What is Artifical Intelligence?

Is the Future Of Artificial Intelligence Tied To The Future Of Blockchain?


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IntroductionSince the beginning of modern times, each industrial revolution was driven by different automation. While factory machines and fossil fuels drove the previous industrial revolutions, the on-going automation revolution is based on data-driven artificial intelligence (AI). Understanding its impact and what will be required to support the AI-driven automation revolution is a fundamental necessity.  

So, as we evaluate the impact and the support needed to harness this automation revolution, it seems that at the center of this revolution is the growing need for computing power. There are indicators that raw computing power is on its way to replacing fossil fuels and will be the most valued fuel in the rapidly emerging intelligence age. From where we are to where we want to reach in our intelligence automation journey, further advances in artificial intelligence require enormous amounts of computational power.

Just as computing power is essential to AI, so too is the data that is fed and how the results are used. This is mainly because, ultimately, the input of AI is the data through which complex algorithms provide connections, patterns, and useful insight that provide valuable output for individuals and entities across nations: its government, industries, organizations, and academia (NGIOA).

As seen across nations, many initiatives of blockchain currently provide computing power for the needs of AI. In addition to providing computing power, blockchain technologies also hold the promise of adding structure and accountability to AI algorithms and may help in much-needed areas like security, quality, and integrity of the intelligence AI produces. Now since big data fuels, artificial intelligence and blockchain generates big data, individually and collectively the future of AI is tied to the future of blockchain. That brings us to an important question: How can blockchain technology infrastructure that we have power AI currently for its computing needs of tomorrow when it is struggling to meet its own computing needs of today?


Acknowledging this emerging paradigm, Risk Group initiated a much-needed discussion on the future of blockchain with Prof. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a Research Affiliate at MIT Sloan School of Management, Fellow of the Initiative on the Digital Economy and of the MIT Connection Science initiative, and a Guest Columnist at WSJ CIO Journal on Risk Roundup.


More Good News From Africa


How to unlock the talents of young Africans

Fred is a young entrepreneur from Ghana and the founder of the African Leadership Group, which is preparing the next generation of African leaders. He is also part of the Goalkeepers event happening later this month in New York City, which our foundation helped organize to accelerate progress toward the Global Goals. I’ll be at Goalkeepers as well, and I wanted to share Fred’s thoughts with you. — Bill Gates

I don’t mean to sound alarmist. But we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb—one that could unravel much of the progress in poverty reduction, healthcare, nutrition, and human rights, which will be a focus of the upcoming Goalkeepers report to be released next week.

Current projections from the UN show that Africa will be home to 4 billion people by the end of this century. Even more concerning is the fact that we will have the world’s largest workforce—larger than that of either China or India—by 2035. Without purposeful work, over 1 billion young Africans could be wandering cities looking for jobs. That is less than 6,000 days from now.

The political instability, security risks, mass migration, and poverty of 1.1 billion unhealthy, unemployed African youth is unimaginable.

There is, however, a way to convert this potential humanitarian crisis into a powerful opportunity. Africa’s looming population is a potential goldmine that contains a key ingredient needed for economic growth: human capital. Development economists have estimated that human capital alone—defined as the sum total of a population’s health, skills, knowledge, experience, and habits—explains between 10 and 30 percent of differences in per capita income across countries.

We’ve seen glimpses of what can happen when the ideas of young people in Africa are unleashed. The continent has given us Dr. Trebi-Ollennu, the Ghanaian scientist at NASA who developed the Mars Rover Robot and is pushing the frontiers of space science. It has given us Tidjane Thiam, the Ivorian CEO of Credit Suisse, one of the world’s largest banks, who was recently recognized by Euromoney as the 2018 Banker of the Year. It has given us Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur who has revolutionized entire industries with companies like PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. It has given us Lupita Nyongo, the Oscar-winning actress from Kenya. It has given us Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the South African cardiac surgeon who performed the first heart transplant in the world in 1967.

These game-changers have emerged from Africa despite the backdrop of poor health and education they grew up in. Imagine, therefore, how many more world-class innovators and entrepreneurs could emerge from Africa if we took a deliberate approach to investing in the well-being and intellect of its young people. African youth, if educated and healthy, can provide the energy and ingenuity needed to solve many global challenges such as food security, climate change, infrastructure, gender inequity, urbanization, healthcare, education, and poverty reduction.

However, unlocking Africa’s immeasurable talent pool will not be straightforward. We have very little time—and very limited resources. This task seems as impossible as it must have seemed in 1961 when U.S. President John F. Kennedy set out to put a man on the moon within a decade, which became known as the “moonshot.” Moonshots are defined by three main characteristics: first, they are so ambitious that they sound impossible when initially envisioned; second, they require radical, unconventional solutions that shatter the status quo; and third, they lead to several unexpected benefits—in the same way that landing the man on the moon led to numerous technological innovations like satellite TV, GPS systems, and weather forecasting. Rapidly tapping into the potential of Africa’s youth—before it is too late—clearly fits these three characteristics and is therefore a bold moonshot we must embark on.

The quest for this exciting alternative future for Africa is what gets me up every day and drives me and my colleagues at African Leadership Group. We are contributing to this moonshot by developing at least 3 million game-changing African leaders, innovators, and problem-solvers in the next 6,000 days. These 3 million leaders and innovators will in turn help to create opportunity for the 1.1 billion Africans who will need it, while also creating opportunity for the entire world. And we’re using unconventional thinking to get there:

  • Our student-driven, technology-enabled, peer-to-peer learning model is reliant on an abundant resource (brilliant students) and not on a scarce resource (qualified faculty). This makes it completely scalable: we are able to open a new campus in less than 3 months with less than 5 percent of the capital investment a traditional university would require. Re-imagining education is enabling us to produce globally competitive African talent at a speed, scale, and quality never before seen.
  • Our practical, project-based learning approach is developing entrepreneurially-minded problem-solvers who will not only solve Africa’s greatest challenges and capture its greatest opportunities, but will create their own jobs. As artificial intelligence and robotics could make many traditional workers obsolete, policymakers should consider our model that teaches people how to learn so they can keep solving new problems as the world changes.
  • Our innovative approach to student finance uses income-sharing arrangements to ensure that students graduate debt-free and only pay a share of their income to investors once they are employed. This “pay-it-forward” approach uses global capital markets to unlock the potential of African youth in a sustainable way.

What we are doing to rapidly develop entrepreneurial leaders in a high-quality, low-cost manner is just one example of the radical, unconventional thinking we need in order to enable Africa’s ambitious moonshot. We need similarly unconventional thinking as we approach other aspects: primary, secondary, and vocational education; healthcare; family planning; and women’s economic empowerment. We need new practice, not best practice: fresh, innovative approaches that will break from the norm and allow us to achieve rapid progress. It won’t be easy. We must resist the temptation to stick with safe, tested methods. Only by persevering and doing the hard things to break with convention do we stand a chance of achieving our shared goals. The world must invest in this moonshot in order to unlock the next wave of global innovation and progress for all of humanity.


What is going on in the Chinese Space Program?

Chinese Private Firm OneSpace Fails with First Orbital Launch Attempt

HELSINKI — OneSpace of China failed to become the first private launch firm to place a satellite in orbit after the loss of its OS-M1 solid launch vehicle Wednesday.

Launch of the OS-M1 four-stage rocket, also named “Chongqing-Liangjiang Star,” took place at 05:39 a.m. Eastern from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

Amateur footage from the launch site shared on a Chinese social media platform indicates loss of control of the launch vehicle shortly after first stage separation around one minute after launch.

OneSpace was still investigating the cause of the launch failure at press time.

Related: Watch China’s OneSpace Rocket Launch from Space!

The 19-meter-tall, 20 metric ton OS-M1, which was designed to be able to loft a 205-kilogram payload to 300-kilometer low Earth orbit (LEO), was carrying the Lingque-1B technology verification satellite for ZeroG Labs, a Beijing-based developer of micro- and nanosatellites and components established in late 2016.

Lingque-1B was a 6U CubeSat which aimed to test technologies for ZeroG Lab’s planned named Lingque (“spirit magpie”) constellation of 132 remote sensing satellites with a resolution of better than 4 meters.

In a Q&A with SpaceNews ahead of launch, OneSpace expressed excitement at the opportunity to become the first private Chinese company to reach orbit, but also noted in the case of failure, the launch would be a “valuable attempt for us — to correct our technology.”

The company carried out two successful suborbital launches with its OS-X rockets in 2018 before Wednesday’s orbital launch attempt.

Chinese private space launch attempts

The OS-M1 rocket assembled in Xi’an, north China.

(Image: © OneSpace)

Landspace, another company established following a 2014 government decision to open the launch and small satellite sectors to private capital, made the first private Chinese attempt to reach orbit last October, but the launch failed when the Zhuque-1 solid rocket suffered an issue with its third stage, with the payload for China Central Television (CCTV) falling into the Indian Ocean.

Beijing-based Interstellar Glory, also known as iSpace, are currently preparing for their first orbital launch attempt which could come as soon as next month, also from Jiuquan.

The launch vehicle will be the Hyperbola-1, a 1.4-meter diameter, 20-meter long launcher which uses three solid stages and liquid fourth stage, capable of delivering up to 150 kilograms of payload to a 700-kilometer-altitude SSO.

Lan Tianyi, founder of Ultimate Blue Nebula Co., Ltd., a Beijing-based space consulting company, noted in an email to SpaceNews ahead of the mission that the past and upcoming launches from this first wave of private Chinese launch companies indicate strong overall capabilities in the emerging launch sector.

“All three companies are all signing commercial payloads on their first launches,” Tian notes, showing that, “the Chinese market is open enough about the private sector’s launch vehicles.”

The speed of the development of launch vehicles by private companies in China has been accelerated by a civil-military integration national strategy, facilitating the transfer of restricted technologies to approved firms in order to promote innovation in dual-use technology.

“The line between ‘civil’ and ‘military’ is markedly different in China than the US or the rest of the Western world,” says John Horack, the Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy at the Ohio State University, noting also that NASA and the Defense Department have many previous and ongoing collaborations.

“All activities have some complement of military and civil interests, and depending on the particular matter, one may find a greater or lesser emphasis on one or the other,” Horack says of China’s space industry, adding that, “civil and military space activities occur on more of a spectrum than across any defined boundary.”

“One should not, however, assume that because an organization is described as a ‘private company’ in China, that they are entirely free of governmental or military engagement, or that this engagement is completely on their (the ‘private’ company’s) terms,” Horack told SpaceNews.

This story was provided by SpaceNews, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.


We need oxygen on Mars



The Barboza Space Center is looking for creative ways to produce oxygen for 1,000 settlers on the planet Mars.  Who is up for this challange?  Suprschool@aol.com and http://www.SuperSchoolUniversity.WordPress.com.  

The atmosphere on Mars consists of 96% carbon dioxide and less than 0.2% oxygen (Earth has about 21% oxygen). If astronauts tried breathing the air on Mars, they would quickly suffocate.


  1. How can we create oxygen on Mars?
  2. Do our biology books have an answer to this question?
  3. How can we produce oxygen for 1,000 people?
  4. What ideas can you share with high school students in the USA?

Contact: Suprschool@aol.com



We inviete you to read this solution that we fournd on the Internet.   Who has any creative ideas to add to this conversation?


NASA is already in the planning stages for a future trip to Mars, and one of the hurdles they must jump is how humans will breath on the Red Planet. However, instead of carrying huge oxygen tanks, future human missions may actually utilize methods to actually produce the life giving gas on the planet itself.

NASA is interested in not just paying a visit to Mars, but is also looking at creating ecosystems that could support life for future missions to the planet. As part of this goal, it is funding the Indiana-based company Techshot, Inc. to research a solution that will produce oxygen that won’t rely heavily on the Earth for future Martian colonies.

“This is a possible way to support a human mission to Mars, producing oxygen without having to send heavy gas canisters,” chief scientist at Techshot, Eugene Boland says. “Let’s send microbes and let them do the heavy lifting for us,” he added.

The experiments by Techshot are carried out in its “Mars room.” This room simulates the atmospheric pressure, day and night temperature changes and solar radiation experienced on the surface of the Red Planet.

The atmosphere on Mars consists of 96% carbon dioxide and less than 0.2% oxygen (Earth has about 21% oxygen). If astronauts tried breathing the air on Mars, they would quickly suffocate.

Using Martian soil, the scientists test the feasibility of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms to produce oxygen. At the same time, these organisms could also remove the nitrogen from the soil of Mars as well. Boland believes that habidable biodomes that “enclose ecopoiesis-provided oxygen through bacterial or algae-driven conversion systems” could exist on the Martian surface in the near future.

NASA has already states that its goal of landing astronauts on the surface of the Red Planet is vital to its mission to search for new life. That search, of course, has already begun. Recently, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover found evidence of fixed nitrogen and carbon-containing organic molecules on the surface. These ingredients are key for life and the findings have sparked curiosity among scientists if there could be some form of life on Mars.

Scientists now believe that at one point in time Mars looked very different than it does today. It is now believed that ancient Mars once held waterways and even vast oceans in the northern hemisphere making it a good candidate for life, at least at one point in time. Whether there is still any life hidden away on Mars is a question that still must be answered and NASA hopes a manned mission will be the key to our search for life outside of Earth.


Helicopters on Mars

2020 Mars Helicopter Could Open Alien Skies to Exploration

The 4-lb. Mars Helicopter will travel to the Red Planet with NASA's next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020.

The 4-lb. Mars Helicopter will travel to the Red Planet with NASA’s next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020.
(Image: © NASA/JPL)

A few brief hops in the Martian air two years from now could help open alien worlds to an entirely new kind of exploration.

An autonomous mini-helicopter will fly with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, which is scheduled to launch in July of that year and land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

The bantam chopper is a stripped-down technology demonstration, and it will make a maximum of five short sorties in the Martian atmosphere. Success in this pioneering work would be a big deal, extending the reach of humanity’s robotic explorers, which are currently restricted to the surfaces of alien worlds or the dark realms far above them.

Related: NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 Mission in Pictures (Gallery)

“We envision helicopters opening doors to new types of exploration on Mars,” Håvard Grip, flight-control and aerodynamics lead for the Mars Helicopter, said Wednesday (March 20) during a presentation with NASA’s Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group.

One day, more-advanced versions could serve as scouts for rovers or explore the Red Planet on their own, added Grip, who’s based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, which are both in Pasadena.

“In the future, we could imagine doing things like [engaging in] regional exploration using multiple helicopters or going to inaccessible areas or biologically sensitive areas using small helicopters,” he said.

The Mars Helicopter weighs 4 lbs. (1.8 kilograms) and has a body about the size of a softball. It carries a range of avionics and communications gear, a small solar panel, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, “survival heaters” to keep its electronics warm through the frigid Martian night, and a navigation camera.

The helicopter doesn’t have any science instruments, but it is outfitted with a high-resolution color imager.

“That’s, so to speak, the payload,” Grip said. “That’s what we [use to] take pretty pictures and send them back to Earth.”

The helicopter will travel to Mars attached to the belly of the car-size 2020 rover, which will hunt for signs of ancient Red Planet life and collect and store samples to return to Earth in the future, among other tasks.

Related: The Search for Life on Mars: A Photo Timeline

A month or two after the rover lands on the Red Planet, the chopper will drop down and hit the dirt itself. The little vehicle will then make a series of short flights, each of which will last about 90 seconds and reach a maximum altitude of 16.5 feet (5 meters) or so, Grip said.

These sorties will be made between 330 feet and 3,300 feet (100 to 1,000 m) away from the rover — far enough away to pose no collision danger, but close enough to be in communications range. (The helicopter will talk to its handlers on Earth via the rover.)

Success would be quite an achievement, considering that the Martian atmosphere is just 1 percent as dense as that of Earth at sea level. Cruising just above the Martian surface is equivalent to flying at an altitude of 100,000 feet (30,000 m) here on Earth, more than twice as high as any helicopter has ever gotten. (The handicap imposed by the thin air is only partially offset by the Red Planet’s lower gravity, which is 38 percent that of Earth, Grip said.)

Mars 2020 Rover Build – Inside the Clean Room
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To generate enough lift, the Mars Helicopter sports two stiff rotors that measure 3.9 feet (1.2 m) long — pretty much as big as the team could make them, Grip said. And the rotors will spin at 2,400 revolutions per minute, about 10 times faster than the blades of a chopper on Earth, mission team members have said.

The team has put this design through its paces many times in Mars-like conditions here on Earth, Grip said. Indeed, the little craft is pretty much ready to go.

“The flight model is built and more or less tested,” Grip said.

The ultimate test, of course, will come on Mars.

“The Mars Helicopter’s initial flight will represent that planet’s version of the Wright brothers’ achievement at Kitty Hawk and the opening of a new era,” Susan Gorton, manager of NASA’s Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology project, which has been working with the Mars Helicopter team, said in a statement last week.

“For those of us whose research revolves around all things related to flight, that would be a remarkable, historic moment,” Gorton added.

Such historic moments may not be limited to Mars’ skies. NASA is considering launching a quadcopter lander to Titan, Saturn’s huge, haze-enshrouded moon. This mission, called Dragonfly, would fly from spot to spot on Titan, investigating the complex chemistry occurring on the potentially life-supporting moon.

Dragonfly is one of two finalists for a mid-2020s launch slot under NASA’s New Frontiers program of medium-cost missions. The other contender is a comet sample-return mission called CAESAR. NASA is expected to announce its selection later this year.

The Mars Helicopter and Dragonfly teams have not collaborated to date, Grip said.


Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook


What can we learn about volcanoes on Mars?

A picture showing molten lava


Going with the flow

Volcanologist Kate Saunders shares her latest adventures

Kate Saunders first realised that volcano science fired her up during a lecture as a first year geoscience undergraduate student at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. ‘I can remember thinking wouldn’t it be really good if I could do that as a career,’ she says, before quickly dismissing it as a pipe dream.

Her interest lay dormant for two years, until a field trip to her first volcano – Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand. The trip was organised by Victoria University of Wellington, where Saunders was on exchange as part of her degree course. ‘The textbook suddenly came alive for me.’ With her interest reawakened, Saunders approached one of the lecturers and asked if he was looking for PhD students. He was – and just like that Saunders took a major step towards her dream career as a volcanologist. ‘Everything fitted together really nicely,’ she remembers.

The floor is lava

Today, Saunders is a lecturer in volcanology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Twenty years ago, however, she wasn’t sure that academia was right for her. ‘I decided at 18 that I didn’t want to go to university,’ she explains. Instead, she moved to Sweden to work as an au pair. After a year she dipped her toes into university life, studying remotely for a part-time for a certificate in natural sciences with the Open University. Enjoying the experience, she relocated back to the UK and enrolled full-time on a degree course in London.

Saunders’ PhD was on, and her research niche remains, probing volcanic rocks to reveal the chemical fingerprints of past volcanic eruptions. ‘The question everyone wants answered when a volcano starts to rumble is: is it going to erupt?’ she explains. Often, they just remain dormant. Even so, every year about 60 volcanoes blow their tops. Some, such as Mount Etna in Italy, are repeat offenders; others, like the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens, US, take the world by surprise. According to calculations by the University of Bristol, UK, volcanic eruptions have killed around 280,000 people since 1500, 2000 of these since the turn of the century.


A picture of Kate Saunders

Source: Courtesy of Kate Saunders

Name: Kate Saunders

Role: Volcanologist, University of Edinburgh, UK

CV: MSci geosciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK and PhD, geology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

‘By looking at past eruptions, we can see if there are any patterns to look out for,’ Saunders says. ‘If a volcano starts to show signs of unrest today, is it going to days, months, years, or tens of years before a big eruption?’ When magma erupts from a volcano it rapidly cools to become volcanic rock. This rock hosts tiny mineral crystals, and it is these that hold the chemical clues to the magma’s past.

Sinabung, west of Java

To obtain the rock samples, once every 18 months Saunders goes out into the field. She has recently returned from a two-month sample-collecting trip to New Zealand. Other volcanoes she has worked on include Mount St Helens and those on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. One of these, Mount Sinabung, unexpectedly awoke from a 400-year dormancy in 2010. Prior to the 2010 eruption, no monitoring or studies had been carried out on that volcano.

‘We take the samples back to the lab, where we either cut them into slithers or take the crystals out,’ Saunders explains. ‘We then use techniques such as scanning electron microscopy and electron probe microanalysis to look at the major and minor chemical compositions, which then gives us the data to look at all the different process that have occurred and the time scales.’

A picture showing the Mount Sinabung volcano eruption

Source: © Ivan Damanik/AFP/Getty Images

Children play at an elementary school as the Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in Karo on November 13, 2017.

After her PhD, Saunders moved to the University of Bristol – postdoc positions are like gold dust in New Zealand. ‘If I wanted to stay in academia I couldn’t stay in New Zealand, so I decided it was time to come home,’ she explains. Three years later she started applying for permanent academic positions, and landed two offers on almost the same day: one at the University of Edinburgh and another at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. She said yes to both, and spent the next five years running research groups in both locations.

As an academic, however, Saunders has more roles than just volcano researcher. More than half her time is currently spent lecturing undergraduates, and she also participates in regular outreach activities. ‘We get funded to do our science by public money, so we should be telling the public all about what we’re up to,’ she explains. Going into schools is a favourite pastime. She has seen a growth in public interest in volcanology since the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland. ‘People in the UK realised that volcanic eruptions could affect their lives and that perhaps we did need to learn a little bit more about them.’

When off duty, Saunders is an enthusiastic supporter of Girlguiding. She has been an active member for over 30 years and has held leadership positions for the past 20: as a Brownie leader in the UK, Scout leader in Sweden and a Ranger leader in New Zealand. She says that the skills learnt through this volunteer work have been instrumental to her academic career. ‘A lot of my organisation, team work and leadership skills have all been learnt through Girlguiding,’ she says. Brownie camps also prepared her for running residential field courses.

Saunders also credits her willingness to chase opportunities as instrumental in her landing her dream job. While volcanology academic jobs remain rare, there are many more volcano monitoring jobs around the globe both in government organisations, such as the British Geological Survey, or private companies.