Futurism:
this week

The US wants to go back to the Moon

In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, on the eve of the first gathering of the US' National Space Council, vice president Mike Pence has set out the nation's intention to return to the Moon. In the piece, Pence said the nation is intent on "establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon".

Source: Ars Technica

Elon Musk thinks he can rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid

SolarCity founder Elon Musk has said that Puerto Rico’s power grid can be rebuilt with batteries and solar power. “The Tesla team has [built solar grids] for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.

Source: The Hill

Boeing backs electric commuter plane that could take off in 2022

A Seattle-area startup backed by Boeing and JetBlue Airways has announced plans to begin selling a hybrid-electric commuter aircraft by 2022. The small plane would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors, dramatically reducing the travel time and cost of trips under 1,000 miles.

Source: The Guardian

Driverless cars to be tested in retirement village

Two self-driving cars will be deployed in a gated community for senior citizens in San Jose. The cars will offer trips to 4,000 residents, while they also learn how to interact with pedestrians, animals, roundabouts, and golf carts. The speed limit is only 25 mph, which will help reduce the risk if something goes wrong.

General Motors makes plans for an all-electric future

General Motors has announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future, and will start that process with two new, fully electric models next year – then at least 18 more by 2023. “General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” said Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product.

Source: Wired

Yahoo thinks all accounts were compromised in 2013 breach

Yahoo now believes that its massive 2013 security breach led to all of its three billion accounts being compromised. "The company recently obtained new intelligence and now believes... that all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft," reads Yahoo's statement.

Source: TechCrunch

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC