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#25: AI Everywhere, 3D Printed Organs, Tesla, Modular Reactors, Cryonics, and more!

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Dear friends,

I'm thrilled to announce that, since the last newsletter, my family has grown! Our second son was born earlier this year, and we're loving every moment.

Although the short nights are challenging, the show most go on. This might be the longest, most densely packed newsletter I've ever written. This month, I included a dedicated "AI" section because a lot of things happened in that space.

So sit back and enjoy!

🧠 AI

ChatGPT passes law school exam and Google interview

A law professor made ChatGPT take the same test for law students. It scored a C+, and while that’s not great, it is enough to pass the test. The professor noted ChatGPT has a firm grasp of basic legal rules, although it did struggle with math and open-ended questions. In a similar fashion, Google put ChatGPT through its coding interview questions. ChatGPT scored so well, it qualified as a "level 3 engineer" with a $183k salary!

Microsoft integrates AI into Bing!

As rumored, Microsoft has integrated ChatGPT into the Bing search engine. It’s not yet broadly available, but it looks impressive. Microsoft says it’s powered by a custom language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT. The AI system also has access to Bing’s search index, so it knows about recent events (where ChatGPT falls short). And the bot will also list its sources, so you can fact check its answers. Pretty impressive! Is this enough to convince people to switch to Bing?

Google scrambles, releases Bard

The success of ChatGPT set off alarm bells at Google. They're now gearing up to launch "Bard", a chatbot built on top of their LaMDA AI model (which was called "sentient" by one of their engineers). However, during a public demo Bard made a factual error, which resulted in Google's stock price plunging 7%. Oops! Google also released MusicLM, an AI that can generate music based on a prompt like "slow tempo, bass-and-drums-led reggae song".

Is AI coming for our jobs?

When we talk about AI, many people worry it'll put them out of a job. But is that really the case? Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes AI won't lead to a loss of jobs because AI systems will help us work more productively. It can write a first draft for an email or presentation, but that draft still needs to be read, fact-checked, edited, and so forth. Instead, he believes AI will reduce boring work and allow us to focus on what really matters. He makes a valid point, but I'm curious to know your opinion. Reply to this email and let me know.

👽 Space

Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon flies over the US

Earlier this week, a Chinese balloon flew over the US and was taken down days later. The US claims it was a spy balloon capable of intercepting communications and taking photos of sensitive areas. China says it was a weather balloon thrown off course. Whatever it was, the US shot it down, and is now collecting pieces for analysis. Let's see what they'll find.

3D printing organs in space

In 2019, biotech company Techshot sent a 3D printer to the ISS. It can print human heart cells and part of a human meniscus. Now, they’ve sent an improved version that should be able to print a whole meniscus. Why print in space? The 3D printed structures are so small they collapse before they’re cured because of Earth’s gravity. Printing in microgravity solves this problem. The goal of this technology is to print entire organs! Oh, in case you’re wondering: the “ink” for this printer consists out of human cells and proteins.

⚡️ Energy & Environment

Heat pumps: invented in the 1800s, now all the rage

Heat pumps can help solve the energy crisis (especially in Europe, which is totally reliant on other countries for fossil fuels). I thought they were quite new, but they’ve existed for over 200 years. A heat pumps literally “pumps” heat from one place to another (your fridge is a heat pump). Air-to-air heat pumps are the most common and heat homes by extracting heat from the outside air. This post explains how they work, and why they are much more efficient than gas boilers.

Sweden discovers large deposit of rare earth metals

The Swedes are sitting on a gold mine, although not literally. State-owned mining company LKAB found over 1 million tonnes of rare Earth metals, the largest known deposit in Europe. Once mined, they can be used to make electric vehicles, wind turbines, and electronics. This is great news for the EU, which is totally reliant on other countries for these resources (especially Russia and China). However, it’ll take 10-15 years before mining can begin, and the EU also needs to build the capacity to process these metals.

Tesla to expand Gigafactory again

Tesla invests $3.8 billion into its Gigafactory, increasing the size with 370.000m2 and creating over 3000 new jobs. The new facility will be used for high-volume production of the Semi. It'll also produce 100GWh worth of batteries per year. That's enough for 2 million small electric vehicles per year, and represents a 3-fold increase in production.

First modular nuclear reactor approved for use in US

The VOYGR nuclear reactor by the company NuScale has been approved for use within the US. Each module can produce 50MW of power, and multiple modules can be combines to increase capacity. Getting approval required over 2 million pages of paperwork. The company has 19 agreements to deploy these reactors in the US.

🤓 Other Cool Stuff I Found on the Internet

Biotech CEO reduces biological age by 5 years

Bryan Johnson is 45 years old, but has the heart of a 37-year-old, the skin of a 28-year-old, and the lung capacity of an 18-year-old. How? He put together a team of 30 health experts that created a strict daily regimen for him. He takes 100+ supplements, only has vegan meals, and exercises every day. Everything is documented on his website (and it's as extreme as it sounds). This raises many moral questions. Should we be able to live forever? How long is too long? If it's expensive to live forever, is that fair? There's a great video from Vsauce about this very topic.

Cryonics: freezing dead people for the future

If the above is too extreme for you, but you still want to live forever, you have another option: freeze your body when you die. The idea being that future technologies could revive you. However, the field of cryonics is a bit of a mess. This article walks you through the history and results. Most notably: the company Alcor checked some frozen bodies and found cracked skin, internal damage to nearly every organ, ruptured blood vessels, fractured heart, and so forth. Yikes! Do you want to live forever? And at what cost?

The insides of a battery

Cutting into a Lithium-ion battery is not a very good idea. The cells pack so much energy that they'll violently explode when pierced. However, this website made CT scans of different types of batteries so you can safely see inside. They also have scans of the Game Boy, iPod, instant cameras, and AirPods. Pretty neat to be able to peek inside these devices.

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