700 millions de Chinois en moins en 2050?; premier homicide par ransomware; sharing your analprint with big tech?, & more !

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : une fois par semaine au plus, une sélection de news résumées en bullet points sur des sujets tech, science, éco, géopolitique et défense pour mieux appréhender le futur.

Si on vous a envoyé cet email, vous pouvez vous inscrire ici.

Et si vous avez des questions, des remarques, des suggestions, n’hésitez pas à me les partager en répondant simplement à cet email, j’en serai ravi :)

(Je m'appelle Thomas, plus d'infos sur moi en bas d'email)

Voici donc ma sélection de la semaine !


À table !

Vidéo sympa d'une minute d'un robot qui peut marcher, voler, faire du skateboard, et marcher sur une corde

  • Leo was built by a team at Caltech, and they were particularly interested in how the robot would transition between walking and flying.

  • In a video that shows the robot Leo approaching a staircase, taking off, and gliding over the stairs to land near the bottom, the robot’s motions are seamlessly graceful.

  • “Perhaps the most well-suited applications for Leo would be the ones that involve physical interactions with structures at a high altitude, which are usually dangerous for human workers and call for a substitution by robotic workers,” the paper’s authors said.

  • Examples could include high-voltage line inspection, painting tall bridges or other high-up surfaces, inspecting building roofs or oil refinery pipes, or landing sensitive equipment on an extraterrestrial object.

Amazon crée énormément d'emplois, compte 1,3 million d'employés dans le monde dont un million aux Etats-Unis (second après Walmart), mais investit énormément pour en détruire le maximum (The Guardian)

  • Companies such as Amazon and Ocado continue to employ massive human workforces largely because the robots are – so far – unable to perform the picking and stowing operations that require human-level visual perception and dexterity.

  • This is certain to change, however. Both companies, as well as number of well-funded startups, are working on building more dexterous robots.

  • Indeed, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, speaking at a conference in 2019, said: “I think [robotic] grasping is going to be a solved problem in the next 10 years.” 

  • In other words, a great many of the hundreds of thousands of workers now employed in these facilities are likely to become redundant in the relatively near future.

  • And as robots advance, they will likewise be deployed ever more frequently in restaurants, supermarkets and other environments.

China’s Population Could Fall by Half Within 30 Years (source)

  • étude publiée dans la revue d'une université chinoise

  • "People dare not to have children due to increasing economic pressure."

  • ce qui explique pourquoi le gouvernement vient tout simplement de tuer son industrie privée du tutorat, car elle créait une pression sur les parents prêts à tout pour améliorer les chances à l'école de leurs enfants, renchérissant ainsi le coût de l'éducation, et dissuadant indirectement certains d’avoir des enfants

  • certains analystes pensent aussi que la lutte contre la spéculation immobilière (consistant dernièrement pour le gouvernement à laisser certains promoteurs immobiliers faire faillite) a pour objectif de faire baisser le coûts du logement pour les familles et enlever les freins à la parentalité

Ces smart toilets qui surveilleront notre santé...mmm " : equipped with a scanner that can recognize the user’s unique “anal print”

  • Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine  developed a scanner that can recognize the user’s unique “anal print,” or “distinctive features of their anoderm,” meaning the skin of the anal canal.

    • a camera inside a toilet bowl and used machine learning algorithms to match stool samples to specific, uh, users.

  • Another project : Sonia Grego, the co-founder of Coprata, a Duke University-affiliated physiological monitoring startup, wants to revolutionize the way we do our business by scanning samples of your poop and urine for health indicators, including chronic diseases and even cancer, The Guardian reports.

  • Yet another company, called Toi Labs, took that idea a step further with its TrueLoo smart toilet seat, which collects an even broader selection of biometrics.

    • “It’s essentially understanding when someone has abnormal patterns and then it’s capable of documenting those patterns and providing reports that can be used by physicians to help in the treatment of a variety of conditions,”

  • source, je partage le titre pour une fois : The smart toilet era is here! Are you ready to share your analprint with big tech? (The Guardian)

Cette serre, la plus grande des USA, produit 30 fois plus de tomates qu'un champ normal à surface égale, utilise 90% moins d'eau, des robots font la récolte (CNN)

  • Built in 2020 and set across 243,000m2 (35 terrains de football), AppHarvest says that its state-of-the-art greenhouse yields 30 times more per acre than open fields, while using 90% less water.

  • "The facility allows you to control the light, the heat, and the nutrition of the crops," says Josh Lessing, AppHarvest's chief technology officer.

  • LED lights are used to supplement natural light and crops are grown without soil, in an alternative growing medium that allows water and nutrients to be absorbed by the plant root.

  • Using 300 sensors and AI, the facility collects data from over 700,000 plants, and growers can remotely monitor the microclimate to ensure that crops receive the ideal amount of nutrients and water. AppHarvest's robots assess which tomatoes are ripe enough to be harvested, and then pick and prune them using their robotic arms.

  • "Building technology to forecast, steer the crop, and create absolute stability in the food supply allows us to grow locally and control our food destiny. That's the real opportunity with robotics and AI," says Lessing.

Microsoft’s Massive New Language AI is 3X the Size of previous record-holder OpenAI’s GPT-3 (source)

  • GPT-3 turned out to have capabilities beyond what its creators anticipated, like writing code, doing math, translating between languages, and autocompleting images (oh, and writing a short film with a twist ending). This led some to speculate that GPT-3 might be the gateway to artificial general intelligence.

  • But the algorithm’s variety of talents, while unexpected, still fell within the language domain (including programming languages),

  • However, given the tricks GPT-3 had up its sleeve based on its 175 billion parameters, it’s intriguing to wonder what the Megatron-Turing model may surprise us with at 530 billion. 

  • à noter cependant, le deep-learning (cette branche de l'IA qui permet de développer des outils "intelligents" en entraînant des algos avec beaucoup de données) aurait des rendements décroissants

    • Even businesses outside the tech industry are now starting to shy away from the computational expense of deep learning.

    • A large European supermarket chain recently abandoned a deep-learning-based system that markedly improved its ability to predict which products would be purchased. The company executives dropped that attempt because they judged that the cost of training and running the system would be too high (source)

Un certain type de batteries permettrait de stocker de l'électricité sur 12h pour très très peu cher, parfait complément aux énergies renouvelables (twitter thread de Ramez Naam)

  • at scale, "iron flow batteries" (a non-lithium-based variety) should achieve a cost of storage of around 2 cents / kilowatt-hour for 12 hours of electricity storage. 

  • For context, the cost of energy from a gas or coal plant (in normal times) is around 5-6 cents / kwh.

  • we're in path to eventually have 1 cent solar, and perhaps 2 cent wind, across large swaths of the world.

  • that means that the cost of solar or wind PLUS 12 hour electricity storage, could well be below the cost of coal or gas power. Possibly even below the fuel costs of already built coal and gas

  • We might see this point where renewables + 12 hour storage are cheaper than fossil electricity as soon as 2030. Or it might take longer. Either way, it appears to be on the horizon

  • To be clear, 12 hour storage doesn't solve all scenarios. We need to develop 100 hour and longer multi-day storage, or other firm clean resources. But 12 hours, at low cost, gets us a very powerful new tool in decarbonizing electricity.

Amazing Airborne Microchips are the Tiniest Human-Built Objects to Take Flight (source)

  • Like helicopter seeds (les graines « hélicoptère », en fait la disamare, la graine de l'érable) falling slowly towards the ground, these newly created “microfliers” catch the wind to achieve unpowered controlled flight. 

  • Called “microfliers,” the tiny devices ride the breeze while falling and leverage the powers of spin to fall in a slow and controlled manner.

  • The purpose of the project was to find effective ways of distributing functional miniaturized electronic devices and to do so en masse. Dropping thousands of microfliers from planes or tall buildings could enable unique ways of monitoring the environment, such as pollution, toxic spills, and the spread of diseases.

  • Modified microfliers could form powerful interlinked networks composed of hundreds or thousands of nodes, or communicate wirelessly with external devices, acting as sensors in the Internet of Things. The potential applications are practically limitless.

  • the ethical and legal ramifications of this technology will need to be sorted out to avoid potential abuse, such as the surreptitious tracking of people.

  • The team is also cognizant of the fact that microfliers might eventually become a form of litter or pollutant themselves. To that end, they’re working on versions that dissolve in water or naturally degrade over time.

  • They’re also looking to make microfliers capable of active flight, which will be considerably more challenging.

  • Voyez un tel microflyer en projet, à l'échelle, en bas à droite à côté de la fourmi ci-dessous

Another company is offering edge-of-space balloon trips, but at just $50,000 (CNN)

  • The company's first commercial flights are slated to begin in early 2024 -- with Grand Canyon National Park as the location for its first spaceport

  • its next targets are -- in order of projected opening dates -- the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Serengeti in Kenya, the Aurora Borealis in Norway, Amazonia in Brazil, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt and, finally, the Great Wall of China in Mongolia

  • flights will take off from these premium locations and lift eight passengers and two crew members up to 30km altitude (la fusée de Blue Origin monte à 100km environ), about four times higher than a standard commercial airplane flight, and nearly 23 miles into the stratosphere.

  • They'll zoom on up there in a zero-pressure balloon (le ballon n'est pas gonflé sous pression, simplement rempli d'hélium plus léger que l'air) and pressurized space capsule, which will then gently float in the atmosphere, allowing guests to experience the Earth's curvature and the awesome darkness of space.

  • Each trip on board the craft will last six to 12 hours

  • At $50,000 a seat, it's cheaper than many Mount Everest our South Pole expeditions -- and you're less likely to get frostbite.

  • "We've also chosen helium instead of hydrogen as our lift gas, which costs 10 times more than hydrogen, but we felt it was an important sacrifice as we prioritize the safety of our flights." (l'hydrogène est inflammable, réagit avec l'oxygène, c'est ce qui a causé la catastrophe du dirigeable Hidenburg en 1937 et mis fin au développement de ce moyen de transport)

  • Voir la magnifique vidéo d'animation de 2 minutes sur Youtube

How Musicologists and Scientists Used AI to Complete Beethoven’s Unfinished 10th Symphony

  • When Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827, he was three years removed from the completion of his Ninth Symphony, a work heralded by many as his magnum opus. He had started work on his 10th Symphony but, due to deteriorating health, wasn’t able to make much headway: All he left behind were some musical sketches.

  • Ever since then, Beethoven fans and musicologists have puzzled and lamented over what could have been. His notes teased at some magnificent reward, albeit one that seemed forever out of reach.

  • Now, thanks to the work of a team of music historians, musicologists, composers and computer scientists, Beethoven’s vision will come to life.

  • a group of scientists at the creative AI startup Playform AI that taught a machine both Beethoven’s entire body of work and his creative process

  • AI had successfully generated music in the style of Bach. However, this was only a harmonization of an inputted melody that sounded like Bach. It didn’t come close to what we needed to do: construct an entire symphony from a handful of phrases.

  • We printed musical scores that had been developed by AI and built off the sketches from Beethoven’s 10th. A pianist performed in a small concert hall in the museum before a group of journalists, music scholars, and Beethoven experts. : We challenged the audience to determine where Beethoven’s phrases ended and where the AI extrapolation began. They couldn’t. 

  • This project would not have been possible without the expertise of human historians and musicians. It took an immense amount of work—and, yes, creative thinking—to accomplish this goal

  • At one point, one of the music experts on the team said that the AI reminded him of an eager music student who practices every day, learns, and becomes better and better.

  • Bref, l'IA a aidé, mais n'est pas encore capable de réaliser un tel exploit seule...

  • Extrait de 3 minutes à écouter via le player disponible en bas de l'article ici

Les charmes de l'hydrogène (The Economist)

  • Today's hydrogen business is, in global terms, reasonably small, very dirty and completely vital.

  • Some 90m tonnes of the stuff are produced each year,

  • This is done almost entirely by burning fossil fuels with air and steam—a process which uses up 6% of the world’s natural gas and 2% of its coal and emits more than 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, putting the industry’s emissions on the same level as those of Germany.

  • Why is it vital? Hydrogen is also, crucially, used for the production of almost all the world’s industrial ammonia.

    • Ammonia is the main ingredient in the artificial fertilisers which account for a significant part of the world’s crop yields.

    • Without it, agricultural productivity would plummet and hundreds of millions would face starvation.

  • Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, reckons that, if governments take their green commitments seriously, today’s market could increase from 90m tonnes todat to 500m tonnes by 2050

  • Les 3 grandes qualités :

    • It is very energy-dense: burning a kilogram of it provides 2.6 times more energy than burning a kilogram of natural gas.

    • When burned in air it produces none of the sulphates or carbon monoxide through which fossil fuels damage air quality both outdoors and in, though it does produce some oxides of nitrogen

      • and when used in a fuel cell, a device that uses the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity without combustion, it produces nothing but water.

    • And because it can be made without oil, it was held to free its consumers from the tyranny of oil producers

  • Le code couleur pour s'y retrouver avec la techno de l'hydrogène (The Economist)

    • Today’s high-emissions hydrogen (càd dont la production émet beaucoup de gaz à effet de serre) is known as grey, if made with natural gas,

      • grey hydrogen costs about $1 a kilogram

    • or black, if made with coal.

    • The same technologies with added Carbon Capture and Storage are known as blue

    • The product of electrolysers (machine qui séparent l'eau, H2O, en H2 et O2) running off renewable energy is deemed green;

      • Green hydrogen, meanwhile, costs over $5/kg in the West.

    • that of electrolysers which use nuclear power is pink

    • Hydrogen produced by pyrolysis—simply heating methane until the hydrogen departs, leaving solid carbon behind—is turquoise

  • Morgan Stanley argues that at the very best locations for renewables in America, green hydrogen will be able to match grey hydrogen’s $1/kg “in 2-3 years”.

  • Hydrogen can be used as a material to store and transport energy in bulk. Renewable grids struggle when the wind dies or it is dark.

    • Batteries can help, but if renewable power is converted to hydrogen, it can be stored cheaply for long periods (to deal with differences from season to season and even year to year) and converted to electricity on demand.

    • Sunny and windy places that lack transmission links can export clean energy as hydrogen. Australia, Chile and Morocco hope to “ship sunshine” to the world.

  • Airbus, a European aeroplane-maker, is giving hydrogen its full-throated support. In September, it confirmed a plan to power planes using hydrogen by 2035.

  • Les voitures à hydrogène n'auraient pas de sens, mais cela en aurait pour les camions et les trains

    • Fuel cells (machine qui combine hydrogène et oxygène pour générer de l'électricité) add to an electric car’s price and complexity while offering no benefit in performance. They are also inefficient. 

    • A veteran Japanese utility executive whispers that Toyota’s stance makes no sense: “Millions of fuel-cell cars won’t happen. Even Honda gave up. Pride is why Toyota is sticking with it.”

    • Hydrogen lorries can beat battery-powered rivals with faster refuelling, more room for cargo and a longer range.

    • Alstom, a French firm, is running hydrogen-powered locomotives on European tracks.

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Brique faite du sang des astronautes ; corbeau attaque drone Google ; le mammouth revient, & more !

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : une fois par semaine au plus, une sélection de news résumées en bullet points sur des sujets tech, science, éco, géopolitique et défense pour mieux appréhender le futur.

Si on vous a envoyé cet email, vous pouvez vous inscrire ici.

Et si vous avez des questions, des remarques, des suggestions, n’hésitez pas à me les partager en répondant simplement à cet email, j’en serai ravi :)

(Je m'appelle Thomas, plus d'infos sur moi en bas d'email)

Voici donc ma sélection de la semaine !


  • Parlons passé : il n'aurait fallu "que" 27 ans pour construire la Grande Pyramide (avec 3,500 "ouvriers"), c'est la conclusion d'une équipe de tailleurs de pierre travaillant au CNRS, y’en a qui s’amusent…

  • Parlons passé, encore : un livre écrit avant 1345 par un moine italien faisait déjà référence au continent américain, près de 150 ans avant le voyage de Christophe Colomb

    • une référence à un bout de Canada, le Markland (Labrador or Newfoundland), découvert autour de l'an mille par les Vikings

    • "there was no evidence until now to prove that anyone outside northern Europe had heard of America until Columbus’s voyage in 1492." (The Economist)

  • Parlons énergie : il a fallu près de 2 minutes à 50km/h à un champion de cyclisme au tour de cuisse de 74cm, complètement épuisé par l'effort, pour générer les 21 watts-heures nécessaires à toaster une simple tranche de pain de mie...voyez la vidéo saisissante de 3 minutes !

  • Drones Wing d'Alphabet...attaqués par des corbeaux en Australie :

    • j'en parlais dans une précédente édition, Alphabet (maisons mère de Google) était fière jusque-là de son expérience pilote en Australie (avec plus de 50,000 livraisons rien que dans une banlieue de Brisbane)

    • cela va au-delà de l'anecdote : the attacks are forcing Alphabet to suspend some deliveries in Australia

    • Wing said: "We've identified some birds in the area demonstrating territorial behaviors and swooping at moving objects,"

    • Voir l'incroyable vidéo d'1 minute sur Youtube

À table !

Triste : ArianeGroup en galère face à SpaceX, et qui transfère une partie de ses activités en Allemagne (Libération)

  • Le groupe européen va couper dans ses effectifs en Allemagne et en France pour tenter de concurrencer la firme d’Elon Musk, dont les lanceurs réutilisables sont bien plus compétitifs.

  • Mais la future fusée Ariane ne décollera pas avant 2022 et semble déjà dépassée.

  • Pis, la production du fameux moteur réallumable de l’étage supérieur Vinci qui équipera Ariane 6 va être transférée de l’usine française de Vernon (Eure) vers le site allemand d’Ottobrunn (Bavière). «Cette décision n’a rien à voir avec le plan de départs volontaires, c’est la conséquence de l’accord franco-allemand conclu en juillet», précise la porte-parole d’ArianeGroup

  • En échange de sa contribution aux côtés de la France à une nouvelle ligne de financement de 140 millions d’euros pour assurer la viabilité économique d’Ariane 6, l’Allemagne réclamait en effet ce transfert du moteur Vinci sur ses terres.

Parlons espionnage : un simple rayon laser à travers une serrure suffit pour savoir ce qu'il se passe à l'intérieur d'une pièce (source)

  • the researchers have found that a moving object paired with pulses of light from a laser generate enough usable data over a long period of exposure time for an algorithm to create an image of what it’s seeing

  • A wooden mannequin ends up looking like a ghostly angel, but when paired with a properly trained image recognition AI, determining that a human (or human-shaped object) was in the room seems very feasible.

  • The research could one day provide a way for police or the military to assess the risks of entering a room before actually breaking down the door and storming their way inside, using nothing but a small crack in the wall or a gap around a window or doorway.

Espionnage toujours : filmer un mur blanc pour en déduire ce qu'il se passe dans la pièce (source)

  • they're able to point a camera at a blank wall and then perform some learning-based analysis over the shifting patterns of ambient light on it, then use this to figure out whether there are 0, 1, or 2 people in a scene, and to classify the activities of the people - whether they're walking, crouching, waving hands, jumping.

  • as cameras and processing algorithms get better, we're going to see surveillance systems develop that can extract a lot of data from stuff barely perceptible to humans

Cette start-up veut devenir le SpaceX des mers (source)

  • 85% des fonds marins demeurent encore inexplorés.

  • «Nous en savons aujourd'hui plus sur Mars que sur les profondeurs de l'océan.»

  • Or, les fonds océaniques sont au centre des enjeux climatiques, de conservation marine, de prévention des risques (tsunamis, marées…) et de transition écologique (étude de l'énergie des vagues, par exemple).

  • Fondée par un ancien ingénieur de SpaceX et l'ancien PDG de Nautilus Lab, une start-up spécialisée dans l'efficacité énergétique des bateaux, Bedrock a conçu un petit sous-marin autonome entièrement électrique, couplé à une plateforme et un service de données sur les fonds marins.

  • Selon Bedrock, il faut actuellement jusqu'à douze mois pour fournir aux clients des données commerciales exploitables. La start-up promet de diviser ce délai par dix grâce à sa solution; les données sont envoyées directement vers le cloud et récupérables en temps réel.

  • «Nous offrons une résolution cinquante fois supérieure à celle des cartes actuelles», affirme également la start-up.

  • Alimenté en énergie solaire et hydroélectricité, ce drone à faible impact environnemental peut rester jusqu'à six mois en mer avant d'être récupéré. Silencieux, il n'affecte pas la vie marine et évite les interférences avec les sonars.

Ressusciter le mammouth pour aider à combattre le réchauffement climatique ?! (New York Times)

  • un hybride éléphant-mammouth en réalité…

  • Colossal, a new company, cofounded by George Church (professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School) aims to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth and  place thousands of these magnificent beasts back on the Siberian tundra, thousands of years after they went extinct.

  • efforts to edit elephant DNA, adding genes for mammoth traits like dense hair and thick fat for withstanding cold. The researchers hope to produce embryos of these mammoth-like elephants in a few years, and ultimately produce entire populations of the animals.

  • Beyond scientific curiosity, he argued, revived woolly mammoths could help the environment. Today, the tundra of Siberia and North America where the animals once grazed is rapidly warming and releasing carbon dioxide. “Mammoths are hypothetically a solution to this,” Dr. Church argued in his talk.

  • Today the tundra is dominated by moss (mousse). But when woolly mammoths were around, it was largely grassland. Some researchers have argued that woolly mammoths were ecosystem engineers, maintaining the grasslands by breaking up moss, knocking down trees and providing fertilizer with their droppings.

  • The restored grassland would keep the soil from melting and eroding, he argued, and might even lock away heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

  • Even if he could figure out in vitro fertilization for elephants — which no one has done before — building a herd would be impractical, since he would need so many surrogates (mères porteuses)

  • Instead, Dr. Church decided to make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.

  • The idea has a few precedents. At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researchers have developed a sealed bag that can support a fetal lamb for four weeks, for example. But Colossal will need to build an artificial uterus big enough to house a fetus for around two years, reaching a weight of 200 pounds.

  • Heather Browning, a philosopher at the London School of Economics, said that whatever benefits mammoths might have to the tundra will need to be weighed against the possible suffering that they might experience in being brought into existence by scientists.

  • “You don’t have a mother for a species that — if they are anything like elephants — has extraordinarily strong mother-infant bonds that last for a very long time,” she said. “Once there is a little mammoth or two on the ground, who is making sure that they’re being looked after?”

La "loi" de Moore, qui en gros constate que la puissance des ordinateurs double tous les 2 ans à coût égal, est loin de s'essouffler, grâce à une machine néerlandaise, et les USA en privent la Chine (Wired)

  • cette loi n'est pas une loi de la physique, plus une constatation faite à l'origine en 1965 par Gordon Moore, "an electronics engineer and one of the founders of Intel"

  • mais elle est devenue une prophétie autoréalisatrice servant de cap aux ingénieurs

  • beaucoup craignent qu'elle ne s'essouffle mais il n'en serait rien, et cela reposerait en très grosse partie sur des machines incroyables que seule l'entreprise néerlandaise ASML sait construire !

  • The machine is being built by ASML, a Dutch company that has cornered the market for etching the tiniest nanoscopic features into microchips with light.

  • Each machine is roughly the size of a bus and costs $150 million. It contains 100,000 parts and 2 kilometers of cabling. Shipping the components requires 40 freight containers, three cargo planes, and 20 trucks.

  • Only a few companies can afford the machines, and most of them go to the world’s big 3 leading-edge chipmakers: the world’s leading foundry, Taiwan-based TSMC, as well as Samsung, in South Korea, and Intel.

  • The technology will be crucial for making more advanced smartphones and cloud computers, and also for key areas of emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and robotics. “The death of Moore’s law has been greatly exaggerated,” del Alamo, from MIT, says. “I think it’s going to go on for quite some time.”

  • Amid the recent chip shortage, triggered by the pandemic’s economic shock waves, ASML’s products have become central to a geopolitical struggle between the US and China, with Washington making it a high priority to block China's access to the machines.

  • The US government has successfully pressured the Dutch not to grant the export licenses needed to send the machines to China, and ASML says it has shipped none to the country.

  • “You can’t make leading-edge chips without ASML’s machines,” says Will Hunt, a research analyst at Georgetown University studying the geopolitics of chipmaking.

  • The executive chairman of TSMC, Mark Liu, has said he expects a threefold improvement in combined performance and efficiency of microchips each year for the next 20 years.

TerraPower : l'entreprise nucléaire fondée par Bill Gates (TheEconomist)

  • fondée en 2008, il s'agit de construire un nouveau type de centrale nucléaire

  • a cheaper reactor that is better suited to power grids that will increasingly be dominated by intermittent sources of energy such as wind turbines and solar panels.

  • et là où les réacteurs traditionnels sont refroidis avec de l'eau pompée à très forte pression, le réacteur de TerraPower utilise du sodium liquide avec comme conséquences :

    • TerraPower's reactor is designed to operate at close to atmospheric pressure. That means pipes, containment buildings and the like can be less beefy (costaud) without affecting safety.

    • TerraPower reckons its reactor needs only 20% of the concrete required by an LWR of equivalent power, which helps keep down costs.

  • une autre différence avec les réacteurs traditionnels : la chaleur du réacteur peut être transférée dans des cuves de "sels fondus" qui ont la propriété de garder leur chaleur longtemps, pour l'utiliser plus tard pour la transformer en électricité : TerraPower hopes this arrangement will let the new reactor ramp its power output up and down, depending on the price of electricity.

    • This should be a useful trick as power grids fill up with wind and solar farms that are likely to cause power prices to fluctuate more than they do at present.

  • Combined with lower construction costs, TerraPower hopes such agility will make its plant more economically attractive than older designs.

  • TerraPower insists that its Natrium plant is designed in a way that makes runaway reactions impossible.

  • in 2015 French regulators said they could not determine whether sodium-cooled reactors like TerraPower are significantly safer than modern "light-water" reactors (les réacteurs traditionnels, refroidis à l'eau sous pression)

  • the demonstration plant should be ready by 2028

Sur Mars ou la lune, les explorateurs pourront utiliser leur sang, sueur, larmes et urine pour fabriquer leur maison (source)

  • A 2017 report found that it could cost as much as US$2 million to ship a single brick to Mars....

  • but : Hardy bricks can be made by combining lunar or Martian dirt with a protein found in human blood and a compound called urea from sweat, tears or urine.

  • Roberts and his colleagues made experimental concrete in the lab with simulated lunar and Martian dirt, using human serum albumin (HSA), a common protein in blood plasma, as a binding agent. The idea didn't come out of left field; animal blood has been used as a mortar binder by many cultures over the centuries.

  • The resulting "extraterrestrial regolith biocomposites" (ERBs) were about as strong as ordinary concrete, the scientists report

  • He and his colleagues also found that adding urea to the mix supercharged the ERBs, making them substantially stronger than concrete.

  • These exotic biocomposites can potentially be 3D-printed, easing their manufacture on the surface of distant worlds, the researchers said.

  • our calculations suggest that each crewmember — over the course of a 72-week Mars mission — could produce enough human serum albumin (HSA) to construct habitat-space to support an additional astronaut," the scientists wrote in the new study. "This could allow the steady expansion of a nascent Martian colony."

  • quant aux autres déjections, on imagine que ce sera plus pour l’agriculture…

  • je rappelle que, pour ma part, je considère qu'il ne faut pas envoyer l'Homme sur mars car on va gâcher nos chances de pouvoir étudier sereinement si la vie y est apparue et y existe encore, qu'on peut bien mener avec nos robots toujours plus agiles, il y a tant d'autres endroits où envoyer l'Homme dans l'espace, voir ma tribune dans L'Express à ce sujet

Et sinon, on peut aussi construire sa base extraterrestre en champignon si vous préférez… (Wired)

  • structures out of mushrooms—or “mycotecture,”  “The humble mushroom can provide an unbelievable building material. It’s completely natural, compostable, and the ultimate green building,”

  • Although fungi could be used to grow the material for actual bricks and mortar that astronauts could use for construction, the best kind of space habitat would be assembled before they even arrive.

  • Her team’s proposal involves launching a lander that would include plastic scaffolding and fungal mycelia, white filaments that make the root structure of fungi. (Like yeasts, mycelia can survive for a while without being fed.)

  • The scaffolding would be a lattice of square hollow plastic cells, stitched into layers to make the shape of the final structure.

  • On Mars, it would inflate to perhaps the size of a garage. Using water and oxygen—at least some of which would likely have been sourced or generated on Mars—the fungi would grow along those stitches and fill the cells, eventually turning a tent-like structure into a full-fledged building.

Champignons toujours : ils peuvent permettre de faire du cuir de synthèse moins polluant et plus résistant : An Adidas sneaker and Lululemon bags are already in the works (source)

  • A new biotech materials startup called Bolt Threads has created a leather-like material it calls Mylo that could revolutionize the fake leather market — and it’s ready to go mainstream

  • The futuristic material is made out of mycelium, a fungus-like bacterial colony that can grow quickly into a massive web of strands. It’s so prolific that if all currently operating mushroom farms were to work on Mylo, it could replace all of the leather on the planet, according to Widmaier’s estimations.

  • The advantages are plentiful: for one, the mycelium doesn’t rot like real leather and doesn’t have to be preserved.

  • The process is significantly less carbon intensive than the production of real leather due to the simple fact that cows don’t have to be raised.

Incroyable infographie détaillant la répartition de la biomasse sur Terre

  • Biomasse : masse de matière vivant, que ce soit des animaux, plantes, champignons (encore eux), bactéries, etc.

  • Notamment : plus de 1000 fois plus de bactéries que d’humains sur Terre, quand mesuré en kg

Quelques points importants sur cette histoire de sous-marins

  • La France devait vendre à l'Australie des sous-marins "diesel-électrique"

  • Contrat perdu à la faveur des USA-UK qui vont vendre à la place des sous-marins nucléaires, càd équipés d'une chaudière nucléaire pour leur moteur, et non pas équipés d'armes nucléaires

  • Cette volte-face, odieuse dans la manière, semble surtout correspondre à un changement de stratégie :

    • The importance of nuclear submarines lies in the projection of force. Diesel-electric submarines like the Shortfin Barracuda can be very quiet indeed when in electric mode. As such they would be well suited to protecting Australia’s coastal waters—better in some ways than nuclear-powered boats, which can never completely silence the hum of their reactors’ plumbing. (source)

    • In deeper seas and when travelling greater distances, though, nuclear subs can hide between sound-muffling layers of warm and cold water and make use of their far greater range and sustained speed.

    • A conventional sub dispatched to patrol the contested waters of the South China Sea from the naval base in Perth which is home to Australia’s submarine fleet, would be able to stay on station for just two weeks before returning for refuelling and upkeep, according to calculations by the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an American think-tank.

    • A nuclear sub could lurk for as long as its crew could be fed. Its missions there could include intelligence-gathering and disgorging special forces as well as holding Chinese surface ships and submarines at risk.

  • Dans le jargon militaire français, on distingue ainsi les SNA, Sous-marins Nucléaire d'Attaque (motorisé par le nucléaire mais aux moyens d'attaque non-nucléaires), des SNLE, Sous-marins Nucléaires Lanceurs d'Engins (Wikipédia)

    • La France possède elle-même actuellement 4 SNLE du même modèle : Le Terrible, Le Vigilant, Le Téméraire et Le Triomphant (on s’amuse bien dans la Marine…)

    • Ce modèle : longs de 138 mètres et leur déplacement en plongée est de 14 335 tonnes. Ils sont aussi très silencieux, pratiquement indétectables, et peuvent plonger jusqu'à une profondeur de 400 mètres

    • Rayon d'action d'un SNLE français : illimité, seulement limité par les 70 jours de vivres pour les 112 membres d'équipage

    • La construction du premier exemplaire débute en 1986 et la livraison à la Marine nationale des quatre sous-marins s'échelonne de 1997 à 2010.

    • Les quatre sous-marins sont basés à l'île Longue, en rade de Brest, et font partie de la Force océanique stratégique française qui comprend également six sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque (SNA), à propulsion nucléaire mais ne transportant pas d'arme nucléaire.

    • La France maintient en permanence au moins un SNLE en patrouille et un deuxième à la mer ou prêt à partir en patrouille.

    • Donc : sachons qu'à tout moment, il y a 112 sous-mariniers français tapis quelque part au fond des océans prêts à déclencher la "seconde frappe" de riposte en cas de première attaque nucléaire sur notre sol, pilier de notre stratégie de dissuasion nucléaire.

  • On a entendu aussi qu'il y avait près de 2 millions de Français dans la zone indopacifique, c'est en fait plutôt 1,9 million, mais on ne va pas chipoter :

    • 860k à la Réunion dans l'Océan Indien, département français

    • 290k en Nouvelle Calédonie dans la Pacifique (qui vote pour son indépendance ce 12 décembre)

    • 280k en Polynésie française (et pour info notre zone économique exclusive associée est plus grande que l’Europe elle-même !)

    • 270k à Mayotte dans l'Océan Indien, département français

    • environ 190k expatrié(e)s en Asie-Pacifique (dont environ 60k en Australie, 30k en Chine, 15k à Singapour, 15k en Thailande, 15k en Nouvelle-Zélande, 10k au Japon, 10k en Inde)

    • 17k expatrié(e)s à Madagascar

    • 15k à Wallis et Futuna, collectivité d'outre-mer française dans le Pacifique

    • 10k expatrié(e)s à Maurice

    • Sans oublier...

      • 130 compatriotes aux îles Kerguelen, 30 aux îles Crozet (bon 18 en hiver) et 28 sur l'île Amsterdam, îles “subantarctiques”, au sud de l'Océan Indien

  • Et pour la route, une petite carte de la présence militaire française dans l'Indopacifique

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Quelques mots sur le cuistot

  • J'ai écrit plus de 50 articles ces dernières années, à retrouver ici, dont une bonne partie publiés dans des médias comme le Journal du Net (mes chroniques ici), le Huffington Post, L'Express, Les Échos.

  • Je suis CEO et co-fondateur de l'agence digitale KRDS, nous avons des bureaux dans 6 pays entre la France et l'Asie. Je suis basé à Singapour (mon Linkedin), également membre du think tank NXU.

  • Retrouvez-moi sur twitter en cliquant ici : je tweete des faits et infos contre-intuitives, brèves, à consommer sur place (et non pas des liens sans contexte vers des articles interminables), Jacques Attali est un de mes followers par exemple.

  • Retrouvez ici mon podcast Parlons Futur (ou taper "Parlons Futur" dans votre appli de podcast favorite), vous y trouverez entre autres des interviews et des résumés de livres.

C'est tout pour cette semaine !

Merci, et bon week-end !


iPhone=moins de chewing-gum; peinture blanche fait mieux que la clim; assassinat assisté par IA; no internet, no 9/11, & more!

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : une fois par semaine au plus, une sélection de news résumées en bullet points sur des sujets tech, science, éco pour mieux appréhender le futur.

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(Je m'appelle Thomas, plus d'infos sur moi en bas d'email)

Voici donc ma sélection de la semaine !


  • Parlons passé : an asteroid destroyed a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in about 1650 BC with an explosion 1000x the strength of the one that destroyed Hiroshima. This event may have become the destruction of Sodom in Genesis (source)

  • Les Etats-Unis ambitionnent de faire passer l'énergie solaire de 4% de leur bouquet énergétique aujourd'hui à 40% en 2035 (NYT)

  • Plus blanc que blanc : The whitest paint in the world has been created in a lab at Purdue University, a paint so white that it could eventually reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning, scientists say. (source)

    • The paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation while also emitting infrared heat.

    • Because the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it emits, a surface coated with this paint is cooled below the surrounding temperature without consuming power.

    • Using this new paint to cover a roof area of about 1,000 square feet could result in a cooling power of 10 kilowatts. “That’s more powerful than the air conditioners used by most houses

  • L'Amérique va-t-elle se retirer du monde ? Pas si vite précise The Economist : "With 9m citizens abroad, 39m jobs supported by trade and $33trn of foreign assets, it has a strong interest in an open world."

  • Le saviez-vous ? : Il a fallu 359 ans à la papauté pour révoquer la condamnation faite à l'encontre de Galilée qui expliquait que c'était la Terre qui tournait autour du soleil et non l'inverse

    • on peut se gausser du temps de réaction du Vatican, mais cette inertie semble aussi consubstantielle à sa longévité, c'est une des l'institutions les plus anciennes au monde encore active, sinon la plus ancienne (concept lié : le Lindy Effect, which says that the longer something lasts, the longer it can be expected to last)

  • Le saviez-vous ? : Les ventes de chewing-gum ont chuté de 15% aux Etats-Unis en 2007 à cause de...l'iPhone ! "In the decade from 2007, American chewing gum sales fell 15% – just as 220 million American adults bought their first smartphones. This was no coincidence. When people got into a shop's queue, they would once have spent the time browsing the goodies for sale at the counter – and gum was the obvious choice. Suddenly, they were spending that time playing with their phones. So gum sales plummeted. Nobody saw that one coming." (les 2 anecdotes précédentes viennent de cet article)

À table !

Singapour déploie des robots policiers qui peuvent interpeller les passants...mais ce n'est pas encore Robocop (source)

  • Il s'agit en fait d'un robot sur roue un peu pataud muni de caméras à 360° et télécommandé par des opérateurs qui peuvent interpeller à distance des passants

  • Un peu d'IA quand même : "Data from Xavier's cameras feeds into AI video analytics software, the agency said. "Once Xavier detects any "undesirable social behaviours" ( people smoking in public, flouting COVID-19 rules, etc.), it will trigger real-time alerts to the command and control centre"

  • Voir le "robot" en action sur youtube

C'est fait, le premier vol "privé" en orbite est un succès !

  • Bon, c'est la troisième fois que la capsule Dragon emporte des êtres humains en orbite, c'est du déjà-vu d'une certaine manière, mais ça reste impressionnant.

  • Voilà la vidéo où ils découvrent la vue depuis la "coupole" pour la première fois. Et une autre vidéo de cette vue plus large, qui a dû susciter à coup sûr “the overview effect” (a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space)

  • Apparemment ils ont eu un problème de toilettes bouchées, toilettes rudimentaires par aspiration et séparées de la cabine par...un rideau 😲

  • Capsule qui apparaît au final très exiguë pour 4 personnes...pour 3 jours. 3 jours, je ne sais pas vous, mais ça paraît vraiment long dans ces conditions, passé l'émerveillement des premières 24 heures ?

  • Cela va prendre peut-être 20 ans ou plus, mais ce siècle on finira par avoir des stations spatiales de grande dimension et tournant sur elle-même pour produire de la gravité artificielle, où l'on pourra dormir, manger et aller aux toilettes normalement, tout en profitant de la vue unique et de la microgravité dans les étages plus proches du centre de rotation. Voyez à ce titre le projet de Voyager Station porté par Orbital Assembly que j'ai pu accompagner dans leur communication.

  • Cette mission privée Inspiration4, en contribuant à financer SpaceX et ses lanceurs révolutionnaires, aide à son niveau à faire advenir un peu plus vite que sinon cette vision ultime d'un tourisme spatial confortable et accessible !

Pendant ce temps-là, à bord de la station chinoise, on a beaucoup plus de confort ! (source)

  • The photo shows Hongbo’s sleeping quarters, a large section of the side of the Tianhe core module of China’s brand new Tiangong space station. The astronaut appears to have stuck manuals, headphones, and photos of his family to the walls of his spacious bunk, and there’s even a private window for him to watch the view outside.

  • it looks like Hongbo gets a bed about the size of a twin mattress, along with tons of overhead space, and each crew member on the Tiangong station gets their own separate living quarters.

  • That’s actually a lot bigger than the cramped sleeping quarters on board the International Space Station, where astronauts were forced to “sleep kind of together, wherever,” according to veteran NASA astronaut Scott Kelly

  • that Chinese module is also only the first module of much larger plans for the station. Even at full size, though, the Chinese station will still only be a fraction of the size of the ISS

  • La Chine rattrape son retard à grande vitesse dans l'espace, après avoir ramené en décembre dernier un échantillon de la lune et après avoir posé (en mai dernier) et fait rouler un rover sur Mars du premier coup, deux véritables exploits !

  • La Chine aurait aussi démarré une étude de faisabilité pour une station d'1km de long !

  • Gageons que cette concurrence entre Chine et USA sera saine pour le coup et conduira à des exploits spatiaux toujours plus inspirants pour le reste de l'humanité !

Le mythe des Terres Rares (Rare Earths) (source)

  • Despite their name, rare earths aren't all that rare. The byproducts of other metals refining and production (such as lead (plomb)) and if anything, the production process takes a lot of time and effort. Chinese state policy of subsidizing industry (and caring absolutely not one whit about environmental impacts) allowed the Chinese to become leaders in rare earths metals processing at a truly global scale. And the rest of the world has largely been happy to outsource their needs to subsidized Chinese production.

  • This isn't to say that the Chinese couldn't--and haven't--attempted some shenanigans (manigances). But manufacturing states dependent on Chinese production have been steadily building up strategic reserves, and countries like the United States, Australia, and Malaysia have been increasing investments into processing capacity. There will be a ramp up process, six to twelve months at most. Some supply tightness, but nothing insurmountable. Definitely not something worth keeping you up at night. 

Le New York Times confirme : "Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by an AI-assisted sniper rifle remotely controlled by Israeli operatives"

  • An AI was developed in order to compensate for Fakhrizadeh’s car movement, the shake of the machine-gun-mounted truck and the 1.6 second delay between the camera and what the operator saw.

  • A facial recognition software was also employed to help ensure that only the Iranian scientist would be targeted by the rifle — sparing his wife’s life in the process.

  • The gun along with its advanced robotic apparatus weighed roughly a ton, according to the NYT. Israeli operatives smuggled the weapon and its parts piecemeal into Iran before reassembling it

  • The entire system was then fitted into the bed of a pickup truck that contained multiple cameras in order to give Israeli operatives a full picture view of the surroundings.

  • The entire operation took less than a minute. Fifteen bullets were fired.

  • The souped-up, remote-controlled machine gun now joins the combat drone in the arsenal of high-tech weapons for remote targeted killing. But unlike a drone, the robotic machine gun draws no attention in the sky, where a drone could be shot down, and can be situated anywhere, qualities likely to reshape the worlds of security and espionage.

Stuart Russell, computer-science professor at UC Berkeley : a swarm of 10,000 drones that could wipe out half a city could theoretically cost as little as $10 million (source)

  • “The capabilities of autonomous weapons will be limited more by the laws of physics—for example, by constraints on range, speed, and payload—than by any deficiencies in the AI systems that control them."

  • "One can expect platforms deployed in the millions, the agility and lethality of which will leave humans utterly defenseless.”

  • Stuart Russel est cité ici dans une tribune de Kai-Fu Lee, investisseur taiwanais vivant depuis longtemps en Chine, expert en IA, et auteur en 2018 du bestseller AI Superpowers (dont voici mon résumé)

  • Kai-Fu Lee explique dans sa tribune que les 3 solutions proposées à ce jour pour encadrer le développement des armes autonomes semblent vaines : 1. les bannir et 2. les réguler (comment le faire compte tenu de la rivalité et absence de confiance entre USA, Chine et Russie?), 3. "keep a human in the loop" (mais encore une fois comment l'imposer ? surtout sachant que sans personne dans la boucle une arme autonome sera plus rapide et plus "efficace")

  • Le Journal du Net avait publié la tribune que j’avais écrite sur ce sujet en 2018, Débat sur les armes autonomes : la liste des arguments pour et contre, elle reste parfaitement d'actualité

Cette voiture solaire conçue par des étudiants peut faire 730km en une journée après avoir pris le soleil à l'arrêt pendant 2-3 jours (article, site du projet)

  • The Stella Vita can go 730 kilometers on a sunny day, assuming none of the amenities inside are used.

  • Inside the vehicle, amenities include a bed, a small fridge, a toilet, a couch, and a small cooking area, all of which can run on solar power. Drivers can also charge their gadgets.

  • Obviously, taking a shower, making coffee, or charging a laptop will eat into the Stella Vita’s drive time.

  • The vehicle's infotainment system informs drivers of their energy consumption so they can make decisions about their usage. “You have to choose how you use your energy."

  • The panels can fold outward to increase their surface area to as much as 17.5m2

  • Students from the Netherlands will take their new solar ride 3,000 km to Spain to spark interest in solar vehicles.

  • Un autre projet néerlandais, Lightyear, propose aussi un véhicule à l'allure plus traditionnelle, avec une couverture en panneaux solaires moindre (5m2) mais pouvant néanmoins prolonger utilement la durée de vie de la batterie (up to 70km of range per day of sun exposure). Cet avantage, couplé au meilleur aérodynamisme qui soit pour un tel modèle de voiture, des matériaux plus légers, et autres technologies de pointe ("most efficient inverters" entre autres) ont permis d'établir un record :

    • une démo en juillet dernier a prouvé que leur voiture était ainsi presque deux fois plus efficace qu'une voiture électrique classique en termes de nombre de km parcouru pour une quantité d'énergie donnée au départ ! (voir la vidéo de 3min de la démo)

Analyse intéressante : l'attaque du 11 septembre 2001 et sa réponse sécuritaire devraient toutes deux beaucoup à l'essor d'internet (Noah Smith, chroniqueur de Bloomberg, sur son blog perso)

  • September 11th, 2001 changed a lot of things in the world. Besides the aforementioned wars, it initiated the creation of the modern digitally enabled security state — everything from Snowden to China’s totalitarian efforts in Xinjiang grew out of the time that a few angry people with only the barest minimum of state backing managed to destroy the heart of the greatest city of the most powerful country on Earth.

  • But any serious consideration of why and how both 9/11 and the post-9/11 security state came to be must acknowledge that these changes were probably inevitable. Both the attacks and the response were due to the rise of the internet.

  • The internet enables much quicker and more comprehensive information sharing that fundamentally increases the capabilities of non-state actors like al Qaeda. Terrorists can spread their ideology online, coordinate their operations electronically, and learn detailed methods for creating maximum destruction. Internet-enabled finance, too, is crucial for funding these groups. And the internet offers would-be terrorists a wealth of information about their intended targets.

  • 9/11 made this plain, but had 9/11 never happened, these technological facts would still have been true. Oklahoma City, the Tokyo gas attack, and many many other attacks around the world show that there was no dearth of desire for mayhem even without the motivating force of radical Islam. Eventually somebody was going to use the internet to conduct a spectacular terrorist attack, and governments and societies were going to realize how vulnerable new technologies had made them.

  • And at the same time, the internet has enabled surveillance of a finely crafted type that the totalitarians of the 20th century could only dream of. Hitler couldn’t track Anne Frank’s phone, nor Stalin scan Solzhenitsyn’s metadata. It remains to be seen whether digital totalitarianism will be gentler than the industrial-age variety (because it can afford to be) or far more cruel and insane (because it can be). But it’s clear that we’re going to find out, and we were always going to find out, given that states like China were always going to find ways to use the tools the internet gave them. And “free” societies like the U.S. and Europe were always going to use the tools of digital surveillance as the inevitable counter to the problem of non-state terrorism.

  • In other words, 9/11 was the cyberpunk terrorism-and-surveillance dystopia we ended up getting, but we were always going to get one. The notion that Bin Laden defeated the West by goading it into abandoning some of its freedoms neglects the overwhelming likelihood that this would soon have happened anyway.

La plus grande usine de séquestration du carbone prélevé dans l'air ambiant entre en service en Islande et est déjà presque sold-out sur sa durée de vie (source)

  • The World’s Largest Direct Air Capture (DAC) Plant Is Now Pulling CO2 From the Air in Iceland

  • the captured carbon is liquefied then pumped underground into basalt caverns. Over time (less than two years, according to Carbfix’s website), it turns to stone.

  • One of the biggest issues with direct air capture is that it’s expensive, and this facility is no exception. Climeworks co-founder Christoph Gebald estimates it’s currently costing $600 to $800 to remove one metric ton of carbon. Costs would need to drop to around a sixth of this level for the company to make a profit. Gebald thinks Climeworks can get costs down to $200 to $300 per ton by 2030, and half that by 2040.

  • The National Academy of Sciences estimated that once the cost of CO2 extraction gets below $100-150 per ton, the air-captured commodity will be economically competitive with traditionally-sourced oil

  • The other problem that detractors of DAC cite is its energy usage relative to the amount of CO2 it’s capturing. These facilities use a lot of energy, even if that energy they use comes from renewable sources

  • Climeworks and other companies working on DAC technology are optimistic, saying that automation and increases in energy efficiency will drive down costs.

  • La route est encore longue : An IEA report from May of this year stated that to reach the carbon-neutral targets that have been set around the world, almost one billion metric tons of CO2 will need to be captured using DAC every year. Our current total of 9,000 tons per year that all the DAC plants currently collectively capture is just a start.

  • But there appears to be no shortage of customers willing to pay the current, elevated price. Even as the new plant’s fans revved up, roughly two-thirds of its lifetime offering of carbon removals had already been sold. Clients include corporations seeking to offset a portion of their emissions, such as Microsoft, Swiss Re (and The Economist), as well as over 8,000 private individuals. (The Economist)

Altos Labs, la startup qui veut nous faire rajeunir qui a levé le plus de fonds, notamment auprès de Jeff Bezos (MIT Technology Review)

  •  The company is currently luring some of the world’s top scientists to join with big salaries and promises to give them free reign on their anti-aging research.

  • While there are numerous reprogramming startups out there, none of them quite have the backing that Altos Labs boasts now.

  • Altos is pursuing biological reprogramming technology, a way to rejuvenate cells in the lab that some scientists think could be extended to revitalize entire animal bodies, ultimately prolonging human life.

  • Altos is luring university professors by offering sports-star salaries of $1 million a year or more, plus equity, as well as freedom from the hassle of applying for grants. One researcher who confirmed accepting a job offer from Altos, Manuel Serrano of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, in Barcelona, Spain, said the company would pay him five to 10 times what he earns now.

  • Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a biologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, is amongst the many scientists coming aboard Altos. He made waves in 2017 when he began research into creating a human/pig chimera. He also has won notoriety for research mixing human and monkey embryos and has predicted that human lifespans could be increased by 50 years.

  • Shinya Yamanaka, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner for his research into aging reversal in cells (aka reprogramming), will also be joining as the chair on Altos scientific advisory board.

  • The reprogramming technique has an indisputable, repeatable, effect in laboratory experiments when applied to individual cells. “You can take a cell from an 80-year old  and, in vitro, reverse the age by 40 years. There is no other technology that can do that,”

  • Altos will also be working with a related technology for measuring the relative age of a cell, or a person. That biological-clock technique, pioneered by Horvath (who is also joining the project), involves measuring the “epigenetic” marks on genes. These molecular features turn genes on and off, but their pattern becomes disorganized as people age.

  • There is also a strong scientific connection between aging clocks and reprogramming, since reprogramming appears to work by remodeling the epigenetic marks in a cell’s genome to an immature or naive state. That means Altos will be working at the leading edge of both causing and measuring rejuvenation.

  • At least initially, Altos will be funding researchers with no immediate expectation for products or revenues. According to one person briefed by Klausner and Milner, the initial output of the company will be “great science.”

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Quelques mots sur le cuistot

  • J'ai écrit plus de 50 articles ces dernières années, à retrouver ici, dont une bonne partie publiés dans des médias comme le Journal du Net (mes chroniques ici), le Huffington Post, L'Express, Les Échos.

  • Je suis CEO et co-fondateur de l'agence digitale KRDS, nous avons des bureaux dans 6 pays entre la France et l'Asie. Je suis basé à Singapour (mon Linkedin), également membre du think tank NXU.

  • Retrouvez-moi sur twitter en cliquant ici : je tweete des faits et infos contre-intuitives, brèves, à consommer sur place (et non pas des liens sans contexte vers des articles interminables), Jacques Attali est un de mes followers par exemple.

  • Retrouvez ici mon podcast Parlons Futur (ou taper "Parlons Futur" dans votre appli de podcast favorite), vous y trouverez entre autres des interviews et des résumés de livres.

C'est tout pour cette semaine !

Merci, et bon week-end !


Pas de livre sans sous-vêtement, Musk impose le net aux Taliban, batterie en béton, lampe à urine, théorie sociale des OVNIs & more !

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : une fois par semaine au plus, une sélection de news résumées en bullet points sur des sujets tech, science, éco pour mieux appréhender le futur.

Si on vous a envoyé cet email, vous pouvez vous inscrire ici.

Et si vous avez des questions, des remarques, des suggestions, n’hésitez pas à me les partager en répondant simplement à cet email, j’en serai ravi :)

(Je m'appelle Thomas, plus d'infos sur moi en bas d'email)

Voici donc ma sélection de la semaine !


  • Vision (dystopique) de ce que pourrait être un monde vécu en réalité augmentée

    • Voir la vidéo intitulée Hyper-Reality, déjà vieille de 5 ans, sur viméo

  • Parlons Passé : incroyable thread twitter qui explique à quoi on doit le format du livre d'aujourd'hui :

    • “Cheese is one of the 5 things the Western book as we know it depends on. The other four are snails, Jesus, underwear and eyeglasses. If even one of these things was absent, the book you hold in your hand today would look completely different. I'll explain why.”

    • Arguments du fromage et escargot, un peu tirés par les cheveux, mais celui des sous-vêtements est fascinant (le papier était au départ confectionné en Europe à partir de fripes blanches, et la principale source en était les sous-vêtements…)

  • Une IA protège les océans en identifiant les navires qui déversent leurs eaux de cale (source)

    • SkyTruth a développé avec le concours d'Amazon Web Services une intelligence artificielle capable d'interpréter des données satellites et d'indiquer la date et l'heure à laquelle un bateau déverse ses eaux usées.

    • L'algorithme s'appuie sur les données radar de satellites d'observation mis en orbite par l'ESA, l'agence spatiale européenne. L'imagerie permet en effet de voir à l'œil nu les longues traces laissées en surface par les eaux de cales. Grâce à la méthode du deep learning (apprentissage profond), SkyTruth a alors entraîné l'IA à identifier cette source de pollution maritime.

  • La saviez-vous : La définition du mille marin est basée sur ce principe :

    • prenez la circonférence de la Terre : 40,075 km

    • divisez par 360 (pour 360 degrés), divisez encore par 60 (car il y a 60 “minutes” d'arc par degré)

    • et voilà, un mille marin est, à peu près, la distance à la surface de la Terre qui permet de couvrir un angle d'une minute d'arc, soit 1852 mètres (différent du mile anglosaxon : 1609m )

À table !

Starlink d'Elon Musk pourrait distribuer internet en Afghanistan que les Taliban le veuillent ou non !

  • Suite à la suggestion "Frankly, I would love it if SpaceX would just flood Afghanistan with Starlink so that there is a way for us to maintain communication with our Afghan partners."…

  • …Elon Musk a tweeté ici et : "Our satellites launching in next few months have inter-satellite laser links” “Lasers links alleviate ground station constraints, so data can go from say Sydney to London through space, which is ~40% faster speed of light than fiber & shorter path. Also, no need for ground stations everywhere. Arctic will have great bandwidth!"

  • Et si les Taliban ne sont pas d'accord, il répond : "They can shake their fist at the sky"

  • Imaginez un instant la portée de cette possibilité technique : apporter un internet non censuré à un pays qui le refuse, comme la Chine ou la Corée du Nord... j'avais publié une tribune sur ce sujet en 2014 dans le Journal du Net : Quand la démocratie tombera du ciel (grâce à Internet)

Des médecins auraient découvert comment "inverser" le vieillissement des cellules de notre système immunitaire, nous promettant de vivre mieux et plus vieux (source)

  • A team of scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology says it’s found a way to reverse the natural aging of immune system cells — and potentially make the elderly far more resistant to infections.

  • “We found specific hormonal signals produced by the old B cells, the memory cells, that inhibit the bone marrow from producing new B cells,” Melamed told The Jerusalem Post. “This is a huge discovery. It is like finding a needle in a haystack.” B cells are used by the immune system to identify and produce antibodies against new pathogens.

  • Typically, your body stops making as many B cells later in life, but suppressing a particular hormone can trigger production, theoretically giving an older person’s immune system the same robustness it had earlier in life, according to research published last month in the journal Blood.

  • While the team still needs to conduct clinical trials, their work hints at a future in which the elderly can fight off pathogens just as well as younger generations, enjoying better health well into old age.

Plans for $400-billion 5-million-people new city in the American desert unveiled (CNN)

  • Billionaire Marc Lore has outlined his vision for a 5-million-person "new city in America" and appointed a world-famous architect to design it,  Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

  • BIG famously installed a ski slope on top of a Copenhagen power plant and has co-designed Google's new headquarters in London and California. In January 2020, Japanese carmaker Toyota revealed that it had commissioned BIG to create a master plan for a new 2,000-person city in the foothills of Mount Fuji.

  • eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system.

  • A so-called "15-minute city design" will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes.

  • reaching its target population of 5 million within 40 years

  • Bon... " Now, he just needs somewhere to build it -- and $400 billion in funding.”

Prêt(e) pour la viande cultivée in vitro ? (source)

  • In 2013, the first cultured meat patty grown from cells was unveiled on television. Seven years later in 2020, Singapore became the first country to approve lab grown chicken bites.

  • Unlike meat grown on an animal, tissue-culture meat can be grown in just a few weeks (and that number may come down).

  • Tissue-culture meat is far less likely to be infected by bacteria, parasites, and so on, and it’s much better for the environment.

  • And theoretically, the cost of producing muscle tissue directly, without also having to produce bone and skin and brains and all the rest — not to mention the savings in terms of land use — seems like it could be lower for tissue-culture meat than for animal farming.

  • And crucially, tissue-culture meat is real meat. These are animal muscle cells, without the animal. Of course, getting fat into the muscle in a realistic way — reproducing the marbling in your steak — is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

Cette lampe peut fournir de la lumière pendant 45 jours avec juste 500ml d'eau de mer (ou de l'urine) et est plébiscitée par l'OMS

  • 840 millions de personnes n'ont pas encore accès à l'électricité, en attendant ce gadget pourrait en aider quelques uns

  • WaterLight works through ionisation. Electrical energy is produced when salt water electrolytes react with magnesium inside the device.

  • In emergency situations, it can be powered by urine.

  • « WaterLight peut être plus efficace que les lanternes à énergie solaire car elle se régénère instantanément […] Une fois remplies d’eau, la livraison d’énergie est immédiate tandis que les lanternes solaires doivent transformer l’énergie solaire en énergie alternative pour charger les batteries et elles ne fonctionnent que s’il y a du soleil. »

  • an expected lifetime of around 5,600 hours which equates to two or three years of use

  • Voir la vidéo, ici l'article

  • Bon, la lampe ne produit pas beaucoup de lumière et son prix n'est pas communiqué, mais c'est un prototype intéressant

Le programme AlphaFold de Deepmind en passe de révolutionner la biologie (Nature)

  • The human genome holds the instructions for more than 20,000 proteins. But only about one-third of those have had their 3D structures determined experimentally. And in many cases, those structures are only partially known.

  • AlphaFold neural network produced a ‘totally transformative’ database of more than 350,000 structures from Homo sapiens and 20 model organisms.

  • researchers say the resource — which is set to grow to 130 million structures by the end of the year, nearly half of all known proteins — has the potential to revolutionize the life sciences.

  • “It’s totally transformative from my perspective. Having the shapes of all these proteins really gives you insight into their mechanisms,” says Christine Orengo, a computational biologist at University College London (UCL).

  • “This is the biggest contribution an AI system has made so far to advancing scientific knowledge. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that,” says Demis Hassabis, co-founder and chief executive of DeepMind.

  • the availability of so many protein structures is likely to mark a “paradigm shift” in biology, says Mohammed AlQuraishi, a computational biologist at Columbia University in New York City

  • "3-D folding structure is what matters for enzyme function. Working it out for just one protein used to be worth a Nobel Prize. Now can be PREDICTED from 1-D sequence in a weekend." says biologist Richard Dawkins

Cette "batterie" stocke de l'énergie en empilant des blocs de béton ! (source)

  • L'essor des énergies renouvelables mais intermittentes rend nécessaire de pouvoir stocker le surplus d'énergie produit quand il y a beaucoup de vent et de soleil pour pouvoir ensuite en profiter quand on n'en a pas assez (le coût de l'électricité solaire a baissé de 89% en 10 ans!)

  • Les batteries électrochimiques sont encore trop chères et pas encore assez "scalable" pour répondre au problème

  • Un autre moyen est d'utiliser le surplus d'énergie pour pomper de l'eau dans des réservoirs artificiels ou naturels, puis de la laisser redescendre pour faire tourner des turbines et générer de l'électricité à la demande (utilisé depuis les années 1920 !)

  • Un nouveau moyen sur lequel travaille la startup Energy Vault qui vient de lever 100 millions de $ : utiliser le surplus d'énergie pour motoriser une grue et empiler des blocs de béton, à faire redescendre ensuite pour faire tourner un générateur à la demande...

  • “Heavy” blocks in this case means 35 tons. The blocks are made of a composite material that uses soil and locally-sourced waste, which can include anything from concrete debris and coal ash to decommissioned wind turbine blades (talk about coming full circle).

  • Besides putting material that would otherwise go into a landfill to good use, this also means the blocks can be made locally, and thus don’t need to be transported

  • Energy Vault says the towers will have a storage capacity up to 80 megawatt-hours, and be able to continuously discharge 4 to 8 megawatts for 8 to 16 hours.

    • cela signifie qu'une tour pourra "relâcher" en une dizaine d'heures l'équivalent de la consommation d'énergie de près de 100 foyers américains en un mois

  • The technology is best suited for long-duration storage with very fast response times.

  • The company will roll out its first platform in the US late this year, moving on to fulfill contracts in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia in 2022.

  • Voir la vidéo d'animation de 2 minutes sur viméo

Une raison de plus de penser que nous pourrions "venir" de Mars : on a la preuve que des bactéries ont pu survivre 3 ans à l'extérieur de la station spatiale internationale, dans le vide et les radiations de l'espace

  • the team’s results show that a pellet of bacteria just half a millimeter deep could survive for up to eight years in space

  • “Deinococcus is known to have several mechanisms to survive in harsh environments,” says Akihiko Yamagishi, a professor at Tokyo University and the lead scientist for the Tanpopo mission. “We tested which mechanisms are responsible and found, among others, that its DNA repair system is important for surviving in the space environment.”

  • When protected deep inside a rock, calculations have shown that bacteria can survive up to millions of years,” says Avi Loeb, a physicist at Harvard University.

  • in 2018, Yamagishi and his colleagues conducted a series of high-altitude experiments on Earth using planes and weather balloons and found traces of Deinococcus bacteria nearly 13 km up in the atmosphere. That’s well above the cruising altitude of a passenger jet.

  • as Loeb detailed in a paper he coauthored earlier this year, it may be possible that asteroids and comets that graze Earth’s atmosphere, like a stone skipping on a pond, pick up some microbes in the atmosphere and carry them into interstellar space.

  • Cela renforce l'idée que la vie ait pu apparaître ailleurs, sur Mars, et été ensuite acheminée sur Terre, ou l'inverse, c'est ce qu'on appelle la panspermie, un concept que j'aborde aussi dans ma réponse à la tribune de l'astrophysicien Louis d’Hendecourt

La maîtrise de la fusion sera la condition de l'exploration humaine de la galaxie, explique l'ingénieur Robert Zubrin

  • Around the world, well-funded entrepreneurial efforts have begun to make fusion power a reality. Indeed, many of them are now outpacing official government programs. At this rate, there is an excellent chance that the first controlled thermonuclear fusion reactors will be ignited before this decade is out

  • fast-moving private efforts, such as the British Tokamak Energy, the Canadian General Fusion, the Australian HB11, and the American Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Tri Alpha Energy, Helion Energy, EMCC, CT Fusion, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Helicity Space, Lockheed Martin, and others.

  • fusion does not simply represent unlimited energy — it is a new kind of energy with which we could do things that we simply can’t do now. With fusion power, for instance, we could create fusion rockets, which could attain speeds up to 10 percent the speed of light, opening our path to the stars.

  • The amount of deuterium fusion fuel present in one litre of water contains as much energy as that produced by burning 350 litres of gasoline. That’s all water on earth, fresh or salt. A litre of water from Mars contains deuterium with the energy content of 2,000 litres of gasoline. Other planets or asteroids may offer more still.

  • In the entire history of human civilization we have not used up a single kilogram of iron or aluminum. We have just degraded some matter from more convenient to less convenient forms. With enough energy, we can rearrange it back, recycling it faster and faster from one form to another. We will never run out of anything.

Les drones turcs bon marché sont en train de révolutionner l'art de la guerre (tribune du vénérable Francis Fukuyama lui-même)

  • Turkey has developed its own domestic drones and has used them to devastating effect in several recent military conflicts: Libya, Syria, in the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and in the fight against the PKK inside its own borders. In the process, it has elevated itself to being a major regional power broker with more ability to shape outcomes than Russia, China, or the United States.

  • Drones are, however, not that hard to manufacture, and the most recent Turkish ones are quite impressive. The TB2 can stay aloft for 24 hours, and can perform both reconnaissance and attack missions.

  • The effectiveness of these weapons was first demonstrated beyond Turkey’s borders in Syria in March 2020, where in retaliation for a Russian-backed Syrian attack that killed 36 Turkish soldiers, Ankara launched a devastating attack on Syrian armored forces that were moving into Idlib province along the Turkish border. Video footage showed them destroying one Syrian armored vehicle after another, including more than 100 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and air defense systems.

  • The Syrian offensive was brought to a complete halt, and Idlib province secured as a haven for refugees. Then in May, Turkish drones were used to attack an air base in Libya used by UAE-backed Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar, which ended the LNA’s offensive against Tripoli.

  • Finally, during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in September, Turkish drones intervening for Azerbaijan against Armenia destroyed an estimated 200 tanks, 90 other armored vehicles, and 182 artillery pieces, forcing the latter to withdraw from the territory. This has become a point of nationalist pride in Turkey

  • It seems to me that Turkey’s use of drones is going to change the nature of land power in ways that will undermine existing force structures, in the way that the Dreadnaught obsoleted earlier classes of battleships, or the aircraft carrier made battleships themselves obsolete at the beginning of World War II. ( the Dreadnaught was a revolutionary British battelship introduced in 1906 with an unprecedented number of heavy-calibre guns, and steam turbine propulsion)

  • Drones have done much to promote Turkey’s rise as a regional power in the year 2020. The country has now decisively shaped the outcomes of three conflicts, and promises to do more of the same.

  • Many American critics of U.S. drone policy are still living in a world where the U.S. and Israel were the main users of this technology. But that world has already disappeared and is quickly giving way to one in which drones become central battlefield weapons. What that will look like in ten years’ time is anyone’s guess.

L'économiste et sociologue américain Robin Hanson propose dans un bref article une théorie sociale pour expliquer les OVNIs, si celles-ci sont bien d'origine extra-terrestre

  • Robin Hanson est un universitaire reconnu pour ses idées audacieuses sur le futur, il a un solide background scientifique

  • Il a par exemple écrit un livre très fouillé pour tenter de décrire les conséquences que la capacité à uploader sa conscience et son intelligence dans le cloud aurait sur l'économie (entre autres) dont voici son résumé en vidéo le temps d'un TED talk

  • Les questions qu'il pose en préambule :

    • 1. In a vast universe that looks dead everywhere, how is it that advanced aliens happen to be right here right now?

    • 2. Even if aliens did travel to be here now, why would they act as UFOs do: mute and elusive, yet still noticeable?

  • Pour expliquer 1, il explique qu'une de ces 2 assertions doit être exacte :

    • A. Aliens are common and travel everywhere, but enforce rules against visible changes, or

    • B. Aliens arise rarely, but in small clumps; the first in clump to appear can control the others.

  • Il disqualifie le point A. d'entrée ("seems too much a conspiracy (i.e., coordinate to hide) theory for my tastes.") et propose de retenir le B., rendue possible par la panspermie

  • "Now, to explain the fact that these aliens have not visibly changed our shared galaxy, even though they can travel to here, we must postulate that they enforce a rule against making big visible changes, probably enforced by a strong central government. A rule against mass aggressive expansion, colonization, and disassembling of planets, stars, etc. Maybe due to environmentalist values, maybe to enable regulation, or maybe just to protect central control and status. Yes, this is something of a conspiracy theory, but being smaller, it seems easier to swallow."

  • Et pour le 2., il précise qu'il faudrait postuler ces 2 conditions :

    • 2.1. they want us get us to comply with their rule against making big visible changes to the universe

    • 2.2  they are reluctant to just kill, crush, enslave, or dominate us to get this outcome (or they’d have already done one of these)

  • "Aliens, if UFOs are aliens, somehow value something about us independent of their influence, and thus prefer us to organically and voluntary comply with their rule."

  • Son explication :

  • "To induce our voluntary minimum-change compliance, their plan is put themselves gently at the top of our status ladder."

  • "if these aliens hang out close to us for a long time, show us their very impressive abilities, but don’t act overtly hostile, then we may well come to see them as very high status members of our tribe."

  • "But why not just land on the White House lawn, meet with our leaders, and explain their agenda?"

    • Because once they start talking to us, we will have a lot of questions. Such as on their nature, practices, history, and future plans. And many of us would surely hate some of their answers.(...) They reasonably guess that we are just not as open-minded as we like to think.

  • " Sure, maybe if they understood us really well they could just say “no comment” when a discussion got near something likely to offend us"

    • But we’d then reasonably infer that they were hiding bad news near there, make a guess at what it is, and get somewhat offended at that. Far simpler and more robust to not talk at all, except in dire emergencies

  • This strategy works best if they carefully limit what they show us. Just give us brief simple impressive glimpses that don’t let us figure out their tech, or even the locations of their local bases. The package of simple geometric shapes, crazy accelerations, no sounds or other local side effects, clear intelligent intent, and avoiding harms to us seems to do the trick.

Retrouvez ici les dernières newsletters

L’addition ?

Cette newsletter est gratuite, et si vous souhaitez m'encourager à continuer ce modeste travail de curation et de synthèse, vous pouvez simplement :

  • étoiler ce mail et/ou y répondre d'un mot, pour que les algos des messageries comprennent que ce n'est pas du spam (j'espère), cela permettra une meilleure distribution !

  • forwarder cet email à quelques ami(e)s et collègues avec un petit mot, voire les inscrire directement ici !

Merci d'avance :)

Quelques mots sur le cuistot

  • J'ai écrit plus de 50 articles ces dernières années, à retrouver ici, dont une bonne partie publiés dans des médias comme le Journal du Net (mes chroniques ici), le Huffington Post, L'Express, Les Échos.

  • Je suis CEO et co-fondateur de l'agence digitale KRDS, nous avons des bureaux dans 6 pays entre la France et l'Asie. Je suis basé à Singapour (mon Linkedin), également membre du think tank NXU.

  • Retrouvez-moi sur twitter en cliquant ici : je tweete des faits et infos contre-intuitives, brèves, à consommer sur place (et non pas des liens sans contexte vers des articles interminables), Jacques Attali est un de mes followers par exemple.

  • Retrouvez ici mon podcast Parlons Futur (ou taper "Parlons Futur" dans votre appli de podcast favorite), vous y trouverez entre autres des interviews et des résumés de livres.

C'est tout pour cette semaine !

Merci, et bon week-end !


IA réinvente la boxe, voiture volante, un ordi du XIIème siècle, attraper une fusée avec ses bras, un ordi dans l'oeil & more !

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : une fois par semaine au plus, une sélection de news résumées en bullet points sur des sujets tech, science, éco pour mieux appréhender le futur.

Si on vous a envoyé cet email, vous pouvez vous inscrire ici.

Et si vous avez des questions, des remarques, des suggestions, n’hésitez pas à me les partager en répondant simplement à cet email, j’en serai ravi :)

(Je m'appelle Thomas, plus d'infos sur moi en bas d'email)

Voici donc ma sélection de la semaine !


  • Le premier “ordi”, au sens de machine programmable, daterait du...XIIème siècle, l'oeuvre d'un ingénieur arabe : "The mechanisms animating the drummers could be programmed to play different beats." (National Geographic)

  • Samsung prévoit d'investir plus de 200 milliards de dollars dans les "biopharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and robotics" d'ici à 2023, en moins de 3 ans donc

    • Pour se donner une idée, la Commission Européenne prévoit d'investir moins de 8 milliards d'euros sur la période 2021-2027 dans le numérique (IA, cybersécurité, etc.), y’a pas quelque chose qui cloche ?

  • Mmmm, des chercheurs créent une webcam qui ressemble à un oeil, peut regarder à droite à gauche et fermer sa paupière de peau synthétique (voir la brève vidéo)… euh, mais pourquoi faire ?

  • Extraordinaire vidéo d’une réelle voiture volante enfin digne de ce nom, conçue par la startup slovaque Klein Vision (leur site)

    • AirCar, a dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle fulfilled a key development milestone in a 35-minute flight from the international airport in Nitra to the international airport in Bratislava on June 28th, 2021

    • Incroyable de voir ce qui ressemble bien à une voiture avec des ailes d'abord évoluer haut dans le ciel...puis atterrir et rouler dans les rues pavées de Bratislava, des frissons...

À table !

Cette IA réinvente la boxe en "combattant" contre elle-même 1 milliard de fois et après avoir "digéré" au départ seulement 90 secondes d'enregistrement d'un véritable combat en motion-capture

  • on part de deux pantins désarticulés, les agents sont récompensés s'ils tiennent debout et s'ils arrivent à toucher la tête de l'autre, c'est ce qu'on appelle le "reinforcement learning", l'apprentissage par renforcement

  • voir la vidéo arrêtée à la bonne seconde sur Youtube

  • si cette IA est le fait de Facebook Research, l'entreprise la plus en pointe sur l'apprentissage par renforcement est DeepMind d'Alphabet, qui publiait en juin un papier "Reward is enough" (to reach general AI) :

    • the paper draws inspiration from studying the evolution of natural intelligence as well as drawing lessons from recent achievements in artificial intelligence.

    • The authors suggest that reward maximization and trial-and-error experience are enough to develop behavior that exhibits the kind of abilities associated with intelligence. And from this, they conclude that reinforcement learning, a branch of AI that is based on reward maximization, can lead to the development of artificial general intelligence.

Mojo Vision travaille sur des lentilles de contact avec Réalité Augmentée

  • "The lenses are ringed with electronics, including a camera that captures the outside world. A computer chip processes the imagery, controls the display and communicates wirelessly to external devices like a phone."

  • The technology adds a layer of information onto real world images

  • "We have got this almost working. It's very, very close," Mojo expects a fully featured prototype this year.

  • The startup picked contact lenses as an AR display technology because 150 million people around the world already wear them. They're lightweight and don't fog up.

  • "When it comes to AR, they'll work even when your eyes are closed, too." : euh, je ne sais pas si c'est une bonne idée celle-là...

L'analyste tech et investisseur Benedict Evans définit dans sa newsletter les NFT (Non Fungible Tokens) en une phrase :

  • "a way to attach a digital file, generally an image, to a blockchain, making it unique, collectable and tradable, and perhaps attaching some lightweight software (for example, the original creator might get a share of any future sale)."

  • il ajoute "NFTs as a concept are interesting and useful, but that’s not why most people are buying them", "the current market looks more like a simple speculative frenzy"

  • les NFTs sont à ce jour principalement adossés à la blockchain Ethereum, c’est une de ses applications avec notamment la Decentralised Finance (DeFi) et les Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). (les liens pointent vers les explicatifs officiels sur le site ethereum.org)

  • Voici un des meilleurs articles que j’ai pu trouver qui explique en des termes accessibles le potentiel de la blockchain Ethereum (attention, long article mais très exhaustif pour bien comprendre)

Les drones d'Alphabet (maison mère de Google) fêtent leur 100,000ème livraison

  • Its biggest success has been in Logan, Australia: a suburb of Brisbane where more than 50,000 of its total deliveries have been carried out. Logan is home to around 300,000 residents, and Wing’s service is accessible to just over a third of this population.

  • Users can download the Wing app and order a small selection of goods, including coffee, groceries, sushi, cakes, pet food, and sportswear. Deliveries are generally made in under 10 minutes, and Wing’s record for a delivery is two minutes and 47 seconds from order to arrival.

  • “There are hundreds of cities around the world just like Logan in terms of size: New Orleans, USA; Manchester, England or Florence, Italy, just to name a few.” He noted that more than 2 billion people live in cities with populations of 500,000 or fewer, though he also added that Wing has ambitions to operate in larger cities, too.

  • Part of the reason for Wing’s success seems to be the specifics of its design. Wing’s drones can operate as both fixed-wing aircraft and hovering copters. Unlike Amazon’s delivery drones, the aircraft also don’t need to land to drop off goods. Wing’s craft fly to their location, descend to a height of seven meters (23 feet), and then lower their packages on a tether, automatically releasing them onto the ground

Waymo, d'Alphabet également, teste maintenant ses véhicules autonomes à San Francisco

  • Jaguar I-Pace is an all-electric car, so this is the greenest Waymo vehicle ever (the Pacificas were hybrids).

  • Waymo says the 5th-gen cars will "enable the scaled deployment of the Waymo Driver," and the company is confident enough in that statement that it ordered 20,000 vehicles from Jaguar

  • A much bigger deal than the size of the service area is the fact that Waymo is moving from a sleepy, flat suburban town to the hustle and bustle of a big, hilly city, a move that should provide valuable experience for the company

La fusée Starship de SpaceX devrait être si bon marché qu'elle représente même une opportunité inédite en termes de politique étrangère pour les US selon cette tribune

  • Per-seat prices on a fully reusable Starship means that even relatively small countries could purchase a ticket for their national astronauts to explore the surface of the Moon on behalf of their own citizens and in their own language. If there is a growing international lunar base, many countries may want to participate.

  • America should actively take the lead in opening up the Moon (and then Mars) to the nations of the world by encouraging national pride and leading in the development of an international lunar base in which freedom and liberty are the foundational principles as humanity starts to spread beyond Earth.

  • The goodwill generated by this will be a tremendous foreign policy achievement.

L'aéronef le plus gros du monde est un dirigeable qui pourra bientôt emmener confortablement 16 personnes (et 7 personnels de bord) survoler le Pôle Nord (CNN)

  • The Airlander 10 is unlike any other aircraft. It is the world’s largest flying vehicle and it uses innovative technology to combine the best characteristics of fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters and static lift by helium.

  • "We can go down to 90 meters, even 30 meters of altitude if needed, as slow as a bike, in order to offer our passengers a glimpse of those polar habitats to our passengers,"

  • In 1926, and a giant airship, the Norge, arrived at the North Pole less than a day after departing Ny-Ålesund in the Svalbard archipelago, making those on board the first people to have ever verifiably reached that geographical landmark.  Leading the 16-strong expedition are none other than the most celebrated polar explorer of the time, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who in 1911 became the first man to reach the South Pole.

  • Unlike in 1926, though, the 36-hour return trip will include a six-hour layover right at the North Pole. Passengers will be able to descend from the airship and enjoy a picnic on the ice cap.

Cet hybride avion-bateau projette d'aller 6 fois plus vite qu'un ferry (CNN)

  • Il s'agit d'un avion conçu pour raser la surface de l'eau profitant ce qu'on appelle l'effet de sol (wikipédia), "ground effect" en anglais

  • Since wing-in-ground effect vehicles are considered ships, they operate under maritime regulations and do not face the same operational and regulatory constraints as aircraft.

  • They do not have to perform a battery-draining sustained climb upon takeoff, and they aren't required to keep a 45-minute power reserve. All together, this gives more margin for the designers to push the technology envelope.

  • for now : 290km/h for a range of 290km

  • The founders are confident seagliders will also benefit from advances in battery technology in the coming years, which should allow them to more than double their range to 800 km

  • REGENT is pitching its seaglider as an alternative to both traditional ferries and the new generation of electric aircraft. It claims it'll be six times faster than ferries and will have double the range of electric aircraft at half the cost.

  • tickets prices per person per trip could be in the $50-80 range for the first version of the seaglider, which will carry 12 passengers, and could drop to $30-40 once the planned 50-seat seaglider enters service.

  • The firm expects to fly an unmanned seaglider prototype, which will be one-quarter of the real size, by the end of this year and a full-scale one by 2023

La géothermie pourrait nous fournir une énergie quasi-illimitée, bon marché, propre, 24h/24

  • L'idée est d'aller chercher la chaleur des entrailles de la Terre pour produire de la vapeur et faire tourner des turbines qui généreront de l'électricité. Avec la bonne techno, cette énergie serait accessible partout sur Terre.

  • Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project estimates that there is 23,800 times as much geothermal energy in Earth’s crust as there is chemical energy in fossil fuels everywhere on the planet.

  • Although today’s geothermal energy is only harvested from spots where geothermal steam has made itself available at the surface, with some creative subsurface engineering it could be produced everywhere on the planet.

  • Like nuclear energy, geothermal runs 24/7, so it helps solve the intermittency problem posed by wind and solar.

  • Unlike nuclear energy, it is not highly regulated, which means it could be cheap in practice as well as in theory.

  • Plusieurs concepts sont à l'étude, détaillés dans ces articles "The state of next-generation geothermal energy" (extraits précédents) et "Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout" (extraits ci-dessous)

  • It is renewable and inexhaustible. It can run as baseload power around the clock, including at night, or “load follow” to complement renewables’ fluctuations. It is available almost everywhere in the world, a reliable source of domestic energy and jobs that, because it is largely underground, is resilient to most weather (and human) disasters. It can operate without pollution or greenhouse gases.

  • The same source that makes the electricity can also be used to fuel district heating systems that decarbonize the building sector.

  • The ARPA-E project AltaRock Energy estimates that “just 0.1% of the heat content of Earth could supply humanity’s total energy needs for 2 million years.” There’s enough energy in the Earth’s crust, just a few miles down, to power all of human civilization for generations to come. All we have to do is tap into it.

  • “If you want to talk to Democrats, we produce carbon-free electricity 24/7 — the last piece of the puzzle for a fully decarbonized electricity sector. If you talk to Republicans, it’s American ingenuity putting our drilling fleet to work on a resource that’s fuel-secure, doesn’t rely on imports, and puts the oil and gas people back to work. It’s a beautiful bipartisan story. The problem is we just don’t get talked about.”

  • Et il faudra aussi mieux comprendre et prévenir le risque sismique.

L’addition ?

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Quelques mots sur le cuistot

  • J'ai écrit plus de 50 articles ces dernières années, à retrouver ici, dont une bonne partie publiés dans des médias comme le Journal du Net (mes chroniques ici), le Huffington Post, L'Express, Les Échos.

  • Je suis CEO et co-fondateur de l'agence digitale KRDS, nous avons des bureaux dans 6 pays entre la France et l'Asie. Je suis basé à Singapour (mon Linkedin), également membre du think tank NXU.

  • Retrouvez-moi sur twitter en cliquant ici : je tweete des faits et infos contre-intuitives, brèves, à consommer sur place (et non pas des liens sans contexte vers des articles interminables), Jacques Attali est un de mes followers par exemple.

  • Retrouvez ici mon podcast Parlons Futur (ou taper "Parlons Futur" dans votre appli de podcast favorite), vous y trouverez entre autres des interviews et des résumés de livres.

C'est tout pour cette semaine !

Merci, et bon week-end !


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