Take a look at the year’s most-read articles from Singularity Hub…
With concern about our planet growing every year, people were hungry for news on energy breakthroughs, including construction of a fusion power plant, new battery technologies, wireless electricity, and affordable electric cars. The cold reaches of outer space remained hot as ever with a wild attempt to divert an asteroid and the latest estimate of how many Earth-like planets may lurk in our galaxy.
The World’s Space Agencies Are on a Quest to Deflect a Asteroid
While the last killer space rock dropped out of the sky with no warning, we have a few tools the dinosaurs didn’t. In addition to telescopes to chart potentially hazardous asteroids, we can visit and, theoretically, divert an asteroid’s course before it reaches us. Now, the world’s space agencies are teaming up to take planetary defense beyond theory.”
QuantumScape’s New Solid-State Battery Is Twice as Energy Dense as Lithium-Ion
Claims of ‘revolutionary’ new battery technologies are a dime a dozen these days, but none so far have come close to knocking lithium-ion of.f. its perch. So when battery startup QuantumScape announced in September. that it had cracked the ‘Holy Grail’ of battery technology-a solid-state lithium metal battery-it didn’t generate much buzz. Now the company has released performance results-and people are starting to pay attention.”
There Could Be 300 Million Earth-Like Planets in Our Galaxy
The first planets discovered outside our solar system were strange, unfamiliar worlds. These were giants like Jupiter, hotter than Venus, tearing around their suns inside the orbit of Mercury. Astronomers have since discovered planets where 10,000 mile-per-hour winds whip up metallic storm clouds that rain molten iron. The diversity of extremes is captivating, and also somewhat beside the point. What we’re really after are more Earths.”
DeepMind’s Newest AI Programs Itself to Make All the Right Decisions
Alphabet’s DeepMind is taking this automation further by developing deep learning algorithms that can handle programming tasks which have been, to date, the sole domain of the world’s top computer scientists. The DeepMind team described a new deep reinforcement learning algorithm that was able to discover its own value function-a critical programming rule in deep reinforcement learning-from scratch.”
New Zealand Is About to Test Long-Range Wireless Power Transmission
A famous image of inventor Nikola Tesla shows him casually sitting on a chair, legs crossed, taking notes-oblivious to the profusion of artificial lightning rending the air meters away. By then, Tesla and raw electricity were like an old married couple. The experiments, conducted in Colorado, led to one of Tesla’s most audacious proposals: To power the world without wires.”
Moore’s Law Lives: Intel Says Chips Will Pack 50 Times More Transistors
There’ve been many predictions that Moore’s Law is, finally, ending. But, perhaps also predictably, the company whose founder coined Moore’s Law begs to differ. In a keynote presentation at this year’s Hot Chips conference, Intel’s chief architect, Raja Koduri, laid out a roadmap to increase transistor density-that is, the number of transistors you can fit on a chip-by a factor of 50. ‘We firmly believe there is a lot more transistor density to come,’ Koduri said. ‘The vision will play out over time-maybe a decade or more-but it will play out.’i.”.
16 Ways Coronavirus May Change the Way We Look at the World
The present situation offers a choice. Either we try to piece the world back together as it was before this catastrophic occurrence, or we can use this shared event as the founding moment of a unifying global narrative. One acknowledging that underneath our badges of belonging we are all vulnerable bodies, very much dependent on each other and on systems of governance.”
Construction of the World’s Biggest Nuclear Fusion Plant Just Started in France
This aims to produce dramatically more energy than the process of fission that we’ve already mastered and doesn’t produce long-lived radioactive waste.
The International Space Station Is Ailing. Its Replacement Will Shape the Future of Space Exploration
Humans have now had a continuous presence in space for 20 years thanks to the International Space Station, but the facility is unlikely to survive into the next decade.