THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 3: The Next Billion Volts

Tesla drove electric vehicles from impractical to inevitable. Powertrains will soon feature a mix of hydrocarbons, hydrogen – and batteries.

Co-host Sally Dominguez toured China in a hydrogen-fueled Mercedes:

Sally felt as though she might have been driving a small hydrogen bomb around rural China…
But at least it wasn’t one of these clown cars! (Well, ok, so it is…)

The history of the automobile isn’t exactly the history of petrol – even if that’s what Carl Benz used in his internal combustion engine, there have always been lots of alternatives, including the Stanley ‘Steamer’:

1912 Stanley ‘Steamer’ (photo credit: Stephen Foskett)

The London Electrobus Company pioneered electric public transport over a hundred years ago – promoting itself as the cleaner alternative on London’s dirty streets:

London Electrobus (circa 1908)

Automobiles can even run on compressed air, as in the TATA/MDI OneCat:

(Photo credit: Deepak Gupta)

Special correspondent Drew Smith talks to automotive design legend Mate Rimac about what it takes to design electric automobiles.

(Photo credit: El Monty)


Episode 3.03: Entertaining the Future with StartVR & LegionM

One hundred years ago, cinema became the vehicle of our cultural imagination. It’s happening again with virtual reality — and new studio owners are leading the way with new audiences.

StartVR’s amazing VR episodic film Awake took me to places – and emotions – I’d never experienced before in any medium. With a lyrical, looping, dreamlike quality, Awake stretches the imagination – and redefines the possibilities for entertainment across the next billion seconds.

Mark Pesce and David Baxter
Mark catches up with LegionM’s David Baxter (who really is _that_ tall)

LegionM has a business model different from any other Hollywood Studio – one that leverages ‘crowd equity investing’, where tens of thousands of co-owners both fund and promote projects that get ‘greenlit’ by the studio. We talk to Development head David Baxter about what this means for the future of entertainment – and audiences.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 2: The Next Billion Robots

How long until we have self-driving cars? That’s the biggest question confronting the entire transportation sector. Autonomy unlocks a lot of amazing possibilities – but what is it, really, and how far away?

In this second episode of THE NEXT BILLION CARS, Special Correspondent Drew Smith details the five levels of autonomy, Mark goes for a LIDAR ride with Nick Langdale-Smith of Sydney startup Baraja, and Sally learns about a software back-seat driver from Intel’s Jack Weast – one that may help us be better human drivers, as well.

Mark got taken for a ride in Baraja’s demo vehicle –
note the LIDAR scanners mounted in the four cardinal directions atop the van.

Here’s a great backgrounder on Toyota’s ‘Guardian’ system – software that helps both humans and autonomous vehicles be better drivers.

Episode 3.02: Three Billion Seconds with Alexandros Corey

In ‘cooversation’ with a newborn, we explore the year 2100: climate change, intelligent computers, editable biology, new tools — and new trials.

Nothing focuses the mind on the future like a newborn. With a bit of luck, today’s newborns will live until the year 2100 – and possibly well beyond.

Six-day-old Alexandros Corey provided the perfect opportunity for an exploration of the ‘deep’ future – a world three billion seconds away, when we’re facing the full consequences of anthropogenic climate change, we’ve built superintelligent computers, can modify almost any biological process using CRISPR, and manage all of it with an advanced generation of augmented reality tools.

Alexandros did well in his first interview.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 1: The Next Billion Problems

CES portrays a futuristic auto industry. Detroit holds onto past glories. Everything automotive is changing: can problems become opportunities?

Meet the experts joining Mark Pesce for THE NEXT BILLION CARS…

Sally Dominguez is a multi-award-winning product designer and architect of the Adventurous Thinking innovation strategy which she has implemented at organisations including NASA, Stanford and Breville. Sally was a judge on ABC TV’s  The New Inventors,  is a co-host on Foxtel’s upcoming Great Aussie Inventions, host of a yet-to-be-named Foxtel Innovation Challenge, and judges design and innovation internationally.  She has over ten years of Car of the Year judging experience with Wheels magazine and Drive and is passionate about innovation in materials, sustainability and transportation strategies.

With a background in automotive design and design research, and a role as a lead strategist at one of the industry’s most exciting brands, Drew Smith is the consummate industry insider. Indeed, he’s helped shape the future for the likes of Lexus, Jaguar Land Rover and Audi. He’s not without critical faculties however, and has long held the industry to a higher standard when it comes to designing for a environmental and commercial sustainability. He is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, advising automotive design Masters and PhD students, and founded the Automobility Group, a global community of people exploring the future of urbanism, design and mobility. He is also the co-founder of Rising Minds, a global lecture series that explores the intersection of technology, business and culture.

Episode 3.01 GETTING SINGULAR with Vernor Vinge

Over a billion seconds ago, sci-fi legend Vernor Vinge conceived of a “Technological Singularity”, when our machines outthink us. Should we worry?

Be sure to read Vernor’s 1993 paper, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” – it’s linked here.

The Next Billion Gadgets – HOME

From faucets you can speak with, to lawnmowers that drive themselves – artificial intelligence was everywhere at CES 2019.

Kohler Konnect integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit (Siri) – “pour a litre!”
Bosch showed off an autonomous lawnmower – but is it really AI?
Meanwhile, Dr. Genevieve Bell felt the charms of Sony’s Aibo…
Neutrogena uses the smartphone to scan and create a unique face mask.

1968: When the World Began – RETURN TO A SQUARE

50 years later, both creators and keepers of the flame for the ‘Mother of All Demos’ reflect on how 1968 changed the world — for all of us.

On 9 December 1968, Doug Engelbart gave the ‘Mother of All Demos’ – and the world changed.

On 9 December 2018, some of the luminaries of the Internet gathered to commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the Mother of All Demos.

We had a chance to talk with some of them, weaving their stories together into one of our own…

Elizabeth ‘Jake’ Feinler ran the Network Information Center for SRI.

Marc Weber is a curator at the Computer History Museum.

Charles Irby walked into the Demo by accident – and it changed his life.

Jeff Rulifson was lead software architect for the oNLine System.

Bob Taylor was head of the IPTO at ARPA – taking over from Ivan Sutherland, who took over from JCR Licklider. The Demo was his idea.

Andy van Dam is a professor at Brown, and a luminary in the field of computer graphics.

Vint Cerf is the father of the Internet.

Howard Rheingold was so impressed by NLS that he talked his way into Doug’s Human Augmentation Research Center at SRI.

Sir Tim-Berners Lee is the father of the Web.

Tony Parisi is the Global Head of VR/AR Brand Solutions at Unity – and co-creator (with Mark Pesce) of the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML).

1968: When the World Began – THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS

9 December 1968.

Modern computing begins with a ‘Big Bang’ — visionary Douglas Engelbart’s demo of a system designed to make everyone smarter.

 

 

Read Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think” on the Atlantic Monthly’s website.

Read Douglas Engelbart’s mind-bending 1962 research proposal, “Augmenting Human Intellect”.  Augmenting Human Intellect PDF

Here, in its full hundred-minute glory, is THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS:

1968: When the World Began – SWORD OF DAMOCLES

Ivan Sutherland – the Albert Einstein of interactivity – created SKETCHPAD, the first application that let users ‘draw’ onto a computer display. Five years later he followed that up with his ‘ultimate display’ – inventing virtual and augmented reality with a device nicknamed the SWORD OF DAMOCLES.

JCR Licklider‘s 1960 paper “Man-Computer Symbiosis” touched off a new wave of thinking of the computer as aid and amplifier of human capacity.
Read the PDF:  Licklider – Man-Computer Symbiosis

A video from Lincoln Labs, demonstrating some of the features of Ivan Sutherland’s SKETCHPAD, the first program that allowed you to draw to a computer display of an interactive computer, the TX-2:

And here’s the PDF of his 1965 paper: Sutherland – The Ultimate Display

By 1968, Sutherland was ready to show his ultimate display at the Fall Joint Computing Conference in San Francisco. Here’s what his ‘Sword of Damocles’ looked like in operation:

The proceedings for the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference paint the picture of computing at its pivot from arcane to mainstream, growing into greater interactivity. Here’s the stellar list of papers – featuring two by Sutherland, both foundational to VR and 3D graphics: FJCC Proceedings

1968: When the World Began – Part One: THE PIVOT

In ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’, the first exhibition of computer art, curator Jasia Reichardt presented a world where computers create with us.

Jasia introducing works in the Cybernetic Serendipity show:

Jasia’s 2014 retrospective of Cybernetic Serendipity:

In 2018, Jasia gave an hour-long public lecture on the 50th anniversary of Cybernetic Serendipity:

The book accompanying the Cybernetic Serendipity was recently republished to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the exhibition – read all about it (and maybe buy yourself a copy) here.

What can you say about Norbert Wiener?  Norbert invented whole branches of mathematics and computer science – and gave us the prefix ‘cyber-‘.

Rowland Emett‘s Forget-Me-Not with Peripheral Pachyderm

John Whitney‘s Permutations is among the very first computer animations:

Running Cola is Africa is one of the pieces from the IBM Computer Technics Group in Tokyo – and a very early piece of computer art:

Both Genevieve and I have a real soft spot for another work, Return to a Square:

In 1962, IBM taught a computer to sing ‘Daisy’ — which became the core scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  

 

Episode 2.13 Peer to Peer Planet with Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwen’s P2P Foundation helps humanity share the best ideas at global scale, giving us a leg up through some tight years ahead.


 

(Over the next days we’ll be linking to all of the great projects Michel mentioned in his wide-ranging chat. Please stand by.)