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Category Archives: Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity v2.4 hits Steam with Vulkan support … – Windows Central

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:22 am


Windows Central
Ashes of the Singularity v2.4 hits Steam with Vulkan support …
Windows Central
Vulkan isn't a new unit in Ashes of the Singularity. But it is a superb feature for AMD GPU owners to enjoy a more stable experience. There's also a whole lot …
Vulkan support added to massive-scale RTS, Ashes of the SingularityNeowin
Ashes of the Singularity Pairs Massive 2.4 Update With 50% Off Sale …Shacknews
Major Update, Free DLC, and Vulkan Support Now AvailableGamasutra

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Technological Disruptors and not Tech Singularity will force companies to accelerate or die – Next Big Future

Posted: at 4:22 am

Technological disruptors like Elon Musk, Google and Amazon will force industries and companies to accelerate or die. Companies will have to accelerate innovation and move to bolder innovation and attempt to shift to technological leapfrogging and shoot for far more aggressive productivity gains.

Toyota is reacting to the Tesla Electric cars with a plan to leapfrog batteries to solid state batteries in 2022 with triple the energy density of current batteries and lower costs and faster charging times.

Compute power increased by a trillion times over the last fifty years but the adoption of IT was generally manageable for most companies and industries. Bill Gates was more aggressive than his competitors in driving the PC age. Steve Jobs combined technologies and design to produce the smartphone and tablet.

It is the combination of technological capabilities (artificial intelligence, cloud computing, sensors, robotics etc) and aggressive and well capitalized bold business innovators that will force a shift to moonshot innovation as a mainstream part of business.

Amazon will use Whole Foods to go after market share and worry about profit later. They will use a low price halo on key products. Whole Foods will also be par to of Amazons distribution chain and the reward program will be Amazon Prime.

Walmart is teaming up with Google and Google Express to compete.

Amazon has announced plans to have a huge impact on global logistics (shipping, trucking).

Amazon will force competition and adaptation in more areas of retail and logistics.

Elon Musk has the lowest priced space launch services with Spacex. Soon with the Falcon Heavy Spacex will have the largest cargo capacity into space. Mastering reusability and higher launch rate will crush most of the space launch competition. Competitors will need massive national government support in order to get back into the game. This will be similar to the support that received in order to become a competitor to Boeing in the commercial jet business.

The rocket technologies that Elon Musk is leveraging have mostly existed since the 1970s. There is some additional computer capabilities and improved materials as well, but much of the reusability of rockets was already envisioned for the Space Shuttle. The cheap reusability that was envisioned for the Space Shuttle was killed with compromises to bureaucracy and politics.

Elon and Googles plan for a large high speed internet satellite network will bring competition to mobile and cable internet providers around the world. Mobile companies will try to respond with 5G for higher speed but the rate of innovation has been one generation every ten years and cable has made very little improvement over the last 20 years.

For electric cars and batteries and solar, Elon Musk has talked about making factories ten times better every ten years by reinventing the factory every two years.

Chinas competitive capabilities rest more with the innovation in Shenzhens smartphone technology hub and with new economy leaders like Alibaba and Tencent than with overall industry and market size. China has a section of its economy with aggressive technological leadership and innovation.

Singapore is using rapid legislative change (weeks instead of years) and targeted policy like the Smart Nation initiative to be the first to achieve smart driving cars and buses at city scale.

Chinas government supports transforming city scale and larger regions into massive factory zones.

Big bold bets on disruptive innovation at scale will transform industries to a new era of hypercompetition.

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Why Empowering Women Is the Best Way to Solve Climate Change – Singularity Hub

Posted: at 4:22 am

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never existed on Earth with CO2 levels over 300 ppm. If carbon emissions continue their current trend, our atmosphere could get to a point it hasnt been at in 50 million yearswhen temperatures were 18F (10C) higher and there was almost no ice on the planet (meaning there was a lot more water and a lot less land).

Theres long been a consensus between multiple countries to try to limit the temperature change from global warming to two degrees Celsius. This is critical for many reasons, not least the effect hotter temperatures will have (and have already had) on food production.

But author and activist Paul Hawken says two degrees isnt enoughnot nearly enough, in fact. In a moving presentation at Singularity Universitys Global Summit last week in San Francisco, Hawken shared details from his recently-released book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

The term drawdown refers to the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. To figure out how to reach that point, Project Drawdown brought together researchers in various fields from around the world to identify, measure, and model the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. The book describes each solutions history, its carbon impact, its relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works.

We found that the mantra for global warming is all about energy, energy, energy, Hawken said. Those are critical solutions, dont get me wrong, but somehow we have this idea that if we get energy right then we get a hall pass to the 22nd centuryand nothing could be further from the truth.

Below are the top solutions from Drawdowns model. Its likely at least one will surprise you.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) largely replaced ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration systems after the 1987 Montreal Protocol. While HFCs are better for the ozone, though, theyre a lot worse for the atmosphere, with 1,000 to 9,000 times the capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Countries are now aiming to phase out HFCs, too, starting with high-income countries in 2019. Natural refrigerant substitutes like propane and ammonium are already on the market.

Drawdown found that over thirty years, containing 87 percent of refrigerants likely to be released could avoid emissions equal to 89.7 gigatons of CO2with a projected net price tag of $903 billion by 2050

Wind turbines currently supply around 4 percent of global energy, and could account for up to 30 percent by 2040. In some areas, wind energy is already cheaper than energy from coal, and costs will continue to drop as the technology improves.

Drawdown research found that increasing onshore wind to 21.6 percent of global energy supply by 2050 could reduce emissions by 84.6 gigatons of CO2. The estimated cost is a hefty $1.23 trillion, but it would pay for itself several times over, as wind turbines could produce net savings of $7.4 trillion over three decades of operation.

Since winds not always blowing in most parts of the world, growing wind infrastructure needs to be accompanied by investment in storage and transmission infrastructure too.

One third of all the food thats grown or prepared gets thrown away. In a world where hunger is still a very real problem for millions of people, this is nothing short of absurd. And not only does the food itself get wasted, so do all the components that went into producing it, like water, energy, and human labor. Food production also generates greenhouse gases, and organic trash produces methane. Add up all these components, and food waste accounts for about eight percent of global emissions.

In poorer countries food waste tends to happen earlier in the supply chain, as when produce rots on farms or spoils during storage or distribution. This can be remedied by improving infrastructure for storage, processing, and transportation.

In wealthier nations, retailers and consumers reject food based on cosmetic imperfections, or throw it out when its expiration date passes. National policies against food waste like those enacted in France last year are needed to encourage change, as is a loosening of cosmetic standards for produce by both end consumers and retail chains.

After taking into account the adoption of plant-rich diets, Drawdown found that if 50 percent of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions could be equal to 26.2 gigatons of CO2. Reducing waste also avoids the deforestation for additional farmland, preventing 44.4 gigatons of additional emissions.

If cattle were their own nation, they would be the worlds third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As of 2014, the UNs Food and Agriculture Organization found that 14.5 percent of all emissions stemming from human activity come from livestock.

Thats just one good reason to eat more plants. A plant-based diet is also healthier and in many cases more affordable than meat (especially if you consider the impact of government subsidies, such as those benefiting the US livestock industry).

Altering our diet is easier said than done, as peoples food choices are highly personal as well as culturalbut making plant-based options widely available and educating populations about plants health benefits are a good starting point.

Drawdown found that if 50 percent of the worlds population restricted their diet to a healthy 2,500 calories per day and reduced meat consumption overall, at least 26.7 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, plus another 39.3 gigatons from avoided deforestation from land use change.

Tropical forests once covered 12 percent of the worlds land, but now cover just five percent. Much of the clearing has been to make way for agriculture (either crops or livestock). These forests continue to be cleared in some parts of the world, but in others, theyre being restored.

As a forest ecosystem recovers, trees, soil, leaf litter, and other vegetation absorb and hold carbon, Drawdowns tropical forests page says. As flora and fauna return and interactions between organisms and species revive, the forest regains its multidimensional roles: supporting the water cycle, conserving soil, protecting habitat and pollinators, providing food, medicine, and fiber, and giving people places to live, adventure, and worship.

Forests can be restored by releasing land from non-forest use and letting nature do its thing. People can also cultivate and plant native seedlings and remove invasive species to accelerate the process.

Drawdowns model assumes restoration could occur on 435 million acres of degraded tropical land. Through natural regrowth, committed land could sequester 1.4 tons of CO2 per acre annually, for a total of 61.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Women with more education have fewer children, and the children they do have are healthier. Maternal and infant mortality rates are lower for educated women. Girls who stay in school longer are less likely to marry as children or against their will, they have lower rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished.

Drawdown found that economic, cultural, and safety-related barriers prevent 62 million girls around the world from realizing their right to education, and lists these strategies as being key to change:

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization estimates universal education in low- and lower-middle-income countries could be achieved by closing an annual financing gap of $39 billion. This could result in an emissions reduction of 59.6 gigatons by 2050.

Drawdowns family planning page states 225 million women in lower-income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the necessary access to contraception. The need persists in some high-income countries as well, including the United States, where 45 percent of pregnancies are unintended.

The UNs medium variant global population projectionof 9.7 billion people by 2050 assumes a decline in fertility levels in countries where large families are still common. To achieve this figure (as opposed to the high variant), improving womens access to reproductive health services and family planning is essential, above all in less-developed countries.

Drawdown modeled the impact of family planning based on the difference in how much energy, building space, food, waste, and transportation would be used in a world with little to no investment in family planning compared to one in which the 9.7 billion projection is realized. The resulting emissions reductions could be 119.2 gigatons of CO2. Half this total was allocated to educating girls.

Family planning and educating girls are closely linked in that the former is highly affected by the latterand theyre both key to managing global population growth. Drawdown realized the exact dynamic between these two solutions is impossible to determine, and thus allocated 50 percent of the total potential impact59.6 gigatonsto each. Their models assume these impacts result from thirteen years of schooling, including primary through secondary education.

The total atmospheric CO2 reduction of 119.2 gigatons that could result from empowering and educating women and girls makes this the number one solution to reversing global warming.

A girl who is allowed to be in school and come to be a woman on her termsmakes very different reproductive choices, Hawken said. And when we modeled this we modeled family planning clinics everywhere. Not just in Africa, but in Arkansas. Women everywhere should be supported in their reproductive health and well-being for their families.

Hawken concluded his talk with a perspective on climate change I had never heard before, and most of the audience likely hadnt either.

Global warming isnt happening to us. Its happening for us. Its a gift. Every system without feedback dies. This is feedback. Its an offering to re-imagine who we are and what we can create with our minds, our hearts, and our brilliance.

His presentation received a standing ovation.

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Which of These Emerging Technologies Will Be the Next Big Thing? – Singularity Hub

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:31 pm

We tend to think of tech visionaries as inventors with a brilliant idea that no one understands. Because the world isnt quite ready, they have to pitch their invention to anyone wholl listen.

Their ideas are either crazy or geniusno ones sure because theyre so novel.

Theres another kind of tech visionary. This person has to sort the genius from the crazy, and then quite literally put their money where their mouth is. These people are investors. And no great invention or idea gets to the next level without the support to go bigger.

At Singularity Universitys Global Summit this week, Sequoia Capitals Roelof Botha sat down with Peter Diamandis for a conversation about the venture capital view of technology. Botha is a partner at Sequoia and was previously CFO of PayPal. Over the decades, Sequoia has helped launch the likes of Apple, Google, Oracle, PayPal, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Botha said theyve been in early on and followed the biggest trends in tech over the decades. In the 1980s, it was semiconductors. In the 1990s, the internet hit its stride with companies like Google and Yahoo. Since then, of course, mobile has been a big theme. So, whats next?

Id say right now were at a very interesting time because its not obvious what the next platform is, Botha said. The phrase weve come up with is interregnum.

Interregnum is the time a throne is vacant in between reigns, he explained. The formidable five of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are dominant and hoovering up resources. So, Sequoia is looking for pockets of opportunity that unfairly favor the startup.

Space is an interesting one[and] there are some interesting things around genomics, epigenetics, CRISPR and gene editing, cryptocurrencies, augmented reality, and virtual reality, Botha said. There are a bunch of emerging areas, and were exploring all of those. Even quantum computing these days looks like it might finally be something to our life.

Interest and even investment in a particular area or technology is no guarantee theyll succeed. He said typically only three or four companies drive the returns of a fund with 35 or 40 companies in it. Making sure you find those three or four companies is both art and science.

Well, the key question we always ask is why now? If a company cant answer that question, theres usually a reason not to invest. But sometimes something hasnt worked for 20 years for a reason, and now truly is the time where it does make sense.

Forecasting the cycles of hope and hype in technology is still incredibly difficult, and no one gets it just right. Some exciting technologies seem to be just around the corner, only to die out or hit unexpected roadblocks and get kicked ever further down the road.

Still, we live in a pretty amazing time in history, and over the decades, some emerging technologies will rise up and affect our lives profoundly. What is Botha most excited about in the next few years? What strikes his heart as Diamandis put it?

Id love to see us innovate in augmented reality, Botha said.

Im sure most of the audience has seen the movie Her. This idea of having an invisible user interface, which is voice-based, and having a different way of interacting with technology. If you look at people at lunch breaks, its kind of strange that weve evolved where were all sitting there hunched over these very small screens, all developing neck strains. Its hard for me to imagine thats the end state.

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Civilization Is Breaking DownHere’s What We Need to Do About It – Singularity Hub

Posted: at 6:31 pm

I think civilization is fundamentally breaking down today. These were the opening words of Salim Ismails talk at Singularity Universitys Global Summit in San Francisco this week.

Not the most uplifting intro. But the good news is, Ismail had some pretty unique insight to share about the nature of the problems society is facing, and plenty of thoughts on how to fix them too.

Ismail is the best-selling author of Exponential Organizationsand a sought-after strategist and tech entrepreneur who built and sold his company to Google. He was founding executive director at Singularity University and has been the companys global ambassador for the last seven years.

While technology has helped civilization, according to Ismail, its also partly to blame for widespread discontent thats manifesting in the form of armed conflicts, terrorism, extremism, and nationalism.

Never before have we had a dozen technologies all accelerating in their own right, he said. Each one is doubling at a rate of anywhere between 18 to 30 months. But where they intersect, that adds a whole other multiplier to the equation.

A lot of the technological changes going on may seem like theyre confined to specific places, people, or groups. But the truth is theyre affecting us all.

Anyone with an internet connection has an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. Computers are not just learning to do tasks only humans used to do, theyre doing those tasks much better than us. Huge sums of wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few (thankfully, often philanthropic) entrepreneurs. Physical goods that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollarshave demonetized to the point that theyre practically free.

And its not just physical goods whose cost is dropping. Renewable energy, DNA sequencing, and services like rides and accommodations have seen plummeting cost curves too.

In technology after technology, the cost is crashing to near zero, which means anybody has access to these technologies, Ismail said. And this is causinghuge opportunity but also massive stress, and our existing leadership has a really tough time dealing with this.

The shifting power dynamics brought about by demonetization have left governments bewildered and apprehensive, and often at a loss for how to adjust their policies to the changing times.

We invented representative democracies when information was scarce, Ismail pointed out. But today, we have an abundance of information, and every major democracy in the world is broken.

The same goes for capitalism. Theres a massive deflationary dynamic because the money leaves the system as you move from scarcity to abundance, Ismail said.

The distribution of all that wealth, though, is far from equal. Though abundance is growing, scarcity is still very realand people are reacting.

If you look at the rise of fundamentalism around the world, this is civilization saying Im freaking out, I cant take this pace of change, lets go back to an older time, Ismail said.

Even the institutions that were set up to deal with these kinds of conflicts have become somewhat irrelevant. The UN Security Council, for example, was set up to navigate conflicts between countriesbut many modern armed conflicts are civil wars. Updating institutions that have been around for decades if not centuries is a project of dizzying scale and complexity.

There is no update mechanism in many of these structures, so we have to totally re-architect them, Ismail said. Were pepper-spraying our civics and our politics, literally shredding our own future here, and the stress around the world is quite profound.

Ismail then took the conversation in an unexpected direction, saying the best way hes found to frame why this is happening is that we have two fundamental polarities in our archetypes as a civilizationmale and female.

The male archetype is competitive, risk-taking, wants to take command and control. By the way, Im really carefully saying archetype, not gender, he clarified. The female archetype is participatory, nurturing, cooperative, and network-linked. And weve ratcheted between these two polarities throughout civilization to upgrade ourselves.

Both men and women can have traits belonging to the male or female archetypes, of course. The archetypes are an overarching symbolic understanding ingrained in our psychology.

The world, he explained, used to be run on feudal systems, which had a top-down command and control structure. Then we moved to democratic systems so that power would be distributed more evenly.

Despite the fact that many societies today are based on this democratic ideology, large swaths of those societies run on a set of top-down male archetypal structures. Ismail noted traditional corporations as a prime example: theyre pyramidic structures usually with a man at the top. Judeo-Christian religions are built around male archetypal qualities, as is the military-industrial complex.

Whats happening now, though, is the rise of the female archetype. Examples Ismail gave that embody the female archetype are open-sourcing, the maker movement, and hugely popular festivals like Burning Man.

The stress were seeing in the world is that transition from the male-centric archetype to the female-centric archetype, he said.

This looks different not only because of the fundamental qualities each archetype embodies, but their particular stress-response and control mechanisms as well.

When the male archetype is under stress, it enters the fight or flight response, while the female archetype responds by tending and befriending.

The male archetype is really good at managing scarcity, command and control, search and destroy, go, grab, bring it back, designed for that world that weve been in for thousands and thousands of years around scarcity, Ismail said.

The female archetype, though, is better at dealing with abundance; when the male archetype deals with abundance, it relates to it as power and tries to hoard it. The female archetype meets abundance and shares it around.

As we move towards abundance, Ismail believes we need to move towards a social structure that embodies the female rather than the male archetype.

While somewhat abstract and, frankly, surprising, in theory this all sounds reasonable enough. But how do you actually move a civilization from one archetype to another?

For starters, Ismail said, We need to architect our organizations and institutions for flexibility and adaptability. Existing incentive models in business focus heavily on short-term indicators like quarterly earnings and are not set up for long-term changes. But the most successful companies have turned these models on their heads, with leaders like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page refusing to steer their companies in the status-quo direction.

Similarly, Ismail said, All of our leadership globally is set up to manage an incremental, predictable, status quo, linear worldand were entering Black Swan centraland we need to architect completely new institutions.

The Fastrack Institute, which Ismail co-founded, is a non-profit organization thats helping cities do just that. The Institute takes on a specific problem facing a city, like education or corruption, and analyzes it using a four-layer system.

Were currently at the very edge of an abundant future, and the pace of change isnt going to slow down. As Ismail put it, [civilization] is heading into a trough. I think its about a 20- or 30-year period. We need to get to abundance on the other side by creating new leaders, new projects, and new institutions.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Vulkan Support Soon – PC Perspective

Posted: at 6:31 pm

Oxide Games has been mentioned all throughout the development of the next-generation graphics APIs, DirectX 12, Mantle, and Vulkan. Their Star Swarm stress test was one of the first practical examples of a game that desperately needs to make a lot of draw calls. Also, their rendering algorithm is very different from the other popular game engines, where lighting is performed on the object rather than the screen, which the new APIs help out with.

Currently, Ashes of the Singularity supports DirectX 11 and DirectX 12, but Vulkan will be added soon. Oxide will be pushing the new graphics api in the 2.4 update, bringing increased CPU performance to all OSes but especially Windows 7 and 8 (neither of which support DirectX 12), and a free DLC pack that contains nine co-op maps. They also plan to continue optimizing Ashes of the Singularity for Vulkan in the future.

All of this will be available on Thursday, August 24th.

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12 Companies That Are Making the World a Better Place – Singularity Hub

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 5:32 am

The Singularity University Global Summit in San Francisco this week brought brilliant minds together from all over the world to share a passion for using science and technology to solve the worlds most pressing challenges.

Solving these challenges means ensuring basic needs are met for all people. It means improving quality of life and mitigating future risks both to people and the planet.

To recognize organizations doing outstanding work in these fields, SU holds the Global Grand Challenge Awards. Three participating organizations are selected in each of 12 different tracks and featured at the summits EXPO. The ones found to have the most potential to positively impact one billion people are selected as the track winners.

Heres a list of the companies recognized this year, along with some details about the great work theyre doing.

LuminAID makes portable lanterns that can provide 24 hours of light on 10 hours of solar charging. The lanterns came from a project to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, when the products creators considered the dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities and realized light was a critical need. The lights have been used in more than 100 countries and after disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan, and the earthquakes in Nepal.

BreezoMeter uses big data and machine learning to deliver accurate air quality information in real time. Users can see pollution details as localized as a single city block, and data is impacted by real-time traffic. Forecasting is also available, with air pollution information available up to four days ahead of time, or several years in the past.

Aspire Food Group believes insects are the protein of the future, and that technology has the power to bring the tradition of eating insects that exists in many countries and cultures to the rest of the world. The company uses technologies like robotics and automated data collection to farm insects that have the protein quality of meat and the environmental footprint of plants.

Rafiki Power acts as a rural utility company, building decentralized energy solutions in regions that lack basic services like running water and electricity. The companys renewable hybrid systems are packed and standardized in recycled 20-foot shipping containers, and theyre currently powering over 700 household and business clients in rural Tanzania.

MakeSense is an international community that brings together people in 128 cities across the world to help social entrepreneurs solve challenges in areas like education, health, food, and environment. Social entrepreneurs post their projects and submit challenges to the community, then participants organize workshops to mobilize and generate innovative solutions to help the projects grow.

Unima developed a fast and low-cost diagnostic and disease surveillance tool for infectious diseases. The tool allows health professionals to diagnose diseases at the point of care, in less than 15 minutes, without the use of any lab equipment. A drop of the patients blood is put on a diagnostic paper, where the antibody generates a visual reaction when in contact with the biomarkers in the sample. The result is evaluated by taking a photo with an app in a smartphone, which uses image processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Egalite helps people with disabilities enter the labor market, and helps companies develop best practices for inclusion of the disabled. Egalites founders are passionate about the potential of people with disabilities and the return companies get when they invest in that potential.

Iris.AI is an artificial intelligence system that reads scientific paper abstracts and extracts key concepts for users, presenting concepts visually and allowing users to navigate a topic across disciplines. Since its launch, Iris.AI has read 30 million research paper abstracts and more than 2,000 TED talks. The AI uses a neural net and deep learning technology to continuously improve its output.

Hala Systems, Inc. is a social enterprise focused on developing technology-driven solutions to the worlds toughest humanitarian challenges. Hala is currently focused on civilian protection, accountability, and the prevention of violent extremism before, during, and after conflict. Ultimately, Hala aims to transform the nature of civilian defense during warfare, as well as to reduce casualties and trauma during post-conflict recovery, natural disasters, and other major crises.

Billion Bricks designs and provides shelter and infrastructure solutions for the homeless. The companys housing solutions are scalable, sustainable, and able to create opportunities for communities to emerge from poverty. Their approach empowers communities to replicate the solutions on their own, reducing dependency on support and creating ownership and pride.

Tellus Labs uses satellite data to tackle challenges like food security, water scarcity, and sustainable urban and industrial systems, and drive meaningful change. The company built a planetary-scale model of all 170 million acres of US corn and soy crops to more accurately forecast yields and help stabilize the market fluctuations that accompany the USDAs monthly forecasts.

Loowatt designed a toilet that uses a patented sealing technology to contain human waste within biodegradable film. The toilet is designed for linking to anaerobic digestion technology to provide a source of biogas for cooking, electricity, and other applications, creating the opportunity to offset capital costs with energy production.

Image Credit: LuminAID via YouTube

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.4 update adds Vulkan support – PC Gamer

Posted: at 5:32 am

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is receiving a pretty big update that, among other things, will introduce support for Vulkan, a low-level cross-platform API. In doing so, Vulkan continues to grow its street cred among developers.

This comes just a few months after Cloud Imperium Games developer Ali Brown decided to drop DirectX support in Star Citizen in favor of Vulkan, which is maintained by the Khronos Group, the same industry group in charge of the older OpenGL API. In that case, Brown made the decision because Vulkan enables single-API support for older versions of Windows (and Linux) without sacrificing performance and features.

The same motivation is likely behind Oxide Games and Stardock deciding to bring Vulkan support to Escalation. That and a desire to lead the charge by bringing new technology to its playersAshes of the Singularity was one of the first DX12 games.

According to Guru3D, this is not a one-and-done affair. The latest v2.4 update is just the first step, with further optimizations and better compatibility planned with future updates.

To enable Vulkan, you need to right-click on Escalation in your Steam library, select properties, and then select the 2.4 opt-in under the betas tab.

Here are the full highlights for the 2.4 update:

There are a total of nine maps included in the free co-op map pack DLC. This is all due out on August 24.

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Risk Takers Are Back in the Space Raceand That’s a Good Thing – Singularity Hub

Posted: at 5:32 am

In a fight between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who would win? Peter Diamandis asked Blue Origins Erika Wagner to kick off a conversation with a panel of space entrepreneurs at Singularity Universitys Global Summit this week in San Francisco.

So, Peter, let me tell you about what were doing at Blue Origin, Wagner answered rather diplomatically, eliciting chuckles from the audience. Were really looking towards a future of millions of people living and working in space. The thing I think is really fantasticis that the universe is infinitely large, and so, we dont need any fisticuffs.

Were all going to go out there and create this future together.

Diamandis is no stranger to the private space race. Hes long been a passionate investor in and driver of the new space industry. The first private suborbital flight in 2004incented by his $10 million Ansari XPRIZE competitionhinted at how much could be built outside of government space agencies. But really, only the last few years have begun to deliver on the promise.

Elon Musks SpaceX is the best-known new space firm. But 15 years ago, SpaceX didnt exist. Seven years ago, theyd never launched a vehicle. Five years ago, theyd yet to resupply the International Space Station. And two years ago, there was no such thing as a reusable rocket.

Now, the company is routinely delivering satellites to orbit, resupplying the ISS, and recovering the first stages of their rockets. But they arent alone. In fact, Jeff Bezoss Blue Origin recovered a suborbital New Shepard rocket before SpaceX successfully landed their orbital Falcon 9. And Blue Origin aims to go beyond suborbital flight with the upcoming New Glenn rocket.

So, no zero-g fisticuffs yet, but plenty of competition. Which is a good thing. Making space a more affordable place to visit will open other opportunities when we get there.

Planetary Resources, a company Diamandis cofounded, has plans to expand the global economy into space by prospecting and mining asteroids. And another space mining startup and Google Lunar XPRIZE finalist, Moon Express, aims to mine the moon for the same reasons.

Chris Lewicki, CEO of Planetary Resources, and Bob Richards, cofounder and CEO of Moon Express, joined Diamandis and Wagner on stage to talk over the trends making this possible.

The panel said exponential technologiessuch as 3D printing, computing, and roboticsare a big reason feats that were once the sole domain of a few governments are becoming possible for startups with a team of 50 or 100 talented workers.

We always talk about space being a place where spin-offs happen, where we would go spend a lot of money on Apollo and, in exchange, we get Teflon and cordless drills, Wagner said. And it turns out, now were back in a part of the cycle where space is where spin-ins are happening.

Perhaps this is most obvious in the size of satellites. Not too long ago, most satellites had to be the size of a house to include whatever instruments they carried. These days, in some cases, similar capabilities can be shipped to space in a box 10 centimeters to the side.

Very similar to what happened in the computation world from the mainframe era of computers, things that were government-centric and filled a room were transformed into personals PCsThats whats happening in space, according to Richards.

Perhaps less obvious but no less important is the actual computation working under the hood.

SpaceXs reusable rockets arent manually steered into a soft landing by remote pilots back at mission control. No human is capable of that task. Instead, computers take in a flood of information from onboard sensors and make rapid and continuous adjustments to land.

Theyre basically self-driving rockets. The same technologies making autonomous cars possible are involved here too. And there might even be feedback between the twomuch of the work done in space, after all, will continue to be done by robot. And in space, where communications can be sketchy and delayed, the more autonomous the better.

I look at every autonomous car startup out there and think about where they will be in 5 to 10 years, Lewicki said. [I think about] all the sensors and all the technology that they will have commoditized that will make asteroid mining quite easy.

Additive manufacturing has likewise found a niche in aerospace. 3D printers speed up the design-and-test process and also yield finished parts you cant make any other way.

[Blue Origins] New Shepard rocket has literally hundreds of 3D printed parts, Wagner said. It started off as the brackets and the guides and little pieces, and now, theyre increasingly moving into the hot end of the engine and really are part and parcel to how our rockets work.

All this, according to the panel, is reducing the time and cost of space projects.

Our first quotes from an unnamed large aerospace company for our propulsion system in 2010 was $24 million in 24 months. Were now printing our engines for $2,000 in two weeks, Richards said.

The economics matter. Although significant seed money is being put up by billionaires like Musk and Bezos, they wont be able to foot the whole bill forever. Such investments need to show practical value too if the area is going to take off.

This, perhaps, is the most interesting bit of it all.

According to Richards, you dont get giggled at anymore when proposing a space startup. Beyond individuals, strategic corporate partnerships and even sovereign wealth funds are emerging sources of funding. And venture capital firms are interested too.

The opportunity is enormous, according to Diamandis.

Everything we hold of value on Earth: metals, minerals, energy, real estate, are in near infinite quantities in space, he said. And so Ive said this many times, I believe the first trillionaires will be made in space and the resources that were talking about are multitrillion dollar assets.

While space startups arent giggled at anymore, however, neither are they fully mainstream. SpaceX is leading the way, but there hasnt been what the panel called a Netscape moment yet, referring to the first big web browser that opened the internet for business. The new space industry isnt yet irresistible in the same way.

SpaceX is making its reusable rockets look routine, and has lost a few along the way too. Virgin Galactic, the company Richard Branson founded with the ship developed for the original XPRIZE, lost a pilot in a tragic crash over the Mojave Desert a few years ago. There are still many risks and challenges, big visions and ambitions and unforeseen delays.

But if risk is necessary to move forward, the commercial environment is a better place to experiment, take risks, and try new things, according to Lewicki. Theres a reason, he said, that NASAs next Mars rover will use processors built in 1993. They work. Theyll get the job done. The rover will roll across Mars. But it is nowhere near as capable as it could be.

Its a failure-is-not-an-option mentality, Lewicki said. And when failures not an option, success gets really expensive, and you worry about risk everywhere.

For a startup, on the other hand, the risk-averse approach is not an option. They have to draw up a grand vision of something thats isnt yet here and push the envelope to make it happen. Whatever the outcome, they all agreed, this is a special moment.

Thousands of years from now whatever we evolve into, whatever we become, were going to look back at these next couple of decades as the moment in time that the human race moved off the planet irreversibly, Diamandis said. Its on our watch. Its right here, right now that were becoming a multiplanetary species, which is an extraordinary thought.

Image Credit: Blue Origin

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Singularity University Announces New And Updated Programs To Prepare Leaders For Disruptive Times, Identify … – Markets Insider

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ –Singularity University(SU), a global community with a mission to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges, has announced new and evolved programs for individuals, startups, and large organizations. The announcement was made to 1,600 participants attending this week’s SU’s second annual Global Summit in San Francisco.

As advanced or exponential technologies (such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, digital biology, and robotics) continue to develop at faster rates, it is becoming more challenging for organizations of all sizes to see far enough into the future to plan for how technologies and trends will disrupt as well as create opportunities for businesses and world markets. SU is dedicated to helping people learn to break free of the assumptions they have today, delivering the tools, partner and community networks, and exponential mindset they need to be successful and solve the global challenges we face.

“The world is changing faster than our linear-thinking brains can keep up,” said Carin Watson, EVP, Learning & Innovation at Singularity University. “Exponential technologies and new business models enabled by digitization and democratization are impacting every industry in unprecedented ways. SU aims to help leaders better understand, anticipate, and respond to the future. The pace and approach that got us here aren’t sufficient to get us there. Our wide range of programs, diverse faculty network, and global community of change agents help individuals and organizations learn to embrace an exponential mindset, develop new skills and tools, and pursue unexpected collaborations that result in both bottom line and social impact.”

Enterprises and Large Organizations Require Leaders Who Know How to Succeed in a World of Disruption Caused by Exponential Technologies

The enterprise programs announced this week as new or evolved underscore SU’s commitment to deepening the support to help drive organizational transformation. They include:

Impact-Driven Startups Need Long-Term Support to See Them Through

Recognizing that it takes time to solve big problems, SU is announcing SU Ventures, to provide end-to-end support for visionary, future-shaping entrepreneurs and startupsfrom concept to prototype to funding to market entry to scale, and beyond. Unlike traditional short-term incubators and accelerators, it’s the first and only program dedicated to startups that apply emerging technologies to address the largest challenges facing humanity today. SU Ventures helps startups:

SU’s flagship Global Solutions Program (GSP) now also feeds into SU Ventures in a more intrinsic way as many GSP participants ideate solutions leveraging exponential technologies and bold thinking to solve humankind’s global challenges: energy, environment, food, water, shelter, security, prosperity, space, governance, and disaster resilience. Out of the GSP ideas come the seeds for moonshot initiativesthose impacting global challenges and making a difference in the lives of 1 billion people around the world within 10 years. Selected teams are invited to participate in the SU Ventures Incubator to evolve their ideas into startups and innovative solutions. The 2017 GSP cohort focused on solving the challenges facing our climate and environment. To learn more about innovative projects developed during GSP 2017, please see Singularity University Completes 2017 Global Solutions Program.

New Immersive Open Enrollment Programs for Everyone

Singularity University has also expanded its portfolio of short programs for individuals, whether they are seeking their first introduction to the world of exponentials, to deepen their expertise in a given technology or global challenge, or to stay abreast of the innovations, players, and issues shaping the future.

ABOUT SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY Singularity University (SU) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. SU’s collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations across the globe to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. A certified benefit corporation headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis with program funding from leading organizations including Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF. To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SingularityU, and download the SingularityU Hub mobile app.

MEDIA CONTACTS:Jessica Kersey, rel=”nofollow”>jessica.kersey@su.org 650-868-9295

Adrian Eyre, rel=”nofollow”>Adrian.Eyre@ogilvy.com 415-677-2708

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