Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.
This week: Brain implants will drive human evolution, Space X’s Heavy Falcon rocket getting ready to launch, IBM could make computers 200 times faster, former GM exec thinks we are close to the end of the automobile age, and Colorado is making plans for a hyperloop.
BRAIN IMPLANTS WILL DRIVE OUR EVOLUTION AND EXTEND OUR CAPABILITIES
It took billions of years for homo sapiens to emerge, but that’s not the end of our story — humans, scientists agree, continue to evolve. For much of human history, the technology we have created has changed us. Now, as electronics advance at an unprecedented pace, scientists suspect that they might literally affect the trajectory of future generations of humans.
Stanford neuroscientist E.J. Chichilnisky, who is working on an artificial retina to help restore vision to people with medical conditions that have caused them to lose their sight, brought this up in a recent conversation. “In the future, we will be designing how we evolve our brains, rather than just letting it happen by the extremely slow and random process of natural selection,” he told Futurism. “This evolution will happen by developing devices, such as artificial retinas, memory implants, and more, that interface directly to the brain and extend our capabilities. In turn, I expect that this enhancement will allow us to make smarter choices about the next steps in our evolution, so that our species can rise to the challenges that we will inevitably face.”
SPACE X WILL LAUNCH ITS FALCON HEAVY ROCKET IN DECEMBER
SpaceX has been talking about launching its Falcon Heavy rocket since April, but the launch has been met with multiple delays in the months that followed. Those eager to finally see the Falcon Heavy take off should mark their calendars (again), as we’ll now expect to see the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in December.
IBM’S NEW CUTTING EDGE TECH COULD MAKE COMPUTERS 200X FASTER
Regular desktop computers, as well as laptops and smartphones, have processing units dedicated to computing and memory. They’re called von Neumann systems and are named after physicist and computer scientist John von Neumann who, among other things, was a pioneer in modern digital computing. They work by moving data back and forth between the memory and computing unit; a process that can, and often does, end up being slow and not very efficient.
At least, not as fast or efficient as what we could achieve using “computational memory.” Also known as “in-memory computing,” computational memory allows for storing and processing information using just the physical properties of a computer system’s memory.
FORMER GENERAL MOTORS EXECUTIVE “WE ARE APPROACHING THE END OF THE AUTOMOTIVE ERA”
Saying that autonomous cars are slowly increasing in popularity is a bit of an understatement. An idea once relegated to works of sci-fi is slowing becoming a reality, and it’s seemingly only a matter of time before the majority of vehicles on our streets and highways are self-driving and we reach the end of the automotive era as we know it.
A glance at the companies investing in autonomous technologies should tell you everything you need to know about the tech’s expected impact — Tesla, Google, Lyft, Uber, General Motors, and Ford are just a handful of the many companies creating, testing, and deploying autonomous cars.
The Colorado Department of Transport (CDOT) is trying to figure out how to bring a Colorado hyperloop proposal to life. Virgin Hyperloop One has been brought on as a partner on the project, and together with CDOT, they’ll spend the next nine months hashing out the details on the construction of a track that links the Denver International Airport to the cities of Vail and Pueblo in Colorado and Cheyenne in Wyoming.
The entire Colorado hyperloop is estimated to cost $24 billion, but the plan is to start by building a smaller section of the route that would cost just $3 billion. That segment would connect the airport with Greeley, CO, which is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) to the north.