By Ben Dahl
At GNGF we like to stay in the know about current events, and, wow, has 2016 been an exciting year. Cleveland finally ended a 52 year drought when the Cavaliers won the NBA finals but then we watched the Indians fall to the Cubs in the World Series, ending their 108-year championship drought. America had a dominant showing in the Olympics thanks to stars like Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky, but not Ryan Lochte. Apple released the much-anticipated iPhone 7, and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, you might say, self-destructed.
In the background of all these headlines, the tech industry has been making incredible strides forward. Now, while some of us might be fearing the imminent arrival of autonomous artificial intelligence, we assure you there is plenty to be excited about in the world of technology. Here’s GNGF’s year in review.
Are we the Aliens?
You might be familiar with Elon Musk, the man responsible for big ideas like PayPal, Tesla, and, more recently, a rocket company called SpaceX. Like most 20-year-olds do, Elon Musk spent his time thinking about the 5 most pressing issues for humanity that needed to be solved. These issues include, accelerating the transition to sustainable energy, the internet, genetics, artificial intelligence, and making life multi-planetary. His company, SpaceX, is his attempted solution to that last point. SpaceX’s mission statement reads, “To enable the space flight capabilities necessary to make human life multi-planetary—or more specifically enable a self-sustaining human civilization on Mars.” Cool right? The company was founded in 2002, but has recently been making enormous strides. In April of this year, the Falcon 9 was successfully landed on a drone platform at sea after having been launched into space. Yes, SpaceX has created fully reusable rockets. Why does this matter? The ability to reuse rockets drastically reduces the cost of space missions. In other words, your ticket to Mars might be cheaper than you think. Pack your bags!
You ever hear the one about the self-driving beer truck? No, really. In-step with recent advances in self-driving cars, Budweiser is pioneering automated commercial driving. You heard it here first, beer is now self-delivering. By now, everyone knows and expects news about self-driving cars. Between Tesla, Google, and Uber, the industry is growing faster than ever, and it is competitive, but you don’t hear much about semi-trucks becoming self-driving. Semis present a host of driving risks far greater than those of driving the family Sedan. Wide turns, enlarged blind spots, difficulty braking, and lane changes, all present potential dangers. This is why Budweiser’s accomplishment is so remarkable. Budweiser’s truck, hauling 2,000 cases of beer, made a 120-mile trip from Loveland to Colorado Springs without any driver intervention even when passing through Denver. Not only is the future of commercial trucking forever changed, but the future of tailgating as well. Cheers to the New Year!
That’s Not Right…Is it?
“Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.” Is it also fair to say don’t believe anything you read on the internet? Google is rolling out a new real-time fact checker, Robocheck, to help identify trustworthy news from false news. Here’s the cause:
Fake news articles are populating common news sources like reddit, Twitter, Google searches, and Facebook leading the public to believe ludicrous stories as legitimate news. Some articles are innocuous like, “Man Posts Snapchat of Himself With Expensive Items, Gets Robbed Hours Later.” While some may sympathize for that man and his loss, the real harm comes from stories that have serious, real world implications. One false news story perpetuated through Facebook claimed that Pope Francis endorsed Trump for president. Earlier this year another article blamed Pokemon Go! for an accident that caused a massive traffic jam. People fully believed these stories. The implementation of Robocheck will hopefully become a reliable one-stop-shop for objectivity. Before you divulge interesting factoids at your next cocktail party, be sure to run your information through Robocheck.
Robots, Robots, and Robots…Oh My!
In 1950, Alan Turing developed a test, now called the Turing test, meant to test the intelligence of machines. If a machine fools an evaluator into believing that it is a human, then the machine passes the test. In 1950, this probably seemed like pure fiction. Today, we are surpassing that threshold for artificial intelligence. Earlier this year, a robot named Sophie was interviewed on CNBC. During the interview, Sophia, pre-programmed, claimed that she (it) would, “destroy humans.” Artificial intelligence is increasing at an exponential rate. Before you know it, robots might be taking your order at dinner, helping you sort groceries, and walking your dogs in the park.
There is much to look forward to in the future. At GNGF, we can’t wait to see what comes next. Happy New Year!