A red sports car, a rocket and a trip to Mars. Many generations from now that’s what some might consider the birth of the new space age.
Last afternoon’s liftoff of ‘Falcon Heavy‘ – the largest rocket by far to be launched –by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, was by all accounts, a spectacular event combining science, savvy marketing, and enough material to get the attention of many audiences: Space geeks, Tesla enthusiasts, the international space community…and Mars watchers. Nothing like a live stream of the event, that included the dummy’s view from the Tesla roadster!
From a marketing perspective, think of it a a relaunch of three brands:
SpaceX: The ambitious company is not just a record holder of the biggest, baddest rocket with a retrievable booster (one didn’t land successfully), but an international ‘agency’ in itself. It can carry a spaceship – one taking humans back to the Moon, and later to Mars.
Tesla: Imagine the opportunities, to sell car that has the pedigree of the first car in space…Fascinating backdrop to an otherwise boring auto industry.
Elon Musk himself. Perhaps –just perhaps– he may have a bigger agenda in positioning himself as more than an entrepreneur.
What might you get if you affix an android head onto a metal and plastic life-size body? More than a bobble-head, for sure. especially if there’s a whole bunch of robotics, plus artificial intelligence under the hood.
The android known as Sophia debuted at the Future Investment Initiative, an event with speakers as varied as Richard Branson, to Nicolas Sarkozy, to Maria Bartiromo. Indeed Sophia made recent headlines because Saudi Arabia granted it ‘citizenship’ – whatever that means. Let that sink in for a moment – giving civic status to a machine.
Hansen Robotics, the workshop where Sophia was built has several models. A bald-headed Han, a 17 inch tall boy robot called Zeno, and a full-sized animatronic, Albert Einstein. These bots use facial tracking, natural language processing, and their creators plan on developing Emotional Intelligence for Einstein.
Robotics is a double-edged sword. I cover robotics, help train students, and often talk of being alert to where all this could be headed. Governments, labs, schools, policy-makers and ethicists should be joining the debate. (Recall Elon Musk and others sounded a warning that AI could threaten human civilization.) It shouldn’t be a conversation dominated by those in technology alone.
Is news getting more weird? Or do have more access to information we would have never known in a previous era?
Consider these. Fact or fiction?
- Humans will soon travel at 760 miles an hour by ‘Hyperloop’
- Machines will soon use people as batteries. Away for mobile devices to ‘grab’ energy directly from human skin.
- Target to do away with Men’s and Women’s clothing departments.
- Solar plane, with a wider wingspan than a Boeing 747 can fly around the world at a whopping 28 miles per hour. (Perfect for people too scared to use the aforementioned Hyperloop.)
- Sean Parker offers US govt. a tool called ‘Brigade’ that will ensure 100 percent civic participation in the upcoming US election.
Fact or Fiction?