We believe that everyone’s future can be richer, happier and more efficient. But you can’t embrace that future unless you take the first, most crucial step: being informed about it.

Welcome to The Tipping Point, a regular post on Future Tech for people who don’t have enough time to read all the full news stories. Instead we shorten them, concentrate everything into one post, put that in your face, and you have to suck it. So let’s go!

This Weeks News!

AI: Solving Rubik’s Cube with a Robot Hand

“We’ve trained a pair of neural networks to solve the Rubik’s Cube with a human-like robot hand. The neural networks are trained entirely in simulation, using the same reinforcement learning code as OpenAI Five paired with a new technique called Automatic Domain Randomization (ADR). The system can handle situations it never saw during training, such as being prodded by a stuffed giraffe.”

COMPUTE: Google Store pre-orders are live for Pixel 4, Nest Mini, Pixelbook Go, and Nest Wifi
Android Police

“If the Pixel 4 is what you’ve been waiting for, you can get it for $799 with 64GB of storage or $899 with 128GB, while the larger Pixel 4 XL is $899 for 64GB and $999 for 128GB. The upgraded Nest Mini speaker is also available to pre-order for $49 in the US and £49 in the UK. Probably the device I’m most excited about is the Pixebook Go, Google’s attempt at a Macbook-style clamshell laptop. Pricing starts at $649/£629 for the model with an Intel Core m3 processor with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and goes all the way up to $1,399 for a fully-specced Core i7 16/256GB variant.”

CRYPTO: How To Move $6 BILLION AUD For $1.60 AUD

While it’s not well know who (or which company/group) performed this transaction it still gives an impressive use case for Bitcoin. Moving utterly massive amounts of money around for cheaper than the price of a coffee.

NANO: Scientists pinpoint cause of harmful dendrites and whiskers in lithium batteries

“Scientists have uncovered a root cause of the growth of needle-like structures—known as dendrites and whiskers—that plague lithium batteries, sometimes causing a short circuit, failure, or even a fire.”

ROBOTICS: Skydio Launches Dock For Enterprises

“The concept of a “drone in a box” has long offered the promise of fully automated data collection for myriad enterprise applications from repeated mapping of construction sites, to security patrols of sensitive areas, to keeping drones on call as first responders for emergency situations. However, nothing has come close to delivering on those promises. Existing solutions are massively complex, expensive, and impractical. And beyond all of this, if you want persistent operations that don’t require a pilot in the loop, you need a drone that’s smart enough to fly itself.”

SPACE: Virgin Orbit says it wants to send tiny spacecraft to Mars in 2022
Technology Review

“On Wednesday, Virgin Orbit, the satellite-focused spinoff of space tourism company Virgin Galactic, announced plans to launch three missions to Mars. The company has inked a partnership with Polish satellite company SatRevolution and groups from Polish universities to send three small robotic spacecraft to Mars for science investigations. The missions would be launched by Virgin Orbit’s flagship LauncherOne rocket and could start as early as 2022.”

TRANSPORT: How transport prices may very well go negative…
Steve Jobs Ghost

While not an article this Twitter thread from the aptly names Steve Jobs Ghost outlays how fully electric, fully autonomous robotaxis may very well soon plunge the costs of transport not just lower, but negative. It’s a very interesting thought and something I can fully see happening in only a few years.

And that’s it for this week! Let us know in the comments what you think or if you have found any other important news!

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