Elon Musk urges UN to ban artificially intelligent killer robots

August 21, 2017 by  
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The same man who brought you PayPal , Tesla and SpaceX is now urging the UN to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in weaponry. Elon Musk believes that artificially intelligent “killer robots” are “morally wrong” and a potential threat to humanity – and he’s petitioning the UN along with 115 other experts in robotics to prevent “a third revolution in warfare.” In a letter to the United Nations, the experts ask for killer robot technology to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. ”Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter says. “These can be weapons of terror , weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.” The urgent tone of the letter cannot be missed. The leaders warn, “we do not have long to act” and add, “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” The BBC reports that a killer robot is a fully autonomous weapon capable of selecting and engaging targets without human intervention. Developed for the purpose of war, the technology could be a potential threat to humanity. For this reason, the experts in robotics are requesting autonomous “kill functions” be banned. The UN group focusing on autonomous weaponry was scheduled to reconvene this Monday. However, the meeting has now been postponed to November. Related: Elon Musk has a simple plan to power the US entirely on renewable energy This isn’t the first time the faction of the UN has considered a ban on killer robot technology. In 2015, more than 1,000 tech experts, researchers, and scientists wrote a letter warning about the dangers of autonomous weaponry. Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Musk were among the signatories. Via BBC Images via Depositphotos , Pixabay , OnInnovation

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Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

July 31, 2017 by  
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Good news for those who have been eyeing Tesla’s new Solar Roof – the company just announced pricing for its photovoltaic tiles, and they come it at just $21.85 per square foot . That’s nearly 20 percent cheaper than a normal roof — even without factoring in the energy savings. Tesla’s sought-after Solar Roof tiles are made of glass layered over a photovoltaic substrate, and they serve as a replacement for traditional roofing materials. This ensures they look like the “real thing” from the ground – even though they accomplish much more than a standard roof. So far, Tesla has two styles available for pre-order: a textured black glass tile and a smooth grey tile. The tuscan and slate tiles will be available for installation in early 2018. According to the company , installing a Solar Roof takes between five and seven days – and Tesla manages the entire process itself. The fact that the Solar Roof tiles are so economical is applaudable, considering that Consumer Reports predicted back in November that the tiles would need to cost under $24.50 per square foot to compete with traditional roofing materials. Tesla accomplished this — and went one step further. Now, the company is offering an infinite warranty for the tiles. “We offer the best warranty in the industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” a Tesla representative told Inverse. Related: Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation An additional benefit of the Tesla Solar Roof is that it is touted to be stronger than a traditional roof. In areas where thunderstorms and high winds are rampant, a sturdier abode makes all the difference. Fortunate consumers who purchase the Solar Roof will also receive the forthcoming Powerwall 2.0 , which is a battery storage device with a built-in inverter. It connects to your home’s electrical system, enabling a house to go 100 percent off-the-grid . Though it costs an extra $6,500, the long-term savings are estimated to add up to thousands of dollars. + Tesla Via Inverse Images via Tesla

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Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

Elon Musk has a simple plan to power the US entirely on renewable energy

July 18, 2017 by  
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With all the talk in the US about bringing back more coal and opening more oil reserves, it can be discouraging for those of us dreaming of a sustainable energy future. But Elon Musk, who is always looking at what we can do, rather than what we can’t, has laid out a feasible plan for moving the US entirely onto renewable energy. Speaking at the National Governors Association meeting this week, Musk talked about how little real estate it would require –  just 100 square miles of solar panels – to power the country. According to Musk, the country could be powered with just 100 square miles of solar panels and one square mile for battery storage. Solar makes the most sense for large-scale deployment, he said, because the sun is essentially a giant fusion reactor in the sky. “If you wanted to power the entire United States with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States. The batteries you need to store the energy, so you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square-mile,” he said. Related: Elon Musk reveals his big plan for colonizing Mars Right now, just under 15 percent of the country runs on renewable energy. But with Musk’s plan, that number could be 100 percent. His plan includes combining rooftop solar, like Tesla’s new solar roof , with utility-scale solar. During the transition, Musk says that we’d likely need to rely on transition power like wind, hydro, geothermal and nuclear energy as we make the adjustment. During that time, we’d need to focus on building up infrastructure, along with encouraging local solar power to limit the amount of transmission lines that would need to be laid. You can watch the entire speech below: Via Inverse images via Tesla and the National Governors Association

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Elon Musk has a simple plan to power the US entirely on renewable energy

Teslas Model 3 electric car to finally go on sale this Friday

July 3, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s highly-anticipated Model 3 electric car will officially hit the market this Friday, according to an early-morning tweet by CEO Elon Musk . Estimated to sell for approximately $27,500 with a federal tax credit, the five-seater will be able to travel 215 miles on a single charge and it’s capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. According to Musk, production for the Model 3 was supposed to start in July, but the company has faced numerous delays. The Palo Alto , California-based company is seeking to churn out 5,000 Model 3 sedans each week by the end of 2017, and 10,000 per week in 2018. As Phys.org reports, the speed at which Tesla can meet its production goals is questionable because last year, the company only produced 84,000 cars. In comparison, competitors such as General Motors, Volkswagen, and Toyota sell 10 million vehicles per year. Related: Chevy unveils first pre-production Bolt EV ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut An additional concern is how Tesla will meet all the servicing needs for all Model 3 vehicles, as Model S and Model X owners will have to share the company-owned charging stations with an influx of new cars. One way Tesla intends to assist consumers who are far away from charging stations is to deploy a fleet of mobile service trucks who are on-hand and ready to help. The company also seeks to double its high-speed charging points to 10,000 by the end of 2017. Tesla’s Model 3 will face stiff competition, however – the Chevrolet Bolt costs $36,000 and can travel 238 miles per charge, and the next-gen Nissan Leaf is expected to have autonomous driving technology and a range close to 300 miles. + Tesla Via Phys.org Images via Autoblog , Wikimedia

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Teslas Model 3 electric car to finally go on sale this Friday

Elon Musk releases 15-page manifesto explaining how humans will colonize Mars

June 16, 2017 by  
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Long gone are the days of dreaming about space travel and seemingly impossible inventions, thanks to science and geniuses such as Elon Musk , fantastical goals are turning into everyday realities. In fact, Musk — the founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX — recently unveiled a 15-page paper that goes into great depth explaining how humans will successfully colonize Mars in the near future. Published in the journal New Space , the paper details the realistic costs per person, possible engineering challenges and even a timeline of transferring humanity to the Red Planet — which includes sending the first unmanned payload into space within two years. The paper, entitled “ Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ,” follows on the heels of Musk’s hour-long presentation last year in which he outlined his ambitious plan to transport humans to Mars. Though it is lacking in some specifics it is a compelling read and is available to the public for free until early July. As The Guardian reports, the founder of SpaceX is ambitious to colonize Mars in the potential likelihood of a nuclear war or natural disasters which cause Earth to become uninhabitable. To Musk, Mars is a “backup drive” for the planet we all live on now. “So how do we figure out how to take you to Mars and create a self-sustaining city,” Musk asks in the paper, in ”a city that is not merely an outpost but which can become a planet in its own right, allowing us to become a truly multi-planetary species.” His long-term goal is to create a self-sustained civilization of about one million people which, admittedly, will take about 40-100 years. Before full colonization can take place, however, much work needs to be done. After sending supplies to Mars beforehand, Musk envisions blasting off a gigantic spacecraft that can carry the first 100 passengers. “The thrust level is enormous,” Musk says in the paper. “We are talking about a lift-off thrust of 13,000 tons, so it will be quite tectonic when it takes off.” Regarding the timeline, Musk wrote, “We are going to try to send something to Mars on every Mars rendezvous from this point on. We plan to send Dragon 2, which is a propulsive lander, to Mars in a couple of years, and then probably do another Dragon mission in 2020.” Related: Send your loved one’s ashes to space – on one of Elon Musk’s rockets Colonizing the Red Planet might seem like a grand ambition — and it is, but Musk isn’t ready to stop there. He wants humans to be able to explore even more of the galaxy. As NewsAtlas reports , “He envisions a series of in situ propellant depots, from the asteroid belt to Europa or Titan, allowing humanity full access to the greater Solar System .” The engineer fails to mention where on Mars new settlements will be founded — a detail that is vital yet will likely be determined in the near future. Whether or not this vision will be made a reality in this century remains to be seen. What is clear is that Musk is one of the more extraordinary minds in our time who has played a big role in advancing humanity. + “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” Via The Guardian , NewsAtlas Images via Pixabay

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Elon Musk releases 15-page manifesto explaining how humans will colonize Mars

Federal court rules Trump’s Dakota Access Pipeline approval violated the law

June 16, 2017 by  
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Injustice has been a common theme of the Standing Rock Sioux’s battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline , as they faced fines , water cannons in sub-zero temperatures , and eviction at gunpoint . But the tribe said this week they just won a ‘ significant victory ‘ in court that could be a game-changer. A federal judge said the United States Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct an adequate study of the environmental risks associated with the controversial oil pipeline  when the Trump administration rushed through its completion. Embed from Getty Images District Judge James Boasberg, who sits on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, said in a 91-page decision the Corps “did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice .” It’s an important step that could set a precedent – but the judge did not order the pipeline to be turned off. Instead Boasberg asked for additional briefing, requesting attorneys appear again next week for a status conference. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline springs first oil leak – before completion According to The Atlantic , the case isn’t about the potential harm to the tribe, but whether the Corps adequately researched and reported on the risks before they approved the pipeline. The Corps reportedly did not study whether a spill would kill most of the fish in the river, or if the chemicals that might be used to clean up after a spill would poison animals. Many members of the tribe source their food from the fish or animals that could potentially be impacted if a spill were to occur. Embed from Getty Images Even though the pipeline hasn’t been shut off, the tribe is still celebrating victory. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, “This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing. The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests . We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.” Via Stand With Standing Rock and The Atlantic Images via Wikimedia Commons and Becker1999 on Flickr

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Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market

May 10, 2017 by  
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Get your credit card ready, because Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles are available to order starting today – and the Tesla Solar Roof order page just went live. The innovative roof tiles look like traditional slate, Tuscan or shingle roofing, but they collect sun to power your home with clean, renewable solar. Musk said that the smooth black and textured version of the tiles will be available for order today, with other styles following next year. Musk made the announcement today, as he so often does, on Twitter ,  stating that installation will start this year in the US. He added that Tuscan and French Slate will be available in 6 months. Orders and installation overseas won’t be available until next year. Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great. More in about 10 hours … — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2017 Related: Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels The Solar Roof can be paired with Tesla’s Powerwall battery to power a home entirely on sustainable energy. According to Musk, each tile is unique and looks like a traditional roof tile from the street. + Tesla Solar Roof Via CNET  

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Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market

Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

April 21, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk must not be busy enough with his Boring company , Space X and Tesla , because he just became CEO of another company, and this one has a goal of turning us all into cyborgs .  Neuralink,  a  San Francisco -based startup says they are “developing ultra high bandwidth brain -machine interfaces to connect humans and computers ” and Musk says he hopes to start delivering by 2021. Musk hinted that he was working on neural lacing last year , though details were scant, but he has never been shy about his opinion that we should be connecting our brains to computers. According to TechCrunch, Musk wants to make that leap with Neuralink. He wants to integrate our brains and computers, or allow us to connect cloud-based artificial intelligence computing with our selves. This could allow humans to communicate directly with each other, instead of having to compress thoughts into language. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month It sounds like science fiction. Musk explained it in detail to Tim Urban of Wait But Why . Musk said we already are cyborgs; we’ve “already kind of merged” with smartphones and laptops. He added, “You’re already digitally superhuman. The thing that would change is the interface – having a high-bandwidth interface to your digital enhancements. The thing is that today, the interface all necks down to this tiny straw, which is, particularly in terms of output, it’s like poking things with your meat sticks, or using words – either speaking or tapping things with fingers. And in fact, output has gone backwards. It used to be, in your most frequent form, output would be ten-finger typing. Now, it’s like, two-thumb typing. That’s crazy slow communication. We should be able to improve that by many orders of magnitude with a direct neural interface.” Neuralink’s product probably won’t be ready for the public any time soon – it could be eight to 10 years for people without disabilities, according to Musk, who said the timeline depends both on regulatory approval and how well the devices could work for disabled people. If you want to dig more into the project, Urban wrote a 36,000-word explanation . About the piece, Musk said on Twitter , “Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.” Via Wait What Why ,  The Next Web and TechCrunch Images via OnInnovation on Flickr and Max Pixel

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Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

April 21, 2017 by  
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This curvy new skyscraper envisioned for Tel Aviv is a lush oasis that combines modern, sustainable living with plenty of nature. The skyscraper is filled with Mediterranean and Dead Sea flora and features an automated car park, farms, electric charging stations and public gardens. The mixed-use Gran Mediterraneo tower, designed by French architect David Tajchman , is wrapped in mirrored glass and white concrete conceived using the latest construction and digital technologies. Gran Mediterraneo combines different programs, including apartments, a hotel, an automated car park , a public charging station, farming and public gardens , co-working spaces and spas. The automated public car park will operate as the first induction charging station for public and shared electric driverless vehicles in the city. Related: Bordeaux’ Canopia tower will be one of the tallest timber frame structures in the world The tower aims to renew Tel Aviv’s skyline with its vertical form, generated using state-of-the-art digital tools . “Innovative with its topological geometry giving a spiral effect to the high-rise, the Gran Mediterraneo breaks with the global and usual stacking of horizontal slabs wrapped with mirrored glass ,” said Tajchman. + David Tajchman Via Archdaily

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Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

Tesla is now the second most valuable car company in the US

April 4, 2017 by  
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Environmental news hasn’t been very hopeful of late – except maybe from Tesla Motors . Elon Musk’s electric car company has surged in sales so far this year, delivering a staggering 25,000 vehicles to customers. That puts the company ahead of ahead of Ford as the second most valuable car manufacturer in the US—a clear indication that American consumers care about climate change and cutting air pollution. Part of that’s due to Tesla’s explosive growth as it enters its 14th year, but part of it’s also because Ford’s seen its sales slump by 7% compared to last year. Tesla’s lead is narrow: while it’s currently valued at $47 billion, Ford has dropped to $45 billion. That being said, Ford is still the larger and more established company, and Tesla is still taking losses as it continues to establish itself in the market. While Tesla saw about $7 billion in annual revenue in 2016, Ford blew it out of the water with $152 billion. Overall, Tesla also posted a loss of $773 million last year. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving While it’s uncertain whether Tesla will continue to beat Ford in terms of market value, it seems Musk is banking on the company’s unique semi-autonomous technology to give him an edge. While Ford is planning to release fully autonomous vehicles by 2021 , Musk insists that semi-autonomous functionality will increase customer safety and improve drivers’ experiences long before fully-developed self-driving vehicles hit the market. Given the video that circulated a few months ago documenting Tesla’s Autopilot apparently predicting an upcoming accident , Musk may be on the right track. Via Recode Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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