be prescient, so fears about AI shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.73 We’ve heard doom projections from high-profile figures like Stephen Hawking (“the development of full AI could spell the end of the human race”), Elon Musk (“with AI we are summoning the demon”), Henry Kissinger (“could cause a rupture in history and unravel the way civilization works”), Bill Gates (“potentially more dangerous than a nuclear catastrophe”), and others. Many experts take the opposite point of view, including Alan Bundy of the University of Edinburgh74 or Yann LeCun (“there would be no Ex Machina or Terminator scenarios, because robots would not be built with human drives—hunger, power, reproduction, self-preservation”).75 Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, LeCun’s employer, Mark Zuckerberg, isn’t worried either, writing on Facebook, “Some people fear-monger about how A.I. is a huge danger, but that seems far-fetched to me and much less likely than disasters due to widespread disease, violence, etc.”76 Some AI experts have even dramatically changed their views, like Stuart Russell of UC Berkeley.77 There’s no shortage of futurologists weighing in, one way or another, or even both ways, and even taking each other on.78 I especially got a kick out of the AI and Mars connection, setting up disparate views between Andrew Ng and Elon Musk.

Many experts take the opposite point of view, including Alan Bundy of the University of Edinburgh74 or Yann LeCun (“there would be no Ex Machina or Terminator scenarios, because robots would not be built with human drives—hunger, power, reproduction, self-preservation”).75 Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, LeCun’s employer, Mark Zuckerberg, isn’t worried either, writing on Facebook, “Some people fear-monger about how A.I. is a huge danger, but that seems far-fetched to me and much less likely than disasters due to widespread disease, violence, etc.”76 Some AI experts have even dramatically changed their views, like Stuart Russell of UC Berkeley.77 There’s no shortage of futurologists weighing in, one way or another, or even both ways, and even taking each other on.78 I especially got a kick out of the AI and Mars connection, setting up disparate views between Andrew Ng and Elon Musk. Ng said, “Fearing a rise of killer robots is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars before we populate it,”79 whereas Musk has said that the potential rise of killer robots was one reason we needed to colonize Mars—so that we’ll have a bolt-hole if AI goes rogue and turns on humanity.80 Musk’s deep concerns prompted him and Sam Altman to found a billion-dollar nonprofit institute called OpenAI with the aim of working for safer AI.


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The Moon: A History for the Future by Oliver Morton

Charles Lindbergh, commoditize, Dava Sobel, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, UNCLOS, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

The little cluster of space-business start-ups outside the Ames centre had, until recently, housed Moon Express, a company which planned to launch the first commercial payload to the Moon. A few kilometres closer, on Bay View Boulevard, were the headquarters of Google, which was at the time the sponsor of a $30m set of prizes for landing a rover on the Moon which Moon Express, among others, was trying to win. On the other side of the tracks, in the hills above Stanford, was the home of Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist who had been an early backer of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and nurtured his own plans for the Moon. It was at a meeting in that house that the moonbase-siting study I was reading had been conceived. And beneath those hills, in the depths of the San Andreas Fault, the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate were responding to the full Moon’s spring tide, just as they do every month. Tides do not, in general, trigger earthquakes, but they pull strongly and insistently enough for the supremely sensitive instruments of the seismologists to feel the Earth creaking gently at their touch.

Its atmosphere could be thickened, its climate warmed; it could support surface water, even plants. The red planet could have its own red edge. This worldliness-in-waiting gives Mars a mystique. Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer who in 1998 founded the Mars Society, sees the settlement that the society advocates as a way—perhaps the only way—to regain a cultural vigour he thinks was lost with the closing of the American frontier at the end of the 19th century. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and, as I write, probably the world’s most talked-about entrepreneur, sees Mars as a hedge against existential all-eggs-in-the-same-basket disasters. In a messy mix of cosmic compassion and messianic self-belief, Mr Musk is set on making humanity a multiplanetary species, and Mars—eventually, a terraformed Mars—is the first step on that road. Its mixture of mystique, new challenges and science has ensured that whenever the US government sets out long-term space plans, human feet on the sands of Mars are always in the mix.

And who should lead the human Return to the Moon if not artists? The people who put in the highest bids? Space-struck volunteers chosen by lottery? Officers of the state, uniformed or otherwise? Scientists? Kardashians? Something has to happen next, and a ship of artists from around the world is no worse an idea than any other, and better than quite a few. MR MAEZAWA’S TRIP IS TO BE PROVIDED BY ELON MUSK. MR Musk has, in the past, been somewhat sniffy about space tourism. When he founded his company SpaceX in 2003 it was to do real things: to launch satellites, to sell services, to reinvent the human condition by making Homo sapiens a multiplanetary species. Package holidays for plutocrats were not part of the plan. As a provider of practical services to industry and government, SpaceX has succeeded beyond almost all expectation.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin

Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator

CHAPTER 14—THE FUTURE OF THE WORKING CLASS 1 “Apple says illegal student labor discovered at iPhone X plant,” Reuters, November 22, 2107, https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-apple-foxconn-labour/apple-says-illegal-student-labor-discovered-at-iphone-x-plant-idUKKBN1DM1LA; Neil Irwin, “To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now,” New York Times, September 3, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/03/upshot/to-understand-rising-inequality-consider-the-janitors-at-two-top-companies-then-and-now.html. 2 Bryan Menegus, “Elon Musk Responds to Claims of Low Pay, Injuries, and Anti-Union Policies at Tesla Plant,” Gizmodo, September 2, 2017, https://gizmodo.com/elon-musk-responds-to-claims-of-low-pay-injuries-and-a-1792190512; “Analysis of Tesla Injury Rates: 2014 to 2017,” Work Safe, May 24, 2017, https://worksafe.typepad.com/files/worksafe_tesla5_24.pdf; Will Evans and Alyssa Jeong Perry, “Tesla says its factory is safer. But it left injuries off the books,” Mercury News, https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/01/elon-musk-and-unions-congressman-asks-tesla-ceo-to-stop-threats/. 3 Josh Eidelson, “Tesla Workers Claim Racial Bias and Abuse at Electric Car Factory,” Bloomberg, April 12, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-04-12/tesla-workers-claim-racial-bias-and-abuse-at-electric-car-factory; Caroline O’Donavon, “At Tesla’s Factory, Building the Car of the Future Has Painful and Permanent Consequences for Some Workers,” Buzzfeed, February 4, 2018, https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/tesla-fremont-factory-injuries?

Medium, February 26, 2016, https://medium.com/@ferenstein/a-lot-of-billionaires-are-giving-to-democrats-here-s-a-look-at-their-agenda-b5038c2ecb34. 13 Todd Haselton, “Mark Zuckerberg joins Silicon Valley bigwigs in calling for government to give everybody free money,” Yahoo, May 25, 2017, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mark-zuckerberg-joins-silicon-valley-202800717.html; Patrick Gillespie, “Mark Zuckerberg supports universal basic income. What is it?” CNN, May 6, 2017, https://money.cnn.com/2017/05/26/news/economy/mark-zuckerberg-universal-basic-income/index.html; Chris Weller, “Elon Musk doubles down on universal basic income: ‘It’s going to be necessary,’” Business Insider, February 13, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-universal-basic-income-2017-2; Patrick Caughill, “Another Silicon Valley Exec Joins the Ranks of Universal Basic Income Supporters,” Futurism, September 8, 2017, https://futurism.com/another-silicon-valley-exec-joins-the-ranks-of-universal-basic-income-supporters; Sam Altman, “Moving Forward on Basic Income,” Y Combinator, May 31, 2016, https://blog.ycombinator.com/moving-forward-on-basic-income/; Diane Francis, “The Beginning of the End of Work,” American Interest, March 19, 2018, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/03/19/beginning-end-work/. 14 “The YIMBY Guide to Bullying and Its Results: SB 827 Goes Down in Committee,” City Watch LA, April 19, 2018, https://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/los-angeles/15298-the-yimby-guide-to-bullying-and-its-results-sb-827-goes-down-in-committee; John Mirisch, “Tech Oligarchs and the California Housing Crisis,” California Political Review, April 15, 2018, http://www.capoliticalreview.com/top-stories/tech-Oligarchs-and-the-california-housing-crisis/; Joel Kotkin, “Giving Common Sense a Chance in California,” City Journal, April 26, 2018, https://www.city-journal.org/html/giving-common-sense-chance-california-15868.html. 15 Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, trans.

Most, Ferenstein adds, believe that an “increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will come to subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial ‘gig work’ and government aid.”11 Ferenstein says that many tech titans, in contrast to business leaders of the past, favor a radically expanded welfare state.12 Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick (former head of Uber), and Sam Altman (founder of Y Combinator) all favor a guaranteed annual income, in part to allay fears of insurrection by a vulnerable and struggling workforce. Yet unlike the “Penthouse Bolsheviks” of the 1930s, they have no intention of allowing their own fortunes to be squeezed. Instead, the middle class would likely foot much of the bill for guaranteed wages, health care, free college, and housing assistance, along with subsidies for gig workers, who do not receive benefits from their employers.13 This model could best be described as oligarchical socialism.


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Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, database schema, discounted cash flows, Elon Musk, Firefox, forensic accounting, George Gilder, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, yellow journalism

Making Yourself Better Because your company grows and changes so quickly as you blitzscale, it’s crucial for you to figure out how to make yourself better just as quickly so that you don’t become the bottleneck that holds your company back. As our friend Jerry Chen likes to say, “There are no job descriptions for founders. If the role doesn’t change, there’s something wrong.” Since you’re going to face new challenges during every stage of blitzscaling, you have to make yourself into a learning machine. My friend Elon Musk is a great example. He dropped out of Stanford’s PhD program in applied physics because he thought he could learn more on his own! He started SpaceX and Tesla by learning literal rocket science and carmaking. So how do you accelerate your learning curve so that you can learn more faster? The key is to stand, as Isaac Newton wrote, “on the shoulders of giants.” This means talking with other smart people, often, so that you can learn from their successes and failures.

When I offer this advice, I sometimes hear the objection “That’s not the way Steve Jobs did it.” Well, hold on a minute. First of all, contrary to the popular narrative, not all of Steve’s products were perfect from the start. The original Mac didn’t come with a hard drive. The original iPhone didn’t come with an App Store. It is true that we can point to a number of entrepreneurs who did launch a great product at the very beginning. For example, when Elon Musk launched the Tesla Model S, it immediately became the highest-rated car on the road, being named Motor Trend Car of the Year in its debut year, and achieving a higher Consumer Reports rating than any other car that organization had ever tested. But to do this, you have to believe that you can nail the product/market fit of a new market before you launch, and invest substantial amounts of capital based solely on that confidence.

Out of a forty-person team, we had two support people (and our office manager was spending half of his time to help out). We had much more urgent fires to fight. For example, during that same time period, we were (1) raising our first major round of venture capital, (2) starting to compete with Billpoint, our biggest partner eBay’s attempt to clone our business, and (3) negotiating a merger with Elon Musk’s X.com. Suffice it to say that things were busy, and we didn’t have the bandwidth to solve the customer service problem. So we ignored our customers! After all, none of their complaints stopped transaction volume from growing exponentially. Of course, ignoring our customers had its own cost. Even though PayPal was only listed in the local Palo Alto phone directory, enough people looked up the number and dialed random extensions that at any time of day, every phone would be ringing with an angry customer on the other end.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The contest ended early, in September 2009, when one of the 44,014 valid submissions achieved the goal and was awarded the prize. Deep Learning is a new and exciting subset of Machine Learning based on neural net technology. It allows a machine to discover new patterns without being exposed to any historical or training data. Leading startups in this space are DeepMind, bought by Google in early 2014 for $500 million, back when DeepMind had just thirteen employees, and Vicarious, funded with investment from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter, Baidu, Microsoft and Facebook are also heavily invested in this area. Deep Learning algorithms rely on discovery and self-indexing, and operate in much the same way that a baby learns first sounds, then words, then sentences and even languages. As an example: In June 2012, a team at Google X built a neural network of 16,000 computer processors with one billion connections.

Step 1: Select an MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose). This is the most elemental and foundational aspect of a startup. Feeding on Simon Sinek’s “Why?” question, it is critical that you are excited and utterly passionate about the problem space you plan to attack. So, begin by asking the question: What is the biggest problem I’d like to see solved? Identify that problem space and then come up with an MTP for it. Even as a child, Elon Musk, perhaps the world’s most celebrated entrepreneur today, had a burning desire to address energy, transportation and space travel at a global level. His three companies (SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX) are each addressing those spaces. Each has a Massive Transformative Purpose. Keep in mind, however, that an MTP is not a business decision. Finding your passion is a personal journey. As Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, said at the 2013 LeWeb conference in Paris, “You have to be self-aware and look for that startup idea and purpose that is a perfect fit with you—with you as a person, not as a business[person].”

Delivery skills: The ability to execute ideas—to analyze, plan, implement, follow through and be detail-oriented. These are just two of many ways of looking at how to put a founding team together. Whatever the approach, however, founders must be intrinsically motivated self-starters. Most of all, in the face of rapid growth and change, they must have complete trust in one another’s judgment. Think about the PayPal story. Peter Thiel told his co-founders (Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Luke Nosek, Max Levchin and Chad Hurley) and employees that they all should work together as friends rather than more formally as employees. Looking back, perhaps friendship was PayPal’s MTP. Not only was PayPal very successful as a company—it was sold to eBay for $1.2 billion—but the friendships that grew out of it were equally successful. The original team is now known as the “PayPal Mafia,” and its members have helped one another on subsequent startups, including Tesla, YouTube, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yammer and Palantir—companies that today have a total market cap of more than $60 billion.


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Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

,” The Guardian, August 10, 2018; John Paczkowski and Charlie Warzel, “Apple Kicked Alex Jones Off Its Platform, Then YouTube and Facebook Rushed to Do The Same,” BuzzFeed, August 7, 2018; Avie Schneider, “Twitter Bans Alex Jones and InfoWars; Cites Abusive Behavior,” NPR, September 6, 2018). Josh Begley wrote about his rejections from the Apple store in The Intercept (“After 12 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” March 28, 2017). Rhett Jones wrote about the ban on Elon Musk parody accounts for Gizmodo (“Twitter Will Lock Your Account If You Try to Impersonate Elon Musk,” July 25, 2018). Stephanie M. Lee reported on pro-ana content bans in BuzzFeed (“Why Eating Disorders Are So Hard for Instagram and Tumblr to Combat,” April 14, 2016). Benjamin Plackett reported on Reddit moderators for Engadget (“Unpaid and abused: Moderators speak out against Reddit,” August 31, 2018), and Casey Newton reported on contract workers moderating Facebook (“The Trauma Floor,” The Verge, February 25, 2019).

Instant messages he sent when he was nineteen and just founding Facebook were leaked to Business Insider: ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard ZUCK: just ask ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one? ZUCK: people just submitted it ZUCK: i don’t know why ZUCK: they “trust me” ZUCK: dumb fucks Mark Zuckerberg is tied with Bill Gates as Harvard’s most famous dropout, and as with Gates—as well as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and plenty of other tech industry titans—family wealth spurred on his success. The dorm room eureka moment might be what the company touts as its own origin story, but the “initial working capital” Dr. Edward Zuckerberg offered his son in 2004 and 2005 meant the company could make a play for the virtual souls of students at other Ivies, all while the younger Zuckerberg was leaving analog Harvard.

The company told Begley, “We found that your app contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.” Begley appealed to Apple, only to see his app, renamed Metadata+, rejected or removed from the platform several more times until it was finally accepted in 2017 … until it was rejected once again. As recently as 2017, Twitter locked out users for joking about Elon Musk in their usernames, as well as activists and sex workers for benign offenses, but Donald Trump can harass Ilhan Omar on the platform with no repercussions. This double standard reveals who the platforms pander and cower to, and which users are taken for granted. Moderating platforms today involves a combination of human labor, algorithmic filtering, and methods such as whitelisting or blacklisting users or content.


pages: 376 words: 110,796

Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs, Emeline Paat-dahlstrom, Charles D. Walker

Berlin Wall, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, desegregation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, private space industry, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, X Prize, young professional

Mission control at Scaled Composites 29. Mike Melvill riding on top of SpaceShipOne 30. Brian Binnie and Mike Melvill in front of SpaceShipOne 31. Ansari x PRIZE successful flight celebration 32. Per Wimmer with models of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo 33. Sir Richard Branson standing beside SpaceShipOne, 2I June zoo4 34. Sir Richard Branson with Burt Rutan during rollout of WhiteKnightTwo 35. Elon Musk in front of Falcon 9 engines, 8 January zoo9 36. Spaceport America concept design 37. The Russian-Ukrainian-American launch team in front of the Dnepr Space Head Module 38. Artist's conception of Bigelow Aerospace's first Orbital Space Complex 39. Sir Richard Branson in front of WhiteKnightTwo 40. Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan with VMS Eve and vss Enterprise, 6 December zoo9 It begins.

Walking around the cordoned-off VIP grounds, among mockups of some of the x PRIZE contenders dubbed the "Rocket Garden," was nearly every high-stakes player in the private human spaceflight business. The press and camera crews followed Diamandis and Eric Anderson as they made their rounds. X PRIZE contender Chuck Lauer was also on hand to witness the launch. A subset of attendees included big-money investors and would-be space travelers who had the interest and resources to pursue their dreams. Elon Musk of SpaceX and Titanic director James Cameron talked to the press about their plans. Space Adventures brought in a busload of its aspiring suborbital and orbital clients. The x PRIZE interns had their hands full with vip guests, including forty ofAnousheh Ansari's relatives. This event was demonstrating that space had definitely developed a cache among the wealthy, offering them everything from a $30 million visit to the International Space Station to five-figure deposits to place their names on the waiting list for a suborbital flight.

This event was demonstrating that space had definitely developed a cache among the wealthy, offering them everything from a $30 million visit to the International Space Station to five-figure deposits to place their names on the waiting list for a suborbital flight. And then there were the hightech "thrillionaires." Rick Tumlinson had already remarked that the promotion of public access to space had become something of a geeky status symbol. "It's not good enough to have a Gulfstream V, now you've got to have a rocket." "Space geeks" who had made their fortune in such technology-related ventures as PayPal (Elon Musk), Amazon.com (Jeff Bezos), Google (Larry Page), and computer games (John Carmack) were now directing their wealth into creating vehicles to carry people to space. Peter Diamandis, in acknowledging the rise of space money men as a unique moment in history, declared that "there is sufficient wealth controlled by individuals to start serious space efforts." On this day, Microsoft multibillionaire Paul Allen's $25 million investment in Burt Rutan's X PRIZE quest was about to face its first full test.


pages: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

One symptom of such companies is often too much power concentrated at the top. Facebook founder, chief executive, and chairman Mark Zuckerberg, for example, still controls 60 percent of his company’s voting rights. Recent reports suggest that he and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg represent a tiny funnel through which decisions have to flow: a management structure more characteristic of a start-up than one of the world’s most profitable public companies. Elon Musk had a similar stranglehold on power at Tesla until the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission forced him to relinquish the chairmanship as part of a fraud settlement. Google has the problem, too; Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt still own the largest chunks of the company and have tremendous influence.3 I turned down the job, needless to say, and made my peace with the fact that I was, at heart, a journalist and not a corporate flack.

One of his strange obsessions is the desire to cheat death. Thiel says he finds the general population’s acceptance of the prospect of death “pathological,” and, along with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Google’s Sergey Brin, has spent millions supporting “life extension” research dedicated to “ending aging forever.”9 This, I suppose, is only slightly more ambitious a goal than those of his PayPal partner Elon Musk, also the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, who envisions supersonic commuter travel and colonizing Mars in the not too distant future (though how he’ll fund it is anyone’s guess, since he keeps tanking the price of Tesla’s stock with his security-law-violating tweets, whiskey-and-cannabis-induced rants, and false claims about the company’s financial profile). You could argue that all of this is simply part of the “think different” mind-set, one that is necessary for entrepreneurship and radical change.

That is to say, one that incentivizes these companies to tolerate plenty of egregious behavior by their top talent—assuming they are boosting the bottom line—until they are fully exposed and forced into action by the outrage of the general public. I’m sure the majority of Silicon Valley CEOs don’t condone sexual harassment, but most do seem to be rather oblivious to how they are perceived in the wider public—perhaps because they don’t have to spend much time outside the greater Palo Alto bubble. Consider Elon Musk’s take on riding the New York subway: “It’s a pain in the ass….There’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer.”13 The iconoclastic attitudes are sometimes baked in early. Marissa Mayer (who once dated Larry Page) once pointed out that if you want to understand Page and his cofounder, you had to know they both went to Montessori schools, where the philosophy emphasizes firing students’ imaginations rather than just stuffing their heads with book learning.


pages: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

Using very similar language to the Popular Science article, David Kenny, at that time a vice president at IBM, wrote a letter to the US Congress that included the following reassuring words:14 When you actually do the science of machine intelligence, and when you actually apply it in the real world of business and society—as we have done at IBM to create our pioneering cognitive computing system, Watson—you understand that this technology does not support the fear-mongering commonly associated with the AI debate today. The message is the same in all three cases: “Don’t listen to them; we’re the experts.” Now, one can point out that this is really an ad hominem argument that attempts to refute the message by delegitimizing the messengers, but even if one takes it at face value, the argument doesn’t hold water. Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates are certainly very familiar with scientific and technological reasoning, and Musk and Gates in particular have supervised and invested in many AI research projects. And it would be even less plausible to argue that Alan Turing, I. J. Good, Norbert Wiener, and Marvin Minsky are unqualified to discuss AI. Finally, Scott Alexander’s blog piece mentioned earlier, which is titled “AI Researchers on AI Risk,” notes that “AI researchers, including some of the leaders in the field, have been instrumental in raising issues about AI risk and superintelligence from the very beginning.”

No matter the topic of the speech he was giving, someone would invariably ask, “What about the plight of the Palestinians?” In response to any mention of risks from advanced AI, one is likely to hear, “What about the benefits of AI?” For example, here is Oren Etzioni:18 Doom-and-gloom predictions often fail to consider the potential benefits of AI in preventing medical errors, reducing car accidents, and more. And here is Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in a recent media-fueled exchange with Elon Musk:19 If you’re arguing against AI, then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents and you’re arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they’re sick. Leaving aside the tribal notion that anyone mentioning risks is “against AI,” both Zuckerberg and Etzioni are arguing that to talk about risks is to ignore the potential benefits of AI or even to negate them.

The futurist Ray Kurzweil describes the possibility as follows:24 We are going to directly merge with it, we are going to become the AIs. . . . As you get to the late 2030s or 2040s, our thinking will be predominately non-biological and the non-biological part will ultimately be so intelligent and have such vast capacity it’ll be able to model, simulate and understand fully the biological part. Kurzweil views these developments in a positive light. Elon Musk, on the other hand, views the human–machine merger primarily as a defensive strategy:25 If we achieve tight symbiosis, the AI wouldn’t be “other”—it would be you and [it would have] a relationship to your cortex analogous to the relationship your cortex has with your limbic system. . . . We’re going to have the choice of either being left behind and being effectively useless or like a pet—you know, like a house cat or something—or eventually figuring out some way to be symbiotic and merge with AI.


pages: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

I will be interested to see what your bunch of wizards will do with it.” THE EVOLVING AI NARRATIVE Things have changed—and they remain the same. Now AI is everywhere. We have the Internet. We have our smartphones. The founders of the dominant companies—the companies that hold “the whip that lashes us”—have net worths of $65 billion, $90 billion, $130 billion. High-profile individuals such as Elon Musk, Nick Bostrom, Martin Rees, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and the late Stephen Hawking have issued dire warnings about AI, resulting in the ascendancy of well-funded institutes tasked with promoting “Nice AI.” But will we, as a species, be able to control a fully realized, unsupervised, self-improving AI? Wiener’s warnings and admonitions in The Human Use of Human Beings are now very real, and they need to be looked at anew by researchers at the forefront of the AI revolution.

The failure of the initial overly optimistic predictions of AI dampened talk about the technological singularity for a few decades, but since the 2005 publication of Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity IS Near, the idea of technological advance leading to superintelligence is back in force. Some believers, Kurzweil included, regard this singularity as an opportunity: Humans can merge their brains with the superintelligence and thereby live forever. Others, such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, worried that this superintelligence would prove to be malign and regarded it as the greatest existing threat to human civilization. Still others, including some of the contributors to the present volume, think such talk is overblown. Wiener’s lifework and his failure to predict its consequences are intimately bound up in the idea of an impending technological singularity. His work on neuroscience and his initial support of McCulloch and Pitts adumbrated the startlingly effective deep-learning methods of the present day.

Data alone are hardly a science, no matter how “big” they get and how skillfully they are manipulated. Opaque learning systems may get us to Babylon, but not to Athens. Chapter 3 THE PURPOSE PUT INTO THE MACHINE STUART RUSSELL Stuart Russell is a professor of computer science and Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering at UC Berkeley. He is the co-author (with Peter Norvig) of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. Computer scientist Stuart Russell, along with Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, and numerous others, has insisted that attention be paid to the potential dangers in creating an intelligence on the superhuman (or even the human) level—an AGI, or artificial general intelligence, whose programmed purposes may not necessarily align with our own. His early work was on understanding the notion of “bounded optimality” as a formal definition of intelligence that you can work on.


Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, hive mind, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, lone genius, Lyft, megacity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, performance metric, precision agriculture, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed

We explore the long, rich history of previous efforts to liberate cars from human drivers, culminating in today’s autonomous vehicles that are the fruit of decades of academic research in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Notes 1. Andrew Parker, “In the Blink of an Eye: How Vision Sparked the Big Bang of Evolution” (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, 2003). 2. Kirsten Korosec, “Elon Musk Says Tesla Vehicles Will Drive Themselves in Two Years,” Fotune.com, December 21, 2015, at http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview 3. Gary Silberg, “Self-Driving Cars: Are We Ready?” KPMG whitepaper, October 2013. 4. Boston Consulting Group, “Revolution in the Driver’s Seat: The Road to Autonomous Vehicles,” April 2014. 5. “The Driverless Debate: Equal Percentages of Americans See Self-Driving Cars as the ‘Wave of the Future’ Yet Would Never Consider Purchasing One,” The Harris Poll #18, March 24, 2015. 6.

Digital cars pair a global positioning system (GPS) device with another location device called an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that compensates for GPS inaccuracies. An on-board computer takes the information streaming in from the sensors and GPS, folds that data onto a high-definition digital map that contains information on intersections and stop lights, and processes it all together into a digital model of the world outside the car called an occupancy grid. Driverless-car technology is nearly mature. Elon Musk, CEO of car company Tesla and an advocate of fully autonomous vehicles, sums up the situation. “It’s a much easier problem than people think it is. … But it’s not a one-guy-three-months problem. It’s more like, thousands of people for two years.”2 While the technology may be nearly ready, the society that’s wrapped around that particular technology may not be. Several social factors will delay the deployment of driverless cars.

A closer read, however, reveals that the product Company X is discussing is actually a feature that will enable a car to guide itself through a specific task, for example, parking itself under controlled conditions, or perhaps some kind of glorified cruise control and lane keeping combination. Tech companies are a bit more optimistic about the day when cars will be capable of fully driving themselves in all environments. Google and Tesla are firm in their conviction that the future of driving lies in fully autonomous vehicles, although the exact date and details are to be determined. In October 2014, Tesla’s Elon Musk told Bloomberg Television that “five or six years from now we will be able to achieve true autonomous driving where you could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at your destination.” But he cautioned, “it will then take another two to three years for regulatory approval.” Analyst Tod Litman predicts that without a federal mandate to speed along adoption, deployment will follow the pattern of the adoption of automatic transmissions, a process that took nearly five decades.


Interplanetary Robots by Rod Pyle

autonomous vehicles, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Pluto: dwarf planet, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, X Prize

Back over in Von Karman, we of the media are doing our best to stay out of each other's way, without a lot of success. If you cover these kinds of events very often, you build up a little private shell—a zone of exclusion, if you will—from which you can ignore most of what's going on around you except for the story you are there to cover. I was startlingly reminded of this a few years later when reporting on the unveiling of the new and improved Dragon 2 space capsule over at SpaceX, Elon Musk's dynamic new rocket company just across town. At that event, representatives of the media were jammed onto a tiny raised stage behind the larger, more relaxed VIP area down front, all inside SpaceX's sprawling rocket factory. The “media box” was all elbows and tripods, each of us vying for a tiny patch of the dais from which to video the Great Unveiling. It was pure Musk, with purple lights and fog machines and mirror balls, as the draping fabric was yanked from his latest, almost impossibly cool creation; but I barely got the shot thanks to the clambering press.

What used to be large and heavy is now becoming smaller and lighter, thanks to rapid advances in the miniaturization of circuits and investigative machinery. Mars 2020, Curiosity's follow-on rover, may be the last of the large, heavy robots to be delivered to Mars for some time. At 2,314 pounds, it's pushing the limits of safe delivery, and at the time of this writing, the parachutes are still being tested. A possible exception to the above may come from the private sector—from time to time, Elon Musk of SpaceX fame had made noises about sending one of his Dragon 2 space capsules to Mars in an unmanned configuration. He has more recently switched gears, concentrating instead on a Mars journey with his “Big Falcon Rocket,” a rocket and spacecraft that dwarfs the Apollo era's Saturn V. He may attempt a landing on the planet, either robotically or with a crew, as early as 2024. As of now, however, there are no firm plans on the table.

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech. MOXIE is designed to create about eight grams of oxygen per hour—just a tiny amount, but enough to validate the technology. It is a subscale experiment, and if successful NASA plans to follow it with a much larger device, capable of producing and storing oxygen for future use by a Mars Ascent Vehicle for a soil sample return, and later for human spaceflight needs. And if plans like those of Elon Musk come to fruition—recall that his company, SpaceX, is building a huge Mars rocket called the BFR (for Big Falcon Rocket)—it will need lots of oxygen on the red planet to make routine runs there. Musk plans to begin transporting people to Mars in the 2020s and to eventually enable the creation of an entire city there. Oxygen and other resources, such as water from melted ice, hydrogen stripped from the water, and glass and metals from the soil, will all be important toward settling Mars.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

The algorithm knows what we want before we enter the store and then a robot fulfills our order, which, if Jeff Bezos has his way, will be delivered by our own personalized drone. Like Google and Amazon, Facebook is also aggressively entering the artificial intelligence business. In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR, a virtual reality company, and British-based pilotless drone company Ascenta.36 Mark Zuckerberg has also co-invested with Tesla Motors’s CEO Elon Musk and the Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher in an artificial intelligence company called Vicarious, which mimics human learning. According to its founder, Scott Phoenix, Vicarious’s goal is to replicate the neocortex, thus creating a “computer that thinks like a person . . . except that it doesn’t have to sleep.”37 Phoenix told the Wall Street Journal that Vicarious will eventually “learn how to cure diseases, create cheap renewable energy, and perform the jobs that employ most human beings.”38 What Phoenix didn’t clarify, however, is what exactly human beings will do with themselves all day when every job is performed by Vicarious.

The Internet economy “produces very valuable companies with very few employees,” Brooks says of this crisis, while “the majority of workers are not seeing income gains commensurate with their productivity levels.”69 In his 2013 National Book Award–winning The Unwinding, George Packer mourns the passing of the twentieth-century Great Society. What he calls “New America” has been corrupted, he suggests, by its deepening inequality of wealth and opportunity. And it’s not surprising that Packer places Silicon Valley and the multibillionaire Internet entrepreneur and libertarian Peter Thiel at the center of his narrative. The cofounder, with Elon Musk, of the online payments service PayPal, Thiel became a billionaire as the first outside investor in Facebook, after being introduced to Mark Zuckerberg by Sean Parker, the cofounder of Napster and Facebook’s founding president. The San Francisco–based Thiel lives in a “ten thousand square foot white wedding cake of a mansion,” 70 a smaller but no less meretricious building than the Battery. His decadent house and dinner parties are the stuff of San Francisco high-society legend, featuring printed menus, unscheduled Gatsby-like appearances from the great Thiel himself, and waiters wearing nothing except their aprons.

Never mind Larry Page’s hubristic claim about achieving “the 1% of what is possible”; the really relevant one percent are that minority of wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Page who are massively profiting from what New York magazine’s Kevin Roose calls a “regional declaration of independence.”71 It’s an experimental fantasy of outsourced labor, hostility to labor unions, a cult of efficiency and automated technology, a mad display of corporate arrogance, and an even crazier celebration of an ever-widening economic and cultural inequality in San Francisco. The fantasy of secession from the real world, the reinvention of the “New Frontier” myth, has become one of those fashionable memes, like the cult of failure, now sweeping through Silicon Valley. While PayPal cofounder and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is planning to establish an 80,000-person high-tech colony on Mars,72 others are focused on building their fantasy high-tech colonies within Northern California itself. The third-generation Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper is launching a 2014 “Six Californias” ballot measure to redraw California into six separate US states, including one called “Silicon Valley.”73 And the venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who boasted at FailCon about his own failure, has already seceded.


pages: 294 words: 87,986

4th Rock From the Sun: The Story of Mars by Nicky Jenner

3D printing, Alfred Russel Wallace, Astronomia nova, cuban missile crisis, Elon Musk, game design, hive mind, invention of the telescope, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, retrograde motion, selection bias, silicon-based life, Skype, Stephen Hawking, technoutopianism

Many prominent scientists and engineers believe that, all things considered, Mars is simply the best place to go to next. These include Stephen Hawking (‘Mars is the obvious next target’), Bill Nye, Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan (‘The next place to wander to is Mars’), NASA adminis­trator Charles Bolden (‘Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems’), and more. Former NASA Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin even created his own line of ‘Get Your Ass to Mars’ T-shirts, based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line in the 1990 Mars-related film Total Recall. The aforementioned Elon Musk (former PayPal magnate, now of SpaceX and Tesla fame) has been outspoken about how humans need to explore and colonise other worlds, working towards the goal of becoming ‘a multi-planet species’. This is another oft-cited reason for going to Mars: the survival of humankind.

Those in the know may think of the physicist’s (1856–1943) association with famous inventor Thomas Edison, Tesla’s various inventions and discoveries – the most famous of which involve electricity and magnetism via his work on alternating current and the Tesla induction coil – or Wardenclyffe Tower (the Tesla Tower), a wireless radio station Tesla attempted to build and use for intercontinental, and maybe even interplanetary, communication in the early 1900s before he ran out of money. Some may think of Tesla Motors, the electric car company now headed by the coincidentally Mars-obsessed Elon Musk. Tesla Motors’s founders supposedly spent ages thinking up the ideal name for their forward-thinking business concept, before settling on Tesla as an appropriate namesake. Interestingly, many may think again of David Bowie, who played Tesla in the 2006 film The Prestige. The film’s director, Christopher Nolan, described Tesla as ‘extraordinarily charismatic’, an ‘other-wordly, ahead-of-his-time figure’, and instantly knew he wanted Bowie to play him due to the latter’s ‘slightly different sort of star quality’.

Historically it has been one thing: consent,’ wrote Laurie Zoloth, professor of medical ethics and humanities at Northwestern University in Chicago, US, in Cosmos magazine in 2015. Zoloth pointed out that ‘the ethical considerations change if we think of the crew as military personnel’ or as ‘pioneers’. ‘We expect soldiers to face considerable risk,’ she wrote. What makes astronauts any different? This opinion has been echoed by SpaceX magnate Elon Musk, who is aiming to send humans to Mars in the coming decade. He has said that ‘people will probably die – and they’ll know that’. As long as appropriate measures are taken to protect astronauts, and their contribution and sacrifice is recognised, informed consent may lower or negate many of the ethical concerns involved in going to Mars. Ethics aside, the question of whether it is worth sending humans is easily answered.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

He moved to Chile and opened an online import-export business peddling Apple gadgets and alpaca socks. But then Kenna caught a lucky break by acting on his preoccupations—cryptography, “alternative finance,” libertarian politics, and economic collapse. Kenna accumulated a small hoard of Bitcoin when it was virtually worthless. In 2011, he launched a Bitcoin exchange, Tradehill, from an office on the beach in Chile. His cofounders included New York bankers and a former senior engineer from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. By 2013, when the goldbugs, money launderers, and Wall Street speculators joined the Bitcoin frenzy, Kenna had become a charter member of the “Bitcoin millionaires’ club,” and his distaste for “unethical” business practices had evolved. He now argued that the marketing of Ponzi schemes should be permitted so long as the terms were clearly stated. It was all in good fun, like a friendly game of poker.

Its authorship was attributed to a company called Startup Vitamins that sold motivational posters. Thumbing through its pages, I realized this book distilled every vapid and hollow slogan promulgated by the boom-time tech press. “Less meetings, more doing. Passion never fails,” the book began. The rest of the pages were filled with alternately hectoring and platitudinous quotes from billionaire executives like Bill Gates (“I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.”) and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors (“Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we’re going to make it happen.”). With rare exception, the tech press—by which I mean both the trade press focused exclusively on the tech industry and the tech sections of general-interest news organizations—functions as an appendage of the Silicon Valley marketing machine. I got some historical perspective on the subject talking to Gregg Pascal Zachary, a journalist turned academic who walked away from covering the tech industry just as that beat was growing increasingly lucrative.

Blacks and Latinos, Muslims and Jews, leftists and ladies—anyone who threatened the fragile ego of the vengeful nerd may feel the sting of punishment. But it should be clear that the neoreactionaries were, by and large, young white males embittered by “political correctness”—a term that represented the perceived loss of their social advantages to an undeserving mob of brainwashed social justice warriors. Significantly, these radicalized youth saw in the miraculous futuristic designs of men such as a Peter Thiel and Elon Musk a vision that was entirely compatible with their notions of racial supremacy, and they expected to personally benefit in the tech titans’ new order. To certain devotees, Musk’s dream of human settlements on Mars offered an escape from this benighted earth, where their wretched enemies would be left behind, in a final act of vengeance by the tech-savvy master race. “I say the last thing the shitskins would see of the white race is a gigantic chasm erupting, and a colony ship launching towards the stars,” one anonymous young man wrote on a forum frequented by neoreactionaries.


pages: 334 words: 104,382

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

23andMe, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, Airbnb, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, California gold rush, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, gender pay gap, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, high net worth, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microservices, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, post-work, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, women in the workforce

The next day, the two men had breakfast and hatched the idea for PayPal over a Hobee’s “Red, White, and Blue” smoothie. Suddenly a former securities lawyer with no technical background was the unlikely co-founder of what would become a billion-dollar start-up. And the group that would become the PayPal Mafia began to form. Sacks became PayPal’s COO in 1999. In early 2000, PayPal (then called Confinity) merged with a competing payments company called X.com, run by a then-obscure entrepreneur named Elon Musk. Rabois became Thiel’s right-hand man. PayPal’s founders, investors, and early employees went on to become a tight-knit and very wealthy group. To this day, Rabois believes PayPal is a “perfect validation of merit” and of Silicon Valley as a meritocracy. “None of us had any connection to anyone important in Silicon Valley,” he told me. “We went from complete misfits to the establishment in five years.

“I don’t think you can have first principles debates in a start-up in the beginning,” Rabois told me. “In the beginning, it’s better to have people who are more similar ideologically than different. Once you have alignment, then I think you can have a wide swath of people, views, and perspectives.” Amy Klement was one of the earliest women at PayPal—not because Thiel or the others hired her, but because she was working at Elon Musk’s X.com when it merged with PayPal in 2000. Klement told me, “[PayPal] was a high-intensity, driving culture” full of impassioned debate. Socializing took the form of chess tournaments rather than fratty parties. Employees worked eighteen-hour days, seven days a week, as they worked to build a secure online payments system that could rival the global banking industry. “There were tense discussions, at times anger and slamming doors,” Klement said.

And as those men dispersed, their relationships became the currency in which they traded. They joined one another’s companies, funded one another’s ventures, defended one another’s controversial public statements, and more. For Founders Fund, Thiel partnered with two less prominent PayPal co-founders, Ken Howery and Luke Nosek. The partners at Founders Fund invested in their old PayPal buddy Elon Musk’s space venture, SpaceX (Musk also co-founded Tesla). Founders Fund, along with Max Levchin and Keith Rabois, invested in the workplace chat company Yammer, which was founded by former PayPal-er David Sacks. Yammer was ultimately sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion. The list of “begats” goes on. Sacks went on to become COO of the fast-growing HR software start-up Zenefits. When the founder of Zenefits, Parker Conrad, was kicked out amid accusations of cheating state compliance regulations and creating a bro-y culture that led to “sex in the stairwells,” according to an internal memo, Sacks was promoted to CEO.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

CHAPTER 6 147 It was 3:44 in the morning: “SpaceX Launch—NASA,” http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/ commercial/cargo/spacex_index.html, accessed September 7, 2012. 147 The Dragon capsule was free: Clara Moskowitz, “SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station,” May 22, 2012; http://www.space.com/15805-spacex-private -capsule-launches-space-station.html, accessed September 7, 2012. 147 Just days after the launch: “Space X,” accessed September 7, 2012, http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/ commercial/cargo/spacex_index.html. 148 This flight was, after all: “Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Designer,” http://www.spacex.com/elon-musk.php, accessed September 7, 2012. 148 Many know Elon Musk: Ibid. 148 pretty much at the nadir: Encyclopedia of World Biography, http://www.notablebiographies.com/news/ Li-Ou/Musk-Elon.html#b, accessed September 7, 2012. 148 By 2002, eBay realized: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1017-941964.html, accessed September 7, 2012. 148 In 2002, Musk became the CEO: Margaret Kane, “eBay picks up PayPal for $1.5 Billion,” CNET News, July 8, 2002; http://www.notablebiographies.com/news/ Li-Ou/Musk-Elon.html#b, accessed September 7, 2012. 149 A year later he founded a second: Will Oremus, “Tesla’s New Electric Car Is Practical and Affordable, as Long as You’re Rich,” Slate, June 20, 2012, accessed September 7, 2012, http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/ 2012/06/20/tesla_model_s_new_electric_car_is _practical_affordable_for_the_rich.html. 149 But Musk said in his celebratory: Ibid. 149 In 2007, just before the biggest: Gabriel Sherman, “The End of Wall Street as They Knew It,” New York magazine, February 5, 2012, accessed September 7, 2012, http://nymag.com/news/ features/wall-street-2012-2/index3.html. 149 Historically, banks never accounted: Gillian Tett, Financial Times US editor and author of Fool’s Gold, shared this information at a March 10, 2010, presentation at Columbia University; Sherman, “The End of Wall Street as They Knew It.” 150 the majority of business school graduates: personal interview with Roger Martin; Rakesh Khurana, From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 328–31, 349. 150 But by the end of the century: Ibid. 150 Top bankers received astonishing: Linda Anderson, “MBA Careers: Financial Services—A Breadth of Opportunity,” Financial Times, January 29, 2007, accessed September 7, 2012, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/ 3baa68a4-ad5a-11db8709-0000779e2340,dwp_uuid=991cbd66-9258-11da -977b0000779e2340.html#axzz22nEQOvia. 150 When BusinessWeek ran: January 31, 2000, issue, cover story by Michael Mandel. 151 An inequality gap: Sam Pizzigati, “Happy Days Here Again, 21st Century–Style,” Institute for Policy Studies, March 13, 2012, accessed September 7, 2012, http://www.ips-dc.org/blog/ happy_days_here_again_21st_ century-style. 151 Alice Waters’s groundbreaking organic: “About Chez Panisse,” http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Chez_Panisse, accessed September 7, 2012. 152 Just as important, Gen Y: I joined Parsons in 2008, and I am indebted to my Parsons students for these and other insights into Gen Y culture. 152 You can pay about a hundred bucks: TechShop website, http://www.techshop.ws/, accessed September 7, 2012. 152 Make magazine, launched in 2005: http://makezine.com/magazine/, accessed September 7, 2012. 153 The Faires celebrate “arts, crafts”: http://makerfaire.com/newyork/2012/index.html, accessed September 7, 2012. 153 Generation Y, on the other hand: interviews with Kelsey Meuse in my classroom and after graduation. 154 Bombarded with as many as five thousand: Louise Story, “Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad,” New York Times, January 15, 2007, accessed September 5, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/ media/15everywhere.html?

When asked in an interview with ABC News’s Cynthia McFadden what she thought of Gaga’s song “Born This Way,” which shares a chord progression with the eighties classic “Express Yourself,” Madonna reflected, “It feels reductive.” “Is that good?’ asked McFadden. “Look it up,” said the Queen of Pop, smiling devilishly before reaching for her mug and taking a sip. While perhaps more rare than in the world of art and music, there are those in the business world who’ve learned to mine the past. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, the first private company to send cargo to the International Space Station, has a replica of the Saturn V, the powerful rocket that sent twenty-four astronauts to the moon as part of the Apollo program in the sixties and seventies, on his desk. He no doubt has looked to the Saturn V as inspiration for the development of his Falcon rockets as he seeks to further commercialize space.

They sounded younger to me than the ex-military NASA voices I’d heard as a kid and, while there have been a number of pioneering female astronauts, the “official” voice of American space flight had always seemed to me to be male. It was truly exciting to hear, and reminded me how much space travel had changed since its early days. This flight was, after all, not a NASA voyage, but the maiden trip of a company launched by a dot-com billionaire. Many know Elon Musk as the co-founder of PayPal, the electronic system that allows people to pay and transfer money in P2P, or person-to-person, transactions, which have become the backbone of nearly all Web commerce. Without the company, we would be sending checks, money orders, and maybe even cash to eBay and Amazon every time we bought something online. PayPal got its start pretty much at the nadir of the dot-com bust, when Musk combined his company, X.com, with another e-commerce site, Confinity.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

“AT&T Next - Get A New Smartphone Every Year from AT&T Wireless,” accessed April 24, 2015, http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/next.html. 29. Moretti, The New Geography of Jobs, 104. 30. Innerarity, The Future and Its Enemies in Defense of Political Hope, 42. CHAPTER 10 1. Christy Foley, Christy Foley Interview, December 10, 2014. 2. Dana Hull and Patrick May, “Rocket Man: The Otherworldly Ambitions of Elon Musk,” San Jose Mercury News, April 11, 2014, http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_25541126/rocket-man-otherworldy-ambitions-elon-musk. 3. Hardy and Dougherty, “Google and Fidelity Put $1 Billion Into SpaceX.” 4. Hal Niedzviecki, We Want Some Too: Underground Desire and the Reinvention of Mass Culture (Toronto, Ont. : New York, N.Y: Penguin Books ; Penguin Putnam, 2000). 5. Tom Martin, Tom Martin Interview, May 10, 2013. 6. Alan Feuer, “At Survivalists Expo, Items for Everything Short of the Zombie Apocalypse,” The New York Times, April 6, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/us/at-survivalists-expo-items-for-everything-short-of-the-zombie-apocalypse.html. 7.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon works out vigorously every morning in preparation for the moment when Blue Origin, the space exploration company he founded on 300,000 acres of land in rural Texas, is ready to send him into orbit.24 And, as we’ve already touched on, entrepreneur/tech-cheerleader Peter Diamandis has partnered with Google and launched the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, a $30 million prize for the first private entity that can land a robot on the Moon, get it to travel at least 500 meters, and transmit images and information back to Earth. Twenty-six groups have entered.25 In the meantime, Paypal’s founder Elon Musk, now head of California’s SpaceX, celebrated what is now generally seen as the first successful launch of a privately developed manned spacecraft on a fee-paying mission. The mission was to resupply the International Space Station and their client was the United States government. Fee-paying missions on behalf of America have become necessary because for the first time in half a century, the United States government no longer has the capability to organize its own manned flights to space.

(Including Google, which made a one billion dollar investment in SpaceX in early 2015, no doubt influenced by what one article describes as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s personal interest in space exploration.) Overall, contracting out to private companies may be a net benefit in terms of optimizing what the money achieves, but it sends a very different overall message to the country; nobody is gathering school children in classrooms to watch Elon Musk cheer on the next landmark fee-paying mission. ° ° ° ° ° ° I’m suspicious by nature, especially of grand sweeping theories of how things were way back when. So I decide to call up Matt Novak. Novak is a self-described amateur historian and futurist best known for his popular and often very funny blog Paleofuture, which lived on the website of the Smithsonian Institute and now resides on Gizmodo.com.28 Paleofuture chronicles what people in the recent past thought about the future.


How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight by Julian Guthrie

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Frank Gehry, gravity well, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Oculus Rift, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, packet switching, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, pets.com, private space industry, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, urban planning

“Peter,” Larry said, “I’ve got a fortieth birthday present for you.” — Peter arrived at the Skybar, a rooftop watering hole on Sunset Boulevard, a week after Larry Gross told him he knew who was going to fund the continuation of Blastoff. It was two men who had made a fortune on the Internet and who were interested in space. Peter had never heard of the men, so he wrote down their names: Adeo Ressi and Elon Musk. Peter usually approached pitch meetings with great enthusiasm, but tonight he felt subdued. He spotted Adeo by the Skybar pool, smoking a cigarette and looking out at the gold and glimmering Los Angeles sunset. He was tall and thin, a Giacometti walking man figure, and immediately affable. Adeo said Elon was running late but on his way. Elon was working on getting his pilot’s license and was flying down from San Jose with his instructor.

And he saw real determination, a willingness to get down in the dirt and dig a ditch for a homemade rocket bunker; sacrifice a steady job for a crazy dream; or spend retirement savings to make a giant spaceship. Peter relished the excitement that the SpaceShipOne unveiling had brought. As he watched planes take off and land on Santa Monica’s 4,973-foot runway 21, he was reminded that SpaceShipOne was as small as a private plane. He pictured it being pulled out of a hangar, rolled out onto the runway, and flying off to space. That was his dream—spaceships for personal use. As if on cue, in walked Elon Musk. Since meeting Peter shortly after the demise of Blastoff, Musk had set out on his own quest for space, motivated by the question: if one was to make a rocket, what would be the best choices to make it cost effective? Ressi and Musk had gone to Russia in 2001 to try to buy rockets, only to find a sort of criminal-filled Wild West, where missiles of any sort could be had for the right amount of cash.

Bennett had heard that Paul Allen put $25 million into Rutan’s space program. No one else came close to having that kind of funding. But everything was still relative, Bennett thought. NASA would have spent that kind of money on blueprints alone. Bennett had met Rutan in 2003, when the XPRIZE invited teams to Los Angeles to show their models and share some of what they were doing. The visit included a field trip to El Segundo, California, where Elon Musk had started SpaceX in an empty 75,000-square-foot hangar. One of Bennett’s favorite moments was on the bus ride to SpaceX, when he overheard Rutan talking on his phone in a low tone about who was attending the event. Bennett smiled when he heard Rutan say, “Bennett’s here.” To be sure, the XPRIZE was a competition, but there was also a shared mission and friendships forged. Brian Feeney of the da Vinci Project was there, and had the nickname “Flying Brian,” because he was always “just days away from flying.”


pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

, The Independent, 2 May 2014. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stephen-hawking-transcendence-looks-at-the-implications-of-artificial-intelligence-but-are-we-taking-9313474.html 61 Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever & the OpenAI team, “Introducing OpenAI”, 11 December 2015 https://openai.com/blog/introducing-openai/ 62 Steven Levy, “How Elon Musk and Y Combinator Plan to Stop Computers From Taking Over”, 11 December 2015 https://medium.com/backchannel/how-elon-musk-and-y-combinator-plan-to-stop-computers-from-taking-over-17e0e27dd02a#.qjj55npcj 63 Sara Konrath, Edward O’Brien, and Courtney Hsing. “Changes in dispositional empathy in American college students over time: A meta-analysis.” Personality and Social Psychology Review (2010). 64 Quoted in: Simon Kuper, “Log out, switch off, join in”, FT Magazine, 2 October 2015. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fc76fce2-67b3-11e5-97d0-1456a776a4f5.html 65 Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Penguin, 2015. 66 Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: How the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember, Atlantic Books, 2010. 67 Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, Simon and Schuster, 2014. 68 Quoted in: Elizabeth Segran, “The Ethical Quandaries You Should Think About the Next Time You Look at Your Phone”, Fast Company, 5 October 2015.

As theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking and fellow scientists Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark and Frank Wilczek wrote in the newspaper The Independent when considering the implications of artificial intelligence: “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all…All of us should ask ourselves what we can do now to improve the chances of reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks”.60 One interesting development in this area is OpenAI, a non-profit AI research company announced in December 2015 with the goal to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return”.61 The initiative – chaired by Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors - has secured $1 billion in committed funding. This initiative underscores a key point made earlier – namely, that one of the biggest impacts of the fourth industrial revolution is the empowering potential catalyzed by a fusion of new technologies. Here, as Sam Altman stated, “the best way AI can develop is if it’s about individual empowerment and making humans better, and made freely available to everyone.”62 The human impact of some particular technologies such as the internet or smart phones is relatively well understood and widely debated among experts and academics.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

DARPA deputy director Steven Walker quoted in Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., “Robots, Techies, and Troops: Carter and Roper on 3rd Offset,” Breaking Defense, June 13, 2016, http://breakingdefense.com/2016/06/trust-robots-tech-industry-troops-carter-roper (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 21. Michael Sainato, “Steven Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence,” The Observer (UK), Aug. 19, 2015, http://observer.com/2015/08/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-and-bill-gates-warn-about-artificial-intelligence (accessed Oct. 8, 2016); and Elon Musk interview with MIT students at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department Centennial Symposium, Oct. 2014, http://aeroastro.mit.edu/aeroastro100/centennial-symposium (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 22. Bloomberg via Shobhit Seth, “The World of High Frequency Algorithmic Trading,” Investopedia, Sept. 16, 2015, www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/091615/world-high-frequency-algorithmic-trading.asp (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 23.

is probably ‘Yes, but only briefly.’”5 As the excitement grows, so too does fear. The astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Dr. Stephen Hawking warns that AI is “likely to be either the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity, so there’s huge value in getting it right.” Hawking is not alone in his concern about superintelligence. Icons of the tech revolution, including former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, echo his concern. And it terrifies Eliezer Yudkowsky. Eliezer has dedicated his life to preventing artificial intelligence from destroying humankind. Tall with a thick, dark beard that, along with wire-rim glasses, forms a frame around his large, oval face, he is a thirty-seven-year-old autodidact who dropped out of school after eighth grade. Married without children, Eliezer grew up in Chicago and now lives and works in Berkeley, California, at an organization he founded, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI).

He fears that such superintelligent software would exploit the Internet, seizing control of anything connected to it, like electrical infrastructure, telecommunications systems, manufacturing plants . . . Its first order of business may be to covertly replicate itself on many other servers all over the globe as a measure of redundancy. In could build machines and robots, or even secretly influence the decisions of ordinary people in pursuit of its own goals. Humanity and its welfare may be of little interest to an entity so profoundly smarter. Elon Musk calls creating artificial intelligence “summoning the demon” and thinks it’s humanity’s “biggest existential threat.”8 When we asked Eliezer what was at stake, his answer was simple: everything. Superintelligence gone wrong is a species-level threat, a human extinction event. Humans are neither the fastest nor the strongest creatures on the planet but dominate for one reason: humans are the smartest.


pages: 280 words: 74,559

Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population

‘SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System’. YouTube.com, 27 September 2016. Birth of a Private Space Industry End, Rae Botsford. ‘Rocket Lab: The Electron, the Rutherford, and Why Peter Beck Started It in the First Place’. Spaceflight Insider, 2 May 2015. Spacevidcast. ‘SpaceX Reaches Orbit with Falcon 1 – Flight 4 (Full Video Including Elon Musk Statement)’. Youtube.com, 28 September 2008. SpaceX. ‘Orbcomm-2 Full Launch Webcast’. YouTube.com, 21 December 2015. Vance, Ashlee. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future. Virgin Digital, 2015. Falling Costs, Rising Ambitions ‘Apollo Program Budget Appropriations’. NASA. Dorrier, Jason. ‘Risk Takers Are Back in the Space Race – and That’s a Good Thing’. Singularity Hub, 17 August 2017. Erwin, Sandra. ‘Rocket Startup Sees Big Future in Military Launch’.

Furthermore, mineral scarcity would just as likely give rise to resource conflicts as it would to cooperation and recycling. So even if information, labour and energy became permanently cheaper, the limits of the earth would confine post-capitalism to conditions of abiding scarcity. The realm of freedom would remain out of reach. Except the limits of the earth won’t matter anymore – because we’ll mine the sky instead. Asteroid Mining In 2017 Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, unveiled the company’s next step in conquering the final frontier. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress, he announced the launch of the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) – a new architecture consisting of a huge first-stage booster rocket, spaceship and refuelling tanker – all of which would replace the company’s present systems. In a pivot away from commercial satellites and trips to the International Space Station, Musk outlined how the company’s major ambition would be manned missions to other planets.

The ‘value’ of this giant floating mine? Around $10,000 quadrillion – and that’s just the iron. To be clear, Psyche is a rarity. But it demonstrates a crucial point: mining space would create such outlandish supply as to collapse prices on Earth. In August 2017 Peter Diamandis, co-founder of Planetary Resources, asked Blue Origin’s Erika Wagner who would win in a fight between her boss, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. ‘So, Peter, let me tell you about what we’re doing at Blue Origin,’ Wagner diplomatically replied. ‘We’re really looking towards a future of millions of people living and working in space. The thing I think is really fantastic … is that the universe is infinitely large, and so, we don’t need any fisticuffs … we’re all going to go out there and create this future together.’ While Wagner is correct in identifying that our solar system has more mineral wealth than we can possibly imagine, the likes of Musk and Bezos aren’t risking their personal fortunes – the former stood on the brink of bankruptcy multiple times while refusing to take SpaceX public – so that others can get rich.


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Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think by James Vlahos

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer age, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, Loebner Prize, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

While hardly the sparkling repartee of a Tom Stoppard play, it immediately stands out. The chat opens with George asking to talk about robots. Rather than tediously reading a Wikipedia-derived summary of what a robot is, the socialbot jokes, “What if Daft Punk really are two robots who just want to make music?” “That’s funny,” George says, laughing. The bot shares some recent news about Elon Musk and robots. Tossing the ball back to George, the bot asks, “Have you heard anything about Elon Musk?” “I have,” George brags. “I know him.” “Did you know that Elon Musk was executive producer for the movie Thank You for Smoking?” “No,” George says, sounding impressed. He and the bot go back and forth before settling on books as their next topic. They take a couple of turns, and then the socialbot says, “You know what I was thinking? Eventually, someone will be the last person to ever be alive.

To do so with any degree of proficiency, they would also need to learn to do so by themselves. 5 Rule Breakers Machine learning—feeding vast amounts of data into computers so they can teach themselves how the world works—is Silicon Valley’s ruling obsession. Tech company executives praise it for blasting through decades-old problems in conversational AI; they shower experts in the field with salaries that climb into the six figures and higher. Consider the likes of Ilya Sutskever, a computer scientist credited with breakthroughs in image recognition and machine translation. He earned $1.9 million back in 2016—and that was at a nonprofit, the Elon Musk–supported OpenAI. Silver dollars, though, have only belatedly begun to pour from the Valley’s slot machines. For decades, the approach to getting machines to learn from data languished; brief periods of hype were followed by long stretches of frustration. The AI techniques that dominated were ones in which computer scientists wrote rules that told machines what to do and when to do it. Now, though, rulemaking is out; rule breaking is in.

., a Douglas fir is a type of conifer, a conifer is a type of tree, etc. But beyond expressing simply that there was a connection between two entities, the system characterized the nature of each connection in standardized ways. For example, Big Ben is located in the UK; the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883; Emmanuel Macron is the president of France; Steph Curry is married to Ayesha Curry; Jon Voight is a parent of Angelina Jolie; Elon Musk was born in South Africa. Carefully defining allowable connections had a fringe benefit: True Knowledge effectively learned some commonsense rules about the world that, while blazingly obvious to humans, typically elude computers. A person can be born only in a single place. A physical object cannot simultaneously exist in two locations. A married person is not single. If Evelynne is the daughter of Jonathan, then Jonathan is the father of Evelynne.


Amazing Stories of the Space Age by Rod Pyle

centre right, desegregation, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan

He insisted on the formation of a civilian space agency, and NASA was founded in July 1958. Von Braun and his team were absorbed into NASA. The US Army would continue to fight ground wars for its country, and NASA would ultimately win the Cold War in space, with those first tentative steps on the moon on July 20, 1969. UNCLASSIFIED Lots of people have dreamt of going to Mars over the last century. Elon Musk wants to go (and is willing to pay hundreds of millions to get there). Buzz Aldrin would like to fly there in a spacecraft of his own design. Tom Hanks has raised his hand, and Carl Sagan famously expressed interest. And of course, as you might expect, Wernher von Braun would have been thrilled to lead an expedition. Von Braun's interest was more formal than most, and prompted him to write two books about how a voyage to Mars might be accomplished.

A better way to proceed, they thought, would be to send human crews past Mars and Venus on flyby missions, and they could dispatch robotic probes while they were in the neighborhood (as they looped the planets at close range). Humans controlling those machines while in close proximity and with little to no radio delay should be far more reliable. Of course, as we have seen, the robots do just fine. In today's world, where the Curiosity Mars rover can land itself and drive for a day or more unassisted, and Elon Musk's rockets can make autonomous, pinpoint landings on a lurching seagoing barge after reentering the atmosphere, the mission plans of EMPIRE seem quaint—a product of a bygone era, notions of romantic human exploration in deep space. Even at the time there were detractors. Max Faget, the designer of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules as well as a major contributor to the space shuttle, demurred.

As it turned out, by 1973 (when the last Saturn V flew for Skylab), only fifteen had been built and thirteen launched (the remaining two are in museums). Depending on how you calculate the costs, the price per flight was somewhere between $185–$500 million. But for some of the deep-space mission studies, like those discussed in this chapter, von Braun assumed that by the mid-1970s, more than sixty Saturn Vs would have launched, having reduced per-flight costs to about $60 million (or about what Elon Musk charges in today's dollars for a Falcon 9 launch). Fifty-two or more smaller variants of the Saturn, the IB, would have launched, dropping its per-flight cost to $22 million. And what of the brilliant command/service module from the Apollo lunar flights? We would have flown seventy or more of those as well, dropping the unit cost again to the $70 million range per unit.21 Human spaceflight was beginning to look like a pretty good deal when flown in quantity.


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A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

This process, it is said, will lead to machines with “superintelligence”; some call it the “singularity.” These machines would be the “last invention that man need ever make,” wrote Irving John Good, the Oxford mathematician who introduced the possibility of such an intelligence explosion: anything a human being could invent, they could improve upon.23 The prospect of such vastly capable AGIs has worried people like Stephen Hawking (“could spell the end of the human race”), Elon Musk (“vastly more risky than North Korea”), and Bill Gates (“don’t understand why some people are not concerned”)—though their worries are not always the same.24 One fear is that human beings, limited in what they can do by the comparatively snaillike pace of evolution, would struggle to keep up with the machines. Another is that these machines might, perhaps unwittingly, pursue goals at odds with those of human beings, destroying us in the process.

There are some cases of companies selling “pseudo-AIs,” chatbots and voice-transcription services that are actually people pretending to be machines (much like the eighteenth-century chess-playing Turk).70 Less dramatically, but in a similar spirit, a 2019 study found that 40 percent of Europe’s AI start-ups actually “do not use any AI programs in their products.”71 There are also notable instances of corporate leaders getting carried away. In 2017, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk expressed his hope that car production in the future will be so highly automated that “air friction” faced by robots would be a significant limiting factor.72 Just a few months later, under pressure as Tesla failed to meet production targets, he sheepishly tweeted, “yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake.”73 However, to dwell for too long on any particular omission or exaggeration is to miss the bigger picture: machines are gradually encroaching on more and more tasks that, in the past, had required a rich range of human capabilities.

In the last few years, though, there has been a surge of skepticism about the value of education—in particular, about the relevance of the teaching that is currently provided in universities and colleges. Just 16 percent of Americans think a four-year degree prepares students “very well” for a well-paying job.21 In part, this may have been prompted by the fact that many of today’s most successful entrepreneurs dropped out from these sorts of institutions. The list of nongraduates is striking: Sergey Brin and Larry Page left Stanford University; Elon Musk did likewise; Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard University; Steve Jobs left Reed College; Michael Dell left the University of Texas; Travis Kalanick left the University of California; Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey left the University of Nebraska and New York University, respectively; Larry Ellison left both the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago; Arash Ferdowsi (cofounder of DropBox) left MIT; and Daniel Ek (cofounder of Spotify) left the Royal Institute of Technology.22 This list could go on.


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On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

But on a larger scale it remains more expensive than fossil fuels and only becomes economically viable due to subsidies or feed-in tariffs. But eventually these subsidies have to stop. If the Sun (or wind) is to become the primary source of our energy, there must be some way to store it, so there’s still a supply at night and on days when the wind doesn’t blow. There’s already a big investment in improving batteries and scaling them up. In late 2017 Elon Musk’s SolarCity company installed an array of lithium-ion batteries with 100 megawatts capacity at a location in south Australia. Other energy-storage possibilities include thermal storage, capacitors, compressed air, flywheels, molten salt, pumped hydro, and hydrogen. The transition to electric cars has given an impetus to battery technology (the requirements for car batteries are more demanding than for those in households or ‘battery farms’, in terms of weight and recharging speed).

It already plans a ‘first’ by landing on the far side of the Moon. A clearer-cut ‘great leap forward’ would involve footprints on Mars, not just on the Moon. Leaving aside the Chinese, I think the future of manned spaceflight lies with privately funded adventurers, prepared to participate in a cut-price programme far riskier than western nations could impose on publicly supported civilians. SpaceX, led by Elon Musk (who also builds Tesla electric cars), or the rival effort, Blue Origin, bankrolled by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, have berthed craft at the space station and will soon offer orbital flights to paying customers. These ventures—bringing a Silicon Valley culture into a domain long dominated by NASA and a few aerospace conglomerates—have shown it’s possible to recover and reuse the launch rocket’s first stage—presaging real cost savings.

If there were an abundance of fuel for midcourse corrections (and to brake and accelerate at will), then interplanetary navigation would be a low-skill task—simpler, even, than steering a car or ship, in that the destination is always in clear view. By 2100 thrill seekers in the mould of (say) Felix Baumgartner (the Austrian skydiver who in 2012 broke the sound barrier in free fall from a high-altitude balloon) may have established ‘bases’ independent from the Earth—on Mars, or maybe on asteroids. Elon Musk (born in 1971) of SpaceX says he wants to die on Mars—but not on impact. But don’t ever expect mass emigration from Earth. And here I disagree strongly with Musk and with my late Cambridge colleague Stephen Hawking, who enthuse about rapid build-up of large-scale Martian communities. It’s a dangerous delusion to think that space offers an escape from Earth’s problems. We’ve got to solve these problems here.


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The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

It started off dreadfully bad but improved slightly with each game, and within 40 days of constant self-play it had become so strong that it thrashed the original AlphaGo 100–0. Go is now firmly in the category of ‘games that humans will never win against machines again’. Most people in Silicon Valley agree that machine learning is the next big thing, although some are more optimistic than others. Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk recently said that AI is like ‘summoning the demon’, while others have compared its significance to the ‘scientific method, on steroids’, the invention of penicillin and even electricity. Andrew Ng, former chief scientist at Baidu, reckons that there isn’t a single industry that won’t shortly be ‘transformed’. AIs are starting to outperform humans in a small-but-quietly-growing number of narrow tasks.

Read any political manifesto from across the spectrum and you’ll find yourself lost in a world of smart cities, lean governments and flexible workers. To seriously criticise any of this puts you at risk of being labelled a Luddite who doesn’t ‘get it’. And to whom do we look in order to solve our collective social problems? It’s no longer the state, but the modern tech-geek superhero. Space travel and climate change has fallen to Elon Musk. We look to Google to solve health problems and sort out ageing. Facebook gets to decide what free speech is and battle against fake news, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos saves the Washington Post from bankruptcy and funds scholarships. One UK MP recently suggested we might run the National Health Service like Uber, while another pitched the idea of Airbnb-style room rentals for patients who needed to stay overnight.

All foreign companies must abide by these regulations when processing data of EU residents. It is the most significant legislation relating to data passed by the EU. * Max Tegmark, a prominent AI expert, is co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit organisation which researches the challenges technology presents. One important aspect of their work – which received a major donation from Elon Musk – is a global research programme aimed at ensuring that AI is beneficial for humanity.


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The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, women in the workforce, Y2K

There have been sublime simulations, conjured up on movie screens and soon in the depths of virtual reality. There has been a growth in what Nye calls “the consumer’s sublime” of Disneyland and Las Vegas. There have been sublime technological objets, like the iPhone, whose original release was the closest my own generation possesses to a shared experience of techno-wonder. There have certainly been men and women who get famous selling the promise of the sublime—Elon Musk’s hyperloops being the most famous examples. And there have been moments of a nostalgic sublime—such as the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery, carried into history on a special Boeing 747 airliner, which had people craning their necks to watch as the retired spacecraft was ferried from Florida to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. But the hyperloop is a blueprint, Las Vegas is a simulacrum, virtual reality is not—and as the science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson wrote after watching Discovery pass overhead, the nostalgic sublime of its final flight mostly accentuated the possibilities we’ve given up: “My lifespan encompasses the era when the United States of America was capable of launching human beings into space.

Strikingly, just as political conservatism manifests precisely the vices that conservative intellectuals describe as characteristic of politics under big government, so too does a certain kind of centrism flirt with the strongman temptation that its critique implies we face. I’m thinking here of the kind of self-consciously moderate pundits who compare American government unfavorably to the smooth efficiency of the Beijing Politburo… or the kind of “No Labels” independents who imagine some hybrid of Mike Bloomberg, Elon Musk, and James Mattis emerging to lead America out of polarization… or the not particularly ideological voters who thrill to the idea of a businessman-president who just get things done. If Trump’s ascent reflected, in part, the pathologies of political conservatism, he also traded (like Ross Perot before him) on the populist version of this centrism, the sense that both parties are so corrupt that a demagogue who says, “I alone can fix it,” is the businessman-caudillo that our gridlocked republic needs.

Maybe we have simply been in a kind of bottleneck for the last few generations, achieving important scientific breakthroughs that don’t (yet) translate into society-altering changes. At a certain point, we’ll clear the bottleneck, and it will become clear that our era was a necessary prelude to renewed acceleration—eventually giving us self-driving cars courtesy of a finally profitable Uber, a Mars colony courtesy of the Elon Musk–Jeff Bezos space race, and radical life extension courtesy of Google’s longevity lab or some other zillionaire who can’t imagine shuffling off this mortal coil. All of this could happen on a scale that would be world altering without having the truly utopian scenarios come to pass. Terraforming Mars and becoming a multiplanetary species may be unattainable for now—but just going to Mars would be a bigger leap for mankind than anything we’ve accomplished since Neil Armstrong.


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Better Buses, Better Cities by Steven Higashide

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, business process, congestion charging, decarbonisation, Elon Musk, Hyperloop, income inequality, intermodal, jitney, Lyft, mass incarceration, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, place-making, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart cities, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional

Sprawl is killing us; cities and regions oriented around great transit are part of the way back. There Is No Deus ex Tesla What about Uber, or hyperloop, or driverless cars? Today, city leaders are often told that new transportation technologies will make transit obsolete. But none of the technologies that promise to transform transportation outperform transit’s greatest strength: capacity. In 2018, Elon Musk’s Boring Company was awarded the rights to build an underground express between Chicago’s Loop and O’Hare Airport. Musk claimed he would create an “electric skate” system that would carry private cars and small pods carrying up to sixteen people each. The actual carrying capacity of this hypothetical system? About 2,000 passengers an hour.20 In other words, the electric skate will carry far fewer people than the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line subway, which already goes to O’Hare.

TNC users in households that make more than $200,000 a year take more than forty-five TNC trips a year. Customers in households that make less than $15,000 take just six. Even so, Uber posts large losses every quarter; its rides are subsidized with billions of dollars in venture capital, even though its drivers are low-wage independent contractors.22 What so many private sector transportation innovators offer is not scalable mass mobility but boutique express service. Not surprisingly, Elon Musk envisions charging $25 to ride his Chicago electric skate. When it comes to decarbonizing transportation, we also need to look past technological magic bullets. Electric vehicles are a hugely needed solution, but climate scientists have repeatedly found that they are not sufficient on their own. California’s Air Resources Board found that even if every car in the state were electric, and 75 percent of the electricity came from renewable sources, driving would need to decline by 15 percent for the state to reach its climate goals.23 In Hawaii, a 100 percent electric vehicle policy will not be enough to end the state’s dependence on imported oil without complementary policies, including transit, that can convince people to drive less.24 Project Drawdown, one of the most comprehensive efforts to model the ability of different policies to reduce greenhouse gases, has concluded that the most immediate transportation priority in urban areas is not electric vehicle policy but maximizing the share of trips taken by bicycle and public transit.25 Government leaders can’t make a passive bet that the market will absolve them of responsibility.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, 1990–2016.” https://​www.epa.gov/​ghgemissions/​inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks 19. International Energy Agency, “Energy Efficiency Indicators 2018: Highlights.” December 7, 2018. https://​webstore.iea.org/​energy-efficiency-indicators-2018-highlights 20. Andrew J. Hawkins, “The Boring Company’s Chicago Project Seems Awfully Cheap for Something So Big.” The Verge, June 14, 2018. https://​www.theverge.com/​2018/​6/​14/​17464612/​boring-company-chicago-elon-musk-cost-estimate 21. Bruce Schaller, “The New Automobility: Lyft, Uber and the Future of American Cities.” Schaller Consulting, July 25, 2018. http://​www.schallerconsult.com/​rideservices/​automobility.pdf 22. Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash.” New York, December 4, 2018. http://​nymag.com/​intelligencer/​2018/​12/​will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html 23. California Air Resources Board, “2018 Progress Report: California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act.”


The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

And some thought entirely differently. They sought a “green recovery”—governments’ taking advantage of the crisis to reorient their energy mix away from oil and gas and hasten what they saw as the coming energy transition. ROADMAP Chapter 37 THE ELECTRIC CHARGE The lunch in a Los Angeles seafood restaurant in 2003 was not going well. Two engineers, J. B. Straubel and Harold Rosen, were pitching Elon Musk. An entrepreneur of iron-man determination, Musk was already known as one of the original members of the “PayPal Mafia,” who had launched the online payment system, and then as the founder of SpaceX, which was aiming to undercut the government’s cost for space transportation and pave the interplanetary path for travel to Mars. The engineers were pitching Musk on something that would operate at a lower altitude—an electric airplane.

This was in the face, he added, of Toyota’s being “skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience.” In the United States, Ford announced that it would spend $11.5 billion on the production of electric vehicles by 2022. “Electric vehicles make sense,” said Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford. “We are betting very heavily on it.” And the list went on and on—and on. “There have been so many announcements that I’m waiting for my mom to announce one,” said Elon Musk. He could afford to joke. For in 2017, in terms of stock market valuation, Tesla, producing around just 100,000 cars, overtook General Motors, which that year sold 9.6 million vehicles worldwide.14 But one year later, Tesla was again caught up in another swell of turbulence. Production of the Model 3 was going much more slowly than anticipated. Musk himself was working 120-hour weeks and often sleeping at the Tesla factory, as the Model 3 went through what he called “production hell.”

Across America, for instance, the Volkswagen settlement helps pay for installing electric charging stations.18 * * * — In 2009, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest auto market, and the gap continues to grow. Beijing is determined that one out of every five new vehicles sold in China by 2025 should be a NEV—a “new energy vehicle.” China has its own great champion of electric vehicles—Wan Gang. He ranks with Elon Musk in terms of impact on the advancement of the EV and as one of the most consequential figures for the global auto industry. During the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, Wan was exiled to the countryside. He relieved the harshness and the tedium by spending hours in a tractor shed, fascinated by the tractor’s engine, disassembling it and reassembling it. After the Cultural Revolution, he went to university and then did an engineering Ph.D. in Germany, and then stayed to work for Audi before returning to China.


pages: 103 words: 24,033

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent by Vivek Wadhwa

card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, Marc Andreessen, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, the new new thing, Y2K

This has been true since the founding of the United States as a nation composed of people seeking better economic chances and religious freedom in the New World, a process that started with the arrival of the Mayflower. Each decade has yielded top-flight entrepreneurs not born in this land, from Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie Steel Company) to Alexander Graham Bell (AT&T) to Charles Pfizer (Pfizer) to Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems) to Sergey Brin (Google) to Elon Musk (PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors). A 2011 study by the Partnership for a New American Economy tabulated that first-generation immigrants or their children had founder roles in more than 40% of the Fortune 500. These companies had combined revenues of greater than $4.2 trillion and employed more than 10 million workers worldwide.4 More and more evidence indicates that immigrant founders drive a wildly disproportionate percentage of all net new job creation in America.

No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without written permission of the publisher. Company and product names mentioned herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61363-020-4 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61363-021-1 About the Book Many of the United States’ most innovative entrepreneurs have been immigrants, from Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Pfizer to Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Elon Musk. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies and one-quarter of all new small businesses were founded by immigrants, generating trillions of dollars annually, employing millions of workers, and helping establish the United States as the most entrepreneurial, technologically advanced society on earth. Now, Vivek Wadhwa, an immigrant tech entrepreneur turned academic with appointments at Duke, Stanford, Emory, and Singularity Universities, draws on new research to show that the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented halt in high-growth, immigrant-founded start-ups.


pages: 313 words: 91,098

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, attribution theory, bitcoin, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, combinatorial explosion, computer age, crowdsourcing, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Flynn Effect, Hernando de Soto, hindsight bias, hive mind, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

Psychological Inquiry 24(4): 341–348. WebMD: Adrian F. Ward (May 2015), “Blurred Boundaries: Internet Search, Cognitive Self-Esteem, and Confidence in Decision-Making.” Talk presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, New York. fifty microprocessors each: auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/car-computer.htm. Elon Musk: fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview. compromise overall safety: S. Greengard (2009). “Making Automation Work.” Communications of the ACM 52(12): 18–19. pilots . . . didn’t know what to do: www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/crashes/what-really-happened-aboard-airfrance-447-6611877. GPS master: Examples can be found at www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3119/has-anyone-gotten-hurt-or-killed-following-bad-gps-directions.

Just as we are reaching into our pocket to check our e-mail or Facebook feed for the ten thousandth time, part of us fantasizes about going somewhere remote and unplugging from the constant stream of information (at least for a few days). The technological revolution has improved our lives in some ways, but it has also given rise to worry, despair, and even dread. Technological change is leading to all kinds of effects, and some may not be quite what we bargained for. Some of our greatest entrepreneurs and scientific minds see even darker clouds on the horizon. People like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates have cautioned that technology could become so sophisticated that it decides to pursue its own goals rather than the goals of the humans who created it. The reason to worry has been articulated by Vernor Vinge in a 1993 essay entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity,” as well as by Ray Kurzweil in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, and most recently by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who works at the University of Oxford.

Some are there to keep you comfortable and entertained via satellite radio. Many of them are there to help you control the car: power steering setups can use computers to adjust the force you need to apply at different speeds and antilock brakes use computers to prevent skidding. And the automation revolution is just beginning: Completely automated cars are no longer science fiction. In late 2015, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, stated that the technology for full automation will be perfected in about two years, though it may take government regulators longer to work out the legal issues before driverless cars start taking over the roads. With larger vehicles, technology has already changed the playing field. Modern airplanes simply cannot be flown without the help of automation. The most advanced military jets are fly-by-wire: They are so unstable that they require an automated system that can sense and act many times more quickly than a human operator to maintain control.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, congestion charging, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, different worldview, do-ocracy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Zipcar

Hagel and Brown tell companies that they need to move “from monetizing stocks to monetizing flows”—that is, making money on the transactions, the service, the new value creation.19 So Elon Musk opens to the world the static intellectual property bound up in Tesla’s patents, because that is not where the value lies. The value lies in building on that base of knowledge, in engaging the hearts and minds of as many people as possible so that Tesla’s best guesses about electric cars and batteries become the foundational standard on which a new industry is built. Imagine Your Entire Ecosystem to Be Potential Co-creators When Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents open, he didn’t know from which corner breakthroughs would come—and he still doesn’t know. It may be from competing fledgling electric car companies or from existing car manufacturers in the United States, Europe, or Asia; from focused engineering PhDs or from a self-taught hobbyist making herself known from some unlikely geography.

Peers will deliver on the variation—the source of innovation in printer customization, improvement on materials, new uses, tweaks on standard patterns, and likely new business models. Perhaps most exciting, from an innovation standpoint, is the ability for peers to “send” to one another the precise specifications for physical 3-D objects, enabling very rapid iterative prototyping across great distances. The natural progression toward increased openness, beyond the licensing of a previously closely held brand asset, is to get rid of that legal protection altogether. Elon Musk—founder of SpaceX, co-founder of PayPal, and currently CEO of Tesla Motors—made just such an announcement in a blog entry on June 12, 2014. “In the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology,” he wrote, Tesla was opening up all its patents. Musk understood that like in FOSS, where it is well appreciated that more minds are better than fewer minds, more rapid innovation demands more access.

“Five Cities Selected as Winners in Bloomberg Philanthropies 2014 Mayors Challenge,” Bloomberg.org, September 17, 2014, www.bloomberg.org/press/releases/five-cities-selected-winners-bloomberg-philanthropies-2014-mayors-challenge. 17. Christophe Vidal, “My Little Pony—Spitfire,” on Shapeways website, www.shapeways.com/model/2207519/my-little-pony-spitfire-asymp-70mm-tall.html?materialId=26. 18. Elon Musk, “All Our Patents Are Belong to You,” TeslaMotors.comblog, June 12, 2014, www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you. 19. Personal correspondence with John Hagel and John Seely Brown. 20. “Financial Performance,” J-Sainsbury.co.uk, www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/investor-centre/financial-performance. 21. “Crowdsourced Green Mondays: Sainsbury’s,” report reviewing Sainsbury’s 20x20 Sustainability Plan, www.thecrowd.me/sites/default/files/Wisdom_of_the_Crowd.pdf. 22.


Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie

Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, blockchain, Bob Noyce, call centre, cloud computing, credit crunch, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, new economy, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, phenotype, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban decay, web application, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

Women, outnumbered and overmatched, were mostly reduced to entertainers, companions, wives, or housekeepers. Things were not that different in the more recent gold rush. The Valley was always a region dominated by men, from William Hewlett, Dave Packard, Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore, Andy Grove, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak to, decades later, in the twenty-first century, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Travis Kalanick, and Marc Benioff. Mary Jane, fueled by peanut butter sandwiches packed in wax paper for the two-day journey, was under no illusion that it would be easy to navigate the old boys’ club of Sand Hill Road and Silicon Valley. Even today, decades after Mary Jane first arrived, 94 percent of investing partners at venture capital firms—the financial decision makers shaping the future—are men, and more than 80 percent of venture firms have never had a woman investing partner.

(One of her jobs at a Silicon Graphics sales kickoff event was to sit inside a hollowed-out server the size of a refrigerator and respond as if she were a computer as people typed commands.) She had been at Bain—which had offered to reimburse her business school tuition if she worked there for two years—when Netscape went public in August 1995. The sixteen-month-old company, which had never posted a profit, was suddenly valued at more than $2 billion. That same year Elon Musk enrolled at Stanford to study applied physics. Two days after arriving, he applied for a deferment, convinced that the start-up zeitgeist wouldn’t come around again anytime soon. He started Zip2 to help the media industry move from print models to an electronic model. Two years earlier, at twenty-five, Theresia had married her former Bain colleague Tim Ranzetta, who now worked as a buy-side analyst at a mutual fund company in Boston.

THERESIA With the departure of Jim Goetz, Theresia was more than ever at the forefront of Accel’s efforts to rebuild, recruiting new stars, chasing new deals, and building team morale. One of Theresia’s first acts since Goetz left had been to hire a new principal, Kevin Efrusy. Theresia and Efrusy had worked together at Bain. After Bain, Efrusy went on to work as a product manager for Zip2, the company founded by Elon Musk, and as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, where he founded an applications service provider called Corio that went public in 2000. In her new role as managing partner, Theresia advised Efrusy on a new company that he was chasing for Accel as a possible investment. The company, offering free phone calls over the Internet, was called Skype. Skype went live for the first time on August 29, 2003, and was an instant hit, attracting close to a million users.


pages: 677 words: 121,255

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist by Michael Shermer

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Chelsea Manning, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, creative destruction, dark matter, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, gun show loophole, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, McMansion, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moral panic, More Guns, Less Crime, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, positional goods, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yogi Berra

It is when people are judged not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin – or by their gender chromosomal constitution, or by whom they prefer to share a bed with, or by what accent they speak with, or by which political or religious affiliation they identify with – that freedom falls and liberty is lost. Chapter 14 Governing Mars Lessons for the Red Planet from Experiments in Governing the Blue Planet Preamble I originally penned this essay in the summer of 2018, stimulated by a Twitter exchange I had with Elon Musk, itself triggered by the SpaceX CEO’s previously announced decision to colonize Mars. This led me to wonder if this visionary had given any thought to what sort of government he would set up on the Red Planet, and if he already had a team of social scientists working on the problem or whether he was just going to wing it when they got there. Surely not, but what source for research would a team of social engineers (let’s call them) working at SpaceX (or NASA, since it too plans to send people to Mars in the coming decades) access?

., “slipped the surly bonds of earth … high in the sunlit silence … where never lark or even eagle flew … the high untrespassed sanctity of space.” * * * Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything – high and low and, most especially, high – lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. Charles Krauthammer, Things that Matter, 2013 In September of 2017 Elon Musk announced his intention to establish a Martian colony by the mid 2020s, thereby assuring our survival as an interplanetary species. “If there’s a third world war we want to make sure there’s enough of a seed of human civilization somewhere else to bring it back and shorten the length of the dark ages,” he told an SXSW (South by Southwest) audience in March of 2018, while also admitting that the endeavor will be “difficult, dangerous, a good chance you’ll die.”

Setting aside for the moment the many physical and biological problems that must be overcome to establish a permanent base on Mars, just as intractable is determining how to govern such a remote colony. Curious to know his thoughts on the subject, on June 16, 2018, I whimsically tweeted at the SpaceX CEO (Figure 14.1). Figure 14.1 Tweet from Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer), June 16, 2018. The thread is available at: https://bit.ly/30uUrNy Minutes later I received this reply from Musk (Figure 14.2). Figure 14.2 Tweet reply from Elon Musk (@elonmusk), June 16, 2018. There’s a lot packed into those 217 characters, but a tweet does not a constitution make. At that SXSW conference interview, when asked what type of government he envisions for the first Mars colony, Musk elaborated: Most likely, the form of government on Mars would be somewhat of a direct democracy where people vote directly on issues instead of going through representative government.


pages: 243 words: 59,662

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt

"side hustle", Atul Gawande, Cal Newport, Checklist Manifesto, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, informal economy, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, remote working, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

Levitin, “A sixty-hour work week, although 50% longer than a forty-hour work week, reduces productivity by 25%, so it takes two hours of overtime to accomplish one hour of work.” The Organized Mind (New York: Dutton, 2016), 307. 4. Sarah Green Carmichael, “The Research Is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies,” Harvard Business Review, August 19, 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/08/the-research-is-clear-long-hours-backfire-for-people-and-for-companies. 5. Bambi Francisco Roizen, “Elon Musk: Work Twice as Hard as Others,” Vator.TV, December 23, 2010, http://vator.tv/news/2010-12-23-elon-musk-work-twice-as-hard-as-others. 6. Michael D. Eisner, Work in Progress (New York: Hyperion, 1999), 301. 7. Jeffrey M. Jones, “In U.S., 40% Get Less Than Recommended Amount of Sleep,” Gallup, December 19, 2013, http://news.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx. 8. Diane S. Lauderdale et al., “Objectively Measured Sleep Characteristics among Early-Middle-Aged Adults,” American Journal of Epidemiology 164, no.1 (July 1, 2006), https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/164/1/5/81104. 9.

That means there’s an inverse relationship between hours worked and the productive expense of your energy. The more hours you work, the less productive you’ll be. The bankers fell prey to a common productivity myth: that energy is fixed, but time can flex. They believed they could get a consistent return on their effort while expanding their hours—that they’d be just as smart, strong, and engaged at 100 hours as they were at 50. Here’s Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, in a classic statement of the fallacy: “If other people are putting in 40-hour workweeks and you’re putting in 100-hour workweeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing . . . you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”5 But the bankers and Musk have it exactly backwards. One hundred hours of work is qualitatively, not merely quantitatively, different than fifty.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

“It won’t be too long before bright young men and women set their eyes on careers in Earth orbit and say: ‘I want to work 200 kilometers from home—straight up!’” Arthur C. Clarke, sci-fi author, inventor and futurist The Russian Space Agency is no longer allowing paying passengers, but billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is currently offering a similar experience, albeit suborbital, for a much more down-to-earth price of $200,000. Other entrepreneurial companies active in this field include Space Adventures and Elon Musk’s SpaceX (Elon Musk is the forty-year-old entrepreneur behind PayPal and Tesla Motors). Rocket man Space is the next frontier for entrepreneurs, especially high-tech billionaires. Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft, has announced a plan to build a commercial spaceship that could be space bound before 2020. The craft is powered by six jumbo-jet engines and has a wingspan of 115m (380ft), the largest ever for a plane.

Probably not in our lifetimes in any meaningful sense, so in the meantime we’ll have to console ourselves with good old-fashioned staycations, ecotourism, glamping, climate change travel, virtual vacations, spa and sleep holidays, dark tourism, voluntourism, medical tourism and floating hotels. Unless, of course, we can invent low-cost warp drive or teleportation. “The ultimate objective is to make humanity a multiplanet species. Thirty years from now, there’ll be a base on the Moon and on Mars, and people will be going back and forth on SpaceX rockets.” Elon Musk, engineer and entrepreneur Of course, there is another possibility. A good trick in terms of looking toward the far future is to start off by looking at the distant past. Why? Because it’s essential to separate cycles and fashion from what’s genuinely new and important, and because what appears to be new, or revolutionary, often turns out to be nothing of the sort—and time and money can easily be wasted.


pages: 359 words: 96,019

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional

Evan had a team build a Snapchat music product that combined Snapchat’s penchant for communicating through media with Evan’s vision for how music should work digitally. However, it was never released, likely because the rights to the music were too complex and expensive. Employees were happy to work tirelessly on Evan’s experiments, music or otherwise. Evan’s benevolent dictatorship is not uncommon in tech. Many visionaries like Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos have been described in similar, and even more draconian, ways. But Jobs, Musk, and Bezos have accomplished such spectacular achievements that employees will follow them no matter what. Evan seemed to be following right in their footsteps, but we have only seen him at the helm when Snapchat is thriving and growing spectacularly well. While he obviously deserves the credit for this, every company goes through periods of intense pain and scrutiny.

That may not seem like a big difference, but it’s an eternity for a company growing as fast as Snapchat was in 2013 (and Facebook in the 2000s). White had cut her teeth at the much larger and more established Google and Facebook; it was difficult for her to translate those experiences to the rapidly changing Snapchat, which had only fifty employees when she arrived. Once she left Snapchat, White joined the board of directors of Hyperloop Technologies, a startup trying to realize Elon Musk’s vision for a high-speed, tube-based transportation system. White also founded Mave, a high-end personal concierge startup in Santa Monica. White’s departure was made worse by the sheer number of high-level executives who left around the same time. Many didn’t survive a year at Snapchat. Mike Randall, who had been hired by White and reported to her while at Snapchat, left after seven months. HR head Sara Sperling and VP of Engineering Peter Magnusson were each at the company for just six months.

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT THE ROAD TO IPO JUNE 2015 RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA The Code Conference is an annual tech conference held at an exclusive resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The high point of the conference is an interview with tech press legends Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. The two have sat in iconic red chairs across from the biggest names in the business, from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk to Bill Gates. Now, in June 2015, Evan sat in one of those same red chairs as Swisher and Mossberg probed about Snapchat’s future. Initial public offerings are in many ways the finish line for startups. They are liquidity events, giving founders, employees, and investors an actual hard cash return on the years of investment and work they’ve poured into the company. They supply the company with funds to carry out its grand ambitions for the future.


pages: 350 words: 98,077

Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dark matter, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, ImageNet competition, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mark Zuckerberg, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

I started to notice the slew of articles, blog posts, and entire books by prominent people suddenly telling us we should start worrying, right now, about the perils of “superhuman” AI. In 2014, the physicist Stephen Hawking proclaimed, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”7 In the same year, the entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of the Tesla and SpaceX companies, said that artificial intelligence is probably “our biggest existential threat” and that “with artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon.”8 Microsoft’s cofounder Bill Gates concurred: “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”9 The philosopher Nick Bostrom’s book Superintelligence, on the potential dangers of machines becoming smarter than humans, became a surprise bestseller, despite its dry and ponderous style.

., 676.   6.  Quoted in D. R. Hofstadter, “Staring Emmy Straight in the Eye—and Doing My Best Not to Flinch,” in Creativity, Cognition, and Knowledge, ed. T. Dartnell (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002), 67–100.   7.  Quoted in R. Cellan-Jones, “Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind,” BBC News, Dec. 2, 2014, www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540.   8.  M. McFarland, “Elon Musk: ‘With Artificial Intelligence, We Are Summoning the Demon,’” Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2014.   9.  Bill Gates, on Reddit, Jan. 28, 2015, www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2tzjp7/hi_reddit_im_bill_gates_and_im_back_for_my_third/?. 10.  Quoted in K. Anderson, “Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence,” Vanity Fair, Nov. 26, 2014. 11.  R. A. Brooks, “Mistaking Performance for Competence,” in What to Think About Machines That Think, ed.

Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 136. 27.  A. Kreye, “A John Henry Moment,” in Brockman, What to Think About Machines That Think, 394–96. 28.  Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 494. 29.  R. Kurzweil, “A Wager on the Turing Test: Why I Think I Will Win,” Kurzweil AI, April 9, 2002, www.kurzweilai.net/a-wager-on-the-turing-test-why-i-think-i-will-win. 30.  Ibid. 31.  Ibid. 32.  Ibid. 33.  M. Dowd, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse,” Vanity Fair, March 26, 2017. 34.  L. Grossman, “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal,” Time, Feb. 10, 2011. 35.  From Singularity University website, accessed Dec. 4, 2018, su.org/about/. 36.  Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 316. 37.  R. Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking Press, 1999), 170. 38.  


pages: 349 words: 98,868

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

This is against a backdrop of perpetual anxiety, that the global market is a machine that is always on. But arguably, the ultimate destination of the Austrian ideology is a system which starts to eliminate the market altogether, at least in the ordinary sense of companies competing to sell to the same set of customers. New private empires are built to compete against rival private empires, with attributes that appear more like those of states than typical businesses. The billionaire Elon Musk, for example, seized the initiative from NASA and the European Space Agency and made traveling to Mars one of his entrepreneurial ambitions. Amazon’s relationship to retail markets is becoming closer to that of a regulator than a competitor. Companies such as Palantir and SCL, which founded the now defunct Cambridge Analytica with Mercer’s financial support, straddle commercial, political, and military domains of intelligence operations.

Sure enough, Facebook soon appointed Mark Chevillet, an applied neuroscientist from Johns Hopkins University, and Regina Dugan, a former head of the US defense research agency DARPA, who was hired to lead on “technologies that fluidly blend physical and digital worlds.” Technologies are emerging for limited forms of mind-reading. DARPA has invested $60 million in brain–computer interface technology, while a Boston-based start-up, Neurable, is seeking to develop technologies that can track “intentions” of users in virtual reality environments.1 Elon Musk has founded a company, Neuralink, to develop “neural lace” technologies which will see chips implanted directly into the brain, so as to integrate thinking with computers. Among Dugan’s projects at Facebook was the development of technologies through which users could send brief “text messages” using only their thoughts, and could “hear” similar messages through their skin, wearing a vibrating sleeve.2 Discussing these new technological frontiers in April 2017, Dugan put a neat multicultural spin on the vision that Zuckerberg had laid out a couple of years earlier: “it may be possible for me to think in Mandarin and you to feel it instantly in Spanish.”

“Virtual reality” was born as a way of testing out different military strategies, because there was no opportunity for real-world trial and error. If Napoleon turned war into a conflict between national populations, the Cold War turned it into a conflict between national intelligence infrastructures, both in the sense of espionage and of “artificial” intelligence. That paradigm still obtains today. Vladimir Putin has expressed the view, regularly advanced by others such as Elon Musk, that the country that leads the world in artificial intelligence will dominate the twenty-first century.8 The initial question put forward by Turing was whether a machine could “think,” which he argued it could. But this quickly flips into speculation as to what kind of “machine” is the mind. During the 1940s and 1950s, as computers were becoming imbued with almost metaphysical and humane characteristics, cognitive scientists reimagined humans as circuits of information.


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Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

The Harvard Business School guru Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail) argues, “Financial markets—and companies themselves—use assessment metrics that make innovations that eliminate jobs more attractive than those that create jobs.” Whereas the return on “efficiency innovations” is relatively quick, the more important “market-creating innovations,” which create entirely new industries that produce jobs, have a long time in which to return the investment. Even Silicon Valley heroes such as Elon Musk and his Tesla car are merely producing what Christensen calls “performance-improving innovations [that] replace old products with new and better models. They generally create few jobs because they’re substitutive: When customers buy the new product, they usually don’t buy the old product.” While economists of such different political affiliations as Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, and Tyler Cowen all have written extensively about the cause of the joblessness and “secular stagnation” in the US economy that has endured since 2000, they never examine the role that monopoly capitalism might play in this crisis.

And it is one of a series of quiet investments by Schmidt that recognize how modern political campaigns are run, with data analytics and digital outreach as vital ingredients that allow candidates to find, court, and turn out critical voter blocs. Google makes sure to place bets on both sides of the aisle. So while Eric Schmidt is advising Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Larry Page flew with Sean Parker and Elon Musk in March of 2016 to a secret Republican meeting at a resort in Sea Island, Georgia, organized by the right-wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute. There they met with Republican leadership, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan as well as Karl Rove, to plan Republican 2016 election strategy. My own experience in talking to legislators about Internet reform has led me to understand that Google, Amazon, and Facebook are deeply embedded in both parties, and their interests will be protected no matter who is in the White House.

The conference, called the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, left me wondering whether there isn’t a kind of bubble in the Valley that has nothing to do with the inflated valuations of the “unicorns” (private companies worth more than $1 billion), which were so much a focus of conversation onstage and envy offstage—especially from established Hollywood moguls, who are drawn to Graydon Carter like moths to a flame. The real bubble is a thought bubble, in which the magical thinking of the guys who clearly believe they are the smartest cats in the room goes completely unchallenged. Case in point: Elon Musk, who said that he will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on his quest to inhabit Mars, going so far as to suggest that we cause a nuclear explosion on the planet in order to melt all that frozen water, warm the atmosphere, and enable us to grow vegetables for future space colonies. Musk proposed this with a straight face, and neither the interviewer nor the other panelists even blinked. Musk went on to impugn Larry Page’s expenditure of tens of millions of dollars so he could live to the age of two hundred, remarking that he, Musk, would be happy to live to one hundred.


pages: 353 words: 106,704

Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution by Beth Gardiner

barriers to entry, Boris Johnson, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, connected car, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Hyperloop, index card, Indoor air pollution, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, white picket fence

Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, accessed November 27, 2017, https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_11.html. 28 “Cars on England’s Roads Increase by Almost 600,000 in a Year,” BBC News, January 20, 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35312562. 29 “PC World Vehicles in Use,” International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, accessed November 27, 2017, http://www.oica.net/wp-content/uploads//PC_Vehicles-in-use.pdf. 30 Transport Outlook: Seamless Transport for Greener Growth, International Transport Forum at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development 2012: 31, accessed August 20, 2018, https://www.oecd.org/greengrowth/greening-transport/Transport%20Outlook%202012.pdf. 31 David Roberts, “China Made Solar Panels Cheap. Now It’s Doing the Same for Electric Buses,” Vox, April 17, 2018, https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/4/17/17239368/china-investment-solar-electric-buses-cost. 32 Kara Swisher, “Elon Musk Is the Id of Tech,” New York Times, August 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/opinion/elon-musk-crazy-tesla.html. 33 Swisher, “Elon Musk Is the Id of Tech.” Chapter Nine 1 Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly, Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles (New York: Overlook Press, 2008), 13–17, 35, 51–52. 2 Arthur Winer, emeritus professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA, Skype interview with author, January 27, 2015. 3 Mary Nichols, “UCLA Faculty Voice: How Angelenos Beat Back Smog,” UCLA Newsroom, October 20, 2015, accessed November 14, 2017, http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/ucla-faculty-voice-how-angelenos-beat-back-smog. 4 Connie Koenenn, “Bent on Clearing the Air: Attorney Mary Nichols Hopes ‘Amazing L.A.’

Tires, too, then more car bodies, freshly painted ones. As Kim bids us farewell—“Hopefully I showed a lot of the magic and the mystery around your car,” she says—I finally realize what’s missing, the part I haven’t seen here, one so familiar it’s taken me until now to clock its absence. There are no exhaust pipes on these cars. Tesla—with its sleek style and big ambitions, its well-publicized troubles, and a CEO, Elon Musk, whom one columnist dubbed “the id of tech”32—has taken on outsized symbolism as the representative of an industry hoping to jump from its infancy straight into adolescence and beyond. Its cars drive smoothly, require little maintenance, and are replete with clever touches like door handles that pop out when a driver approaches and large touch screens in place of old-fashioned dashboard controls.


pages: 480 words: 112,463

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St Clair

barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Francisco Pizarro, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gravity well, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, out of africa, Rana Plaza, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spinning jenny, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Works Progress Administration

.’, @stephenniem, 2017 <https://twitter.com/stephenniem/status/919897406031978496> Muldrew, Craig, ‘ “Th’ancient Distaff” and “Whirling Spindle”: Measuring the Contribution of Spinning to Household Earnings and the National Economy in England,1550–1770’, The Economic History Review, 65 (2012), 498–526 Murray, Margaret Alice, The Tomb of Two Brothers (Manchester: Sherratt & Hughes, 1910) Musk, Elon, ‘I Am Elon Musk, CEO/CTO of a Rocket Company, AMA!-R/IAmA’, Reddit, 2015 <https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2rgsan/i_am_elon_musk_ceocto_of_a_rocket_company_ama/> [accessed 12 December 2017] ———, ‘Instagram Post’, Instagram, 2017 <https://www.instagram.com/p/BYIPmEFAIIn/> [accessed 12 December 2017] N NASA, Apollo 16 – Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcript, April 1972 <https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/mission_trans/AS16_TEC.PDF> ———, Lunar Module: Quick Reference Data Nelson, Craig, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon (London: John Murray, 2009) ‘New Fibres Spur Textile Selling’, New York Times, 19 April 1964, section Finance, p. 14 Newman, Dava, ‘Building the Future Spacesuit’, Ask Magazine, January 2012, 37–40 Nightingale, Pamela, ‘The Rise and Decline of Medieval York: A Reassessment’, Past & Present, 2010, 3–42 ‘Nike Engineers Knit for Performance’, Nike News, 2012 <https://news.nike.com/news/nike-flyknit> [accessed 9 January 2018] ‘Nike Launches Hijab for Female Muslim Athletes’, the Guardian, 8 March 2017, section Business <http://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/08/nike-launches-hijab-for-female-muslim-athletes> [accessed 17 December 2017] Niles’ Weekly Register, 1827, xxxiii Noble, Holcomb B., ‘Secret Weapon or Barn Door?’

An unexpected silver lining was the beauty of releasing urine into space. One astronaut, upon returning from their mission, reported that a ‘urine dump at sunset’ was the most beautiful thing they’d seen on the entire voyage.42 Man Made for Mars To the rocket scientist, you are a problem. You are the most irritating piece of machinery he or she will ever have to deal with. Mary Roach, Packing for Mars, 2010 In the summer of 2017, Elon Musk released a concept image for our space-age future. The picture was of the spacesuit astronauts might wear on the manned version of the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule. It was sleek and fitted and strikingly monochrome – a world away from the Omega, which Armstrong once memorably described as ‘tough, reliable and almost cuddly’. It appeared to be a two-piece, with elements – high boots, the ribbing at the knees and the shape of the shoulders – borrowed from biker gear.

Slonim, Effects of Minimal Personal Hygiene and Related Procedures During Prolongued Confinement (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio: Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories, October 1966), p. 4. 39Ibid., pp. 6, 10; Borman, Lovell, and NASA, pp. 156–8; ‘Astronauts’ Dirty Laundry’. 40NASA, Apollo 16, pp. 372, 435. 41Hadfield, quoted in Roach, p. 46. 42PBS; quoted in Nelson, p. 55. 43Musk, ‘I Am Elon Musk; Musk, ‘Instagram Post’; Brinson. 44Monchaux, pp. 263, 95. 45Grush; Mark Harris; Ross et al., pp. 1–11; Dieter. 46Dieter; Newman; Mark Harris; Feinberg; Masse. 47Howell; Burgess, pp. 209, 220–4. 12 Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger 1‘Swimming World Records in Rome’. 2Ibid.; Crouse, ‘Biedermann Stuns Phelps’; Burn-Murdoch; ‘Swimming World Records in Rome’. 3Quoted in Brennan; Crouse. 4Wilson 5‘Space Age Swimsuit Reduces Drag’.


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The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

The ultra-enthusiasts talk of a transformation of urban land use as people en masse forgo their individual cars and are transported in driverless, shared-use, electric vehicles. It is quite possible that car ownership would fall sharply as people predominantly chose to take rides in driverless vehicles from a floating pool. A joint study by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group sees substantial scope for the sharing of rides in driverless cars, thereby undermining the market for public transport.6 Elon Musk has said that “owning a human-driven vehicle will be similar to owning a horse – rare and optional.7 The results would include fewer cars needing to be built (as well as sold, repaired, insured, etc.). Additionally, there would be less demand for space to park cars that remain idle most of the time. While they are waiting for users, driverless cars can be parked end to end and stacked. This could potentially transform urban landscapes and free up much scarce space for other uses.

Advocates of the vision of driverless vehicles sometimes try to counter the point about “safety drivers” still being needed by pointing out that these “safety drivers” can still provide some of the ancillary services provided by drivers now, such as helping passengers with their bags, helping them in and out of the vehicle, and chatting to them during the journey. This is true, but they cannot do this anymore when they are not actually driving the vehicle than when they are. And while they are there in the car, they cost just the same. So, what’s the point? Overall assessment Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, has warned against setting the safety requirements of driverless vehicles too high. After all, he reasons, since human error when driving is responsible for a large number of fatalities, there is room for driverless vehicles to cause some fatal accidents that a human driver could have avoided and yet for the introduction of driverless cars still to reduce the overall accident rate and the number of fatalities.

So, the UBS idea is likely to be attractive only to a relatively small number of people on the Left and will probably not gain wider traction. Accordingly, it makes sense for us now to leave it to one side and to concentrate on the more mainstream idea of a UBI. It seems much more likely to fly. Indeed, in some senses it has already taken off. Illustrious support The essential principle of a UBI has recently received widespread support, including from Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Tesla’s Elon Musk. At the World Government Summit in Dubai in 2017, referring to the coming transformation of transportation, the latter said: “Twenty years is a short period of time to have something like 12 [to] 15 percent of the workforce be unemployed.” And on UBI he said: “I don’t think we’re going to have a choice. I think it’s going to be necessary.”9 Such support may seem surprising. Providing money for nothing sounds radical, even to the point of being subversive of the capitalist economy.


Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game by Walker Deibel

barriers to entry, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, diversification, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, high net worth, intangible asset, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Peter Thiel, risk tolerance, risk/return, rolodex, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Y Combinator

By combining an investment in the existing revenue, infrastructure, and earnings with the drive and innovation fueling the entrepreneur, acquisition provides a powerful recipe, allowing existing companies to go to new heights, having tremendous impact, and providing a platform for the entrepreneur’s art. 10 ACQUISITION ENTREPRENEURSHIP VERSES VENTURE CAPITAL Acquisition entrepreneurship is not right for every circumstance or everyone. After all, certain entrepreneurs have enjoyed such remarkable success that they have obtained celebrity, even legendary status. We’re all familiar with the titans of technology who dominate the business media: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, to name a few. These 9 guys didn’t start by buying a company, so why should you? Lately, it’s been the startups able to get to the billion-dollar valuation, the “unicorn” companies, in the limelight. These companies are changing how we live and work, and they are not only creating tremendous value but are introducing new business models. Indeed, all startups today aim to be the “Uber of [enter your industry here],” right?

Having a growth mindset is an enormous psychological advantage for those who have it. The knowledge that things are malleable creates an interest for solving market problems, generating innovative solutions, and implementing ongoing improvement—both for yourself and your work— which is the mark of successful entrepreneur. A fixed mindset, by contrast, confirms a deterministic view of the world and results in never achieving your full potential. Without a growth mindset, Elon Musk’s SpaceX would never have achieved successful trips to the International Space Station after the first three rockets literally crashed and burned. Or, take Thomas Edison. His teachers notoriously said he was “too stupid to learn anything,” and he ultimately failed over 1,000 times before eventually creating the lightbulb. Both of these people show grit and determination, but ultimately the belief that the solution can eventually be reached by a series of smaller improvements.

This way, you know what you are looking for and can be comfortable moving forward with conviction when you find it. A platform company could have any kind of profile. It could be an eternally profitable, high growth, or turnaround. More likely, it’s somewhere in the middle. A nice, “good” company with some aspects of stability and some of risk, but the goal is to define an acquisition target by the growth opportunity it provides. It’s a little understood fact that Elon Musk bought PayPal when his own similar startup X.com, well, failed. Peter Thiel came with the acquisition and later ran PayPal as CEO. Tesla, as well. Although he is now considered a founder, the company was started by two others and grown very effectively by Musk. Gary Vaynerchuk took over his parents’ liquor store. Seeing an opportunity to sell wine online took revenues from $3 million to $60 million by applying his online marketing skillset to the unique opportunity offered to him by the platform that was available.


pages: 394 words: 112,770

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, centre right, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, illegal immigration, impulse control, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post, which had become one of the many Trump media bêtes noires in the media world, nevertheless took pains to reach out not only to the presidentelect but to his daughter Ivanka. During the campaign, Trump said Amazon was getting “away with murder taxwise” and that if he won, “Oh, do they have problems.” Now Trump was suddenly praising Bezos as “a top-level genius.” Elon Musk, in Trump Tower, pitched Trump on the new administration’s joining him in his race to Mars, which Trump jumped at. Stephen Schwarzman, the head of the Blackstone Group—and a Kushner friend—offered to organize a business council for Trump, which Trump embraced. Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor and fashion industry queen, had hoped to be named America’s ambassador to the UK under Obama and, when that didn’t happen, closely aligned herself with Hillary Clinton.

In the restaurant that morning: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman; Washington fixture, lobbyist, and Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan; labor secretary nominee Wilbur Ross; Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith; Washington Post national reporter Mark Berman; and a table full of women lobbyists and fixers, including the music industry’s longtime representative in Washington, Hillary Rosen; Elon Musk’s D.C. adviser, Juleanna Glover; Uber’s political and policy executive, Niki Christoff; and Time Warner’s political affairs executive, Carol Melton. In some sense—putting aside both her father’s presence in the White House and his tirades against draining the swamp, which might otherwise include most everyone here, this was the type of room Ivanka had worked hard to be in. Following the route of her father, she was crafting her name and herself into a multifaceted, multiproduct brand; she was also transitioning from her father’s aspirational male golf and business types to aspirational female mom and business types.

Brand-conscious millennials saw this as beyond policy dickering and as part of an epic identity clash. The Trump White House stood less for government and the push-pull of competing interests and developing policies, and more, in a brand-savvy world, as a fixed and unpopular cultural symbol. Uber’s Kalanick resigned from the council. Disney CEO Bob Iger simply found that he was otherwise occupied on the occasion of the forum’s first meeting. But most of the people on the council—other than Elon Musk, the investor, inventor, and founder of Tesla (who would later resign)—were not from media or tech companies, with their liberal bent, but from old-line, when-America-was-great enterprises. They included Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors; Ginni Rometty of IBM; Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE; Jim McNerney, the former CEO of Boeing; and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo. If the new right had elected Trump, it was the older Fortune 100 executives who most pleased him.


Battling Eight Giants: Basic Income Now by Guy Standing

basic income, Bernie Sanders, centre right, collective bargaining, decarbonisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, labour market flexibility, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, open economy, pension reform, precariat, quantitative easing, rent control, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, universal basic income, Y Combinator

But having cash in the form of a guaranteed basic income would enhance freedom of choice and the more important republican freedom, while being more empowering and more transformative. Slaying Giants with Basic Income 31 (6) The robot advance One relatively new justification for a basic income is the threat to jobs posed by robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Bank of England, the OECD and the McKinsey Global Institute are among those predicting the disappearance of huge numbers of jobs over the next two decades.61 Elon Musk, one of several very wealthy and successful entrepreneurs who have made similar statements, has concluded that a basic income is a necessary policy for a fast-approaching future in which ‘there will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better’. There are reasons for scepticism about the more apocalyptic forecasts. Some, such as the World Economic Forum, have even predicted that AI will increase the number of jobs.62 Perhaps.

A basic income could also act as a suitable macro-economic stabilizer, with a core payment, adjusted according to changes in real per capita income, and a cyclical component, which would rise in times of recession and fall in times of ‘full employment’ or high aggregate demand.1 A basic income system would also tend to lessen regional inequality: it would represent a higher share of per capita income in low-income areas and encourage desirable interregional mobility. Sensible, modern business folk, including leading entrepreneurs and CEOs of mainstream corporations, also understand that basically secure people make more cooperative and productive workers, and even more rational consumers. Those on the political left should not be cynical about the fact that leading entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson have come out in favour of basic income. There is growing evidence that a basic income has popular support and the potential for much more, contrary to jaundiced views by prominent figures who have not studied the subject.2 Two types of evidence are worth mentioning. Some years ago, a team of social psychologists conducted experiments in deliberative democracy covering large samples in three countries, in which people were asked to decide which of four options of fair distribution policy should have precedence.


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

Hal Hodson, “AI Interns: Software Already Taking Jobs From Humans,” NewScientist.com, March 31, 2015. 3. Bob violino, “Why Robotic Process Automation Adoption Is on the Rise,” ZDNet.com, November 18, 2016. 4. Harriet Taylor, “Bank of America Launches AI Chatbot Erica —Here’s What It Does,” MONEY 20/20, CNBC.com, October 24, 2016. 5. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, “The Great A.I. Awakening,” New York Times Magazine, December 4, 2016. 6. Ron Miller, “Artificial Intelligence Is Not as Smart as You (or Elon Musk),” TechCrunch.com, July 25, 2017. 7. Disney Research, “Neural Nets Model Audience Reactions to Movies,” Phys.org, July 21, 2017. 8. Specifically, 60 percent of jobs are in occupations where at least 30 percent of the job is automatable using proven technology according to McKinsey Global Institute in “A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity,” January 2017. 9. Forrester, “Robots, AI Will Replace 7% of US Jobs by 2025,” Forrester.com, June 22, 2016. 10.

He became one of the world’s richest men by guiding Microsoft through decades of “holy cow” moments. In Gate’s view, job displacement is coming too fast for the economy to absorb. “You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once. You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed.”1 And Gates is not the only rich tech guy who’s worried. The technology entrepreneur, Elon Musk, who owns rocket ships as a sideline to being CEO of Tesla, also knows a thing or two about disruptive technologies. Tesla was valued more highly by the stock market in 2017 than any of the traditional carmakers. And Musk is as concerned as Gates. Here is how he phrases it: “What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.

The factors that are turning the Globotics Transformation into the globotics upheal are clear to see and already in operation. If history is a guide, the next step will be some form of backlash, and possibly another wave of populism. It has happened before. 1. Quote from Kevin Delaney, “The Robot That Takes Your Job Should Pay Taxes, Says Bill Gates,” Quartz, February 17, 2017. 2. Quote from Quincy Larson, “A Warning from Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking,” freeCodeCamp.org, February 18, 2017. 3. Quoted in Walt Mossberg, “Five Things I Learned from Jeff Bezos at Code,” Recode (blog), June 8, 2016. 4. Stephen Hawking, “This Is the Most Dangerous Time for Our Planet,” The Guardian, December 1, 2016. 5. Quotes from Adam Lashinksy, “Yes, AI Will Kill Jobs. Humans Will Dream Up Better Ones,” Fortune, January 5, 2017. 6. Alastair Bathgate, “Blue Prism’s Software Robots on the Rise,” Blueprism (blog), July 14, 2016. 7.


pages: 305 words: 79,303

The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World by Scott Galloway

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, California gold rush, cloud computing, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, follow your passion, future of journalism, future of work, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, passive income, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, undersea cable, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, working poor, young professional

And it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Amazon’s cost of capital declines while every other retailer’s increases. It doesn’t matter what the reality is—Amazon will win, as it’s playing poker with ten times the chips. Amazon can muscle everyone else out of the game. The real hand-wringing is going to begin when people start asking if what’s good for Amazon is bad for society. It’s interesting to note that even while some scientists and tech tycoons (Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk) publicly worry about the dangers of artificial intelligence, and others (Pierre Omidyar, Reid Hoffman) have funded research on the subject, Jeff Bezos is implementing robotics as fast as he can at Amazon. The company increased the number of robots in its warehouses 50 percent in 2016.37 Peterson, Hayley. “Amazon Is About to Become the Biggest Clothing Retailer in the US.”

Finally, data privacy concerns are likely to be a constant thorn for Alibaba as it goes global, limiting its ability to leverage another T Algorithm element, AI. In sum, the parent brand “China” provides an unwelcome halo of “We may not be cool, but we are corrupt.” In high school, the “Bad Boy” who was also lame did not get laid. Tesla History is littered with the skeletons of entrepreneurs who challenged big auto—they make movies about them (think Tucker). But right now, it looks as if the movie about Elon Musk involves a dope outfit and a brooding Gwyneth Paltrow. Tesla faces challenges, but it has accomplished more than any other start-up automobile company in our lifetime, and looks well positioned to solidify its position as the market leader in electric- powered cars. Although it remains mostly a luxury product for Silicon Valley bros, its combination of design (no more Hobbit electric cars), innovation in digital control, and massive investment in infrastructure (notably the giant battery factory outside Reno)—not to mention its Edison-like, visionary leader—suggest Tesla has the potential to bust out of its specialty niche and become a mass market player.

It’s a fundamental American myth, from Ayn Rand’s still influential personification of entrepreneurial independence in Hank Rearden to the mythmaking that erupted upon the death of Steve Jobs. Entrepreneurs are seen as individual, self-made visionaries with vast wealth. They are perhaps the purest expression of the American hero. Superhero, even. Superman can reverse the rotation of the Earth, but Iron Man Tony Stark would be better on an earnings call and is a very human superhero—Elon Musk. As we’ve discussed, it’s not for most people—and the odds against you seem heavier by the year. In fact, very few people have the personality characteristics and skills that make up a successful entrepreneur. And it isn’t about being “good enough” or “smart enough”—indeed, some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs are real detriments in other aspects of life. So, how do you know if you’re an entrepreneur?


pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

They dropped a weight on the car, we broke the weight. We’ve broken more pieces of test equipment than any car ever.” We passed another Tesla in Greenwich Village, and we waved. This is a thing that Tesla owners do: they wave to each other. Drive a Tesla on the highway in San Francisco, and your arm gets tired from waving. Ryan kept referring to Elon Musk. A cult of personality surrounds Musk, unlike any other car designer. Who designed the Ford Explorer? I have no idea. But Elon Musk, even my son knew. “He’s famous,” my son said. “He was even a guest star on the Simpsons.” We parked and took a picture of my son and me standing next to the bright white car, its wings up. We got into our family car parked outside. “This feels so old-fashioned now,” my son said. We drove home down the West Side Highway, then over the cobblestones of Clarkson Street.

“The car is ready for total autonomy, but we can’t implement it yet because, you know, regulations.” “You know, regulations,” meant that Joshua Brown died in an Autopilot crash and the NTHSA hadn’t yet finished its investigation—so Tesla had turned off the Autopilot on all cars until the developers could build, test, and roll out new features. Ryan chatted about the future, which in his view meant Teslas everywhere. “When we have full autonomy, Elon Musk says you should be able to press a button and summon your car no matter where you are. It might take a few days for your car to find you, but it should arrive.” I wondered if it occurred to him that waiting for days for your car to arrive kind of defeats the point of having a car at all. “Someday” is the most common way to talk about autonomous vehicles. Not if, but when. This seems strange to me.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

Likewise, there are many successful investors and entrepreneurs whose thinking about innovation and business creation have inspired us. Innovation happens through entrepreneurship and it is impossible to grasp innovation without understanding the business motivations behind it. In reality, books like ours cannot substitute for studies of successful entrepreneurs like Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Sam Walton, and the business environment they and others created in their respective firms. More people than we can mention have generously taken the time to talk through particular issues with us or showed us the power of new technology and innovative business ideas. We are particularly grateful to a group of friends who have read, commented, and in other ways helped us with various versions of the manuscript.

Networked information flows between autonomous parts of production are basic elements in standard, run-of-the-mill business information technology (IT) services. Most sizable modern companies have automated information flows in their production and logistics, and these flows will prompt action even if there is no human being to command it. But Beer’s Cybersyn was not a product of Silicon Valley, the MIT Media Lab, or other places where big-data business models grow and artificial intelligence develops. He was not hired by Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, nor was he in the employment of NASA or the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. He never had a Facebook account, and never tweeted his cybernetic vision. The long-bearded, Rolls-Royce-driving Beer is fascinating because he is a product of history. He died in 2002 and his grand cybernetic model was created over 40 years ago. Cybersyn was not a project to improve corporates or capitalism.

It also boosted the number of M&As, because companies needed to become bigger than before to capture the specialization gains from a growing world economy. There was little demand for innovators and entrepreneurs fanning that “perennial gale of creative destruction,” and that demand naturally declined as companies turned into logistics hubs. Executive recruiters were not scouting for entrepreneurial people like Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg to take up key positions in multinationals. They wanted executives with specialisms in optimization, management, logistics, capital markets, and other key operative functions of a firm. They wanted trusted partners from the “technostructure” of managerial capitalism, to quote John Kenneth Galbraith.6 And these partners were planners, not entrepreneurs. In this way, globalization helped to move Western economies away from Schumpeter’s vision of capitalism.


pages: 448 words: 117,325

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, business process, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Firefox, Flash crash, George Akerlof, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of radio, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, loose coupling, market design, medical malpractice, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ransomware, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, security theater, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

id=sjMsDwAAQBAJ. 86The US Department of Defense defines: Heather Roff (9 Feb 2016), “Distinguishing autonomous from automatic weapons,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, http://thebulletin.org/autonomous-weapons-civilian-safety-and-regulation-versus-prohibition/distinguishing-autonomous-automatic-weapons. 86If they are autonomous: Paul Scharre (29 Feb 2016), “Autonomous weapons and operational risk,” Center for a New American Security, https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/autonomous-weapons-and-operational-risk. 86Technologists Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking: Michael Sainato (19 Aug 2015), “Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates warn about artificial intelligence,” Observer, http://observer.com/2015/08/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-and-bill-gates-warn-about-artificial-intelligence. 86The risks might be remote: Stuart Russell et al. (11 Jan 2015), “An open letter: Research priorities for robust and beneficial artificial intelligence,” Future of Life Institute, https://futureoflife.org/ai-open-letter. 86I am less worried about AI: These two essays talk about that: Ted Chiang (18 Dec 2017), “Silicon Valley is turning into its own worst fear,” BuzzFeed, https://www.buzzfeed.com/tedchiang/the-real-danger-to-civilization-isnt-ai-its-runaway.

If they are autonomous, they might be hacked to turn on each other or their human allies in large numbers. Weapons that can’t be recalled or turned off—and also operate at computer speeds—could cause all sorts of lethal problems for friend and foe alike. All of this comes together in artificial intelligence. Over the past few years, we’ve read some dire predictions about the dangers of AI. Technologists Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking, and philosopher Nick Bostrom, have all warned of a future where artificial intelligence—either as intelligent robots or as something less personified—becomes so powerful that it takes over the world and enslaves, exterminates, or ignores humanity. The risks might be remote, they argue, but they’re so serious that it would be foolish to ignore them. I am less worried about AI; I regard fear of AI more as a mirror of our own society than as a harbinger of the future.


pages: 431 words: 129,071

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, gig economy, greed is good, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Lyft, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Mother of all demos, Nixon shock, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

He was oozing kalokagathia and looked as Greekly perfect as that sexy Jesus I’d seen, all those months ago, hanging above my bed at Pluscarden. ‘And what are you going to mine?’ ‘We’re not trying to bring material back to Earth. We’re after hydrocarbons, water, nickel, iron. All the materials you’d need to build cities in space.’ ‘And you actually think we’ll live to see people living in space?’ ‘I think I’ll live another thirty years, yeah,’ he said. ‘Elon Musk wants to put people on Mars by 2026. Anyone else at any other time in history would’ve been mad to say that. But this is Elon Musk.’ I wondered about the influence of Ayn Rand among his fellow founders. Steve Jobs, for one, is said to have treated Atlas Shrugged as his ‘guide in life,’ whilst Travis Kalanick of Uber used the cover of The Fountainhead as his Twitter avatar. ‘Engineers and richer folk are often libertarian,’ he said. ‘It’s never been tried, this pure libertarianism that Ayn Rand was promoting.

Customers would send in a swab that would be genetically sequenced. Once the specific microbial species that made up their particular bacterial community was analysed, a personalized treatment would be delivered. Austen was immediately interested. He agreed to help not only with the technology but with business advice. He took a 10 per cent stake in her company. Word of his work spread further. He met Sergey Brin from Google, Elon Musk from Tesla and SpaceX and Jared Leto from the movies. He was invited to Richard Branson’s private island, where apparently he silenced the billionaire’s dinner table with his visions of an intentionally designed, synthetic future. He was interviewed by Fortune and NPR and Wired. CNN named his technology as one of its ‘Top Ten Ideas That Could Save Lives’. He became a frequent guest at tech conferences, one of which was Demo: New Tech Solving Big Problems.

And neither do the people around us who seem so intimidating in all their radiant perfection. Ultimately, we can all take comfort in the understanding that they’re not actually perfect, and that none of us ever will be. We’re not, as we’ve been promised, ‘as gods’. On the contrary, we’re animals but we think we’re not animals. We’re products of the mud. * Before I left Silicon Valley, I accompanied some residents of the Rainbow Mansion to a rocket launch. Elon Musk’s company SpaceX had been contracted to take a NASA satellite into orbit. As we drove south out of Cupertino, I watched as the blue dot on my smartphone’s map passed Big Sur and Esalen, not far to the west. With the highway running into the great Californian sky in front of us, I thought about the other journey I’d been on, which was now, finally, drawing to a close. It had followed the passage of one idea – that of power being centred on the individual, in denial of other forces – as it had enchanted an entire people for 2,500 years.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

“Whatever agreements not to use H-bombs had been reached in time of peace, they would no longer be considered binding in time of war,” acknowledged Albert Einstein and British philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1955, “for, if one side manufactured the bombs and the other did not, the side that manufactured them would inevitably be victorious.”131 Today, just 25 percent of Americans say they believe nuclear weapons can be eliminated.132 When a New York Times reporter asked Oppenheimer how he felt after the bomb was tested on July 16, 1945, the father of the atomic bomb said, “Lots of boys not grown up yet will owe their life to it.”133 After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Oppenheimer put out word that “the atomic bomb is so terrible a weapon that war is now impossible.”134 9 Destroying the Environment to Save It 1. “The Only Path” In spring 2015, Elon Musk walked on stage to loud applause from an audience of hundreds of supporters and invited guests. “What I’m going to talk about tonight,” he said, “is a fundamental transformation of how the world works, about how energy is delivered across Earth. “This is how it is today—it’s pretty bad.” He showed a graph of rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. “I think we collectively should do something about this and not try to win the Darwin Award.”

The low power densities of renewables are thus a problem not only for protecting the natural environment but also for maintaining human civilization. Human civilization would have to occupy one hundred to one thousand times more space if it were to rely solely on renewables. “This power density gap between fossil and renewable energies,” writes energy analyst Vaclav Smil, “leaves nuclear electricity generation as the only commercially proven non-fossil high-power-density alternative.”81 What about Elon Musk’s claim that an apparently tiny square of solar panels could power the United States? It was deeply misleading. If the only requirement was producing the same total electricity the United States currently does, regardless of time of day or season, Musk underestimated the required land area by 40 percent. Even if the solar panels were placed in the sunniest area of his sunniest option, the ecologically sensitive Sonoran Desert of Arizona, his solar farm would require an area larger than the state of Maryland.82 Musk misrepresented the amount of energy that would need to be stored.

., “Statement: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto,” July 9, 1955, presented at the 1st Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Pugwash, Nova Scotia, 1957, https://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto. 132. “CNN Poll: Public Divided on Eliminating All Nuclear Weapons,” CNN, April 12, 2010, http://www.cnn.com. 133. Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), 309. 134. Ibid., 317. 9: Destroying the Environment to Save It 1. Bryan Bishop and Josh Dzieza, “Tesla Energy Is Elon Musk’s Battery System That Can Power Homes, Businesses, and the World,” The Verge, May 1, 2015, https://www.theverge.com. 2. Tesla, “Tesla introduces Tesla Energy,” YouTube, May 2, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=82&v=NvCIhn7_FXI&feature=emb_logo. 3. H. J. Mai, “Tesla Powerwall, Powerpack deployment grows 81% to 415 MWh in Q2,” Utility Dive, July 30, 2019, https://www.utilitydive.com. 4.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

By contrast, he uses a yoga studio as an example of a business that cannot scale up and so is destined to stay small. As we have seen, Les Mills International had to adopt a very different business model from traditional gym businesses in order to grow to the size it did. The emphasis on network effects is an insight of Thiel’s that suggests that governments might become more important to company success in the future. One of Peter Thiel’s PayPal cofounders, Elon Musk, is currently involved in what might become one of the ultimate network businesses: self-driving, battery-powered cars. The network effect would be familiar to any nineteenth-century entrepreneur. Horses and carts needed a gigantic network of stables to feed and water the horses and repair the carts. Then gas-driven cars needed a gigantic network of garages and gas stations. Now, electric cars will need a network of charging stations.

Better, if they are inspired by and empathize with the leader, they will cooperate with each other and feed information up to the leader. This is why leadership is going to be so valued in an intangible economy. It can at best replace, and likely mitigate, the costly and possibly distortive aspects of managing by authority. A good example of the importance of leadership in an intangible age can be seen in the phenomenon sometimes called systems or systemic innovation. Elon Musk is sometimes described as a systems innovator, aspiring to develop new products in a number of related fields (electricity storage, solar power, electric cars) or in complex systems (space procurement, carbon credits). Systems innovation is also widely discussed in the not-for-profit sector, particularly as large-scale funders such as the Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies seek to change whole systems at once, such as public health in developing countries or city government.

There may also be a different strategy available to those governments fortunate enough to run sovereign wealth funds or large, endowed state pension funds. As we have seen, the largest institutional investors may be able to invest broadly across an ecosystem, knowing that they can benefit from spillovers of intangible investments even if an individual company they have backed does not. These larger national funds could be deployed to invest in particular ecosystems (in the way that Fidelity is reported to have invested across Elon Musk’s intangible-intensive business empire). Alongside these regulatory changes, we might cautiously hope for a cultural shift among the managers of large companies and institutional investors. The UK’s Purposeful Company project (Big Innovation Centre 2017) and the international initiative Focusing Capital on the Long Term have both argued for managers and large shareholders to be more willing to make long-term investments, particularly in intangible investments like R&D and organizational and human capital.


pages: 304 words: 91,566

Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich

"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game

Between his white paper, source code, blog posts, and emails to Bitcoin core developers, Satoshi had left a total of eighty thousand words behind on the internet, approximately the length of a novel. Yet despite all of this, he had left almost no personal clues. If he was a Japanese man, he wrote in idiomatic, flawless English that alternated between American spellings and British spellings. The time stamps of his writings revealed no particular time zone. Investigative journalists had named at least fifteen people as possible alter egos to the mysterious inventor, including Elon Musk, the Tesla billionaire, and Hal Finney, a game designer and cryptographer who had received the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi in 2009; but none of these leads had led anywhere. “To me,” Voorhees said, “the mystery surrounding Satoshi is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug. The beauty of Bitcoin is that it is not built around Satoshi, it’s not built around anyone. To understand Bitcoin, you only need to understand Bitcoin.”

Having interned at PayPal while still a student at Stanford, he’d gone on to work at Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital, and later had cofounded Palantir Technologies with Thiel and Alex Karp. Both Lonsdale and Thiel were chess geniuses known to battle it out with each other for hours on end. Thiel himself was, of course, a Valley legend, having founded PayPal, and was considered the “don” of the “PayPal Mafia”—a group of PayPal alums who’d gone on to start a slew of world-changing companies. The group included Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), David Sacks (Yammer), Ken Howery (Founders Fund), Max Levchin (Yelp), and others. Thiel also happened to have been the first investor in Facebook; he turned a $500,000 check into a billion-dollar investment, a mind-blowing 13,000x return. At the dinner, Naval had told the twins about the company he had cofounded in 2010, called AngelList, a meeting place for investors and entrepreneurs—something Business Insider had once called “Match.com for investors.”

Before he could tell his brother what he was thinking, Naval caught sight of them from one of the couches and walked over, bringing with him the cohost of the evening: Bill Lee. A handsome Taiwanese-American entrepreneur and investor, Lee had sold his first company for $265 million during the dot-com frenzy in the late 1990s. After that, he had exited to the Dominican Republic, where he’d bought a hotel and surfed for two years. Upon his return, Lee had promptly backed his best friend Elon Musk’s new startups: Tesla and SpaceX. A few years later, he would marry Al Gore’s youngest daughter. Lee was probably one of the most influential yet under-the-radar people in the Valley—virtually unknown to the outside world. Inside the Valley, he cut his own image—imbued with a style that strayed far from the khaki pants of the VCs on Sand Hill Road, or the hacker hoodies of the Facebook set. At the moment, he was wearing a distressed leather jacket over a white T-shirt, and a beaded necklace around his tan neck.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Immigration, meanwhile, not only allows foreigners to share in the American Dream, which is something we should value for its own sake, but may also fuel economic growth.16 Low-skilled workers tend to bid down wages for low-skilled work, which sounds bad until you remember that this lowers the cost of the products we all buy. And high-skilled workers bring us all the benefits of their ability, which includes starting new businesses (see the careers of Andrew Carnegie, PayPal’s Elon Musk, Intel’s Andy Grove, and Google’s Sergey Brin, among many others). But we should not paint a one-sided picture. Although the inequality critics highlight the restrictions on economic liberty of the post-war era (more on that shortly), in many ways it was an era of growing economic freedom. This is difficult to quantify, but the best attempt to date comes from economist Leandro Prados de la Escosura, who has constructed a Historical Index of Economic Liberty (HIEL) similar to indexes produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Fraser Institute that try to measure economic freedom today.

The greatest contributors to production are not those who supply physical labor but those who contribute ideas—new theories, inventions, tools, businesses, and methods—to the productive process. We can see this most clearly when we look at the role of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur seeks out new profit opportunities, often introducing new products, new services, or new ways of doing business. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates (Microsoft), Elon Musk (PayPal), and Richard Branson (Virgin) are the risk takers and trailblazers who start new businesses and even new industries. The word “entrepreneur” comes from the French word entreprendre, which means to “undertake” and is thought to have been coined by the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say. According to Say, the entrepreneur is the “master-agent.” He sets a business enterprise in motion, often risking his own wealth along with that of other investors.

If you are motivated in Silicon Valley, [then] you can make it, period.”35 What matters in the Valley is not where you were born or where (or even whether) you went to college. What matters is your ability. Talent is the currency of Silicon Valley, and individuals there use their talent to move us forward, pioneering revolutionary achievements in social media, big data, personalized health care, biotechnology, smartphones, mobile commerce, cloud technology, and 3D printing, to name just a few. Silicon Valley is the place creators like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Peter Thiel go to make a fortune by inventing the future. What made it all possible? No doubt there are many forces at work, but one enormous factor is the extent to which the government has kept its hands off the Valley. Perry Piscione points out the benefits of “the lack of heavy government regulation that would typically favor the interests of established banks, companies, and labor unions” over young upstarts.36 People are free to act on their ideas and compete on ability, without having to wade through a minefield of government permissions before launching their ventures.


pages: 579 words: 183,063

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss

23andMe, A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, dematerialisation, don't be evil, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Google Hangouts, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, helicopter parent, high net worth, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, index fund, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, non-fiction novel, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Turing machine, uber lyft, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Today, Wait But Why receives more than 1.5 million unique visitors per month and has over 550,000 email subscribers. Tim has gained a number of prominent readers as well, like authors Sam Harris and Susan Cain, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, TED curator Chris Anderson, and Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova. Tim’s series of posts after interviewing Elon Musk have been called by Vox’s David Roberts “the meatiest, most fascinating, most satisfying posts I’ve read in ages.” You can start with the first one, “Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man.” Tim’s TED Talk, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” has received more than 21 million views. * * * What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, because of the two main characters in the book—Howard Roark and Peter Keating.

I think the key to life is to figure out when it makes sense to save mental energy and be like Keating (I’m super conforming in my clothing choices because it’s not something that’s important to me) and when in life it really matters to be like Roark and reason independently (choosing your career path, picking your life partner, deciding how to raise your kids, etc.). The Fountainhead was a major influence when I wrote a long blog post about why I think Elon Musk is so successful. To me, he’s like Roark—he’s tremendous at reasoning from first principles. In the post, I call this being a “chef” (someone who experiments with ingredients and comes up with a new recipe). Musk is unusually cheflike. Most of us spend most of our lives being like Keating, or what I call a “cook” (someone who follows someone else’s recipe). We’d all be happier and more successful if we could learn to be chefs more often—which just takes some self-awareness of the times we’re being a cook and an epiphany that it’s not actually as scary as it seems to reason independently and act on it.

I think swimming in the middle lane happens most often in people’s 30s or 40s, a stage where you begin crafting your own language for what you do as an increasingly “strong poet”—you make your craft your own and view your life as more self-expression than simply playing out other people’s roles for you. And then some small percentage of people will paddle over to the lane next to chaos, the place where you find novelists Robert Pirsig and David Foster Wallace, investors like Mike Burry or Eddie Lampert, or entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. I experience them as consistently “asserting reality” through their powerful storytelling, while always bearing the risk that their egos grow too big and their creative narcissism becomes too well defended. They can lose their feedback loop with reality and flop onto the bank of chaos. Through this lens, Pirsig’s wrestling with his sanity toward the end of his life, Steve Jobs’ magical thinking about his illness, and Eddie Lampert’s Ayn Randian framing of his investment in Sears may all have been examples of strong poets losing their feel for where they can mythologize to the point of bending our collective reality and where they suddenly appear crazy.


pages: 183 words: 51,514

Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin, Leonard David

Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, Elon Musk, gravity well, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Ronald Reagan, telepresence, telerobotics, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, X Prize

The long-term results of this ‘first’ are beyond our ability to see at the beginning of this era, but there is no doubt that it will serve as a huge incentive for young people who now have firm evidence of the value, and opportunity for individual initiative,” he added. “Near-Earth space is now firmly a regular part of the human environment along with the air, water, and land. The future is now, once again, opened to imagination, creativity, and dreams!” I applaud all these comments and see the achievement by commercial rocketeer Elon Musk and his SpaceX team as a first step. Others will follow, cultivating new capabilities that drive down costs and further secure a private-sector toehold in low Earth orbit. Buzz Aldrin salutes the flag at Tranquillity Base: his proudest moment. (Illustration Credit 3.13) CHAPTER FOUR DREAMS OF MY MOON People often ask me to recount my Apollo 11 moonwalking experiences, my reminiscences of being on the moon.

SpaceX is developing private Mars operations. (Illustration Credit 7.8) Here an artist’s rendering depicts Dragon spacecraft on the planet. (Illustration Credit 7.9) Red Dragon: A Private Affair With Mars The reach for Mars need not be a governmental event. One private-sector plan is being led by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a U.S. commercial space firm birthed in June 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk. He gained his fortunes, in part, from co-founding and then selling PayPal, the online money transfer and payment system. In May 2012 SpaceX made history when its Dragon spacecraft flew atop the company’s Falcon 9 booster to become the first commercial vehicle to rendezvous with and then attach to the International Space Station. Dragon is a free-flying, reusable spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.


Moon Rush: The New Space Race by Leonard David

agricultural Revolution, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, multiplanetary species, out of africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics

The space agency could use it to send humans to Mars, thus enabling the economic development of the Moon at a small marginal cost. A commercial lunar base providing propellant in lunar orbit would reduce the cost to NASA of sending humans to Mars by as much as $10 billion a year. Of course, the space agency needs to devote the up-front resources to build such a base. Over the past few years since the study was published, the situation has improved, says Miller, pointing to space tech luminaries like Elon Musk with SpaceX and Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin. Both space entrepreneurs are pushing forward with plans to develop boosters capable of reaching the Moon. “We went to the Moon in the 1960s as a race between nations,” Miller says. “The best way to go back to the Moon is to set up a race between billionaires.” * * * JEFF BEZOS, the retail billionaire of Amazon.com fame and fortune, is also head of Blue Origin, a company with big plans to pioneer the space frontier.

He suggests that one delivery spot could be Shackleton crater, at the lunar south pole—a location that contains ice for fuel and logistics support, mineral compounds for developing structures, and near-continuous sunlight for power generation. Shackleton crater and other locations like it offer pragmatic proving grounds for judging deep-space exploration technologies in close proximity to Earth. Not to be outdone, Elon Musk, founder and leader of the California-based firm SpaceX, also has company crosshairs on the Moon. “Having some permanent presence on another heavenly body, which would be the kind of Moon base, and then getting people to Mars and beyond—that’s the continuance of the dream of Apollo that I think people are really looking for,” Musk says. On September 17, 2018, SpaceX announced that fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa will be the company’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon in 2023.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

Let’s start by observing that many smart people are thinking about the robot-filled society of the future, and that they are widely distributed on the basic question of whether we are all going to hell in a handbasket. Our news culture being what it is, we tend to hear the opinions of celebrity thinkers and innovators the most, and particularly when they are willing to thrill us with a good scare. Thus the statement by Elon Musk that AI represents “our biggest existential threat” was probably the most repeated quote of 2014. Right on its heels was Stephen Hawking’s warning that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” and Bill Gates’s musing that “I don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” Many thinkers, however, are less famous and less frightened (and therefore give up any headline-grabbing impact or opinion).

Soon enough, the idea will occur to some ambitious knowledge worker that she could delegate portions of her job to a personal robot and be twice as productive as her colleagues. It’s arguably a logical extension of the “bring your own device” movement. Should her employer forbid that (or encourage it)? Is it something the Department of Labor or its Occupational Safety and Health Administration needs to rule on? Sitting a layer above our need to answer such questions is our need to figure out how they should be answered, and by whom. Speaking at a 2014 MIT event, Elon Musk said, “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.” But issues of governance will arise in every setting where smart machines take over tasks from humans, and we doubt they can all be answered by governments. And in the meantime, of course, Musk’s company continues to program autonomous driving capabilities into Teslas.

Yet it is also true that seventy years after the use of the atomic bomb, there is no global agency or organization with the power to regulate the use of nuclear weapons. (Even the International Atomic Energy Agency holds sway only over those countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.) Is it possible that, seventy years from now—deep into that time frame when AI experts expect machine superintelligence to exist—no global mechanisms will exist to contain a technology that Elon Musk calls “potentially more dangerous than nukes”? We’re encouraging the many convenings that are happening already to surface the decisions that must be made about artificial intelligence and its impacts—and the more international they are, the better. When a major business-oriented conference like the Global Drucker Forum focuses on a theme like “Claiming our Humanity in the Digital Age,” that can only be for the good.


pages: 315 words: 99,065

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership by Richard Branson

barriers to entry, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, clean water, collective bargaining, Costa Concordia, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, index card, inflight wifi, Lao Tzu, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, trade route, zero-sum game

And as if all that were not enough, the influential ‘Consumer Reports’ magazine ranked the Tesla as ‘the best we have ever tested’ with a ninety-nine per cent overall rating. Rate this one an A on all counts. Of course Tesla is not Elon Musk’s first big success at breaking new ground in emerging industries. His vision of creating a new form of payment to accommodate the unique requirements of online retail sales started life as X.com and soon morphed into PayPal. His other current major dream coming true is SpaceX, which, along similar lines to Virgin Galactic, is developing a private sector satellite launch vehicle to take over where NASA left off. There is even talk of Musk merging his PayPal and space ventures with PayPal Galactic to tackle the challenges of ‘off-Earth’ payments – I will have to give some more thought to that one! In any case Elon Musk’s successes at Tesla, PayPal and Space-X only serve to demonstrate the incredible results that can flow from vision and leadership coming together in one inspired individual with the assistance of an army of equally inspired followers.

Our initial $10 million investment to start what would become Virgin Blue – now rebranded Virgin Australia – turned out to be one of the smartest we have ever made. Putting it differently, I suppose, with tongue firmly in cheek I could say it was a classic case of, ‘Screw It, Let’s Blue It.’ Sorry! ENVISAGING VISIONARIES Brett is just one of many true visionaries I have been lucky to know with the passion, drive, focus and skills to turn their often seemingly impossible dreams into game-changing realities. Like a lot of people before him, Elon Musk had a vision to build a commercially viable electric car. This is a space in which all the early movers have focused their attention on the mass market by developing affordable, compact fuel-saving vehicles almost completely devoid of anything in the way of sex appeal. Musk decided instead to come at it from the premium sports car end of the market and over time move into more mainstream vehicles.


pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

[242] website in April 2017 alone: “The History of FIRE / Financial Independence, Retire Early.” 8 May. 2017, toreset.me/242. A brilliant blog post explaining in detail the history of the FIRE movement. [243] Which?: “Which? – Wikipedia.” toreset.me/243. [244] Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis: “Martin Lewis (financial journalist) – Wikipedia.” toreset.me/244. [245] SpaceX: “SpaceX.” toreset.me/245. [246] Elon Musk: “Elon Musk – Wikipedia.” toreset.me/246. [247] “deep pits”: “An International Portfolio from The Escape Artist – jlcollinsnh.” 12 Jan. 2018, toreset.me/247. JL Collins is one of my FI heroes, author of The Simple Path to Wealth and the person who introduced me to the liberating idea of F.U. Money. [248] Build your assets: “Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids... – Amazon UK.” toreset.me/248, p. 85.

Over the past two years living in Glasgow, I’ve asked hundreds of people if they’ve ever heard of the financial independence movement or Mr. Money Mustache. Not a single one has answered yes. I hope RESET will change that. Yes, much you will have heard before, no it’s not about being tight, and yes, some of it’s just common sense. But so’s rocket science, when you think about it, and I imagine – unless you’re SpaceX[245] founder Elon Musk[246] – you need instructions before you begin. Benefits F.U. Money brings freedom. You can live the lifestyle you want. It gives you options. As a friend of mine says: “Money gives you time tokens.” You can work for people and towards goals you like and respect. Financial independence gives you the power to lead life on your own terms. Getting your early retirement plan with a measurable goal will make your journey through life, the struggle, taste that much sweeter.


pages: 831 words: 98,409

SUPERHUBS: How the Financial Elite and Their Networks Rule Our World by Sandra Navidi

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, diversification, East Village, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, family office, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google bus, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, high net worth, hindsight bias, income inequality, index fund, intangible asset, Jaron Lanier, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, McMansion, mittelstand, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Network effects, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Parag Khanna, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, The Predators' Ball, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, women in the workforce, young professional

Kirsten Grind, “’Bond King’ Bill Gross Loses Showdown at Firm,” Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2014, http://www.wsj.com/articles/bond-king-bill-gross-loses-showdown-at-firm-1411773652. 28. Barbara Kiviat, “Even Bond Guru Bill Gross Can’t Escape,” Time, September 18, 2008, http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1842501,00.xhtml. 29. Robert Frank, “Elon Musk’s Ex-Wife on Secret to Getting Rich: ‘Be Obsessed,’” CNBC, April 20, 2015, http://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/20/elon-musks-ex-wife-on-secret-to-getting-rich-be-obsessed.xhtml. 30. Ray Dalio, Principles. 31. Michelle Celarier & Lawrence Delevingne, “Ray Dalio’s Culture of Radical Truth,” Institutional Investor, March 2, 2011, http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/2775995/Ray-Dalios-radical-truth.xhtml. 32. Kevin Roose, “Pursuing Self-Interest in Harmony with the Laws of the Universe and Contributing to Evolution Is Universally Rewarded,” New York, April 10, 2011, http://nymag.com/news/business/wallstreet/ray-dalio-2011-4. 33.

But having a branded star manager who is synonymous with the fund also highlights the perils of key-man risk. So what is the moral of the story? Even the most talented fund manager must employ a minimum of interpersonal skills and build a network of loyal supporters to call in favors, accumulated in the form of social capital, when the time comes. ON A MONOMANIACAL MISSION: RAY DALIO Another common superhub trait is an ability to focus excessively on one idea. Perhaps Elon Musk’s ex-wife, Justine, put it best when she said that “extreme success results from an extreme personality.” But their chief characteristic, according to Justine, can be summed up in two words: Be obsessed. “People who are obsessed with a problem or issue can work through all the distractions and barriers that life puts in their way. And that obsession needs to be your own, to the point where it borders on insanity.”29 One superhub with an extreme focus is eccentric money manager Ray Dalio.


pages: 410 words: 101,260