QUANTech #6

by QICT_master

What is QUANTech? An easy-to-digest selection of what’s hot in tech and the impact on society to help you keep ahead in this rapidly changing digital world.

QUANTech is brought to you by Denys Malengreau (@D_MLG), digital advisor to QUANT.

Happy birthday to the Web! It turned 29 this week and as usual his founder Tim Berners-Lee shared thoughts about the challenges we are facing in this day and age: the digital divide, the concentration of power and the business model of the Web.

This week was special, too. We will remember 14 March as the day Stephen Hawking passed away. He leaves us with a legacy that will live on for many years ahead. May we hear his wisdom as fast development occurs in the field of artificial intelligence.

Talking AI, Self-driving taxis are (finally) here. Driverless car company Waymo (owned by Google) is now shuttling early riders in self-driving vehicles without a human test driver behind the wheel.

I did report in QUANTech #4 that California regulators were to accept driverless cars with no human test driver as of 2 April but meanwhile, Arizona remains regulation-free.

We have heard a lot about the incoming self-driving cars from assisted driving to full automation at level 5. It is now coming to fruition and as stated by the MIT, it does matter as it is « the first time people have been able to simply hail a totally driver-free ride using an app, as they would an Uber ».

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) smart network will be one big task to work on once the tech start spreading. It is highly likely that everything that can be connected will be connected. On a wider scale, 14 experts shared their predictions about what is going to connect next.


Following Facebook, Google bans bitcoin ads to avoid scams.
Elon Musk expects SpaceX to launch Mars spaceship in 2019.
Sierra Leone’s use of blockchain for voting sounds neat but let’s not get carried away.
AI face-swapping becomes easier day in day out.
Watch Cora, Larry Page’s air taxi flying above New Zealand.

We’re ending this week’s QUANTech with a focus on three futurist (or fancy?) start-ups: Nectome, Neurogress and Neuralink.

The MIT Technology Review published about Nectome  this week and it kind of went viral in the tech world. The transhumanism-based startup is basically pitching a mind-uploading service that is « 100% fatal ». Albeit wacky at first sight, it is a very serious project backed by MIT with a federal grant received for brain conservation. The article is worth looking at, so is the website.

The Next Web also published about Neurogress, a company which aims at combining the blockchain, AI and IoT to control devices with nothing but… thoughts.

Such whimsical ideas may remind us of Neuralink. The company launched by Elon Musk last year has one clear mission: merging both biological and technological « intelligences » not to become obsolete as humans with the rise of smart machines. Such companies may sound visionary for some, senseless for others. In practice, we’re far off. Sigh.

Talk soon!

Denys Malengreau