The Andromeda galaxy and everything else in the known universe, including us, could be part of an advanced simulation. Indeed, this is the most probable scenario, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast on Sept. 7, 2018.
Credit: S. Ozime

Elon Musk thinks we’re all probably trapped in a “Matrix”-like pseudo existence.

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, so any civilizations that may have arisen throughout the cosmos have had loads and loads of time to hone their technological know-how, the SpaceX founder and CEO explained early this morning (Sept. 7) during a long, wide-ranging and very entertaining appearance on comedian Joe Rogan’s popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur,” Musk said. “Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist.” [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]

“I think most likely — this is just about probability — there are many, many simulations,” he added. “You might as well call them reality, or you could call them multiverse.”

The “substrate” on which these simulations are running, whatever it may be, is probably quite boring, at least compared to the simulations themselves, Musk further told Rogan.

“Why would you make a simulation that’s boring? You’d make a simulation that’s way more interesting than base reality,” Musk said, citing the video games and movies that humanity makes, which are “distillation[s] of what’s interesting about life.”

The billionaire entrepreneur is far from alone in this interpretation; a number of physicists, cosmologists and philosophers find the simulation hypothesis compelling. If even one advanced alien civilization with a predilection for creating simulations has ever arisen out there, the reasoning goes, then it could theoretically pop off thousands — or perhaps even millions or billions — of “fake” universes. And it would be hard for the inhabitants of these digital realms to figure out the truth, because all the evidence they could gather would likely be planted by the creators. 

Indeed, the simulation idea is one of many possible explanations for the famous Fermi paradox, which basically asks, “Where is everybody?” (“Everybody” being aliens, of course.)

Read Full Article and Learn More w/ Video

By 

JONATHAN VANIAN

 

October 2, 2018

Google and Facebook are teaming up to make each company’s artificial intelligence technologies work better together.

 

The two companies said Tuesday that an unspecified number of engineers are collaborating to make Facebook’s open source machine learning PyTorch framework work with Google’s custom computer chips for machine learning, dubbed Tensor Processing Units, or TPU. The collaboration marks one of the rare instances of the technology rivals working together on joint tech projects.

 

“Today, we’re pleased to announce that engineers on Google’s TPU team are actively collaborating with core PyTorch developers to connect PyTorch to Cloud TPUs,” Google Cloud director of product management Rajen Sheth wrote in a blog post. “The long-term goal is to enable everyone to enjoy the simplicity and flexibility of PyTorch while benefiting from the performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency of Cloud TPUs.”

Facebook product manager for artificial intelligence Joseph Spisak said in a separate blog post that “Engineers on Google’s Cloud TPU team are in active collaboration with our PyTorch team to enable support for PyTorch 1.0 models on this custom hardware.”

 

Google first debuted its TPUs in 2016 during its annual developer conference, and pitched them as a more efficient way for companies and researchers to power their machine-learning software projects. The search giant sells access to its TPUs via its cloud computing business instead of selling the chips individually to customers like Nvidia, whose graphics processing units, or GPUs, are popular with researchers working on deep learning projects.

 

Artificial intelligence technologies like deep learning have grown in popularity over the years with tech giants like Google and Facebook that use the technologies to create software applications that can automatically do tasks like recognize images in photos.

As more businesses explore machine learning technology, companies like Google, Facebook, and others have created their own AI software frameworks, essentially coding tools, intended to make it easier for developers to create their own machine-learning powered software. These companies have also offered these AI frameworks for free in an open source model in order to popularize them with coders.

Read and Learn More

Glyphosate killing bees
Scientists found Glyphosate harmed honeybees and may impact other insects, like bumblebees

Bees could be dying as a result of exposure some of Britain’s most popular weed killers, new research suggests.

Scientists in the US found evidence that glyphosate , the active ingredient in Roundup and many other brands, may be contributing to the decline of honey bees.

Glyphosate herbicides are the most widely used herbicide in UK agriculture with 5.4 million acres of farmland across Britain treated with the chemical annually.

The study, by the University of Texas, showed worker bees exposed to the glyphosate lose beneficial gut bacteria, which is likely to leave them vulnerable to infections.

Read More

Surveillance Economy
How Far Can the Surveillance Economy Go?

By LESLIE K. JOHN

UNINFORMED CONSENT

Companies want access to more and more of your personal data — from where you are to what’s in your DNA. Can they unlock its value without triggering a privacy backlash?

 

Three years ago the satirical website The Onion ran an article with the headline “Woman Stalked Across 8 Websites by Obsessed Shoe Advertisement.” Everywhere she went online, this fictional consumer saw the same ad. “The creepiest part,” she says in the story, “is that it even seems to know my shoe size.” The piece poked fun at an increasingly common — if clumsy — digital marketing technique. But today its gentle humor seems almost quaint. Technology has advanced far beyond the browser cookies and retargeting that allow ads to follow us around the internet. Smartphones now track our physical location and proximity to other people — and, as researchers recently discovered, can even do so when we turn off location services. We can disable the tracking on our web browsers, but our digital fingerprints can still be connected across devices, enabling our identities to be sleuthed out. Home assistants like Alexa listen to our conversations and, when activated, record what we’re saying. A growing range of everyday things — from Barbie dolls to medical devices — connect to the internet and transmit information about our movements, our behavior, our preferences, and even our health. A dominant web business model today is to amass as much data on individuals as possible and then use it or sell it — to target or persuade, reward or penalize. The internet has become a surveillance economy.

What’s more, the rise of data science has made the information collected much more powerful, allowing companies to build remarkably detailed profiles of individuals. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can make eerily accurate predictions about people using seemingly random data. Companies can use data analysis to deduce someone’s political affiliation or sexuality or even who has had a one-night stand. As new technologies such as facial recognition software and home DNA testing are added to the tool kit, the surveillance done by businesses may soon surpass that of the 20th century’s most invasive security states.

Illustration by Michael McQuaid

The obvious question is, How could consumers let this happen? As a behavioral scientist, I study how people sometimes act against their own interests. One issue is that “informed consent” — the principle companies use as permission to operate in this economy — is something of a charade. Most consumers are either unaware of the personal information they share online or, quite understandably, unable to determine the cost of sharing it — if not both.

It’s true that consumers do gain some benefits from all the data gathering, such as more meaningful advertising and better customer service, pricing, and potentially even access to credit. But companies urgently need to find a way to balance the benefits with privacy protection. Consumer advocates are raising alarm bells about invasive digital practices. Public outcries ensue each time a scandal hits the headlines, whether it involves Equifax’s loss of sensitive personal information about tens of millions of people or Russian operatives using social media to manipulate the votes of Americans. Internet privacy experts who not too long ago were viewed as cranks on the fringe now testify before Congress and headline conferences. In Europe major legislation to protect user privacy has already passed. We’re starting to see signs of a widespread “techlash,” which could have profound implications for firms that use consumers’ data. It’s probably no coincidence that Facebook saw its valuation plummet roughly 20% after it publicly suggested it might scale back on some data collection.

 

At the same time, consumers don’t reward companies for offering better privacy protection. Privacy-enhancing technologies have not been widely adopted. People are generally unwilling to pay for privacy-enhancing technologies and even if they do, will pay only modest amounts. Though some might take this as evidence that people simply don’t care about privacy, I’ve come to a different conclusion: People do care, but as I’ll explain, several factors impede their ability to make wise choices.

If both sides continue on these diverging trajectories, the surveillance economy may be headed for a market failure. The good news is that policymakers can help. The first step is to understand how people make decisions about the privacy of their personal information and how they can be induced to overshare.

HOW CONSUMERS GOT IN SO DEEP

Let’s be frank: People are bad at making decisions about their private data. They misunderstand both costs and benefits. Moreover, natural human biases interfere with their judgment. And whether by design or accident, major platform companies and data aggregators have structured their products and services to exploit those biases, often in subtle ways.

Impatience. People tend to overvalue immediate costs and benefits and underweight those that will occur in the future. They want $9 today rather than $10 tomorrow. On the internet, this tendency manifests itself in a willingness to reveal personal information for trivial rewards. Free quizzes and surveys are prime examples. Often administered by third parties, they are a data-security nightmare, but many people can’t resist them. For instance, on the popular “real age” website, people divulge a large amount of sensitive health information in exchange for the immediate “benefit” of knowing whether their “biological age” is older or younger than their calendar age. Consumers gain zero financial reward for such disclosures. They may be vaguely aware of the potential costs of providing such information (at its extreme, higher insurance premiums down the road), but because those downsides are vague and in the future, they’re disregarded in exchange for a few minutes of fun.

Impatience also prevents us from adopting privacy controls. In one experiment, people who were setting up a digital wallet were offered a service that would secure (that is, encrypt) their purchase transaction data. Adding the service took a few additional steps, but only a quarter of people successfully went through them. The vast majority were unwilling to trivially inconvenience themselves by following a onetime simple process in order to protect their data from abuse down the road.

Data “transactions” are often structured so that the benefits of disclosure are immediate, tangible, and attractive, while the costs are delayed and more amorphous — and in these situations, our impatience tilts us toward disclosure. Mobile credit-card stations, for instance, email you receipts and make transactions fast and paperless. But the costs of companies’ capturing your email address and other personal information come later. Sensitive data, such as your name, demographics, and location, is amassed and shared or sold, and in all likelihood you are eventually barraged with targeted marketing. Although some of those ads may be welcome, others may be annoying or intrusive. And some fear that in the future consumer data may even be used in more-impactful ways, such as credit score calculations — and possibly lead to discriminatory “digital redlining.”

Read Full Article and Learn More

Warren Buffett: Market Collapse will be on YOU
Warren Buffett: Market Collapse will be on YOU! By: Andrew Moran September 18, 2018Articles, Economic Affairs

It has been a decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, triggering a financial crisis unseen since the era of flappers, speakeasies, and Keepin’ Cool with Coolidge. The Great Recession came to an end in 2009, meaning that we are nine years into the current bull market, which is one of the longest in U.S. history. While the current economy appears to be on fire, another recession – or worse – is an inevitability, one that will be blamed on President Donald Trump, not his predecessor or successor.

Recently, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, spoke with CNBC about the decade anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers. He also delved into a wide panoply of financial subjects, forecasting that a financial crisis is nigh. But he made one head scratching meditation that was rather interesting; everyone’s favorite billionaire averred that John Smith and Jane Doe cause bubbles to form, explaining:

“People start being interested in something because it’s going up, not because they understand it or anything else. But the guy next door, who they know is dumber than they are, is getting rich and they aren’t. And their spouse is saying can’t you figure it out, too? It is so contagious. So that’s a permanent part of the system.”

It is difficult to argue with a billionaire who has made tens of thousands of people rich. That said, what he is describing is a symptom, not the cause, of the pecuniary disease. The real cause of the asset bubbles is the Federal Reserve, not your irksome next-door neighbor who acquires a new luxury vehicle every so often because he purchased FAANG stocks or Tesla shares a couple of years ago.

A Bubble In Everything

Right now, most markets are flourishing. It seems like the only sector of the economy that isn’t booming is the world of commodities, particularly of the metal variety. Everyone is getting rich, from the Wall Street executive to the busboy at your local family diner to your 95-year-old grandmother. And that is what’s concerning Buffett.

It is true that many markets are in a bubble, either one that continues to swell or one that is beginning to deflate. The most obvious one is the stock market as most equities are posting all-time highs. But once you begin to look beyond equities, you start to notice a dangerous trend: The fundamentals of most markets are not sound.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev

In 2008, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased Paul Gauguin’s “Te Faire La Maison” for $85 million. The fertilizer mogul put the artwork on the auction block in March 2017, but he only garnered $25 million, resulting in a 74% loss. Unfortunately for Rybolovlev, that wasn’t one-time incident. In the last few years, he had started to sell pieces of his $2 billion vintage art collection, enduring a $100 million loss – and counting.

And it isn’t just Rybolovlev who is witnessing his investments crumble. A couple of years ago, there was an immense correction in the international art market. In 2016, Christie’s auction house experienced a 17% sales drop to $5.4 billion. Ditto for Sotheby’s, which reported a 27% decline, falling to $4.9 billion.

Another booming market that is going through a correction stage? Vintage automobiles.

It seems that after years of double-digit growth, classic cars have hit the brakes as their price-tags are no longer going through the roof. For instance, the value of classic Jaguars and Porsches surged as much as 47% in 2013, but average prices rose a tepid 1% in 2016.

The U.S. real estate market is in a housing bubble 2.0. It has all the hallmarks of the 2006 housing crisis:

  • Investors and speculators represented 35% of new home sales in 2016.
  • Banks are gradually offering zero-down mortgages.
  • Mortgage lenders are cutting down their credit standards.
  • Homeowners – primarily of the millennial demographic – are tapping their equity.
  • Foreclosures and delinquency rates are on the rise once again.

If you’re a perma-bear or a goldbug, then you’re probably hoping for a bubble in gold soon.

Blame The Fed

So, bubbles in vintage art, classic cars, and houses. Who’s to blame? It might seem easy to pass the buck onto your annoying neighbors, but the real culprit is the U.S. central bank.

Whenever a bubble forms, it is because the central bank has started to expand the money supply. A rapid increase in the growth trends of the money supply is then followed by a substantial jump in asset prices. This has been the norm since the end of the last recession. Then-Fed Chair Ben Bernanke turned on the printing presses and facilitated the flood of cash into a plethora of asset classes without any savings. His successor, Janet Yellen, wasn’t any better, creating $3 trillion in new money in a four-year span.

The bubble pops when money growth slows, and the bubble cannot be sustained with present levels. The M2 money supply data suggests the Eccles Building is still running the printing presses, though it has slumped over the last two months.

That said, it can be difficult to ascertain when the next bubble will pop and the good times will turn into bad times. What we do know is that the bull market still has some legs in it without a significant slowdown in sight.

Despite what Buffett contends, asset bubbles are not formed by the jealousy of your obnoxious neighbor’s success. They are developed through the Fed’s money-printing schemes.

No wonder why President Donald Trump demands Powell to print money and keep interest rates low.

Learn More Here

Lucid Electric Car Startup
Lucid Electric Car Startup Signs $1B Investment Pact With Saudi Wealth Fund- Peter Rawlinson, chief technology officer of Lucid Motors Inc., speaks during the Future of Mobility Summit in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. The Future of Mobility Summit brings together a diverse range of perspectives from established industry, finance, and policy leaders in the transport community. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg. 
TransportationI cover the global automotive industry

Oil giant Saudi Arabia has agreed to invest $1 billion in Lucid, a battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) startup based in Silicon Valley, a move that should vault Lucid into the fray among new EV models headed to the automotive market.

A Lucid Motors Inc. branded Air alpha prototype vehicle

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making the investment through its public investment fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund aimed at increasing economic diversification in the kingdom as well turning it into a global financial powerhouse.  Saudi Arabia owned a small stake in publicly-owned EV maker Tesla and reportedly was approached to help Elon Musk with an abortive attempt to take the company private.

Lucid said the investment will allow the company to launch its first EV, the Lucid Air, in 2020.  The money will be used to complete engineering and testing of the vehicle and to build a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. Global rollout of the car will begin in North America, the company said.

Lucid Air will be aimed at the luxury market.

Volkswagen AG’s Audi luxury division is unveiling its new eTron electric SUV in San Francisco, the same day as Lucid’s announcement.  Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all have announced plans to offer newly-developed EV luxury models that will compete with those built by Tesla.  eTron is expected to be equipped with a 95 kilowatt battery and to offer a range of about 250 miles with full charge.

“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized. This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward”, said Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer.

Rawlinson, a British engineer, served as chief engineer for the Tesla Model S luxury car. He joined Tesla in 2009 and left three years later.

“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market,” said a spokesperson for the Saudi investment fund, “PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Read Full Article & Learn More Here

Apple's New iPhones
Andy Swan-Contributor-iMarkets
I cover the stock market, investing, and technology. Attendees view Apple watch series 4 devices displayed during an Apple Inc. event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple Inc. took the wraps off a renewed iPhone strategy on Wednesday, debuting a trio of phones that aim to spread the company’s latest technology to a broader audience. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple is buzzing. In August they became the first U.S. company to hit $1 trillion market value. On September 12, all eyes turned to Steve Jobs Theater to see what the creative behemoth would bestow upon consumers waiting to be dazzled.

To measure consumer reaction to product announcements, we at LikeFolio analyze chatter on Twitter for indications that consumers are talking about purchasing the new products, as well as the sentiment with which they describe them.  Historically, the consumer reaction to the annual Keynote event has been an incredible predictor of $AAPL stock, having predicted the movement of AAPL stock over the following 9 months for five straight years.Here’s what we found this year.

Consumer reaction to the 2018 Apple Keynote was lackluster

Two hours and four products later, the end result was a lower level of purchase intent mentions for Apple products/services than we had seen in either of the two prior years.

Apple keynote Events Purchase Intent
Consumer response to Apple’s new product lineup was the lowest we have seen in years.LIKEFOLIO

The green line on the chart above is a measure of consumer purchase intent of Apple products/services. Purchase intent for the 2018 Apple Keynote event was the lowest measured since 2015.

What does this mean? Frankly, it’s not a good sign for Apple. The last time purchase intent was this low for a Keynote event,  Apple sales fell year-over-year for the first time in 13 years.

 

The green line on the chart above is a measure of consumer purchase intent of Apple products/services. Purchase intent for the 2018 Apple Keynote event was the lowest measured since 2015.

What does this mean? Frankly, it’s not a good sign for Apple. The last time purchase intent was this low for a Keynote event,  Apple sales fell year-over-year for the first time in 13 years.

apple-keynote-product-release-purchase-intent

Apple Watch Series 4 – a major threat to struggling Fitbit

The Apple Watch Series 4 was the clear fan favorite. The new watch boasts FDA cleared heart monitoring features, including the ability to take an EKG and detect an irregular heartbeat. The watch can also detect falls and alert authorities if you need help. It’s like the data-connected lovechild of… Fitbit and Life Alert?

See all charts and Learn More

paceX Will Launch Telstar Communications Satellite Tonight: How to Watch Live
SpaceX Will Launch Telstar Communications Satellite Tonight: How to Watch Live

 

SpaceX is prepared to loft a hefty communications satellite into orbit tonight (Sept. 9) and then attempt to land a rocket’s first stage on a drone ship at sea.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telstar 18 Vantage communications satellite, also known as Apstar 5C, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a launch window that starts at 11:28 p.m. EDT (0328 GMT on Sept. 10). You can watch it online here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. In case of delays, the launch window stretches for 4 hours.

The satellite, which will operate as a partnership between the Canadian company Telesat and the Hong Kong-based company APT Satellite Co. Ltd., will provide broadcast, enterprise and government communications services over the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Hawaii across to India and Pakistan, according to  a statement from Telesat . The satellite weighs in at a hefty 15,564 lbs. (7,060 kilograms),  according to Spaceflight Now.

SpaceX will use one of its newest Falcon 9 rockets, the Block 5, for the launch — though, unlike for its previous Telstar launch in July, the company is lofting a new, rather than previously flown, rocket first stage. After the launch, SpaceX plans to attempt to land the stage on the company’s East Coast drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You.

SpaceX successfully test-fired the rocket’s engines on Sept. 5 at the launchpad, Launch Complex 40, but then the launch was delayed by 24 hours to complete preflight checkouts, SpaceX officials wrote in a tweet Thursday (Sept. 6). As of Friday (Sept. 7), the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron gave a 60 percent chance of favorable weather; the main risks are the possibility of thick cloud layers and cumulous clouds whose tops reach freezing temperatures.

Read Full Article, Watch Video and see all images HERE

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Billy Bambrough
Contributor
i
Crypto & Blockchain
I write about how bitcoin, crypto, and fintech are changing the world.

The bitcoin price went into freefall this morning, despite good news for bitcoin adoption from the growing Lightning Network, as investors get cold feet ahead of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision expected later this month on whether to grant approval for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) — something the SEC has previously rejected due to fears around bitcoin’s wild price swings and price manipulation.

Bitcoin fell by some $500, or 5%, in just a matter of minutes, according to CoinDesk data, and taking the bitcoin price under the psychological $7,000 mark.

The sharp fall in bitcoin price comes after unconfirmed reports from Business Insider that U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs is ditching plans to open a desk for trading cryptocurrencies due to the murky regulatory landscape.

cryptocurrencies
The bitcoin price took a sharp turn lower this morning, dragging most other major cryptocurrencies with it.COINDESK

In response, the bank released a statement: “We have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering,” it said.

Read More

Here's why Warren Buffett trusts Tim Cook
In an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett explains why he is optimistic about Apple’s future and what keeps him up at night. 

Watch Interview With Warren Buffett Here