This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 11)


Photonic Chip Performs Image Recognition at the Speed of Light
Charles Q. Choi | IEEE Spectrum
“In a new study, researchers have developed a photonic deep neural network that can directly analyze images without the need for a clock, sensor, or large memory modules. It can classify an image in less than 570 picoseconds, which is comparable with a single clock cycle in state-of-the-art microchips. ‘It can classify nearly 2 billion images per second,’ says study senior author Firooz Aflatouni.”


How the Mayflower Became the First Autonomous Ship to Cross the Atlantic Ocean
Susan Karlin | Fast Company
“Some 400 years after the original Mayflower sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, its unmanned robotic descendant has completed the first transatlantic crossing solely on its own decision-making. After seven years of planning and 40 days at sea, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS400) finally pulled into Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 5 after a 3,500-mile journey from Plymouth, UK.”


Saudi Arabia Plans to Spend $1 Billion a Year Discovering Treatments to Slow Aging
Antonio Regalado | MIT Technology Review
“The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin. …The sum, if the Saudis can spend it, could make the Gulf state the largest single sponsor of researchers attempting to understand the underlying causes of aging—and how it might be slowed down with drugs.”


How ‘Trustless’ Is Bitcoin, Really?
Siobhan Roberts | The New York Times
“In myth, the cryptocurrency is egalitarian, decentralized and all but anonymous. The reality is very different, scientists have found. …’Drip-by-drip, information leakage erodes the once-impenetrable blocks, carving out a new landscape of socioeconomic data,’ Ms. Blackburn and her collaborators report in their new paper, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.”


How DALL-E Could Power a Creative Revolution
Casey Newton | The Verge
“Every few years, a technology comes along that splits the world neatly into before and after. …It’s been a few years since I saw the sort of nascent technology that made me call my friends and say: you’ve got to see this. But this week I did, because I have a new one to add to the list. It’s an image generation tool called DALL-E, and while I have very little idea of how it will eventually be used, it’s one of the most compelling new products I’ve seen since I started writing this newsletter.”


Lightyear Says Its $263,000 Solar-Powered Car Will Go Into Production Later This Year
Andrew J. Hawkins | The Verge
“The Lightyear 0 features five square meters (53.8 square feet) of ‘patented, double curve solar arrays,’ allowing the vehicle to charge itself when it’s driving around or just sitting in the sun. Someone who has a daily commute of just under 35km (21 miles) could conceivably drive for months without having to plug the vehicle in for recharging.”


Japan’s Big Boy Deep-Sea Turbine Will Harness the Power of Ocean Currents
Staff | Popular Mechanics
“Japan is dropping a massive 330-ton turbine power generator onto the ocean floor just off the country’s coast in a bid to source theoretically limitless renewable energy. …With Japan having the sixth-largest territorial waters in the world, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization believes the Kuroshio Current alone could generate 200 gigawatts of energy via submerged turbines—roughly 60 percent of Japan’s present generating capacity, Bloomberg reports.”


The First Submarine-Launched Drone Can See Much Farther Than a Periscope
Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo
“The advantage to hiding a giant ship underwater is that it can sneak up on targets undetected. The disadvantage is that’s it’s hard to keep tabs on what’s going on above the water line: a problem a company called SpearUAV has potentially solved with a quadcopter that can be launched from a sub while it’s still submerged.”


Space-Based Solar Power Plants Could Soon Be a Thing
Trevor Mogg | Digital Trends
“China has been actively pursuing the idea of space-based solar power plants for the last few years, while other countries, including the US, Japan, the UK, India, and Russia, are also exploring the idea. The report notes that NASA said just last month that it is exploring similar plans with the US Air Force, while the British government revealed earlier this year that it is looking at a $20 billion proposal with a number of European defense contractors that would put a pilot solar power plant in space by 2035.”


The Tangled Truth About NFTs and Copyright
, and   | The Verge
“Confusion about how copyright law works is everywhere—and it’s getting even more complicated in the world of Web3. What does ‘owning’ something on a blockchain mean, when that something is still just a bit of code that can be infinitely copied? Courts and lawmakers haven’t settled the question, and many NFT projects have run into immediate, confounding problems as they have conflated owning an NFT with owning a copyright.”


Does the Infinite Exist?
Marcelo Gleiser | Big Think
“The concept of infinity is essential in mathematics and is widely used in calculations. But does the infinite exist? Can we conclude, for example, that the universe is infinite, extending forever in all directions? …The conclusion may be disappointing, but it is also extraordinary. The universe may be spatially infinite, but we cannot know. Infinity remains more of an idea than something that exists in physical reality.”

Image Credit: Bryan Colosky / Unsplash

Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.
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