X Prize

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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

Vanguard Spacecraft, Eagle, three-stage rocket z6. Whalen Aeronautics, Inc., unknown, unknown By early 2003, with the x PRIZE competition well under way and generating much media attention, Diamandis began to think about what would come next. Now there was too much momentum and media buzz not to keep the ball rolling and plan for the future. He envisioned an annual event of competing suborbital vehicle teams vying for several prizes, perhaps fifty to a hundred launches occurring over a two-week period. It would be called the x PRIZE Cup, the space equivalent of the America's Cup for sailing or the NASCAR auto circuit races. The X PRIZE Cup would serve as a catalyst for further development among the Ansari x PRIZE teams and foster innovation in space technology. It would also be a means to further global recognition for the Foundation and generate economic growth at the hosting event site.

On z9 September 2004 an even larger crowd of tens of thousands, including celebrities and hundreds of reporters, gathered at predawn in the cold Mojave Desert to see the first of the x PRIZE flights. 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.

On the other hand, Jim Tighe and the rest of the engineers had to go back to the simulator and wrestle with Melvill's control issues. They needed to demonstrate a clean, controlled flight. A few days after, Tighe had it fixed. It was now up to the pilot to deliver in practice. In between the two SpaceShipOne x PRIZE launches, the x PRIZE staff went back to Los Angeles and Santa Monica for a breather. On the evening of the final launch, Kobrick and Owens were back in the makeshift Mojave X PRIZE office. Maryniak and Angel Panlasigui, then x PRIZE office manager, were preparing all the memorabilia that was to fly as ballast to make up the weight requirement in place of the two other passengers. Kobrick recalled, "When she was getting that ready, she turns to Brooke and myself and said `Hey, is there anything you guys want to fly, something small?'


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

Louis was not a scalable or traceable design to the Pan Am Clipper.” Even if winning the X Prize was not as impressive as it seemed on its face, the flight of SpaceShipOne provided a compelling counterpoint to a dismal string of recent space disappointments, and a lever to wedge commercial companies into the US space program. Rutan had confronted then–NASA administrator Dan Goldin in person at the X Prize announcement in 1996, asserting that “NASA” should be pronounced “nay say” for its lack of risk-taking. Goldin, who had spent much of his tenure battling just that attitude to get the agency to move faster and accept the chance of failure, could only protest that things had changed. After all, he had endorsed the X Prize and stepped in with NASA support as Diamandis worked to keep the contest alive.

In 2000, after several years of talk, Rutan convinced Allen that this design would succeed. The billionaire funded a joint venture to build SpaceShipOne and win the X Prize. Allen would eventually put $20 million into the project; he hoped to jump-start a new age of commercial space. In the summer of 2004, the space shuttle was still grounded when Scaled Composites’ sixty-four-year-old test pilot Mike Melvill pulled the lever that dropped SpaceShipOne from its mother ship. He rocketed into space for the first time, reaching an altitude of just over a hundred kilometers. They were the first and indeed only of the rag-tag band of X Prize competitors to actually get to space, but winning the prize required they do so twice in fourteen days. They chose the last week in September, just three months later, to make a double attempt, with the requisite media hoopla and VIPs on hand.

As for Musk, he had invested some money in the contest itself, as part of his agenda of keeping the public eye on space projects. But he had never directed his company to participate. A month after the prizewinning flights, he told a reporter that “at the end of the day, it would have been a distraction. I can make more money in contracts and revenues than I could winning the X Prize.” Despite the optimism that the X Prize produced, the reality was that the private rocketeers still lagged behind the US government. After all, Rutan had essentially replicated what the military had done four decades before. The edge of space remained just that—the edge. Getting there was symbolic but hardly monetizable in the way putting a satellite into orbit was. SpaceShipOne’s maximum velocity was just over one thousand miles per hour, hardly enough to escape earth’s gravity and reach orbit.


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

“I wanted all three of these guys to be astronauts.” The curious-looking vehicle was Rutan’s entrant in the contest known as the Ansari X Prize, which was modeled after the $25,000 Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won for his epic, across-the-Atlantic flight in 1927. Instead of crossing an ocean, the finish line of the X Prize would be reaching an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles), the barrier considered the edge of space. The winner of the $10 million contest would have to fly a manned spacecraft to that height, land it safely, and then do it again within two weeks. Another rule was that the spacecraft had to be built with private funds—not government money. The organizers of the X Prize hoped that just as Lindbergh’s flight had touched off a revolution in commercial aviation, their contest would spark a new commercial space movement, one that finally would end the government’s monopoly on space.

Smitten with SpaceShipOne, and confident that Rutan could build him an even bigger and better spacecraft, one capable of taking fleets of tourists into the cosmos, Branson made Allen a generous offer for the rights to the technology behind SpaceShipOne. “Flying test pilots, I understand,” Allen recalled. “But paying-man-on-the-street-type passengers, I wanted to leave that to someone else.” Allen would see the X Prize through, but then he was eager to move on to other ventures. So, he sold the rights in a deal worth up to $25 million over fifteen years. Branson, who had added Virgin Galactic to the list of companies he ran under the Virgin brand, quickly had the Virgin logo painted on SpaceShipOne just in time for its X Prize flights. BY SEPTEMBER, RUTAN’S team was done with test flights and was ready to go for the money. To win the $10 million Ansari X Prize, SpaceShip­One would have to fly to space twice in two weeks, while reusing at least 80 percent of the vehicle. Rutan decided to go with Siebold for the first prize flight.

Getting everyone’s calendar in sync, however, was a nightmare. But, finally, they settled on a date—February 14, 2006. Valentine’s Day. Apparently romance isn’t foremost on the mind of these space tycoons, John Gedmark thought. Just out of graduate school, the twenty-three-year-old intern at the X Prize Foundation had the unenviable task of arranging the seating in SpaceX’s cramped conference room. Gedmark had sketched out the seating by hand on a yellow legal pad. Elon was at the head of the table; as host, he earned that right. To his left was Peter Diamandis, the organizer of the Ansari X Prize. Robert Bigelow, the multimillionaire founder of Budget Suites of America, who wanted to build hotels in space, sat across from the Virgin Galactic representatives. John Carmack, the programmer behind such video games as Quake and Doom, sat near the middle.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

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

Two years later, Anousheh Ansari herself became the fourth space tourist when she traveled to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Since then, X Prize challenges have proliferated. After giving a talk at Google, Diamandis was approached by a guy in a T-shirt who said, “Let’s have lunch.” It was Larry Page, the Google CEO, who has since helped extend the scope of the X Prize to address humanity’s broad challenges in health, energy, and the environment. In addition to Larry Page, the board of trustees includes film director James Cameron, media guru Arianna Huffington, and astronaut Richard Garriott. Figure 20. The X Prize and emerging commercial space ventures are keeping NASA on its toes. This prototype for a lunar electric rover is designed to support a future lunar base. It will allow two astronauts to eat, sleep, and travel for two weeks, and the rover will be able to cover thousands of miles and navigate slopes of up to 40 degrees.

The current competition Diamandis is most excited about is the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, awarding $10 million to a working version of Dr. McCoy’s medical device from Star Trek. By talking to the device, coughing into it, or doing a skin prick, it will measure vital functions and diagnose fifteen diseases more accurately than a board-certified doctor. A true tricorder device hasn’t been developed, but there has been a recent explosion of health-monitoring and diagnostic apps for smartphones. “Ultimately this is about democratizing access to health care around the world,” says Diamandis, and he notes that, as with space travel, “The technology is evolving much faster than the regulations are.”13 The only “failed” competition was the Archon Genomics X Prize to accurately sequence 100 genomes in ten days or fewer, at a cost of less than $1,000 per genome.

He was drawn to the challenge of suborbital space flight because, as he put it in a 2010 interview, “We can achieve some breakthroughs by making such flight orders of magnitude safer and orders of magnitude more affordable.”5 He has noted that in 1961 Alan Shepard flew into space in a small capsule and ten years later was golfing on the Moon. Progress in that decade seemed unstoppable. He thinks that if you’d told someone in 1971 that now we’d be buying rides into space from the Russians, it would have seemed like heresy. In the late 1990s, Rutan approached the billionaire Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen with the idea of competing for the Ansari X Prize. A California foundation had offered $10 million to the first organization to fly a manned spacecraft 100 kilometers high twice in a two-week window. Rutan wanted to avoid the complications of a rocket launch from the ground by using a large airplane to carry the rocket to a moderately high altitude and then letting the rocket do the rest. Landing, however, was a challenge. He wanted to avoid an unguided parachute descent and he preferred not to use the heavy heat shields employed by the Space Shuttle and Soyuz vehicles.


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

In November 2004, Mojave Aerospace Ventures won the prize with its SpaceShipOne spacecraft. Virgin Galactic is currently using the successors to this design to enable commercial space flight, which will cost $250,000 a ticket and is planned for the end of 2014. After the success of the Ansari X Prize, more X Prizes were created. One of X Prize’s current offerings is the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which will award $10 million to the first team whose handheld medical diagnostic device outperforms ten board-certified physicians. Currently, twenty-one teams are competing for the grand prize. The recently launched X Prize spinoff HeroX takes this model even further, allowing companies to create their own challenges through the HeroX platform to solve local and global challenges. An incentive prize creates a clear, measurable and objective goal, and offers a cash purse for the first team to reach that objective.

Organizations can also use work.com (a Salesforce company), in which gamification is fully integrated, or Keas, which was specifically created to improve employee wellness. Incentive competitions are another form of engagement that has been recently popularized by the X Prize Foundation and others. This engagement technique is typically used to find promising people in the crowd and move them into the community. Competitions are also used to challenge, leverage and motivate the community in order to solicit potentially radical breakthrough ideas. For Peter Diamandis, it all started with the Ansari X Prize, which rewarded $10 million to the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Twenty-six teams from around the world participated, and contestants included everyone from hobbyists to large-corporation-backed teams.

Even if the company somehow manages to achieve an impressive level of growth, the scale of its business will quickly outpace its business model and leave the company lost and directionless. Thus, ExOs must aim high. That’s why, when we look at the position statements of existing Exponential Organizations, we encounter statements of purpose that might have seemed outrageous in years past: TED: “Ideas worth spreading.” Google: “Organize the world’s information.” X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” Quirky: “Make invention accessible.” Singularity University: “Positively impact one billion people.” At first glance, these statements may seem to align with the trend in recent years to rewrite corporate statements to be shorter, simpler and more generalized. But on closer inspection, you’ll note that each of the statements is also very aspirational.


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

(To prove that the solution was a durable one, the prizewinner had to complete the mission successfully twice in two weeks.) Eight years after Diamandis announced the competition, the Ansari X Prize was awarded to the creators of SpaceShipOne, led by aerospace legend Burt Rutan and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. Not only did SpaceShipOne break the government monopoly on space travel, it has also helped spur almost $2 billion in public and private funding for the civilian spaceflight industry, just as Lindbergh’s flight helped usher in the age of commercial air travel. Today the X Prize Foundation offers more than $100 million in prize-backed challenges that reward innovation in genomics, personal health care technology, automobile energy efficiency, and oil cleanup. Google has cosponsored a $30 million Lunar X Prize for the first group that can successfully land a robot on the moon. The foundation has dozens of prizes in development as well, some of them focused on attention-grabbing feats like space or deep-ocean exploration, but others rewarding breakthroughs in education and the life sciences.

That makes those goals vulnerable to the whims of an individual tyrant, or the blurred vision of isolated bureaucrats, or the echo chamber of groupthink. Those problems disappear, however, if the goals are defined by a peer network as well. That’s exactly the approach taken by the most celebrated sponsor of prize-backed challenges in the modern age: the X Prize Foundation. Now the source of dozens of million-dollar prizes in a wide range of fields, the organization took its original inspiration from the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 for the first successful transatlantic flight. The X Prizes began in the mid-1990s, when the aerospace engineer and entrepreneur Peter H. Diamandis announced a competition that would spur innovation in the then nonexistent private-spaceflight industry. Ten million dollars would be awarded to any group that could carry three people beyond the earth’s atmosphere, approximately sixty-two miles above the surface of the planet.

The foundation prides itself on the way it develops its new prizes, drawing on a peer network of diverse interests to “ensure the input of a variety of perspectives.” The network of advisers that created the Lunar X Prize included Internet entrepreneurs, technology historians, NASA officials, MIT aeronautics professors, and pioneers in the private-spaceflight industry. Each prize emerges out of an intense, layered process: researching the field and defining worthy problems, and then crystallizing the best set of objectives for the prize that will capture the attention of would-be winners as well as the wider public. The X Prize founders may have been inspired by the Orteig Prize and the Spirit of St. Louis, but the peer networks they have formed are truly the descendants of those eleven men in that Covent Garden coffeehouse, trying to bring more madder plants to the British Isles.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, disruptive innovation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

When it comes to the longevity meme, at least two of Diamandis’s nonprofit start-ups are making a direct impact. In addition to SU, Diamandis’s other relevant nonprofit for longevity science is the X PRIZE, which was originally focused on space. The X PRIZE, an incentive prize, began by offering $10 million for “the first privately financed team that could build a three-passenger vehicle and fly it 100 kilometers into space twice within a 2-week period.”24 Since that prize was successfully won by Burt Rutan (backed by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen), the organization has branched out to tackle other issues. The second prize is a $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE. Why genomics? As Diamandis puts it, “Our goal is to greatly reduce the cost, and increase the speed of, human genome sequencing. This achievement will unleash a new era of personalized, predictive and preventive medicine, eventually transforming medical care from reactive to proactive.”25 In an interview on the subject, Diamandis says, “Personally, I am excited to be alive during a period of human evolution where we have the potential to extend life indefinitely.”26 A physician by training, Diamandis’s interest in longevity was sparked, he says, in his twenties when he watched a television program about turtles, according to which some species can lives hundreds of years.

When he was interviewed for this book, he had just returned from a “Zero-G” flight with Hollywood director James Cameron and had recently met with X PRIZE Genomics cochair Dr. J. Craig Venter, of Human Genome Project fame. Whether he thinks about it or not, Diamandis is clearly leveraging his relationships to promote the healthy longevity meme. Supporters of the Genomics X PRIZE listed on the organization’s Web site include theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking and former CNN interview show host Larry King. Connected to the cause by Diamandis, both Hawking and King act as salespeople for the cause.28 For instance, Hawking says, “You may know that I am suffering from what is known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is thought to have a genetic component to its origin. It is for this reason that I am a supporter of the $10M Archon Genomics X PRIZE to drive rapid human genome sequencing.

This prize and the resulting technology can help bring about an era of personalized medicine.”29 Larry King goes straight to the point when he asks, “What if we could learn how to stop heart disease from happening? What if we were able to reduce a person’s likelihood of cardiovascular disease based on his or her genetic profile, as well as on the individual’s age, gender, and lifestyle?”30 King continues, “It is my hope that by supporting the Archon Genomics X PRIZE to drive rapid human genome sequencing that we can get answers to these questions and help our Foundation save more lives in the years to come.”31 The message is that healthy life extension is possible, and the Genomics X PRIZE is contributing to achieving that goal. Just as maven Ray Kurzweil is teamed up with connector Peter Diamandis, until recently Aubrey de Grey was teamed up with entrepreneur David Gobel. After meeting de Grey online in 2000, Gobel was inspired to start a nonprofit to support life-extension efforts, and in 2003 the pair launched the Mprize, which is awarded to either of two categories: “the research team that breaks the world record for the oldest-ever mouse” (longevity) and the research team that creates “the best-ever late-onset intervention” (rejuvenation).32 Like Diamandis, Gobel is a big believer in incentive prizes and even goes as far as to say, “If you want to end cancer, what you would need is a 20 billion dollar prize issued by the government.


pages: 401 words: 115,959

Philanthrocapitalism by Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, Bill Clinton

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, business process outsourcing, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, don't be evil, family office, financial innovation, full employment, global pandemic, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Live Aid, lone genius, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass affluent, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Singer: altruism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, working poor, World Values Survey, X Prize

The X Prize Foundation plans to prescreen all applicants, to reduce the risk of them coming up with prize-winning solutions that won’t generate the intended social impact. That risks deterring the sort of out-of-the-box thinkers that prizes may be the best means to attract, however, though the X Prize Foundation says that it “wants to attract mavericks” and by May 2007 had already received over three hundred expressions of interest in its new automotive prize. The X Prize Foundation insists it will be able to design suitable competition rules. “Anything worth achieving can be stated as a goal and measured,” says Tom Vander Ark, who became president of the X Prize Foundation after leaving the Gates Foundation. A good prize, he says, must be important, offer significant benefit to humanity, and be measurable and fundable (the reward needs to reflect how much it would cost to develop the solution).

The race to win a £20,000 prize offered by the British Parliament in the eighteenth century for a solution to how to measure longitude, and the struggle of clockmaker John Harrison to convince the government-appointed panel that he had won, is described in Dava Sobel’s 1995 bestseller, Longitude. Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic in 1927 to win a $25,000 prize offered by Raymond Orteig, a hotelier. Now they are back in fashion. The breakthrough moment came when SpaceShipOne won the $10 million X Prize, created by Peter Diamandis, for the first privately funded space flight. In October 2006, the X Prize Foundation launched its second prize, for genomics: $10 million to the first inventor able to sequence a hundred human genomes in ten days. In March 2007 it launched another $10 million prize, for designing “super-efficient cars that people want to buy.” By 2012, the foundation plans to launch a further ten prizes, worth a combined $200 million in areas ranging from space and medicine to education, energy, and entrepreneurship.

The efficiency of a car engine can be defined in terms of a miles-per-gallon equivalent. But, as the X Prize Foundation may soon discover, coming up with a clear, testable, and useful challenge in, say, education is difficult. Developing guidelines for such hard-to-measure prizes is one reason why the foundation says it needs $50 million for its operating costs, which will support a staff of forty “prize experts” who will identify suitable prizes, write the rules, and try to generate public excitement. In one notorious case, a nanotechnology prize was devised by legendary physicist Richard Feynman for designing a micro-engine. The prize was won but the successful solution was not replicable, and was thus of no use. The X Prize Foundation plans to prescreen all applicants, to reduce the risk of them coming up with prize-winning solutions that won’t generate the intended social impact.


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

The problems are like the small ads on the world’s least romantic lonely-hearts website: ‘A technology is desired that produces a pleasant scent upon stretching of an elastomer film’ ($50,000); ‘Surface chemistry for optical biosensor with high binding capacity and specificity is required’ ($60,000). Then there are more glamorous prizes, such as those under the aegis of the non-profit X Prize Foundation. The Archon X Prize for genomics will be awarded to the team that can sequence 100 human genomes within ten days at a cost of $10,000 per genome. That is unimaginably quicker and cheaper than the first private genomic sequencing in 2000, which took nine months and cost $100m for a single human genome. (Craig Venter, the director of that effort, is one of the backers of the new prize.) But it is the kind of leap forward that would be necessary to usher in an era of personalised medicine, in which doctors could prescribe drugs and give advice in full knowledge of each patient’s genetic susceptibilities.

Another prize will be awarded to the manufacturer of a popular mass-production car that has a fuel efficiency of 100 miles per gallon. The prize-giving model is the same each time. The X Prize Foundation identifies a goal and finds sponsors; it announces a prize and whips up the maximum possible enthusiasm, with the aim of generating far more investment than the prize itself; the prize achieved, it hands out the award with great fanfare and moves on to set other challenges. The prize winner is left with intellectual property intact, and may capitalise on the commercial value of that intellectual property, if any commercial value exists. ‘One of the goals of the prize is to transform the way people think,’ says Bob Weiss, vice-chairman of the X Prize Foundation. ‘We were trying to create a sea-change.’ They have certainly made an impact. And others have trodden a similar path.

Slung under that eggshell-wing, between White Knight’s catamaran-style twin hulls, was a stubby little appendage, SpaceShipOne. Inside it sat a 63-year-old man named Mike Melvill. The age of private space flight – and with it the potential for space tourism – was about to dawn. On the face of it, innovation prizes deserve credit for this epochal event. White Knight was one of two dozen competitors trying to win the Ansari X Prize, created by a non-profit foundation. (Some were unlikely challengers: one team was proudly sponsored by ‘the Forks Coffee Shop in downtown Forks’.) A few months later, when White Knight had flown two qualifying missions in quick succession, Rutan’s team secured the $10 million prize. But that’s far from the whole story. We can also credit philanthropy: Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, bankrolled Rutan’s work for reasons reminiscent of the HHMI: he liked the idea and believed in the experimenter’s talent.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, buy and hold, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, old-boy network, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

After Lindbergh’s nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, the number of people who bought airplane tickets in the United States went from about 6,000 to 180,000 in eighteen months: a thirty-fold increase.18 The first X Prize, modeled after the Orteig Prize, captured the public’s attention in 2004, when the contest awarded $10 million to designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen for building the first privately funded spaceship that traveled 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. Today, the X Prize Foundation is just one of many organizations that have latched on to incentivized challenges as a way to unleash fundamental breakthroughs in society. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, will part with $25 million of his own money in exchange for a commercially feasible way to remove greenhouse gases from Earth’s atmosphere. Netflix has issued a global challenge to anyone who can improve the company’s automated movie recommendations algorithm, while Google’s Lunar X Prize will go to the first private venture to send image-transmitting rovers to the moon.

Most important, Diamandis estimates that well-designed challenges can catalyze new investment totaling between ten and fifty times the amount of the prize purse. The foundation’s suborbital space flight challenge leveraged a $10 million purse into $100 million of team expenditures. But winning an X Prize is only the beginning. “It’s also about launching new industries that attract capital, that get the public excited, that create new markets.” And since the Ansari X Prize was won by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen, more than $1 billion has been invested in the suborbital market. Though there has yet to be a commercial flight into space, hundreds of private customers have bought tickets for suborbital flights. Will the Automotive X Prize prove decisive in moving the needle in the same way? It depends on how you measure success. Ten million dollars sounds like a lot of money, on the one hand, but it’s peanuts in the auto industry.

However, it also turns out that these principles and the techniques of mass collaboration can be critical in the journey to get us there. To be sure, the challenge of producing a worldwide fleet of electric cars (along with the infrastructure to charge them) is more than one company, and even one country, can do on its own. Indeed, if the X Prize Foundation is successful, there will soon be a dozen low-emission vehicles ready for the mass market and a host of new entrants poised to nibble away at the heels of the automotive industry incumbents. “It’s time to shake things up,” says Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize, a unique foundation that organizes large-scale innovation contests as a way to turn nascent ideas into radical breakthroughs that will benefit humanity. “We’re still using the internal combustion engine after a century and we’re still getting twenty miles to the gallon—just like we were forty years ago!”


pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

INDEX 23andMe 274, 297–9 42 100, 273 2001: A Space Odyssey 76, 102, 133 A Abengoa Solar 193 activated carbon 216–17 adenine 37–9, 46 aerosols 168–70 af Ekenstam, Robin 103, 104 Africa 252, 253, 302 Age of Spiritual Machines, The (Kurzweil) 274–5 agriculture 221–40, 253 Agüera y Arcas, Blaise 163 AInimals 92, 94, 96, 102–4, 105 algae 187, 210–12 Algenol Biofuels 187, 189 alleles 45, 48 Allen 83, 84 Amundsen, Roald 178 Anderson, Chris 291–5 Andrews, Lori 27 Angier, Natalie 47 Annas, George 27 Ansari X Prize for Spaceflight 135 Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation 208, 210–12 Arcadia 237–8 Arcadia (Stoppard) 281 Archer, David 177 Archon X Prize 50, 51 Aristotle 97 ARPANET 152 Art of War, The (Sun Tzu) 40–1, 51–2 artificial intelligence 73–107 Artificial Intelligence: AI 75 Asimov, Isaac 76–7 augmented reality 162–4 Augustine Commission 136 Australia climate change scepticism 168, 171 farming 221–40 Internet 157 mousepox virus 63–4 autocatalysis 270 B Bacillus subtilis 100, 273 Bacon, Francis 96–8, 99 bacteria 56–7, 61, 302 Bedau, Mark 66, 280 Bedford, James 15 Berners-Lee, Mike 169–70 Berners-Lee, Tim 154, 159 ‘Better World Shopper’ 163 Bezos, Jeff 141 BigDog 84 Bigelow, Robert 137 Billen, Abigail 31 Binney, Don 218 biochar 208–10, 212–20 biofuels 56–7, 61, 186–9, 210–12 biomass 209–10 bionics 14, 29, 301 biotechnology 35–70 bioterrorism 63–6, 68 BioTime 53–4 Birchall, Martin 20 bird flu 69–70 black carbon 169–70 Black Phantom 212–14, 219, 299, 301 Blackburn, Elizabeth 18 Blackstone Ranch 234 Blackwell, Paul 213 Blasco, Maria 18, 19 Blayney 235–7 Blenheim 210–12 blood transfusion 33 Blue Brain 90, 91 Blue Origin 141 Blundell, James 33 Bonaparte, Napoleon 146 Bongard, Josh 95 Boree Creek 237–8 Borman, Frank 135 Boston Dynamics 74–5 Bostrom, Nick 13, 17, 18, 22–31, 62, 65, 66 carbon-chauvinism 102 existential risk 63 and Kurzweil 267, 269 Bourke, Joanna 149 Brand, Stewart 108–9, 128, 270, 276 Branson, Richard 135, 141 Breazeal, Cynthia 76–82, 84–6, 90–2, 94, 101–2, 269, 277–8 Bréon, François-Marie 169 Brin, Sergey 273–4, 297 Broad Institute 40 Broecker, Wallace 173, 174, 177–86 Brooks, Rodney 76, 82, 83–4, 89, 103, 104, 105 Brown, John Seely 156, 282–3, 284–91, 292, 304 Buck, Vicki 207–8, 210–20, 288, 299 Burke, James 160, 161, 162 Burma 157 C C-3PO 76, 83, 102 cadmium 195, 196 California NanoSystems Institute 118 cancer 19, 40–1, 46–7 Candide (Voltaire) 218 carbon cycle 209 carbon dioxide (CO2) 57, 167–8, 170–1, 175–7, 186, 302 and agriculture 228–31, 233–5 biochar 209–10 biofuels 187–9 industrial uses 183–4 carbon nanotubes 110–11 carbon neutrality 243–4, 245 carbon scrubbers 179–85, 259–60, 299 Carbonscape 208, 212–20, 299, 301 carrying capacity 128–9 Castillo, Claudia 19–20, 33 Çatağay, Tolga 273 Catholic Church 106 Cave, Nick 304 Celera Genomics 36 Celsias 208 Cerf, Vint 151–64, 187, 245, 268, 283, 284, 299 Chappe, Abraham 146 Chappe, Claude 146 Chappe, René 146 charcoal 208–10, 212–20 chess 82, 83, 86 China 157, 200 Chomsky, Noam 303 chromosomes 44, 45–6 Chu, John 155 Chui, Alex 15 Church, George biofuels 57, 211 bioterrorism 63, 65–6 genome engineering 52, 56, 60–3, 64, 70, 105, 186–7, 203 genome sequencing 50–1 human genome project 35 human machines 89 IVF 106 and Lackner, Klaus 189 licensing 66–7 Personal Genome Project 36–7, 39, 41–50, 273, 299, 300, 301 Ćirković, Milan 65 cities 250, 252–3 Claramunt, Xavier 137 climate change 143, 164, 167–72, 174–7, 208 and agriculture 228–31, 233–5 Maldives 241–9, 256–62 Northwest Passage 178 Clinton, Bill 35–6 clouds 169 Cobar 231–5 Collins, Mike 135 Collins, Paul 192 Columbia University Medical Center 31 Columbus, Christopher 303 Comer, Gary 177, 178 Commercial Spaceflight Federation 138 Complete Genomics 51 Connections 160 Consortium for Polynucleotide Synthesis 68 Copenhagen Accord 256 Cornell University 93–6, 98–101, 210 couchsurfing.org 158 Coughlan, Anna 221–2, 239–40 Coughlan, Michael 221–2, 239–40 ‘Couldn’t Be Done’ (Tim Finn) 208 Crichton, Michael 122 cryonics 15–16 Cuba 157 cytosine 37–9, 46 D dance 155 De Cari, Gioia 262 de Grey, Aubrey 14, 16, 17–18, 21, 34 ‘Death Clock’ 12–13 deductive reason 97 Deep Blue 82–3 del Cardayré, Stephen 61 Desertec Industrial Initiative 193 Deutsche Bank 193 diatoms 117–18 diesel 56–7 Dijkstra, Edsger 82 DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) 38–9, 40, 297–8 naked 46 nanotechnology 113, 119–20 Parkinson’s disease 273–4 Door into Summer (Heinlein) 142 double helix 38 double pendulum 98–9 Dragon 136 Drexler, Eric 109–17, 125, 127–30, 286, 287, 299, 300 critics 123–4 Grey Goo 121–3 and Kurzweil 268, 269 E E. coli 56–7, 61, 64 E85 cars 188 EasyJet 20 education 284–5, 288 Egypt 157 Ehrenreich, Barbara 303 Eigler, Donald 113, 125 Einhorn, Thomas 31 Einstein, Albert 140 Eisenberger, Peter 184 electricity 285–6 Eliza 86–7 Ember, Carol 147 enhancement 26–9 Endy, Drew 66 energy 191–2, 193–5, 202, 204 fossil fuels 168, 191–2, 193, 302 solar 190–1, 192–3, 195–205, 206, 274, 295, 302 Engines of Creation (Drexler) 109, 110–11, 115, 121, 122, 123, 127–8, 300 Enlightenment 267 Enriquez, Juan 33, 278–82, 293 Eros (Asteroid) 134 Estep, Preston 16 ethanol 187 Ethiopia 199, 200 Etiwanda Station 231–5 Eureqa 101 evolution 70, 105, 279–80, 281–2 existential risk 63 Exxon Mobil 56 EZ-Rocket 142 F Falcon 9 136 farming 221–40, 253 Feynman, Richard 112, 113 Finn, Tim 208 Flannery, Tim 215 flu 64–5, 69–70 Følling’s disease 44, 58 foot-and-mouth disease 68–9 forests 253–4 Forster, E.

It’s therefore heartening to find out that the cost of genome sequencing isn’t so much falling as plummeting, showing the same sort of acceleration in price-to-performance we’re now blasé about when it comes to computers. ‘Craig Venter’s first complete human genome sequence cost a hundred million dollars, layered on top of the three billion spent by the competing publicly funded effort,’ says George. Yet, as I write, in mid-2010, a firm called Knome (co-founder, George Church) will charge you just under a hundred thousand dollars to do the same. Nine teams worldwide are currently competing for the Archon X Prize in genomics which will award ten million dollars to the first team ‘to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less’ at a cost of ‘no more than $10,000 per genome.’ (I don’t have to tell you who’s leading the team most people figure will win.) But the ambitions of the prize may already seem out of date. In 2009, California-based Complete Genomics (yes, Church is again an adviser) announced that it could sequence a complete human genome for just five thousand dollars and thinks it’s on track to do it for a thousand (although there’s no commercial offering as yet).

This heralds diagnoses that go beyond ‘Mr Stevenson, I’m sorry to tell you you have cancer’ to ‘Mr Stevenson, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve sequenced your cancer and therefore we have a personalised set of treatments for you.’ Hopefully I should be able to avoid many conditions altogether by pre-empting them. ‘Imagine the day when you and your doctor sit down to review a copy of your own personal genome,’ says the blurb for the X Prize. ‘This vital information about your biology will enable your physician to inform you of your disease susceptibilities, the best ways to keep yourself healthy and how to avoid or lessen the impact of future illness.’ In the same chapter of The Art of War that talked of the power of personal knowledge in battle, Sun Tzu also wrote, ‘It is best to win without fighting.’ John Wayne might have said ‘Let’s head them off at the pass.’


pages: 330 words: 88,445

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Clayton Christensen, data acquisition, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Google Earth, haute couture, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, low earth orbit, Maui Hawaii, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, rolodex, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, X Prize

To put this in plainer language, experts have said that if the passengers on the space shuttle Challenger had been equipped with Baumgartner’s suit, they might have lived through their midair crack-up. And along just these lines, some six months after Baumgartner’s jump, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo powered up its engines for the first time. SpaceShipOne, you might remember, was the craft that won the Ansari X Prize in 2004. This original X Prize was a demonstration project, both proof that a private company could produce an affordable, reusable spaceship and the necessary first step in opening the space frontier. The idea behind SpaceShipTwo is the next step: tourism—taking paying customers on suborbital cruises. And that goal is not far away. SpaceShipTwo’s flight was a test burn, the first in a series that ends with actual space flights (some 550 people have purchased $200,000 tickets).

Danny Way jumped over the Great Wall of China on a shattered limb; Ian Walsh paddled into a wave the size of an apartment building; Dean Potter caught hold of a climbing rope while falling at terminal velocity into the Cellar of Swallows. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” Arthur C. Clarke famously told us. Hopefully one thing is now clear—flow is that advanced technology. It is also very disruptive technology—which is exactly what we need right now. In 2011, I cowrote a book with X Prize founder and Singularity University cofounder Peter Diamandis called Abundance. In it, we explore how exponentially growing technology combined with three other emerging forces gives humanity the power to significantly raise global standards of living over the next two to three decades. This is not the place for too much detail, but the most important thing to know is that abundance is not guaranteed.

FLOW TO ABUNDANCE 187 skydiver Felix Baumgartner was heading: See: www.redbullstratos.com. 188 “Felix is an action sports athlete”: Andy Walshe, AI, April 2013. 189 “At a certain RPM”: John Tierney, “24 Miles, 4 Minutes and 834 M.P.H., All in One Jump,” New York Times, October 14, 2012. 190 lived through their midair crack-up: See Summary Report: Findings of the Red Bull Stratos Scientific Summit, California Science Center, January 23, 2013. Ansari X Prize in 2004: See: www.xprize.org. SpaceShipTwo’s flight was a test burn: “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Makes Test Flight,” USAToday.com, April 29, 2013. Paying customers going rocket man before 2015: Elizabeth Howell, “Virgin Galactic: Richard Branson’s Space Tourism Company,” Space.com, December 20, 2012. 192 Arie de Geus: Arie de Geus, The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment (Harvard Business Review Press, 2002). 193 “We are the ones”: Alice Walker, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness (New Press, 2006).


pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, butter production in bangladesh, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, commoditize, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lifelogging, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mass immigration, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, personalized medicine, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Shai Danziger, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The “pragmatic” approach proved groundbreaking. The team wavered in and out of the number one slot; during the final months of the competition, the team was often in the top echelons. There emerges an uncanny parallel to SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded human spaceflight, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize. According to some, this small team, short on resources with a spend of only $25 million, put the established, gargantuan NASA to shame by doing more for so much less. PA competitions do for data science what the X Prize did for rocket science. Mindsourced: Wealth in Diversity [Crowdsourcing is] a perfect meritocracy, where age, gender, race, education, and job history no longer matter; the quality of the work is all that counts. —Jeff Howe, Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business When pursuing a grand challenge, from where will key discoveries appear?

Michael Liedtke, “Netflix Recommendations Are About to Get Better, Say Execs,” Huffington Post Online, April 9, 2012. www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/netflix-recommendations_n_1413179.html. Netflix Prize team BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos: “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos Is the Winner of the $1 Million Netflix Prize!!!!” September 17, 2009. www2.research.att.com/~volinsky/netflix/bpc.html. Regarding SpaceShipOne and the XPrize: XPrize Foundation, “Ansari X Prize,” XPrize Foundation, updated April 25, 2012. http://space.xprize.org/ansari-x-prize. Netflix Prize team PragmaticTheory: PragmaticTheory website. https://sites.google.com/site/pragmatictheory/. Netflix Prize team BigChaos: Istvan Pilaszy, “Lessons That We Learned from the Netflix Prize,” Predictive Analytics World Washington, DC, Conference, October 21, 2009, Washington, DC. www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/dc/2009/agenda.php#day2–13.

See artificial intelligence (AI) airlines and aviation, predicting in Albee, Edward Albrecht, Katherine algorithmic trading. See black box trading Allen, Woody Allstate AlphaGenius Amazon.com employee security access needs machine learning and predictive models Mechanical Turk personalized recommendations sarcasm in reviews American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) American Public University System Ansari X Prize Anxiety Index calculating as ensemble model measuring in blogs Apollo 11 Apple, Inc. Apple Mac Apple Siri Argonne National Laboratory Arizona Petrified Forest National Park Arizona State University artificial intelligence (AI) about Amazon.com Mechanical Turk mind-reading technology possibility of, the Watson computer and Asimov, Isaac astronomy AT&T Research BellKor Netflix Prize teams Australia Austria automobile insurance crashes, predicting credit scores and accidents driver inatentiveness, predicting fraud predictions for Averitt aviation incidents Aviva Insurance (UK) AWK computer language B backtesting.


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

In future years, on-the-spot observations and recovery of a modest amount of these materials would be a boon to engineers building lunar hardware, Robinson says. He points out that waste bags tossed out by Apollo crews might make for an interesting biology experiment. Are any microbes still alive among the garbage and human waste left on the moon? If so, can we see evidence of adaptation to the harsh lunar environment? In May 2012 NASA and the X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, California, announced that the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon, is also recognizing NASA guidelines to guard lunar historic sites and preserve ongoing and future science on the moon. I’ve been wondering if one of those teams might have their robot recover Alan Shepard’s golf balls that he hit during his Apollo 14 moon landing mission.

(Illustration Credit 3.2) Today the public can experience brief stints of weightlessness without going into space and at relatively reasonable costs, either by high-altitude jet fighter flights or on plane rides such as those offered by the Zero Gravity Corporation. Outreach to Space In 1998 I formally organized the ShareSpace Foundation, asking my good friends and fellow space supporters actor Tom Hanks and Peter Diamandis, Chairman of X Prize Foundation, to serve on an advisory board for the group. The foundation’s mission is to open the space frontier to all by educating new generations, fostering affordable spaceflight experiences, and advocating the quest for exploration. I’m now looking for a future home for ShareSpace as it aims to create a threefold approach to invite the public and our youth to learn about and participate in space via three E’s: experiences, education, and exploration.


pages: 345 words: 84,847

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman, Anthony Brandt

active measures, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, haute couture, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, lone genius, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, microbiome, Netflix Prize, new economy, New Journalism, pets.com, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, X Prize

. © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Max Kulich’s sketches for the Audi CitySmoother Courtesy of Max Kulich The Architectural Reseasrch Office’s sketches for the Flea Theater in New York Courtesy of Architectural Research Office Joshua Davis’ skethes for IBM Watson Courtesy of Joshua Davis IBM Watson on the Jeopardy set Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television Advent, Thunderbird, Starchaser, Ascender, and Proteus Courtesy of the Ansari X-Prize Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipOne Courtesy of the Ansari X-Prize Chapter 9 Einstein blouses https://www.google.com/patents/USD101756 Sarah Burton: Kate Middleton wedding dress Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth – WPA Pool/Getty Images Sarah Burton: three dresses from the Autumn/Winter 2011-12 Alexander McQueen ready-to-ware collection Photo by Francois Guillot, AFP, Getty Images Norman Bel Geddes: Motor Coach no. 2, Roadable Airplane, Aerial Restaurant and Walless House Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center, the University of Texas at Austin © The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation, Inc.

Wheeler in Burlington, Vermont; inventor Kane Kramer; Tracy Mayhead, technology teacher at the William Law C of E Primary School; Pascale Mussard, artistic director of Hermès Petit h; Chloe Nguyen, Kamal Shah and Erica Skerrett of Rice 360; Michael Pavia of Glori Energy; architect and designer Emily Pilloton of Project H; Allison Ryder and Kevin Young of Continuum Innovations; robotics designers Manuelo Veloso of Carnegie Mellon and Joydeep Biswas of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; and chemist Bayden Wood of Monash University. We would like to especially thank the following people for graciously sharing their work with us: artist Cory Arcangel; the staff of the Ansari X-Prize; Frank Avila-Goldman and Shelley Lee of the estate of Roy Lichtenstein; artist Thomas Barbèy; computer scientist and designer Bill Buxton; Stephen Cassell, Ethan Feuer and Jennifer Wachtel of the Architectural Research Office; sculptor Bruno Catalano; Kwanghun Chung of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; technologist Joshua Davis; journalist Steve Cichon; Sarah Edelman of Alessi S.P.A.; artists Chitra Ganesh and Simone Leigh; Saul Griffith and Diana Mitchell of Otherlab; Alan Kaufman of Nubrella, Inc.; inventor Ralf Kittmann; CheMong Jay Ko of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; designer Jeff Kriege; Per Olag Kristensson of the University of Cambridge and Antti Oulasvirta of Aalto University; designer Max Kulich; furniture maker Joris Laarman; Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane Global, LLC; artist Christian Marclay; Mukesh Maheshwari of Ercon Composites; Amy McPherson of Volute; Kirstie Millar of Visual Editions; artist Yago Partal; Sally Radic of the estate of Philip Guston; photographer Jason Sewell; photographer Peter Stigter; Skylar Tibbits of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; JP Vangsgaard of Liquiglide; sculptor Zhan Wang; artist Craig Walsh; and Marjolein Cho Chia Yuen of GBO Innovation Makers.

“Artwork That Runs Like Clockwork.” New York Times. June 21, 2012. Accessed August 19, 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/arts/design/the-clock-by-christian-marclay-comes-to-lincoln-center.html?_r=0> Smith, Tony. “Fifteen Years Ago: The First Mass-Produced GSM Phone.” Register. November 9, 2007. Accessed May 11, 2016. <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/09/ft_nokia_1011/> Snelson, Robert. “X Prize Losers: Still in the Race, Not Doing Anything, or Too SeXy for The X Cup?” The Space Review. September 26, 2005. Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker, 1995. Soble, Jonathan. “Kenji Ekuan, 85; Gave Soy Sauce Its Graceful Curves.” New York Times. February 10, 2015. Soling, Cevin. “Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity?”


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Unless the research is underwritten by a large corporation or by the government, the laser propulsion system will never be built. Here is where the X Prize may help. I once spoke with Peter Diamandis, who created the X Prize back in 1996, and he was well aware of the limitations of chemical rockets. Even SpaceShipTwo, he admitted to me, faced the problem that chemical rockets are an expensive way to escape the earth’s gravity. As a consequence, a future X Prize will be given to someone who can create a rocket propelled by a beam of energy. (But instead of using a laser beam, it would use a similar source of electromagnetic energy, a microwave beam.) The publicity of the X Prize and the lure of a multimillion-dollar prize might be enough to spark interest among entrepreneurs and inventors to create nonchemical rockets, such as the microwave rocket.

For the majority of the human race, earth will be our only home for at least a century or more. However, there is one way in which the average person may realistically go into space: as a tourist. Some entrepreneurs, who criticize the enormous waste and bureaucracy of NASA, think they can drive down the cost of space travel using market forces. Already, Burt Rutan and his investors won the $10 million Ansari X Prize on October 4, 2004, by having launched SpaceShipOne twice within two weeks to just over 62 miles above the earth. SpaceShipOne is the first rocket-powered spacecraft to have successfully completed a privately funded venture into space. Development costs were about $25 million. Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen helped to underwrite the project. Now, with SpaceShipTwo, Rutan expects to begin tests to make commercial spaceflight a reality.

Water as utility, 7.­1, 7.­2 Water in space, search for, 6.­1, 6.­2 Watson, James, 3.­1, 3.­2 Watson, Thomas Wealth. See Economics Weightlessness problem in space Weiser, Mark, 1.­1, 1.­2 Wells, H. G., 3.­1, 3.­2 Westphal, Christoph What Is Life? (Schrödinger) Wilde, Oscar Wilmut, Ian Wilson, E.­ O.­ Wind power Wisdom WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) Work life in 2100 X-Men movies X Prize, 6.­1, 6.­2 X-­ray lithography X-­ray vision Yoshida, Hiroshi Young, Larry Youth preservation Yucca Mountain waste-­disposal center Yudkowsky, Eliezer Zhang, Jin Zhang, Pei Zubrin, Robert 1.­1 Jeffrey L. Ward 1.­2 Jeffrey L. Ward 1.­3 Daniel Mihailescu/AFP 1.­4 Miguel Alvarez/AFP 2.­1, Top Courtesy of Professor Yann LeCun 2.­1, Lower Left Courtesy of Professor Ashutosh Saxena 2.­1, Lower Right Jason Kempin/WireImage 3.­1 Bruno Vincent/Getty Images 4.­1 Jeffrey L.


pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Companies and charities together fund huge competitions such as Coke’s clean water prize and the X-Prize, which awards $250 million in prizes across fifteen areas but has inspired $2.5 billion in investment among the competing teams to find solutions to cancer, emission-free driving, and human genome sequencing. Richard Branson has put $25 million into a “Carbon War Room” to fund emissions reductions in “battle theaters” such as industrialization, transport, electricity, and deforestation. Where else would we get ideas such as using ocean waves to generate electricity, feeding atmospheric CO2 to algae to produce biofuel, floating sulfur-dioxide balloons into the stratosphere to reflect more sunlight, and engineering giant parachutes to pull supertankers across the ocean? Competitions like those sponsored by the X-Prize Foundation are not a silver bullet but a symbol of the revolution in incentives under way to innovate solutions to problems that world leaders could never otherwise solve.

Competitions like those sponsored by the X-Prize Foundation are not a silver bullet but a symbol of the revolution in incentives under way to innovate solutions to problems that world leaders could never otherwise solve. We need more X-Prize competitions and fewer proposals for a toothless World Environment Organization. One of the enduring images frequently deployed to capture the planetary crisis is of a lone polar bear stranded on a tiny floating ice patch. No government in the world has rescued that polar bear or devised a plan to save his species from drowning or extinction. You will have to do it. Chapter Eleven The Next Renaissance Philosophers have all interpreted the world differently. It now depends on changing it. —KARL MARX If it’s fair, it’s good. —AMARTYA SEN More than two hundred years ago, Immanuel Kant claimed, “The history of the human race as a whole can be regarded as the realization of a hidden plan of nature to bring about an internally perfect political constitution as the only possible state within which all natural capacities of mankind can be developed completely.”


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

A Harvard- and MIT-educated medical doctor and aerospace engineer, Diamandis “gave up on NASA” and resolved to become the Commodore Vanderbilt of outer space. He founded the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, to promote private-sector space exploration. Later, he established the X Prize Foundation, which awarded cash to teams competing to solve various technical challenges such as prototyping “universally accessible” personal helicopters or landing an entirely privately funded robot on the moon, as stipulated by the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize. Like a lot of lucky, wealthy people, Diamandis had developed some curious ideas about why some people are rich and others poor, and about the secrets to success in business. “You can become a billionaire by doing anything. Find what is in your heart and soul, and do that,” he told the Summitgoers.

Tradehill TripAdvisor Trump, Donald Tumblr Tunney, Justine 20Mission 23andMe Twitch.tv Twitch Partners Twitter Uber Udacity Ulbricht, Ross Union Square Ventures Urbit Vanity Fair van Oudenaarden, Tom VC Taskforce Verge Verizon Vice Vinge, Vernor von Bolschwing, Otto Wagon Wallis, Stewart Wall Street Journal Week, The Wells Fargo WhatsApp Whetstone, Rachel White Ops Whitesides, George T. Wikipedia Wilders, Geert Wilson, Déa Wink Wired Wolff, Stephen S. Worldwide Developers Conference Wozniak, Steve Xerox X Prize Foundation Yahoo Yarvin, Curtis Guy Y Combinator Yelp YouTube YouTube Kids Zachary, Gregg Pascal Zenefits Zuckerberg, Mark ZunZuneo Zynga About the Author Corey Pein is an investigative reporter and a regular contributor to The Baffler. A former staff writer for Willamette Week, he has also written for Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, The American Prospect, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications.


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

(Peter Swan, lead author of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) report on space elevators.) On the “can do” spirit. “The “let's just go and do it” mentality will help us finally get off the planet and irreversibly open the space frontier. The capital and tools are finally being placed into the hands of those willing to risk, willing to fail, willing to follow the dreams.” (Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman of the X-Prize Foundation and CEO of the company Planetary Resources.) Of course this twenty-first century breakthrough that we call the New Space economy will not come just from new space commerce. It will also come from the amazing new technologies here on Earth. Vital new terrestrial technologies will accompany this cosmic journey into tomorrow. Information technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and commercial space travel systems have now set us on a course to allow us humans to harvest the amazing riches in the skies—new natural resources, new energy, and even totally new ways of looking at the purpose of human existence.

Konstantin Tsiokovsky, the Russian astronautics pioneer, who first conceived of practical designs for spaceships, famously said: “A planet is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” Well before Tsiokovsky another genius, Leonardo da Vinci, said, quite poetically: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” The founder of the X-Prize and of Planetary Resources, Inc., Dr. Peter Diamandis, has much more brashly said much the same thing in quite different words when he said: “The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us will go to Mars.” The New Space Billionaires Peter Diamandis is not alone in his thinking. From the list of “visionaries” quoted earlier, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX; Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic; and Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and the man who financed SpaceShipOne, the world’s first successful spaceplane have all said the future will include a vibrant new space economy.

The terms “the Singularity ” and “Abundance” are used interchangeably throughout this book to refer to breakthrough technologies and the rise of super intelligence that are presumed to accelerate global innovation and the means to cope with problems of all types, from clean energy to climate change to overpopulation. It was Ray Kurzwiel, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) guru, who popularized the term Singularity. Dr. Peter Diamandis, who in cooperation with others founded the International Space University and then went on to found the Singularity University and also breathed life into the wonderful X-Prize initiative, simply calls it “abundance.” And before him R. Buckminster Fuller called it “transcendence.” No matter what you call it, the idea is to go ahead and think outside the box. Indeed the trick is to think outside the limits of the 6 sextillion-ton spaceship we call Planet Earth. Fuller, Kurzweil, Diamandis and other space enthusiasts, including the authors, are trying to convince our economic and political leaders that the trick is to think outside constraints of the current world economic systems and the resources we have trapped within the orb we call Earth.


pages: 319 words: 100,984

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

Despite the name, the Moon Race is not a race to the Moon. There has already been one of those this century, and it was at best only a heavily qualified success. Announced in 2007, the Google Lunar X Prize offered $20m to the first company to land a rover on the Moon and send back high-definition video, with a variety of smaller prizes for achievements on the way to that goal. Although the original deadline was relaxed, no one won it; in early 2018, the prize was cancelled. Some of the competitors, though, are running still; SpaceIL, which is behind the Israeli mission launched in early 2019, and iSpace, the Japanese team which plans to launch an orbiter in 2020 and a lander in 2021, are Google Lunar X Prize veterans, as are MoonExpress and Astrobotic in the United States. Instead of a race to the Moon, the Moon Race is a race to get things done on the Moon.

A footprint or a tire track will last for a million years unless overwritten or over-walked—at which point the new trace will be just as permanent. That which is easily spread can only be gathered in with much ado. There are already worries about preserving some or all of the Apollo landing sites in their current, abandoned and historic state in the face of the visits that will surely come. Such concerns led to a $1m bonus prize for visiting a historic site that was originally part of the Google Lunar X Prize to be withdrawn. In “Artemis” (2017) by Andy Weir, a novel which makes a strong case for tourism as the most plausible basis for a lunar economy, the main draw is a trip to the visitor centre at Tranquility Base, where visitors can gaze in awe at the landed Eagle and the first footsteps. On Mr Varley’s Moon, frat boys from Delta Chi Delta trash Tranquility Base, but re-enactors armed with patience, robots and meticulously digitalized photographs put it back just the way it had been, re-creating each of Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s steps in replica moonboots and being winched out by a crane when they were finished.


pages: 609 words: 159,043

Come Fly With Us: NASA's Payload Specialist Program by Melvin Croft, John Youskauskas, Don Thomas

active measures, active transport: walking or cycling, Berlin Wall, Elon Musk, gravity well, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Ronald Reagan, X Prize, Yom Kippur War

Two aerospace companies—Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin—are developing two radically different designs for passenger-carrying spacecraft intended to (initially) launch fare-paying thrill seekers on brief suborbital flights above one hundred kilometers, which is the generally accepted definition of “space.” Virgin Galactic, owned by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, partnered with Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and the Spaceship Company of Mojave, California, to produce SpaceShipTwo. In 2004 Rutan and his team claimed the $10 million Ansari X-Prize, after successfully launching the prototype SpaceShipOne three times above the 328,000-foot mark utilizing an air-dropped, rocket-powered, composite-hulled airplane. The design featured a unique feathering mechanism of the twin-boomed tail that allowed a relatively benign, hands-off reentry into the atmosphere, with minimal frictional heating. Blue Origin operated largely in secret for several years before publicly revealing the unmanned test flights of its New Shepard capsule design, which to date has been flown successfully six times and recovered under three main parachutes, much like the Apollo spacecraft.

According to the company’s website, “Our frequent flight schedule will allow you to launch your experiment multiple times to iterate on findings, improve statistics, or rapidly collect data. As human flights begin, you’ll also be able to fly with your payloads for hands-on experimentation.” Each of the designs has its own unique benefits in terms of flight environment and safety. Though these two competing projects have been in the works since the success of the X-Prize flights, they have been met with many challenges that have precluded the initiation of this new industry of private space travel. The first SpaceShipTwo built, christened VSS Enterprise, was lost in a tragic accident during a powered test flight on 31 October 2014, killing test pilot Michael Alsbury and critically injuring Pete Seibold, who miraculously survived after being hurled out of the disintegrating vehicle at supersonic speeds.

See SAFSP (Secretary of the Air Force Special Projects) air locks, 67–68, 111, 114, 153, 296, 330 Al-Bassam, Abdulmohsen Hamad, 262, 264, 266–67, 275 Aldridge, Edward “Pete,” 168, 199, 201–2, 203, 340, 360, 364, 369 Aldrin, Buzz, 131 Algranti, Joe, 92 Allen, Joseph, 15, 23 Aller, Robert, 21–22 Al-Mashat, Ali, 262–63 Al-Saud, Salman Abdulaziz, 272, 391; background of, 262, 266–67; on launch, 257–58; as Muslim, 264, 270, 272; as payload specialist, 139, 258–59, 267–69, 270–73; post-astronaut career of, 274–76; selection of, 263–64, 265–66 Alsbury, Michael, 387 altitude chambers, 15, 19–20, 39–40, 345 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 361 American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), 235 Americom satellite, 293 Anderson, Michael P., 378–79 anemia, 228, 238, 293 animals in space, 113, 114, 118–19, 148–49 Ansari X-Prize, 386 Apollo missions, 13, 79, 227, 367, 385 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, 88, 206, 227, 241–42 Arab League, 258–59, 262–63 Arab Organization for Education, Science, and Culture, 262 Arabsat (Arab Satellite Communications Organization), 262 Arabsat satellite, 258–59, 262–63, 272 Arab States Broadcasting Union, 262 Arab Telecommunication Union, 262 Aramco, 266–67 Armor, James B., Jr., 195, 221 Armstrong, Neil, 357 Arnold, Ricky, 385 ASSESS (Airborne Science/Spacelab Experiments System Simulation), 17 Association of Space Explorers, 274, 337 Astro-1, 154, 369, 370, 371 Astronaut Office, 163, 169, 283, 313, 352, 365 astronauts: Canadian, 85–87, 101–2; European, 57, 61–62, 138–39, 143, 150, 153–54, 262; Mexican, 277–80.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

As we’ve seen, weak links are particularly useful for solving problems, because they harness the power of multiples. You may not know the answer to a question, and your friends may not—but if they repeat your question, odds are their friends will, because once you’ve moved out to the third ring on your social network you’re dealing with scores or even hundreds of people. This creates some spectacular feats of collective answering. Peter Diamandis, the head of the X Prize Foundation, was wondering about the viability of mining asteroids—which led him to speculate on the total volume of gold ever mined on Earth. He did a back-of-the-envelope guesstimate, then posted it as a status update: “Total gold ever mined on Earth is 161,000 tons. Equal to ~20 meters cubed . . . pls check my math!!” In a few minutes three of his followers had verified his estimate, and others had produced estimates for platinum, rhodium, and palladium.

Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology 78, no. 6 (May 1973): 1360–80, accessed March 26, 2013, sociology.stanford.edu/people/mgranovetter/documents/granstrengthweakties.pdf; Mark Granovetter, Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 10–22, 51–53. what Malcolm Gladwell called connectors: Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (New York: Little, Brown, 2000), 38–41. Peter Diamandis, the head of the X Prize Foundation: Peter H. Diamandis, “Instant Gratification,” in Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net’s Impact on Our Minds and Future, ed. John Brockman (New York: HarperCollins, 2011), 214. Facebook’s news feed analyzes: Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You (New York, Penguin, 2011), 37–38, 217–43. people who are heavily socially active online: Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman, Networked: The New Social Operating System (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), Kindle edition.

See also blogging audience effect, 52–58, 67 cognitive benefits of, 51–61, 75 compared to writing in past, 48–50, 67–68, 71–72, 104–5 daily volume of, 46–47 debate-oriented, 68–72 fan fiction, 47–48, 51, 153–55 marginalia, 82 quality of, 48 question-answering sites, 72–77 for student writing instruction, 185–88 text messaging, 66–67 tummlers, role of, 79–80 word processors, benefits of, 99 writing skills, digital instruction, 184–88, 191–92 written word access techniques, 120–22 historical view, 116–20 index for, 121 libraries, 121–22 and note taking, 120–21 Socrates view of, 68–69, 117–18 Xbox, 91 X-Files (TV show), 154 xkcd, 116 X Prize Foundation, 230 Yahoo! Chinese dissident identified by, 273, 277 Yahoo Answers, 74 Yeats, William Butler, 52 Ye Mengde, 118 Yglesias, Matt, 78 YouBeMom, 76, 241 YouTube abusive comments on, 80 face blurring tool, 274 MadV videos, 101 Zalinger, Jason, 43–44 Zimmerman, George, 264–65 Zittrain, Jonathan, 242 Zuckerberg, Mark, 237 Zuckerman, Ethan, 63, 275


pages: 523 words: 112,185

Doing Data Science: Straight Talk From the Frontline by Cathy O'Neil, Rachel Schutt

Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed generation, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, fault tolerance, Filter Bubble, finite state, Firefox, game design, Google Glasses, index card, information retrieval, iterative process, John Harrison: Longitude, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mars Rover, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, pull request, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, selection bias, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

John Harrison, an unknown cabinetmaker, figured out how to make a clock to solve the problem. In 2002, the TV network Fox issued a prize for the next pop solo artist, which resulted in the television show American Idol, where contestants compete in an elimination-round style singing competition. There’s also the X-prize company, which offers “incentivized prize competitions…to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefits of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets.” A total of $10 million was offered for the Ansari X-prize, a space competition, and $100 million was invested by contestants trying to solve it. Note this shows that it’s not always such an efficient process overall—but on the other hand, it could very well be efficient for the people offering the prize if it gets solved.

Josh is also known for pithy data science quotes, such as: “I turn data into awesome” and the one we saw way back in the start of the book: “data scientist (noun): Person who is better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician.” Also this gem: “I am Forrest Gump, I have a toothbrush, I have a lot of data and I scrub.” Josh primed his topic with a thought experiment first. Thought Experiment How would you build a human-powered airplane? What would you do? How would you form a team? Maybe you’d run an X prize competition. This is exactly what some people did, for $50,000, in 1950. It took 10 years for someone to win it. The story of the winner is useful because it illustrates that sometimes you are solving the wrong problem. Namely, the first few teams spent years planning, and then their planes crashed within seconds. The winning team changed the question to: how do you build an airplane you can put back together in four hours after a crash?


pages: 272 words: 71,487

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, inventory management, Kickstarter, Milgram experiment, off grid, open borders, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, very high income, Washington Consensus, X Prize

The advance purchase model might also be used to purchase new seed varieties with particular attributes designed to increase yields in Africa, for example, or to buy off-grid renewable power sources that could work reliably and cheaply in developing country settings. Another approach is that of using prizes to provide an incentive to research. Prizes played a role in the development of accurate timepieces required to measure longitude at sea; they also provided the incentive for Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic nonstop. More recently the model has been exploited by the X-Prize Foundation, which offered $10 million to the first company to launch a reusable three-passenger vehicle one hundred kilometers into space twice within two weeks. The foundation is already working to develop a prize based around the creation of a cheap and effective diagnostic tool for tuberculosis and is considering a range of prizes in education. Given the centrality of technology and ideas to development progress, and the range of approaches that have shown some promise at the local and global levels in extending knowledge and innovation, it may be that there is a role for a new or existing multilateral development organization to expand support in this area.

(Pritchett) White Man’s Burden, The (Easterly) Women educating in diarrhea treatment gender equality for improved maternal and child health services income and reproductive health practices literacy rates for offering scholarships to girls TV’s effect on fertility rates of views of educated violence against voting rights of World Bank World Health Assembly World Health Organization World Intellectual Property Organization World Trade Organization X-Prize Foundation Zhan, Zhaoguo Copyright © 2011 by Charles Kenny All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address Basic Books, 250 West 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10107. Books published by Basic Books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the United States by corporations, institutions, and other organizations.


Smart Cities, Digital Nations by Caspar Herzberg

Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, business climate, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, Dean Kamen, demographic dividend, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, hive mind, Internet of things, knowledge economy, Masdar, megacity, New Urbanism, packet switching, QR code, remote working, RFID, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart meter, social software, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor, X Prize

By no means will the list be exhaustive; there is no way to consider all the facets of modern life that will be affected by the expanse of digital technology. But it may be possible to discern the largest trends and most obvious changes to human life and today’s civilization. IN DEFENSE OF CONDITIONAL OPTIMISM Peter Diamandis, the author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, has been a lightning rod for both hope and praise and unbridled criticism. As an entrepreneur and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, he is an unapologetic advocate for technology and its benefits to humanity. Reading his book is a superb antidote to arguments that condemn civilization to irreversible disaster, either from climate change, food and water shortages, civil unrest, or, likely, a terrible combination of them all. To accept his interpretation of data and breakthrough inventions does, in fact, require the reader to embrace a view of humanity that is at least in part optimistic and complimentary.

See also individual cities free economic zones in, 64–65, 75 GDP of, 62 multinational interest in, 63–64 new cities in, 19, 23 obesity in, 173 urban population growth of, 19 Streetline, 152 Success, recognizing, 214–15 Surveillance systems, 110, 111, 117, 203–4, 205–6 Sustainability, 174–75, 185, 199–200 T Telepresence (TP), 55, 77, 83, 193–95, 210 Tianfu Software Park, 104–6 Tomorrow City, 67–68 Townsend, Anthony, 66, 176, 178, 180, 186 Transcontinental Railroad, 188 Transport, importance of, 182–84, 189 Travel, future of, 201–2 Trias, Xavier, 151 Tsunami warning systems, 203–4 U U-Life, 71, 73, 75, 79, 81–82, 193 United Arab Emirates, 41, 47, 183. See also individual cities U.S. Green Building Council, 78 W Wang Lijun, 112 Washington, D.C., 184 Water, 197 Worksites, remote, 166–67, 201–2 World Bank, 171 X X Prize Foundation, 196 Z Zhejiang University, 114, 203 ZTE Corporation, 117 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS THE IDEA FOR THIS BOOK was born out of my desire to tell the story of building smart cities from the perspective of a small group of men and women in a multinational company. An idea and value proposition developed and incubated by a small team in Saudi Arabia and Dubai in 2005–2006 has since swept the globe and become a large industry, setting the standard for a better, more sustainable urban future.


pages: 415 words: 103,231

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce

addicted to oil, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, financial independence, flex fuel, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Yom Kippur War

There is plenty of precedent for using prize money to drive innovation. In 1919, a hotelier named Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the 278 GUSHER OF LIES first pilot who could fly nonstop between New York and Paris. Eight years later, a previously unknown American named Charles Lindbergh collected that prize.67 More recently, aviation whiz Burt Rutan, backed by billionaire Paul Allen, collected the $10-million Ansari X Prize, which was offered to the first privately built vehicle that could fly to the edge of space, return to earth, and repeat the feat within two weeks. In 2004, their creation, SpaceShipOne, made two trips into low-earth orbit, and Rutan and Allen claimed the $10-million prize. In doing so, they ushered in an era of privately financed spaceflight.68 In early 2007, British billionaire Richard Branson offered a prize (called the Virgin Earth Challenge) that relates directly to energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions: He offered $25 million to anyone who could invent a technology that would remove 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere.69 And while Branson’s prize is laudable, a better solution would be one that prevents the release of carbon dioxide.

Available: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-01-10 -algae-powerplants_x.htm. 64. Mark Shaffer, “Algae Could Be Fuel of the Future,” Arizona Republic, October 14, 2006. Available: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/ articles/1014biz-algae1014.html. 65. Paul Israel, Edison, 410–421. 66. Credit to Vaclav Smil for first suggesting this idea. 67. http://www.charleslindbergh.com/plane/orteig.asp. 68. Leonard David, “SpaceShipOne Wins $10 Million Ansari X Prize in Historic 2nd Trip to Space,” Space.com, October 4, 2004. Available: http://www .space.com/missionlaunches/xprize2_success_041004.html. 69. John Tierney, “A Cool $25 Million for a Climate Backup Plan,” New York Times, February 13, 2007. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/ science/earth/13tier.html?ex=1187928000&en=3be723dcbb74269c&ei=5070. 70. U.S. Department of Interior, “ANWR Oil Reserves Greater than Any State,” March 12, 2003.

Advanced Micro Devices, 136 Afghanistan, 31, 57, 97 Africa, 135–136 African National Congress, 59 Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud, 5, 76, 247 Air pollution and coal-to-liquids, 215 and ethanol, 184–187 Air travel, 270, 271 fig. 22 Alaska, natural gas in, 279–280, 282 Algae-based fuel, 275–276 Algeria, 72–73 Alhajji, A. F., 26, 68, 267 Allen, Paul, 278 Allowables, 89, 90, 91, 93 Al-Qaeda, 30–31, 33, 73, 264 and Iraq, 57 and Saudi Arabia, 56, 241 Alternative fuels, 7–8, 9, 44–45, 60–66, 116 and thermodynamics, 126–128 See also Renewable fuels American Coalition for Ethanol, 162 American Fuels Act of 2007, 158–159 Andreas, Dwayne, 151, 152–155 Andreas, Mick, 151 Angola, 75 Annan, Kofi, 81 Ansair X Prize, 278 ANWR. See Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Apollo Alliance, 4, 121 Arab cultural knowledge, 265–266 Arabic language, 265 Arab-Israeli war (1973), 67 Arab oil embargo, 66–69 and fuel shortages, cause of, 93, 95–96 of 1973, 67–68, 78–79, 93, 95–96 Arab world engagement with, 266, 288 oil price collapse in, and reform of, 71–76 Archer, Bill, 154 Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), 150–155, 158 and campaign contributions, 252–254 and price fixing, 151–152, 154–155 Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), 103, 279–280, 282 377 378 Index Arnett, Peter, 29 Asia energy consumption in, 110, 112 refining capacity in, 81 and Saudi Arabia, 240 Asia Pacific region, 110, 112–113, 112 fig. 4 Atta, Mohammad, 2 Austria, and Iran, 250 Ausubel, Jesse, 284 Automobile industry, 20–21, 110, 112–113, 112 fig. 4, 276 and energy efficiency, 139–142, 140 fig. 8 and ethanol scam, 192–198 and fuel tax, 259 and gasoline consumption, 130–132 and natural gas, 284 and oil price collapse, 78 Avery, Dennis, 160 Aziz, Abdul, 50–51 Bacevich, Andrew, 289 Bahrain, 51, 54, 73, 74–75 Baker, James A.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

They pledged to divert to this foundation one percent of Google’s profits, with three goals: to ascertain the quality of water and health care and other services country by country; to gather enough information to try to predict and prevent catastrophes, whether these be forces of nature or disease; and to make energy-renewable investments. Page and Brin sound more like social workers than hardheaded businessmen when they extol Google Earth as a vehicle to spot imminent disasters and offer to make “a gift” of this technology to disaster relief organizations. Google put up thirty million dollars to fund the X Prize Foundation’s Google Lunar X Prize, which would be awarded to the private team that designs the best robotic rover to traverse the moon’s surface and send high definition video images back to earth. Google also launched Google Health, an effort much like the one announced by Microsoft and by AOL cofounder Steve Case’s Revolution Health Group LLC. Each aimed to give citizens a safe place to store health records online and share them with doctors, and search for the best medical advice online.

See Federal government Kamangar, Salar Karmazin, Mel first visit to Google on Google ads on new media satellite radio problems Katzenberg, Jeffrey Kedar, Ruth Kelly, Kevin Kennedy, Jim Keywords advertiser bidding on advertising relevance to Khosla, Vinod Kindle Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers Knol, encyclopedia Kordestani, Omid on expansion of Google as Google billionaire on Google founders role at Google Kotick, Bobby games business in China Krane, David Lack, Andrew Lashinsky Adam Law of increasing returns Lawsuits Authors Guild Viacom Yahoo Lee, Alissa Lee, Kwan Lemann, Nicholas Lerer, Kenneth Lessig, Lawrence Levinson, Arthur Libraries book digitization partners complaints against Google Link analysis Lippman, Andrew B. Lively Loudcloud Lunar X Prize McAndrews, Brian McCaffrey Cindy McCain, John MacFarlane, Seth Mack, Connie McNamee, Roger Magazines/magazine ads decline of online, increase in readers outlook for future Mahalo.com Malseed, Mark Management at Google as controlled chaos emulation by others executive management meetings as networked management orchestra conductor metaphor Stanford University as model structure, development of turnover 2009, weaknesses See also Schmidt, Eric Marketing companies Massage program Mayer, Marissa dating Page on Google founders hiring of role at Google Media companies Innovator’s Dilemma trap wave makers versus wave riders See also New media; Old media Meeker, Mary Meetings executive management product strategy Mehdi, Yusuf Metered payments Micropayments Microsoft anti-Microsoft tribe Bing search engine Cashback failure criticism of Google and Facebook versus Google Live Search monopoly charges Passport and personal data profit-making mission Yahoo bid Millard, Wenda Harris Mills, Elinor Mobile phones Android platform Google Voice new media ventures of smart phones Monopoly and Google and Microsoft Moonves, Les Moore’s law Moritz, Michael and Campbell on CEO, need for as investor on IPO on value of Google view of Schmidt Motwani, Rajeev on Google founders role at Google on Schmidt Mountain View Bayshore Parkway facility Mountain View Googleplex culture of expansion of facilities of See also Google employees Movie industry complaints against Google decline, causes of new media ventures of piracy problem Mozilla MTV Networks MTV Overdrive Murdoch, Rupert acquisitions of MySpace acquisition outlook for newspapers Quarterlife Music companies album sales, drop in disruption by digital wave new media companies Musicstation.com Myers, Jack Myhrvold, Nathan P.


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, twin studies, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

Naturally, without the rapid evolution of sequencing technology the project would not have been possible. “In 1984, thirty base pairs”—thirty rungs on the helical ladder of six billion nucleotides that make up our DNA—“was a good month’s work,” Church told me. “Now it takes less than a second.” Craig Venter, who knows as much about how to sequence a genome as anyone, agrees. “I spent ten years searching for just one gene,” he said. “Today anyone can do it in fifteen seconds.” Indeed, the X Prize Foundation has offered $10 million to the first group that can sequence one hundred human genomes in ten days at a cost of $10,000 or less per genome. As many as two dozen teams are expected to compete. In 2007, seizing on the cascade of genetic information that had suddenly become acessible, deCODE and two California companies, 23andme and Navigenics, began to sell gene-testing services directly to consumers.

Craig- Viagra VIGOR (Vioxx Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research) study- Vilsack, Tom Vioxx: benefits of as blockbuster drug congressional hearings on deaths attributed to and FDA and heart attacks introduction of and Merck- promotion of and public trust studies of taken off the market viruses: bringing the dead back to life manipulation of multiplying research on synthesis of as ubiquitous vitamin A vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E Voltaire Vowell, Denise Vytorin Wakefield, Andrew Walpole, Robert warfarin Washington, George water, and agriculture Watson, James Waxman, Henry Weeks, John Weil, Andrew Weldon, Dave Wells, H. G. Whole Foods Organics and you Whole Foods Credo whooping cough Williams, Wendy M. Wimmer, Eckard Windaus, Adolf Winfrey, Oprah Wired Wolpert, Lewis Women’s Health Initiative woolly mammoth World Bank World Food Program World Health Organization (WHO), and vaccinations X Prize Foundation yellow fever Zulu, Winstone ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael Specter writes about science, technology, and global public health for the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1998. Specter previously worked for the New York Times as a roving correspondent based in Rome, and before that as the Times’s Moscow bureau chief. He also served as national science reporter for the Washington Post as well as the New York bureau chief.


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

The microwave oven was a success not just because of the radical leap from military communications to cooking, but also because lots of researchers from Amana, Litton, and their Japanese competitors worked on the design and improved the technology of the magnetron. Sometimes this coordination happens spontaneously. But we can also think of things that help it along. Prizes, like the eighteenth-century Longitude Prize or the twenty-first-century Ansari-X Prize for private spaceflight, can help crowd investment into a neglected area. No doubt, part of the reason the technology press hypes new technologies, like the Internet of Things or solar energy, is not only because it makes for more exciting stories, but because it also has a functional role of drawing attention to up-and-coming areas and encouraging coordinated investment. Perhaps the hype is misplaced; but the role of encouraging coordination is important nevertheless.

OECD Secretariat. https://www.oecd.org/sti/ind/1943301.pdf. INDEX accounting, treatment of intangibles in, 202–4 advertising spending, 50 Aghion, Phillipe, 41, 62, 173 AirBnB, 24, 51; contestedness and, 115; legal travails of, 187; scalability of, 67; and synergies, 82 Akzo Nobel, 167 Allen, Robert, 83 Amana, 80, 85, 183 Amazon, 111, 191, 194–95, 197 American Airlines, 49 Andreessen, Marc, 23 Andrews, Dan, 96 Angry Birds, 65 Ansari-X Prize, 85 Anslow, Louis, 127 Appert jar, 64 Apple, 23–24, 51, 87, 104; and spillovers, 72–73, 110; and synergies, 86 applied knowledge, 65 Arrow, Kenneth, 62, 147 Arthur, Brian, 62, 80 assets, definition of, 19–21 Atkinson, Anthony, 118 Atlas, Charles, 18 authority, of managers, 189 automated bank teller machines, 127 Autor, David, 123 Awano, Gaganan, 56 banking, 158–59, 162–66 Barth, Mary, 204 basic knowledge, 65 Baumol, William, 28 Baumol’s Cost Disease, 28 Beatles, the, 59, 61, 240 Bell, Daniel, 4 Beniger, James, 30 Berliner, Joseph S., 195 Bernstein, Shai, 171, 172 Bessen, James, 114–15, 127 Black Cap pub, 150 Blaug, Mark, 54 blocking patents, 113–14 Bloom, Nicholas, 82, 129, 195 Bodypump®, 17–18, 21 Bonnet, Odran, 128 Bono, Pierre-Henri, 128 Boulevard of Broken Dreams, The (Lerner), 178, 220 Braggion, Fabio, 132–33, 134 branding, 49, 76 Brexit, 122, 141–42, 143 British Airports Authority (BAA), 1–2 British Airways, 49 British Coachways, 162 Brooker, Charles, 183 Brynjolfsson, Erik, 30, 82, 123 Buffet, Warren, 19 Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), 39–41, 244n3 Burroughs, Edgar Rice, 76 Bush, Vannevar, 232 business climate, changes in, 31–34 Callaghan, James, 127 capital, 10; definition of, 19–21; human, 54, 119; social, 156, 236 Capital (Marx), 126 Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty), 19, 121, 128, 136 capitalism, 158, 243n3 capitalization, versus expensing, 202–4 Chapelle, Guillaume, 128 Chen, Ester, 204 Chesbrough, Henry, 83 Citibank, 40 Clayton, Tony, 42 clusters, 147–48, 235–36 Coase, Ronald, 190–91, 192 Coca Cola Company, 9–10, 49 code of laws, of Ur-Nammu, 75 codified knowledge, 65 Collecchia, Alessandra, 40 collective intelligence, 217 ComCab, 82 competitive advantage, 185–87 computerized information, 43–45 Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, 4, 42 contestedness, 87–88, 115, 132; venture capital and, 177 Cook, Tim, 51 copyright, 76–79, 165, 213 Corbyn, Jeremy, 223 Corrado, Carol, 4, 5, 42, 43, 45 cost of intangible investment, 28 Cowen, Tyler, 93, 228 Coyle, Diane, 4, 36 “creative class,” the, 215 Criscuolo, Chiara, 96 crowdfunding, 166 CT scanners, 59–61, 104, 204 cult of the manager, 184 Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, 79 DARPA, 218, 226–27, 232 data, 63 David, Paul, 151–52 Davies, Richard, 168 de Soto, Hernando, 153 Digital Copyright Exchange, 213 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 76 Dillow, Chris, 110, 136, 188 disbenefits, 79 Disney, 78–79, 209 diversified investors, 205 Dodgson, Mark, 197 Doerr, John, 176 Domesday Book, 2–3 dot-com bubble, 4, 42, 145–46 Downing, Kate, 148 DunnHumby, 23 economic competencies, 43–45 economies of scale, 185 Edgerton, David, 146 Edmans, Alex, 170, 171, 172–73 education and training, 51–52, 170, 228–30 Einstein, Albert, 127 e-mail, 217 EMIDEC computer, 59 EMI Records, 59–61, 104, 204 employment strictness, 32 End of Accounting, The (Lev and Gu), 201, 220 endogenous growth theory, 62 Engelbart, Douglas, 217 Enron, 42 Entrepreneurial State, The (Mazzucato), 232 EpiPen, 85–86, 112, 239 Ericsson, 104 esteem, inequality of, 122–23, 141–42; intangibles’ effects on, 129–40 expensing, versus capitalization, 202–4 Facebook, 34, 67, 170, 175, 217, 222 Fang, Vivian W., 171 fast followership, 110 Federal Reserve.


pages: 400 words: 88,647

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Computer Numeric Control, connected car, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, IKEA effect, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, standardized shipping container, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

.’ – Doreen Lorenzo, President, Frog ‘We are entering an age when humanity’s grand challenges are being solved by a new generation of “do-it-yourself” innovators employing jugaad-style thinking. Today the entrepreneurial spirit of your very own employees, customers, and partners – empowered by new technologies – can literally change the world. X PRIZE has proven the value of jugaad by leveraging this bottom-up approach of “better, faster, cheaper” to the point of sending a man into space for a fraction of what NASA spends. This compelling new book, Jugaad Innovation, articulates how you can start to accomplish amazing things on a shoestring. It is a vital read.’ – Peter H. Diamandis, Founder and Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation ‘Jugaad Innovation throws cold water in the faces of CEOs, reminding them of the immense power of grassroots, do-it-yourself, cheap, quick, simple innovation. This is one of the most important lessons that emerging markets are teaching the West.’ – George F.


pages: 347 words: 91,318

Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs by Gina Keating

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, barriers to entry, business intelligence, collaborative consumption, corporate raider, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price stability, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Superbowl ad, telemarketer, X Prize

Scientists at the Loomis lab raced to make breakthroughs in radar and nuclear fission that would change the course of World War II; Hastings hoped the results of the Netflix Prize would come fast enough to put an end to the war with Blockbuster. He favored a contest along the lines of the 20,000-pound Longitude Prize, awarded in 1714 by the British government to the developers of a method for measuring longitude at sea, or the $10 million Ansari X Prize awarded in 2004 to the developers of the first reusable civilian spacecraft. The $1 million cash prize would go to the first team to improve Cinematch’s predictive powers by 10 percent, with $50,000 Progress Prizes awarded to the leaders at each anniversary of the contest’s start date. The contest would be open to anyone of any educational level and background, from any country allowed to do business with the United States.

To find the corresponding locations in the text of this digital version, please use the “search” function on your e-reader. Note that not all terms may be searchable. A ABC Media Player, 166 Accenture, 92, 95–96, 104, 107 Adams, Tom, 113 Aintitcool.com, 38 Allmovie.com, 31 Amazon Blockbuster alliance attempts, 95–96, 126 cross-promotion with Netflix, 47, 50 DVD rental service, 103, 125–26, 162 visitors, number of, 103 Ansari X Prize, 187 Antioco, John. See also Blockbuster background of, 72, 110–11 and Blockbuster Online, 89, 91–95, 104–5 Blockbuster’s future, plans for, 77–78, 112–13 Blockbuster turnaround by, 73–79 Carl Icahn disagreements with, 115–16, 120–21, 123–24, 151–52, 160, 170–71, 205–10 compensation/bonuses, 112, 123, 152, 205–7 credit agreements, revising, 154, 157, 209 DVD revenue-sharing agreements, 60–61 and Hastings alliance attempts, 66–67 leaves Blockbuster, 208–10 online subscribers, Hastings offer for, 181–82, 204–5 personality of, 71–72 sells Blockbuster shares, 219 video streaming, early plans for, 77–78 AOL, Blockbuster alliance attempt, 95–96 Apollo 13 founding story, 3–4 Blockbuster restriction, 169 as untrue, 6 Apple, 39 Arnault, Bernard, 53 Artisan Entertainment, 79 AT&T Labs, 188–89, 195–96 B Backer, Marla, 209 Becker, Jessie, 64, 252 Bell, Robert, 188–96 BellKor, 190–96 Bennett, James, 187, 194 Bernays, Edward, 17 Best Buy, 51 Bevin, Bryan, 159, 177, 217 Bewkes, Jeffrey, 241 Bezos, Jeff, 96.


pages: 825 words: 228,141

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins

3D printing, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, bitcoin, buy and hold, clean water, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Dean Kamen, declining real wages, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, estate planning, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, fixed income, forensic accounting, high net worth, index fund, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Lao Tzu, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, optical character recognition, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, telerobotics, the rule of 72, thinkpad, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, World Values Survey, X Prize, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

This is the opposite of what most people believe. According to an NBC–Wall Street Journal poll, 76% of Americans—an all-time record—think that their children’s lives will be worse off than their own! But you’re going to get an insider’s look at what’s coming from some of the most brilliant minds of our time. We’ll hear from my friends Ray Kurzweil, the Edison of our age, and Peter Diamandis, creator of the X Prize, about new technologies coming online: 3-D printers that will transform your personal computer into a manufacturing plant, self-driving cars, exoskeletons that enable paraplegics to walk, artificial limbs grown from single cells—innovations that will dramatically change our lives for the better in the very near future. I’m hoping this will inspire you, and also show you that even if you somehow screw up and don’t get your financial act together, you’ll still have a better quality of life.

He can go online to buy supplies for his cows or pay his child’s school fees. He can translate languages. If he wants, he can access free courses in economics from Yale and math from MIT. We’re living in a whole different universe now, and we’re just at the beginning of the beginning. And things are getting better, faster, every day. “The future is going to be a whole lot better than you think,” says my dear friend Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, aerospace engineer, medical doctor, entrepreneur, and all-around great human being. “Humanity is now entering a period of radical transformation, in which technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet.” What does this mean for you? It means that even if you screw up and don’t follow through on anything you’ve learned in these pages, in the future you’ll still be able to enjoy a better quality of life than you ever imagined, even if you don’t have a large income.

For insights into technology and the future, my deep thanks to my dear visionary friends Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil. It’s always a privilege to spend time with either of these extraordinary men. They provide a window into a future reality that few on earth can even bear to imagine, and they work every day to make that world a reality. Ray and Peter, you absolutely blow me away, and it’s been a privilege to partner with you at Singularity University and in the new Global Learning X Prize. I’m excited about what we’ll create together. Thanks again for the insights we were able to share in this book. Thanks also to Easton LaChappelle for brimming with creative ambition for the greater good, and to Juan Enriquez for showing us how even what we call “life” is being redesigned and refashioned into fresh opportunity as we speak. To those around me doing all the little things that make the biggest difference: Dear Ms.


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

—Dileep George, AI scientist; pioneer of hierarchical models of the neocortex; cofounder of Numenta and Vicarious Systems “Ray Kurzweil’s understanding of the brain and artificial intelligence will dramatically impact every aspect of our lives, every industry on Earth, and how we think about our future. If you care about any of these, read this book!” —Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE; executive chairman, Singularity University; author of the New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think HOW TO CREATE A MIND ALSO BY RAY KURZWEIL Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life The Age of Intelligent Machines HOW TO CREATE A MIND THE SECRET OF HUMAN THOUGHT REVEALED RAY KURZWEIL VIKING VIKING Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St.

For example, a Gallup poll released on May 4, 2011, revealed that only “44 percent of Americans believed that today’s youth will have a better life than their parents.”1 If we look at the broad trends, not only has human life expectancy quadrupled over the last millennium (and more than doubled in the last two centuries),2 but per capita GDP (in constant current dollars) has gone from hundreds of dollars in 1800 to thousands of dollars today, with even more pronounced trends in the developed world.3 Only a handful of democracies existed a century ago, whereas they are the norm today. For a historical perspective on how far we have advanced, I suggest people read Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651), in which he describes the “life of man” as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” For a modern perspective, the recent book Abundance (2012), by X-Prize Foundation founder (and cofounder with me of Singularity University) Peter Diamandis and science writer Steven Kotler, documents the extraordinary ways in which life today has steadily improved in every dimension. Steven Pinker’s recent The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (2011) painstakingly documents the steady rise of peaceful relations between people and peoples. American lawyer, entrepreneur, and author Martine Rothblatt (born in 1954) documents the steady improvement in civil rights, noting, for example, how in a couple of decades same-sex marriage went from being legally recognized nowhere in the world to being legally accepted in a rapidly growing number of jurisdictions.4 A primary reason that people believe that life is getting worse is because our information about the problems of the world has steadily improved.


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

Sadly, for a variety of reasons, Rocket Lab fell behind schedule and, while they were able to launch orbital tests before the deadline, even delivering commercial payloads into space, the Moon Express launch did not occur. The GLXP was closed quietly with this announcement by its founders: “After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar X Prize teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by the March 31, 2018, deadline,” they said. “This literal ‘moonshot’ is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar X Prize will go unclaimed.”3 But this has done little to deter the private sector in their plans to harvest resources from the moon. Moon Express is just one player in this area, with plans that include lunar-based astronomy, other experiments carried for science customers, and ultimately lunar resource extraction.


pages: 240 words: 109,474

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, book scanning, Columbine, corporate governance, game design, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Marc Andreessen, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, X Prize

What he wandered into was the increasingly competitive and sophisticated world of hackers, engineers, and fry cooks who were trying to build giant high-powered rockets they could ride into outer space. Carmack was intrigued. He ordered a few model rockets and shot them off at the end of his subdivision, moving up in power, week after week, until he got into the more impressive equipment. He began reading more about the amateur rocketry scene: the people who felt that NASA was nothing more than a trucking company, the ones who were competing for a $10 million “X Prize” to launch a ship into outer space with three people onboard. But what really appealed to him was the engineering. The timing couldn’t have been better. Despite the opportunities to innovate on Doom III, Carmack felt, as he said, “near the peak of the existing bodies of knowledge in graphics.” Once he had made the leap into arbitrary 3-D with Quake, there wasn’t much further to go beyond optimizations.

He immersed himself more deeply in a new source of learning: his rockets. On Saturdays he met with his team of rocketeers, including Ferrari whiz 234 Bob Norwood, to work on what he called his vertical-landing hydrogen peroxide rocket vehicles. Carmack fashioned a Lunar Lander-style craft complete with a bucket seat in the middle for him or his wife, Anna. Next up: maybe a shot at the $10 million X Prize, which required the winner to launch three people into orbit and back two times within fourteen days. Those who knew Carmack expected him to have a decent shot. John Romero, meanwhile, was happy to set his sights closer to home. Living with Stevie Case in their sprawling house in the Dallas countryside, he decided to get back, as he said, to his roots: designing and programming games. After some brief attempts at a traditional publishing deal, Romero, Stevie, and Tom Hall–despite good reviews of Anachronox–decided to forgo the route of ambitious computer games for the uncharted territory of games for pocket computers, cell phones, and other handheld devices.


pages: 335 words: 107,779

Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson

airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize

BLUE ORIGIN—BY CONCERNED ONLOOKER The Wikipedia lists you as a part-time advisor for Blue Origin [blueorigin.com], a company that is working to “develop a crewed, suborbital launch system.” What is it that you do for them and has the recent winning of the X-Prize by the SpaceshipOne team had any effect on Blue Origin’s plans? What are your visions of future private space flight? NEAL: Like Spock on the deck of the Enterprise, I sit in the corner and await opportunities to jump out and yammer about Science. Unlike Spock, I don’t have anyone reporting to me and I never get to sit in the captain’s chair and aim the phasers. This is probably good. Though the X-Prize is cool and good, Blue Origin never intended to compete for it. Consequently, it has had no effect, other than destroying productivity whenever a SpaceShipOne flight is being broadcast. As for my visions of future private space flight: here I have to remind you of something, which is that, up to this point in the interview, I have been wearing my novelist hat, meaning that I talk freely about whatever I please.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

. • Beth Rogowsky, a TDLC postdoctoral fellow, Paula Tallal at Rutgers, and Barbara Calhoun at Vanderbilt University showed that there was no statistical difference between learning using spoken or written materials, and no relationship between preferred learning style and instructional method in either immediate or delayed comprehension.25 That there is no benefit in adapting to a student’s preferred learning style means that the large industry that promotes training and testing materials for individual learning styles is not adding value to the classroom. • Paula Tallal was instrumental in the 2014 launch of the $15 million Global Learning X-Prize, which incentivizes innovation in education and whose goal is to develop open-source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills within eighteen months. The beneficial impact of research done for the Global Learning X-Prize will reverberate throughout the world for decades to come. The Future of Machine Learning 185 • TDLC Science Director Andrea Chiba presented research on how all learning changes the structure of the brain at the 2014 International Convention on the Science of Learning in Shanghai,26 much to the surprise of many delegates who believed that children come into the world with a set potential and that education is wasted on those who are less capable or too old to learn.


pages: 396 words: 117,897

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, British Empire, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, megacity, megastructure, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-industrial society, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, rolodex, X Prize

Consequently, even if no alarm clocks, rolodexes, voice recorders, or digital cameras were ever bought because of the smartphone's multifunctionality, the material savings represented by such a loss of demand would be largely obliterated by the expanding claims for the same kind of resources ranging from aluminum and glass to wires and microprocessors. There are other examples of astonishing claims of future dematerialization that can be contrasted with efforts to further expand material consumption. Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize will award $10 million for the design of a portable (maximum weight of 5 lbs) device “capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases” (Qualcomm, 2013), a first step toward dematerializing routine doctor's office appointments. But at the same time, Matternet, the Internet of material products, is “creating the next paradigm for transportation using a network of unmanned aerial vehicles” (Matternet, 2013).

Prak, M. (2011) Mega-structures of the middle ages: the construction of religious buildings in Europe and Asia, c. 1000-1500. Journal of Global History, 6: 381–406. President's Materials Policy Commission (1952) Resources for Freedom, A Report to the President by the President's Materials Policy Commission, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. Princen, T., Maniates, M. and Conca, K. (eds) (2002) Confronting Consumption, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Qualcomm (2013) Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, http://www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org/competition-details/overview (accessed 23 May 2013). Rafiqul, I., Weber, C., Lehmann, B. and Voss, A. (2005) Energy efficiency improvements in ammonia production—perspectives and uncertainties. Energy, 30: 2487–2504. Reeves, G.M., Sims, I. and J. C. Cripps. 2006. Clay Materials used in Construction. London: Geological Society. Reiffel, A.J., Kafka, C., Hernandez, K.A. et al. (2013) High-fidelity tissue engineering of patient-specific auricles for reconstruction of pediatric microtia and other auricular deformities.


pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

The culture stands to change dramatically once the tricorder comes online. In Star Trek’s vision of the twenty-third century, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy used the handheld device to immediately diagnose disease with three input recording functions—GEO (geographical), MET (meteorological) and BIO (biological) (Figure 15.3).65–67 In 2015, just before Star Trek’s fiftieth anniversary, Qualcomm is awarding a $10 million X-Prize to the team that produces the best version of a modern tricorder.68 There’s a big difference, however: this device isn’t meant to be used by Bones or a doctor, but rather a device that is fully operated by the patient. Moving From Autocratic to Semi-Autonomous Medicine We know the road to medical emancipation is within our reach. The technology to digitize human beings has required innovation; it’s here and continuing to rapidly evolve.

Sullivan, “Salesforce and Philips Partner in Ambitious Health Data Venture,” Venture Beat, June 26, 2014, http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/26/salesforce-com-and-philips-partner-in-ambitious-health-data-venture/. 63. M. Lev-Ram, “What’s the Next Big Thing in Big Data?,” Fortune, June 2, 2014, http://fortune.com/2014/06/02/fortune-500-big-data/. 64. M. McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1962). 65. H. Waters, “New $10 Million X Prize Launched for Tricorder-Style Medical Device,” Nature 17, no. 7 (2011): 754. 66. A. S. Brown, “Star Trek Comes Back to Earth,” The Bent of Tau Beta Pi, Fall 2012, http://www.tbp.org/pubs/Features/F12Brown.pdf. 67. “The Dream of the Medical Tricorder,” The Economist, November 29, 2012, http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21567208-medical-technology-hand-held-diagnostic-devices-seen-star-trek-are-inspiring. 68.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

The problem with the BigApps contest is that it leaves both user needs and likely user behavior out of the equation, instead beginning with an enormous data dump and asking developers to make something cool out of it.”18 The data-centrism of city apps contests is all the more curious because it ignores the key incentives of the wildly successful philanthropic grand challenges that inspired them. The Ansari X PRIZE, the granddaddy of modern innovation contests, challenged competitors to build a reusable spacecraft that could fly twice in one week, an unheard-of feat. By defining a single difficult problem, it captured the imagination of the nation’s brightest engineers and most ambitious entrepreneurs, leveraging $100 million in privately funded research with just $10 million in prize money. Less than eight years later, Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne touched down in the Mojave Desert to win the purse.

., 63, 259 “air-gapping,” 269 AirPort, 128 air transportation, 63 digital technology in, 32–33 Albritton, Dan, 301–2 Alexander, Christopher, 142–44, 285–86 Alfeld, Louis Edward, 81–82, 86 Allan, Alasdair, 271 Altair, MITS, 153 Altman, Anne, 65 Amar, Georges, 106, 133 Amazon Web Services, 263–64 American Airlines, 63–64 American Express, 62 Amin, Massoud, 35 Amsterdam, 279 analog cellular, 53 Angelini, Alessandro, 91–92 Ansari X PRIZE, 202–3 API (application program interface), 150 Apple, 49, 128, 148, 271 Siri of, 233 apps, 121–26, 144–52, 183, 213, 235 to address urban problems, 156–59 badges for, 148 contests for, 156, 200–205, 212, 215, 225, 227–30 for navigation of disabled, 166 situated software as, 232–36 “Trees Near You” as, 201–2 variety of, 6 Apps for Democracy, 156, 200–201, 203 Arab Spring, social media in, 11–12 Arbon, 37 Arcaute, Elsa, 313–14 Archibald, Rae, 80 Archigram, 20–21 Architectural Association (London), 20 Architectural Forum, 142 Architecture Without Architects (Rudofsky), 111–12 Arduino, 137–41 ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), 259 ARPANET, 111, 259–60, 269 ArrivalStar, 293 Arup, 32 Ashlock, Philip, 158–59 Asimov, Isaac, 73–75, 88 Association for Computing Machinery, 260 Astando, 244 AT&T, 35–37, 51–52, 111, 260, 272 dial-up Internet service at, 36 Atlanta, Ga., 66 Atlantic, The, 75 AutoCAD, 302 AutoDesk, 302 automobile, as new technology, 7 Ayers, Charlie, 252 Babajob, 178–79 “Baby Bells,” 195 Baltimore, Md., 211 Banavar, Guru, 66–67, 69, 90, 306 Bangalore, 66, 178–79 Cisco’s smart city engineering group at, 45 as fast-growing city, 13 Ban Ki-moon, 181–82 Banzi, Massimo, 137 Baran, Paul, 259–60 Barcelona, 10, 246–47 destruction of wall of, 43 Barragán, Hernando, 137 Barry, Marion, 199 Batty, Michael, 85–87, 295–97, 313, 315–16 Becker, Gene, 112–13 Beijing, 49, 273–74 Belloch, Juan Alberto, 223 Beniger, James, 42–43 Bentham, Jeremy, prison design of, 13 Berlin, 38 Bernstein, Phil, 302 Bettencourt, Luis, 312–13 Betty, Garry, 196 Bhoomi, 12–13 big data, 29, 87, 191, 292–93, 297, 305–6, 316, 319 “Big Ideas from Small Places” (Khanna and Skilling), 224 BlackBerry Messenger, riots coordinated via, 12 blogosphere, 155 Bloomberg, Michael, 147, 205–6, 304 Boing-Boing, 156 Booz Allen Hamilton, 30 Bosack, Len, 44 Boston, Mass., 212–17, 239–41, 306–7 “Adopt-A-Hydrant” in, 213 Discover BPS, 240–42 Office of New Urban Mechanics in, 213–16 “What Are My Schools?”


pages: 628 words: 170,668

In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 by Francis French, Colin Burgess, Walter Cunningham

Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, Isaac Newton, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, X Prize

On Monday, 4 October 2004, the forty-seventh anniversary of the launch of the first Soviet Sputnik, a stubby experimental vehicle with the unpretentious name of SpaceShipOne shot into history, climbing to an altitude of 69.6 miles over California’s Mojave Desert with solo pilot Brian Binnie at the controls. When the spacecraft reached an altitude exceeding 62 miles for the second time in a week (the first flight in the same craft had been under the command of Mike Melvill) Binnie earned his astronaut wings. A non government consortium called Scaled Composites, founded in 1982 by famed aero designer Burt Rutan, claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the first team to achieve this historic feat. Peter Diamandis, who headed the X Prize Foundation, spoke enthusiastically of the historic event later that day. “What we have here, after forty years of waiting, is the beginning of the personal spaceflight revolution,” he stated. To many, this audacious event was almost like a ceremonial passing of the torch to a new generation of spacefarers. Just as Gordon Cooper had become the last nasa astronaut to journey into orbit alone, so Burt Rutan’s pilots could be seen as precursors to what will eventually become a whole new generation of space pilots and commercial spacefarers.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The Constant Fire quotes William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience as saying: Religion . . . shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude; so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine. And this theme is developed further: Sacredness is something intensely private and individual. Which completely nonplussed me. Am I supposed to not have any feeling of sacredness if I’m one of many people watching the video of SpaceShipOne winning the X-Prize? Why not? Am I supposed to think that my experience of sacredness has to be somehow different from that of all the other people watching? Why, when we all have the same brain design? Indeed, why would I need to believe I was unique? (But “unique” is another word Adam Frank uses; so-and-so’s “unique experience of the sacred.”) Is the feeling private in the same sense that we have difficulty communicating any experience?

If you and they don’t agree on everything—especially priorities—you have to be willing to agree to shut up about the disagreement. (Except possibly in specialized venues, out of the way of the mainstream discourse, where such disagreements are explicitly prosecuted.) A certain person who was taking over as the president of a certain organization once pointed out that the organization had not enjoyed much luck with its message of “This is the best thing you can do,” as compared to e.g. the X-Prize Foundation’s tremendous success conveying to rich individuals “Here is a cool thing you can do.” This is one of those insights where you blink incredulously and then grasp how much sense it makes. The human brain can’t grasp large stakes, and people are not anything remotely like expected utility maximizers, and we are generally altruistic akrasics. Saying, “This is the best thing” doesn’t add much motivation beyond “This is a cool thing.”

If I had to give advice to some new-minted billionaire entering the realm of charity, my advice would go something like this: To purchase warm fuzzies, find some hard-working but poverty-stricken woman who’s about to drop out of state college after her husband’s hours were cut back, and personally, but anonymously, give her a cashier’s check for $10,000. Repeat as desired. To purchase status among your friends, donate $100,000 to the current sexiest X-Prize, or whatever other charity seems to offer the most stylishness for the least price. Make a big deal out of it, show up for their press events, and brag about it for the next five years. Then—with absolute cold-blooded calculation—without scope insensitivity or ambiguity aversion—without concern for status or warm fuzzies—figuring out some common scheme for converting outcomes to utilons, and trying to express uncertainty in percentage probabilities—find the charity that offers the greatest expected utilons per dollar.


pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

The vehicles come in a pair: SpaceShipTwo, a sleek bullet of a spaceplane with a unique tail that pops up to a 45-degree angle on descent to slow the aircraft with a controlled stall after it has taken its passengers to the edge of space, and WhiteKnightTwo, a 747-sized four-engine giant that carries SpaceShipTwo aloft, along with a cabin full of other passengers who will get a zero-G parabolic ride on the way back. Both are descended from SpaceShipOne and WhiteKnightOne, which won Scaled the Ansari X-Prize for the first commercial flight to space in 2004. Like everything else Scaled makes, the spacecraft are constructed almost entirely of fiberglass and carbon fiber. It’s a matter of some irritation to Burt Rutan, who retired in 2011, that the landing gear is still steel and aluminum; they are among the last vestiges of the metal-aircraft era that Scaled was created to end (thus the Composites in its name).


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

It enables a type of expertise just about impossible to actualize before the Internet existed. Contests are one way to separate the individual experts from the crowd. It might be a $1,500 first-place prize for the undergraduate who writes the best paper about long-term pavement performance in a contest the Federal Highway Administration has run since 1988.23 It might be the $500,000 the Department of Transportation has kicked in to the X-Prize for innovation in renewable fuels for the aviation industry. 24 Or it might be the million dollars Prize4Life is offering through InnoCentive for finding a cure for ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease). In each of these cases, the network of experts has value only because that network contains many different types of people. InnoCentive, a company that spun out of Eli Lilly in 2000, has become the leading contest-based expertise broker, typically offering $10,000 to $100,000 for solutions to problems posed by clients such as Procter & Gamble, NASA, Novartis, and the Rockefeller Foundation.


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

Mojave Airport serves as a hub for business activity for the region, and within its confines stands Virgin Galactic, where billionaire Richard Branson is slowly realizing his spaceflight dream. Branson has been working on a plan to democratize space tourism since 2004; he has named his newest spacecraft Unity. This modern craft is patterned after a decade of pioneering work by Burt Rutan, the man who built a rocketplane to win the Ansari X Prize. Rutan won the multimillion-dollar cash award in 2004 for flying SpaceShipOne twice in one week to the edge of space. He subsequently merged his efforts with Branson, though Rutan later left the company to pursue other space ventures. But his unique and innovative rocketplane design concepts live on. Entrance to Mojave Spaceport. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Californiacondor Virgin’s assembly facility fills a vast modern building amid smaller, older hangars.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Prize competitions have attracted a lot of attention in recent years for the incredible amount of creativity they have managed to leverage out of relatively small prize pools. The funding agency DARPA, for example, was able to harness the collective creativity of dozens of university research labs to build self-driving robot vehicles by offering just a few million dollars in prize money—far less than it would have cost to fund the same amount of work with conventional research grants. Likewise, the $10 million Ansari X Prize elicited more than $100 million worth of research and development in pursuit of building a reusable spacecraft. And the video rental company Netflix got some of the world’s most talented computer scientists to help it improve its movie recommendation algorithms for just a $1 million prize. Inspired by these examples—along with “open innovation” companies like Innocentive, which conducts hundreds of prize competitions in engineering, computer science, math, chemistry, life sciences, physical sciences, and business—governments are wondering if the same approach can be used to solve otherwise intractable policy problems.


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

Even better, the resulting media frenzy created so much public excitement that an entire industry was launched. It was an incentive prize that led to today’s $300 billion global aviation market.1 By the time I finished reading The Spirit of St. Louis, the concept of an incentive prize for the “demonstration of a suborbital, private, fully reusable spaceship” had formed in my mind. Not knowing who my “Orteig” would be, I wrote “ ‘X’ PRIZE” in the margin of the book. The letter X was a variable, a placeholder, to be replaced with the name of the person or company that put up the $10 million purse. How I decided on $10 million as the purse size, raised the money, and created the rules, I’ll get to shortly. My first step, after realizing that an incentive prize might help me fulfill my personal moonshot, was to learn everything I could about prizes, their history, and how and why they worked.


pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Look at Daniel Schreber’s vision of wires and nerves, or Kafka’s and Rilke’s visions of giant switchboards linking mortals to (and simultaneously denying them access to the source code of ) gods and angels. Or the writings of Heidegger or Derrida: meshes, relays, endless transmission. The Internet reifies a logic that was already there. Instant Gratification Peter H. Diamandis Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE Foundation In mid-2009, I made a seven-day, round-the-world business trip from Los Angeles to Singapore, India, United Arab Emirates, and Spain. It was a lecture tour—all work. As I landed in each of these countries, I tried an experiment and tweeted my landing, asking if any friends were in that country. My tweet was automatically posted to my Facebook. In each case, in each country, my inquiry was answered with a “Hey, I happen to be in town as well.


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

See: https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/22/water-abundance-xprizes-1-5m-winner-shows-how-to-source-fresh-water-from-the-air/. 350 and 400 million gallons a day: Adele Peters, “A Device That Can Pull Drinking Water from the Air Just Won the Latest XPrize” Fast Company, October 20, 2018. See: https://www.fastcompany.com/90253718/a-device-that-can-pull-drinking-water-from-the-air-just-won-the-latest-x-prize. “smart grid for water”: Trevor Hill, The Smart Grid for Water: How Data Will Save Our Water and Your Utility (Advantage, 2013). saving us trillions of gallons a year: Ibid. In the US alone, we lose at least an estimated 1.7 trillion gallons of water per year to water main breaks. Climate Change for Optimists Forty billion tons of CO2: According to Maxwell Rosner’s Our World in Data, 35.46 billion tons of CO2 were emitted in 2017.


pages: 571 words: 124,448

Building Habitats on the Moon: Engineering Approaches to Lunar Settlements by Haym Benaroya

3D printing, biofilm, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, carbon-based life, centre right, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, data acquisition, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, gravity well, inventory management, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, performance metric, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, stochastic process, telepresence, telerobotics, the scientific method, urban planning, X Prize, zero-sum game

No return to the Moon scenario is possible without a lander that can bring a crew to the surface and stay for at least one week. ( 12 ) A key feature was the Crew Productivity Figure of Merit that the Northrop Grumman team of the astronaut Ken Cameron, Paul Houk, and I developed and applied to the Altair. ( 13 ) Despite that cancellation, I believe that there have been some promising lander development studies in the past decade, including the Morpheus project at NASA JSC, the Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project (RLLDP) at NASA MSFC, and the Lunar-X Prize teams’ efforts, notably Moon Express’ collaboration with RLLDP. Do you think that a fleet (say 4-6) of pressurized rovers could be our first habitats, assuming they could be shielded properly? Something Habot-like? You refer to the Habitat Robot (Habot) project that I did for John Mankins at NASA HQ in 2003–2004. The context for that project was the absence of agreement among the lunar scientists about where it would be best or most productive scientifically to place the first lunar base.


pages: 461 words: 125,845

This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers by Andy Greenberg

Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP

The telephone system theft case that Mudge dissected for me in an unassuming DARPA conference room was, of course, a mere penetration test, demonstrating that anyone with access to the victim’s network could exfiltrate any data he chose without detection, despite all the system’s sophisticated security software. Now this hacker’s challenge is to fix, rather than merely demonstrate, that epic problem: Like most DARPA initiatives, CINDER functions as an open, X-Prize-style invitation for ideas. While Mudge won’t reveal the project’s budget, qualifying DARPA-funded projects typically receive anywhere from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars in government capital. More than fifty entrants, ranging from tiny companies to the defense giant Raytheon, have publicly signed up to submit ideas—many more in secret. Projects at DARPA’s intelligence agency counterpart IARPA and other wings of the Pentagon are tackling the problem, too, but few have the mandate that Mudge has, to think years and decades ahead.


pages: 370 words: 129,096

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

“Having two companies involved is better for the advancement of human spaceflight.” SpaceX had once looked like it too would be a one-trick pony. The company’s original plans were to have the smallish Falcon 1 function as its primary workhorse. At $6 million to $12 million per flight, the Falcon 1 was by far the cheapest means of getting something into orbit, thrilling people in the space industry. When Google announced its Lunar X Prize in 2007—$30 million in awards to people who could land a robot on the moon—many of the proposals that followed selected the Falcon 1 as their preferred launch vehicle because it seemed like the only reasonably priced option for getting something to the moon. Scientists around the world were equally excited, thinking that for the first time they had a means of placing experiments into orbit in a cost-effective way.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

WIELDING TOOLS OF TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY DEMOCRACY As a global, distributed, and programmable ledger that is secure, designed for privacy, and enriched with incentive systems, blockchain technology lends itself to the development of new democratic tools such as: Digital Brainstorming: Bringing together policy officials and citizens to have real-time, moderated, online brainstorming sessions to identify new policy issues or needs. Consensus is then achieved through one-token, one-vote systems that can help achieve thoughtful discussion and make it harder for disrupters, trolls, and saboteurs to cause damage. Challenges: Online contests with a panel of judges. Think of preblockchain models like the Goldcorp Challenge (mentioned earlier), the X Prize, or the numerous innovation challenges conducted by many Western governments. The goal of challenges is to engage citizens in innovation and the creation of public value. Online Citizen Juries and Panels: Citizens chosen at random serve as policy jurors or advisers on a topic. The jury uses the Internet to share information, ask questions, discuss issues, and hear evidence. Blockchain reputation systems help questioners to know the background and reputation of the jury and panel members.


Southwest USA Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Columbine, Donner party, El Camino Real, friendly fire, G4S, haute couture, haute cuisine, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), low earth orbit, off grid, place-making, supervolcano, trade route, transcontinental railway, walkable city, Works Progress Administration, X Prize

For just $200,000, you can book your flight on VSS Enterprise online for a 90-minute ride in a plush cruiser with reclining seats, big windows and a pressurized cabin so you won’t need space suits. The vessel is designed by legendary aerospace engineer Bob Rutan, whose SpaceShipOne was the first privately funded (by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen) manned vehicle to reach outer space twice in a row, winning him the $10 million 2004 Ansari X-Prize. It’s not all about tourism, however. Spaceport America has been used by UP Aerospace to launch cheap cargo carriers into low Earth orbit since 2006 and has banked over a million dollars in deposits for future scientific research trips. It’s also the new home of the X-Prize competition (the race for private development of reusable spacecraft), as well as other aerospace-themed expositions to be held throughout the year. Studies estimate that Spaceport America will pump hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the state, particularly in the neighboring towns of Alamogordo and Truth or Consequences.


pages: 498 words: 145,708

Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber

addicted to oil, AltaVista, American ideology, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, Celebration, Florida, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, G4S, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, McJob, microcredit, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, presumed consent, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, spice trade, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, X Prize

Branson has sold $200,000 tickets to celebrities such as the actress Victoria Principal and Hollywood director Bryan Singer, and is purchasing five spacecraft to undertake the fights. The lesson, for pundit John Tierney, is that while “NASA still doesn’t have the money to go back to the Moon, much less head to Mars…[s]omeone else is on the job.” Let people like designer Burt Rutan and his backer, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, privatize space flight—employing the reusable spacecraft with which they won the 2004 Ansari X Prize to do the work NASA can no longer afford to do (John Tierney, “Go West, Young Astronaut,” New York Times, December 6, 2005). 49. Timothy Williams, “In Bryant Park’s Rebirth, Some Chafe at Growing Corporate Presence,” New York Times, December 5, 2005. Williams quotes Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan as stating: “Parks have never in this city’s history been thought of as entities that would fund themselves, and I think that’s a dangerous concept.


pages: 592 words: 152,445

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by Jason Fagone

Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, X Prize

., 121, 158, 169 The American Black Chamber, 160–63, 165, 271, 332 Black Chamber, 100–101, 104, 121, 147–48, 157 papers and files of, 157 Young Ziegfield (singer), 288 Ziegfeld, Flo, 51 Zimmermann, Arthur, 64 Zimmermann Telegram, 63–64 Zionism, 59, 309–10 Zweig, Stefan, 181 ABOUT THE AUTHOR JASON FAGONE is a journalist who covers science, technology, and culture. Named one of the “Ten Young Writers on the Rise” by the Columbia Journalism Review, he is a contributor to the Huffington Post Highline and has written for GQ, Esquire, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Philadelphia magazine. Fagone is also the author of Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, the X Prize, and the Race to Revive America and Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream. He lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Discover great authors, exclusive offers, and more at hc.com. COPYRIGHT THE WOMAN WHO SMASHED CODES. Copyright © 2017 by Jason Fagone. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen.


pages: 420 words: 219,075

Frommer's New Mexico by Lesley S. King

Albert Einstein, clean water, El Camino Real, place-making, post-work, Ronald Reagan, sustainable-tourism, trade route, X Prize

Visitors are encouraged to start on the top floor and work their way down. En route, they recall the accomplishments of the first astronauts and cosmonauts, including America’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, and the early Soviet orbital flights. Spacecraft and a lunar exploration module are exhibited. The museum also presents an exhibit on the first successful private flight in space— winner of the Ansari X-Prize. Most fun is a simulator in which visitors get to land the Space Shuttle. At Tombaugh Theater, IMAX projection and Spitz 512 Planetarium Systems create earthly and cosmic experiences on a 2,700-square-foot dome screen. 12 SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO While traveling this area, you’ll likely see signs pointing into thick groves of pecan trees directing you to the Nut House, 32 Ivy Lane, in La Luz (& 575/437-6889).