Les baleines, la solution au réchauffement climatique ? +15 autres news du futur résumées pour vous !

Bonjour à vous,

Vous recevez la newsletter Parlons Futur : chaque semaine (ou presque) 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 veille de la semaine passée :)

  • Maintenant une seule photo de vous suffit à vous faire danser comme une danseuse étoile, voyez la démo (la même techno permet de faire parler la Joconde)

  • Si l'issue de la mission Apollo 11 (emmenant les premiers hommes à avoir foulé la lune en 1969) avait été tragique plutôt qu'historique, le président américain Nixon avait un discours tout prêt, juste au cas où. Et maintenant grâce à l'IA et à ce "deepfake" vous pouvez même l'écouter le prononcer (ce qu'il n'a bien sûr jamais fait, publiquement en tout cas) : voici la vidéo de 45 secondes.

    • they had someone actually read the script while impersonating Nixon’s intonation and then used software to make the recording sound even more like Nixon’s voice. It’s not the most advanced way to create deepfakes out there, but it still gets the job done.

  • DeepMind has announced MuZero, a single algorithm that they use to achieve state-of-the-art scores on tasks as varied as the Atari games, Go, Chess, and Shogi without knowing any of the game rules.

  • Mounir Mahjoubi accuse Amazon d’avoir « détruit 7 900 emplois en France », mais il ne prend en compte, notamment :

    • les emplois de commerçants tiers créés sur la plateforme elle-même

    • le nombre d’emplois gagnés par le surcroît de livraisons

    • les gains de productivité pour toutes les entreprises qui bénéficient directement ou indirectement, en tant que fournisseurs ou en tant que clients, de la logistique impeccable d'Amazon, gains qui sont répercutés ensuite au moins en partie dans une économie concurrentielle en baisses de prix dont profitent les consommateurs

    • baisses de prix qui font faire des économies aux consommateurs, économies qui peuvent être dépensées ailleurs, stimulant d'autres pans de l'économie, comme la restauration, etc.

  • Les baleines, une des solutions au réchauffement climatique ? “When it comes to saving the planet, one whale is worth thousands of trees.” (Time magazine)

    • Researchers did the math and found that a single whale absorbs an average of 33 tons of CO2 over the course of its lifetime, trapping that carbon far away from Earth’s atmosphere when it dies and sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

    • a tree can only absorb upwards of 22kg of CO2 per year, meaning even if a tree lives to be a hundred years old, it’d still absorb just 2.4 tons of carbon compared to a whale’s 33 tons.

    • Whales also produce waste that phytoplankton need to grow — and researchers estimate that those microscopic creatures capture 40% of all CO2 produced.

  • Anecdote : At one point at SpaceX, Elon Musk assigned Steve Davis the near-impossible task of making a part that cost $120,000 with a budget of $5,000. Davis toiled for months and eventually came up with a way to craft the part for $3,900. When Davis sent Musk a lengthy message with the good news, outlining the process and savings, Musk sent a one-word email back: “Ok.”

    • Steve Davis, lieutenant d'Elon Musk, ingénieur star de SpaceX devenu CEO de The Boring Company, l'entreprise qui va révolutionner la construction de tunnels, la solution de Musk aux embouteillages

    • Rappelons qu'Elon Musk ne croit pas aux voitures volantes (trop dangeureux d'avoir autant d'objets volants dans le ciel dit-il), sa solution est donc de creuser des tunnels pour faire passer le réseau routier de la 2D à la 3D

  • Tesla a déposé un brevet pour un essuie-glace utilisant un canon laser : "a technology consisting of laser beams installed on vehicles, and other products, to automatically clean debris off the windshield of its cars"

  • Foodvisor, l'appli française qui utilise l'IA pour identifier et quantifier ce qu'il y a dans votre assiette, 2 millions de téléchargements

  • Vidéo d'un drone muni d'une caméra infra-rouge aidant à retrouver une personne égarée dans une forêt

  • Ce robot peut monter à une échelle ! (vidéo de 35 secondes)

  • Livestock farming (l’élevage) is the single largest human land use on the planet, more than double crop agriculture. But for the first time in millennia, the amount of land dedicated to livestock is actually shrinking due to increased productivity, and targeted government policies could help to accelerate this process even further.

  • Lee Sedol, a Go champion, who in 2016 lost a celebrated match against AlphaGo, an artificial-intelligence program, announced his retirement. ai programs now compete in tournaments. Mr Lee reflected: “Even if I become number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated

    • Mmm, dommage, c'est comme si Usain Bolt arrêtait de courir parce que les motos vont plus vite que lui. Quoi que puisse faire la machine, il restera sans doute toujours une prime, une forme de reconnaissance des autres humains, à être "le meilleur" humain dans sa catégorie

  • In 2018, as part of a contest, the AlphaFold software developed by Google DeepMind correctly guessed the structure of 25 out of 43 proteins it was shown; the second-place finisher guessed correctly 3 times.

    • DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis says, “We [haven’t] solved the protein-folding problem, this is just a first step… but we have a good system and we have a ton of ideas we haven’t implemented yet.”

  • à lire, The Economist interview l'IA GPT-2 d'Open AI, par exemple, à la question : Are you worried that ai technology can be misused? :

    • A: Yes, of course. But this is a global problem and we want to tackle it with global solutions. It is not just the government that must do something. Companies must also take responsibility. This means they need to make sure their technologies are used responsibly and that they do not harm anyone.

  • On finit l'apéro avec un peu d'Histoire ! :

  • Connaissez-vous Hedy Lamarr ? Star d'Hollywood dans les années 30-40 et ingénieure!

    • famous for her portrayals of femme fatales. Few of her contemporaries knew that her other great passion was inventing. (She had previously designed more streamlined aeroplanes for a lover, the aviation tycoon Howard Hughes.)

    • Lamarr met a kindred spirit in George Antheil, however – an avant-garde pianist, composer and novelist who also had an interest in engineering. And when the pair realised that enemy forces were jamming the Allied radio signals, they set about looking for a solution. The result was a method of signal transmission called ‘frequency-hopping spread spectrum’ (patented under Lamarr’s married name, Markey) that is still used in much of today’s wireless technology.

  • La pire année de l'humanité ? 536 de notre ère!

    • Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536.

    • A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months.

    • Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record "a failure of bread from the years 536–539." Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out 33% to 50% of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse

    • La raison ? a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere early in 536. Two other massive eruptions followed, in 540 and 547. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into economic stagnation that lasted until 640, when another signal in the ice—a spike in airborne lead—marks a resurgence of silver mining

  • L'Allemagne est née en France, en 1871

    • Après la défaite française lors de la guerre contre la Prusse et ses alliés de 1870-1871, les territoires allemands signèrent la création de l'Empire Allemand et l'unification allemande dans la galerie des Glaces du Château de Versailles, le 18 janvier 1871.

    • En effet, les états qui avaient succédé à l'Empire Allemand n'étaient pas à proprement parler "allemands" (Saint Empire Romain Germanique en francais mais juste Saint Empire Romain, dans sa vraie définition et allant des Pays-Bas à la péninsule italienne) ou n'étaient pas exactement des "pays" mais plutôt des regroupements d'états (royaumes, principautés, duchés, grand-duchés). dans des confédérations (Confédération du Rhin, germanique, de l'Allemagne du Nord).

    • On peut noter aussi à propos de l'Allemagne que les petits Allemands apprennent à l'école que Charlemagne est un personnage historique avant tout...allemand, Karl der Große ! C'était le roi des Francs, une tribu..germanique qui a donné son nom...à notre pays ! D'ailleurs sa capitale, que nos petits écoliers en France connaissent comme Aix-la Chapelle, se dit Aachen en Allemagne... Vive l'Europe!

    • Tiens, pendant qu'on y est sur l'Allemagne, la guerre de 14 a longtemps paru à certains impossible, notamment à nul autre que le Kaiser Wilhem II, le successeur de Bismarck...et le neveu du roi d'Angleterre...

      • Wilhelm had mixed feelings about Britain—the birthplace of his mother, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter—and what he referred to as his “damned family” there. On the one hand, he was fluent in English and devoted to his grandmother Queen Victoria. He was thrilled when she made him an honorary admiral in the Royal Navy, proudly wearing its uniform whenever he could. As late as 1910, he told former president Theodore Roosevelt, visiting Berlin on a European tour, that war between Germany and Britain was “unthinkable”: “I was brought up in England . . . I feel myself partly an Englishman,” he said with passion. And then, “with intense emphasis,” he told Roosevelt: “I ADORE ENGLAND!”


Comment les entreprises ne peuvent pas monopoliser une invention bien longtemps, et comment l'innovation n'est pas près de s'arrêter, d'après Paul Romer, Prix Nobel d'Economie 2018

  • Partial excludability is a beautiful thing. It provides strong incentives for companies to create useful, profit-enhancing new technologies that they alone can benefit from for a time, yet it also ensures that the new techs will eventually “spill over”—that with time they’ll diffuse and get adopted by more and more companies, even if that’s not what their originators want.

  • Romer equated tech progress to the production by companies of nonrivalrous, partially excludable ideas and showed that these ideas cause an economy to grow.

    • nonrivalrous : something that can be used by more than one person or company at a time and that don't get used up. (les idées, les processes, etc.)

  • Steve Jobs would certainly have preferred for Apple to be the only provider of smartphones after it developed the iPhone, but he couldn’t maintain the monopoly no matter how many patents and lawsuits he filed. Other companies found ways to combine processors, memory, sensors, a touch screen, and software into phones that satisfied billions of customers around the world.

  • Paul Romer demonstrated that idea-fueled growth doesn’t have to slow down with time. It’s not constrained by the size of the labor force, the amount of natural resources, or other such factors. Instead, economic growth is limited only by the idea-generating capacity of the people within a market. Romer called this capacity “human capital” and said at the end of his 1990 paper, “The most interesting positive implication of the model is that an economy with a larger total stock of human capital will experience faster growth.”

  • Google’s chief economist, Hal Varian, points out that hundreds of millions of how-to videos are viewed every day on YouTube, saying, “We never had a technology before that could educate such a broad group of people anytime on an as-needed basis for free.”

  • Something similar for electronic hardware, and the Instructables website contains free detailed instructions for making equipment ranging from air-particle counters to machine tools, even food preparations.


3 leaders dans le domaine des voitures volantes (The Economist)

  • for those who fancy flying such a beast themselves is BlackFly, made by Opener, a firm in Silicon Valley. BlackFly, which will be available for purchase in 2020 is a single-seater with a range of about 50km, a top speed of 100km/h. Opener has flown cleverly under the regulatory radar, so to speak, by designing it to conform to American rules on ultralight aircraft, meaning no pilot’s licence is needed to fly it.

  • Most other examples of urban air mobility are more constrained by regulation and so, at least to start with, are being promoted by their makers as air taxis that would traverse pre-arranged routes under the control either of computer software or a pilot on the ground.

  • The leader here is EHang, a Chinese company that is one of the world’s largest makers of multicopter drones. Its 2-seater, the EHang 216, will take to the skies commercially in 2020, flying between 5 “vertiports” in the firm’s native city, Guangzhou. It is a cabin supported on eight arms, each sporting two propellers. In other words, it is a giant drone that happens to carry people.

  • Volocopter, a German firm, is also taking the vertiport approach. Its craft is a two-seater lifted by 18 propellers scattered around a network of curved struts that is vaguely reminiscent of a spider’s web. The latest version has been undergoing tests at a vertiport in Singapore, opened in October 2019 by Skyports, a British company.


Dessert : voici quelques-uns de mes derniers tweets(retrouvez-moi sur Twitter ici) :

  • Reed Hastings, boss of Netflix, has named “Fortnite”, a hit video game, and sleep as his main competition

  • Bell signed a consent decree in 1956 forcing it to share its patents, most notably the transistor, for free, leading to an explosion in innovation in the budding computer industry.

  • In 2001 Chinese residents made 10.5m foreign trips. By 2018 this had risen by an astonishing 1,326% to 149.7m. In the 2020s this number will double again as passport ownership in China increases from the current 10% of the population to an expected 20%

  • the number of foreign students at Australian universities doubled, to 400,000, between 2008 and 2018, making higher education the country’s third-largest export.

  • The proportions of foreign-born in Toronto, Sydney, New York and London are 46%, 45%, 38% and 38% respectively.

  • public opinion remains robustly pro-immigration in Australia: 82% believe immigrants are good for Australia and 52% consider the current pace of immigration about right or too low

  • Majorities in Spain, Canada and Japan support keeping migrant flows the same or raising them


Café ? Voici les liens vers les dernières newsletters, just in case ;)

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Quelques mots sur le cuisto

  • 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 conseil d'administration du think tank Live with AI qui entend chercher à comprendre comment nous pourrons apprendre à vivre avec l'intelligence artificielle et mieux anticiper les changements qu'elle va apporter.

C'est tout pour cette semaine !

Merci et bonne semaine,

Thomas