1 Bitcoin = $1,032
New All-Time High Market Cap Set at $21.9 Billion
On Friday 10th March, the bitcoin price soared to a new all-time high of $1,350 on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI).
A frenetic 15-minute trading period saw price soar to $1,350, gaining over 13% in value. Correction quickly ensued, with price falling toward $1,250. – Samburaj Das
One year ago bitcoin = $408. – Chris Burniske
If you measure bitcoin’s success by the approval of the incumbent and obsolete industry it replaces, you’re doing it wrong . – Andreas Antonopoulos
Open-Mindedness and Exploration
In this article Jameson Lopp provides a deep dive into whether bitcoin can truly be understood as a technology, coming up with more questions than answers and delivering an impassioned appeal to open-mindedness and exploration.
“While some people in this space are more confident than others about its future direction, the truth is that we’re blazing new trails and learning as we move forward.” – Jameson Lopp
All-Time High For Bitcoin Network Difficulty
One year ago Bitcoin Hash Rate was ~1.2 EHs vs 3.5 EHs today. – 196 Node Project
New All-Time High for Altcoins
Altcoin market cap = $6.5 billion
Bitcoin market cap 1 year ago = $6.3 billion
Highest Ever Volume
One billion dollars traded in the crypto markets past 24 hrs (bitcoin, ethereum, dash, Zcash) – Erik Voorhees
“Just keep stacking, one day it will all collapse” is depressing. Bitcoin is active. – Ansel Linder
PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET
Migrating to Post-Quantum Cryptography
Bitcoin uses SHA-256. In cryptography there is a 20-30 year lifecycle for an algorithm before it gets exceeded by new technologies and developments in mathematics. Both the signing and hashing algorithms can be upgraded in Bitcoin if there is a need to do that.
Quantum cryptography represents a threat only if unevenly distributed in commercial sectors. If it is available to only one actor, and not all actors, they are unlikely to use it against Bitcoin; instead they’re going to keep it secret and use it when they’re threatened by ex. cryptographically secure nuclear weapons.
Intelligence agencies who have that kind of significant computing advantage don’t use it until there is a dire emergency, because once you use it everyone will know you have it. After that all the algorithms get changed, so you better make it good.
If it is widely available, all the miners update to quantum computers and we’re going to be looking at several orders of magnitude in improvement, because running one is neither free nor easy. We don’t know what the economics will be yet, but we will solve problems when it’s necessary. – Andreas Antonopoulos
Global Internet Speeds Up Massively as New Undersea Cables Go Online
Global average connection speed now 7 Mbps
Vietnam (8.3 Mbps) & Indonesia (6.7 Mbps) 4x faster than a few years ago
Carriers in the US Targeting 2020 for Widespread 5G launch
It’s an ambitious timeline—5G brings with it new antennas, new devices, and new applications for wireless data.
“Where you saw a growth in 4G was around data-centric, smartphone-centric use cases,” says Rob Topol, a general manager for Intel’s 5G business. “We’re looking beyond the smartphone for 5G.”
In particular, that means categories like automotive, virtual reality, drones, and more should reap its benefits first.
On the hardware side, both Intel and Qualcomm have introduced 5G modems, as well as other pieces of infrastructure to support the various trials that will be rolling out this year. – Wired
COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS
SpaceX Plans to Send Two Space Tourists Beyond the Moon
We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the Moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a Moon mission.
This will make use of the Falcon Heavy rocket. Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V Moon rocket.
At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying. – SpaceX
Major Milestone: SpaceX’s First Reused Rocket Launch on March 27th
We need to get this one because if we succeed with a reusable rocket — and we will succeed, as an industry — then we open up an entirely new phase of economics and cadence for launches in the future.
SpaceX has successfully recovered eight of their rockets after they were used to launch payloads into space. Of these, one is permanently on display outside SpaceX headquarters.
If this next launch is successful, it will pave the way for SpaceX to make affordable rocket launches a reality.
The company’s goal is to reuse their boosters to bring down the cost per launch significantly. – Avery Thompson
$249 ‘BabelFish’ Pilot Earphones Claim to Translate Languages
Youtube Auto-Generates Subtitles for 1 Billion+ Videos at Near Human Error Rate
Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms, and expanding our training data.
All together, those technological efforts have resulted in a 50 percent leap in accuracy for automatic captions in English, which is getting us closer and closer to human transcription error rates. – Youtube
Google DeepMind in AI Talks With National Grid to Reduce UK Energy Use
Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, hopes that the UK’s energy usage could be reduced by as much as 10 percent, just through AI-led optimisation.
A rigorous investigation by a DeepMind AI may uncover solutions that the grid’s human operators have never considered. One thing’s for certain: a system as large as the UK grid has millions of inefficiencies.
The UK generated around 330 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of energy in 2014, at a cost of tens of billions of pounds—so a 10 percent reduction could be pretty significant, both in terms of money spent and carbon dioxide produced.
Last year DeepMind performed a similar analysis on Google’s data centres, apparently netting a 15 percent reduction in electricity usage.
“Because that’s worked so well we’re obviously expanding that capability around Google, but we’d like to look at doing it at National Grid-scale,” Hassabis said to the FT. – Sebastian Anthony
AI to Turn the Smartphone Into a Superphone
China’s Huawei envisions a future where artificial intelligence is combined with a smartphone to create a “super” device that can proactively interact with the physical world and become even more than a personal assistant for daily tasks.
“The smartphone will no longer be a passive device, meant only for communication between the phone and the user,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group.
Huawei calls the new device a “Superphone”, which Yu said will become an indispensable tool for every person, or even a “double of the user”.
Yu noted that based on its Kirin chip technology and advanced manufacturing technologies, the Superphone will be capable of accelerating deep learning algorithms, resulting in performance and energy efficiency. – Joseph Waring
People there have the longest life expectancy and the most centenarians.
Life expectancy drops from 82 to 65 years when Okinawans live in Brazil. – Dr. Eric Verdin
Billionaire Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son Investing in the Singularity
“I totally believe this concept,” Son said, of the Singularity.
“In next 30 years this will become a reality.”
“If superintelligence goes inside the moving device then the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes,” he continued, pointing out that autonomous vehicles containing a superintelligent AI would become smart robots.
“There will be many kinds. Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, two legs, four legs, 100 legs,” he added, further fleshing out his vision of a robot-infested future.
Son said his personal conviction in the looming rise of billions of superintelligent robots both explains his acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM last year, and his subsequent plan to establish the world’s biggest VC fund.
“We are shipping a lot of ARM chips. IoT chips will grow to a trillion chips.”
He also discussed a plan to launch 800 satellites in the next three years, positioned in a nearer Earth orbit to reduce latency and support faster connectivity, as part of a plan to help plug connectivity gaps for connected cars — describing the planned configuration of satellites as “like a cell tower” and like “fiber coming straight to the Earth from space”.
“We’re going to provide connectivity to billions of drivers from the satellites,” he said. – Natasha Lomas
New AI Speech Recognition Record Set
- AI error rate 5.5% vs. Human error rate 5.1%
IBM has edged past Microsoft in its latest speech-recognition test, achieving a word error rate of 5.5 percent.
That error rate does match the roughly one in 20 words that humans miss when listening to a conversation, and puts IBM ahead of Microsoft’s recent best of 5.9 percent recorded in October, which beat IBM’s top performance in 2016 of 6.9 percent.
Microsoft argued that it had reached “human parity” when announcing its 5.9 percent word error rate, but IBM says its new study proves Microsoft’s celebration was premature.
That’s why IBM principal research scientist George Saon says, “We’re not popping the champagne yet.”
“As part of our process in reaching today’s milestone, we determined human parity is actually lower than what anyone has yet achieved — at 5.1 percent,” Saon said.
“While our breakthrough of 5.5 percent is a big one, this discovery of human parity at 5.1 percent proved to us we have a way to go before we can claim technology is on par with humans.” – Liam Tung
DeepMind Adds Memory to its AI System
When Google announced in February 2015 that its DeepMind AI beat 49 Atari video games, it was a major step forward for machine learning, but it left the team behind DeepMind with a frustrating situation.
Even though the AI could beat the games, it needed to be retrained to beat each new game, and quickly forgot how to play a game after it had moved on to the next one.
The researchers at DeepMind, however, have developed an algorithm to solve the problem: Elastic Weight Consolidation (EWC).
With EWC, the AI is now able to retain knowledge of the games and is able to learn multiple games in succession.
DeepMind’s further development of machine learning and memory represents progress toward more advanced AI. – Stephan Kozub
Cellular Senescence Prevented by the SETD8 Enzyme
An enzyme that protects against cellular senescence has been discovered by a research team from Kumamoto University, Japan.
It is expected that this result will be useful for understanding the mechanisms of senescence and developing a way to control cell aging.
In recent years, it has been discovered that senescent cells secrete a variety of proteins which sometimes promote chronic inflammation as well as cancer development by acting on the surrounding cells.
Cellular senescence is considered to be the cause of the aging phenomena for the whole body. For example, it has been reported that when senescent cells of old mice are eliminated, whole body aging can be suppressed. – ScienceDaily
Therapies for Clearance of Senescent Cells
The bad behavior of senescent cells in large numbers eventually kills us. What is to be done about this?
The most straightforward approach is to develop targeted cell killing therapies that destroy senescent cells while leaving normal cells alone.
Groups like Oisin Biotechnologies are working on programmable gene therapies and other approaches that should prove more effective than the output of the traditional drug discovery pipeline.
This will all cascade into the clinic over the course of the next decade, starting a year or two from now, and given the benefits we should all be putting some funds aside for our own treatment when it becomes available at a reasonable price. – Reason
World-First Gene Therapy: Sickle Cell Disease Reversed
A French teenager’s sickle cell disease has been reversed using a pioneering treatment to change his DNA. The world-first procedure at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris offers hope to millions of people with the blood disorder. So far, the therapy has worked for 15 months and the child is no longer on any medication.
Doctors removed his bone marrow – the part of the body that makes blood. They then genetically altered it in a lab to compensate for the defect in his DNA that caused the disease.
Sickle cell is caused by a typo in the instructions for making the protein haemoglobin, which is densely packed into red blood cells.
A virus was used to infect the bone marrow with new, correct instructions. The corrected bone marrow was then put back into the patient.
Prof Leboulch is nervous about using the word “cure” as this is just the first patient to come through clinical trials. But the study does show the potential power of gene therapy to transform the lives of people with sickle cell.
“I think it’s very significant, essential they’ve given him his life back,” said Dr Deborah Gill from the gene medicine research group at the University of Oxford.
“I’ve worked in gene therapy for a long time and we make small steps and know there’s years more work. But here you have someone who has received gene therapy and has complete clinical remission – that’s a huge step forward.” – James Gallagher
I take metformin, it’s the most popular diabetes drug. We’ve known for years that the millions of people who take it, have much lower cancer rates. MIT scientists discovered why. It actually kills cancer stem cells.
People don’t take it optimally. You really need to take 500mg every 4 hours to maintain a level that will really keep you ok. That’s what I do.
But even people who take 1 every 24 hours have some protection, and we see dramatically lower cancer rates as a result.
It’s also a caloric restriction memetic which causes some of the same changes that eating less causes, without eating less. So I recommend anyone over 50 take it. – Ray Kurzweil
The Singularity is Nearer
I’ve been writing non-fiction for decades. One thing I’ve noticed is, when I wrote my first book in the 1980s it took 5 years and not that much changed in 5 years. Now I write something and 2 weeks later the world has changed and shifted, and it no longer reads the same way.
My most influential book is the Singularity is Near. I’m now writing The Singularity is Nearer, and as I write something I come back 3 months later and it already reads like ancient history.
That’s because of the Law of Accelerating Returns. Things are accelerating, they’re getting faster and faster. – Ray Kurzweil
Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1