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This week's feature

Sciences with Elon Musk, it’s a kind of magic

He’s one of the 21st century’s most fascinating figures. The Wall Street Journal Magazine named him Innovator of the Year in 2011 and Forbes added to the hardware in 2013, bestowing upon Musk the title of Businessperson of the Year. The Edison Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding innovations, and the World Technology Award (in the category of Energy) were awarded to him in 2014. And lest you think he’s resting on his laurels: his firm SpaceX has just won the WTA prize in the category Space. That’s the CV, so far, of the man whose dream it is to die on Mars!

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A scientific whiz-kid, Musk wrote his first computer program at the age of 12, and since then, has been putting his prodigious brain to work with a single purpose: to change the world. This week, we’re training the spotlight on Elon Musk, celeb entrepreneur and scientific genius who’s changing the way we live:

  1. Musk the Muse – when Elon inspires artists
  2. Become a SpaceX engineer in 9 easy steps
  3. 3 questions to the author who drew the portrait of Elon Musk through her quotes
  4. The way Elon sees it, artificial intelligence’s only value is in the service of
  5. How has Elon Musk made himself indispensable?
  6. Tim Urban, the author and procrastinator Musk has taken a shine to
  7. TOP 5 Elon’s reads
  8. SpaceX’s latest achievement
  9. Elon Musk’s sci-fi film recommendations
  10. The future of transportation with Hyperloop
  11. OpenAI developers work with a video game
  12. Elon Musk’s gamble with Tesla

 

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

In his own words:

When I was in college I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world. Now I am.

Musk the Muse – when Elon inspires artists

Music - January 18, 2017

Scientific visionary, wildly successful entrepreneur, Elon Musk is also a music-lover, savoring artists from Frank Sinatra to Andrea Bocelli. Better still, he often inspires music.

Often compared to the character Tony Stark in Iron Man, Elon Musk is a test-tube, Bunsen-burner guy, but he’s also a rock star of pop culture. His phenomenal success and free spirit have generated a veritable cult following, and some groups have celebrated his iconic personality in song. In 2016, heavy metal’s Raptor Command dedicated its first single to the entrepreneur: “Elon: champion for humanity.” The words echo with praise of SpaceX and Musk’s fascination with Mars: “Rocketing to the stars, on to Mars we fly.” And, “He’ll take the world beyond the stars.”

Rapper Rob Grimes considers the entrepreneur his mentor and composed a song called… “Elon Musk”! “Elon is one of the people in business I look up to, and I wanted to pay homage to one of my mentors,” he affirms in a clip description.

An internaut by the name of Steven Kaminsky wrote a tribute song, cataloguing everything Tesla’s CEO has accomplished, entitled simply, “Elon Musk Song”.

We’re eagerly awaiting a tribute from Future and Young Thug 😉 (If that one sailed over your head, click here for a refresher.)

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Become a SpaceX engineer in 9 easy steps

The infographic - January 18, 2017

In her biography of Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future), American journalist Ashlee Vance explains some of the hiring processes at SpaceX, Musk’s flagship company. If you want in on one of the most ambitious space ventures in history, these tips are for you.

infographic-elon-musk-resume-job-spaceX

  1. Having a Type-A personality, according to Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, the men who coined the term in 1959, means: having a permanent sense of urgency and being hyperactive, high-strung, and a card-carrying workaholic.
  2. Go to swank schools and get straight A’s.
  3. Win some robotics and race-car design competitions. Mechanical engineering genius a plus.
  4. Get published in some juried scientific reviews and score some invites to world-class sci-tech congresses – that puts you on the radar of Musk’s recruiters.
  5. Say Yes when invited to a bar for a SpaceX interview
  6. Make the short list by surviving a raft of ferocious cuts.
  7. Draft your why-I-want-to-work-for-you essay to Elon Musk
  8. Interview with Musk in person (30 seconds to 15 minutes). Don’t worry if he doesn’t even look up from his email, then fires a single (or a dozen) questions at you.
  9. Correctly answer the famous Musk riddle: “You’re on the Earth’s surface. You walk 1 kilometer south, 1 km west, 1 km north. You’re back where you started. Where are you? Answer: “The North Pole.” Musk: “Where else could you be? Answer: “Right around the South Pole.”
  10. High five! Welcome to SpaceX! Your new workweek is 90 hours.

ELSEWHERE ON ORANGE POP

Infographic: Teen code stars – you’re never too young to geek out

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3 questions to Jessica Easto, the author who drew the portrait of Elon Musk through her quotes

The 3 questions - January 18, 2017

In Rocket Man: Elon Musk In His Own Words, scheduled for release on Valentines Day, Jessica Easto offers us a portrait of the visionary celeb entrepreneur: a compilation of 100 of his quotes from interviews, speeches, and articles.

Orange Pop: How did you get the idea to make this collection of quotes from Elon Musk ?

J.E: The publisher where I work, Agate Publishing, has a series of books called In Their Own Words. Each book collects the quotations from top entrepreneurs and business leaders around the world. We have books the focus on Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Ma… I thought a book focusing on Elon Musk would be a great addition to the series. I wanted to learn more about him and how he thinks. His choice to pursue these highly improbable endeavors sets him apart from other innovators. In short, his causes seem noble and his success seems improbable. That’s enough incentive for me !

Moreover it’s particularly interesting for Musk to get this treatment. He is known for correcting journalists who, in his view, twist is words or report the facts wrong. He must be hypervigilant of this kind of thing because he is competing against very powerful interests. Also, one of the way he tries to combat misinformation is by explaining things to journalists and the public in as clear of a way as he can.

O. Pop: How did you collect, select and organize all these quotes ? Are some unpublished before ?

J.E: Essentially, I read, listened, and watched everything I could get my hands on. This amounted to hours and hours of audio and video. I focused more on videos and audio recordings of public appearances. As I mentioned, Musk has talking points that he tends to repeat, and his fans can likely recite them almost word for word. I wanted to include those since they seem to represent the foundations of his worldview, but I also include quotes that fans may never heard before. All of them come from sources that are available to the public, but may be lesser known. I organized the book into 10 chapters by subject, including “Learning and Logic”, “Environmentalism and Sustainable Energy”, “Life Lessons”… There are more than 200 quotes in all.

O. Pop: Precisely, what do his quotes and sayings say about him ? Is he really like his reputation, a visionary engineer and a genius entrepreneur ?

J.E: I think his quotes reveal that he is a highly rational, skilled, and principled businessman. People tend to be skeptical of his self-proclaimed mission to ensure a positive future for humanity because 1) that doesn’t sound rational and 2) people tend to think such a claim is pretentious or that it couldn’t possibly be as selfless as it seems. But, after spending hour upon hours listening to Musk speak (from his PayPal days to the present), I’m convinced that he certainly wants to change the world for the better through his companies (and in many ways, he already has) and that guides his business decisions.

Very few business leaders understand the nuts-and-bolts of their products as well as Musk does at Tesla and SpaceX. He believes deeply in his missions, which I think helps him keep up his rigorous work responsibilities. It will be fascinating to see how he continues to innovate the manufacturing sector, especially car manufacturing in the United States. Although he is fabulously wealthy, money doesn’t seem to motivate him in the way it might others, which is an unusual quality for entrepreneurs, at least in the United States.

elon-musk-interview-scientifique

© Jessica Easto

 

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The way Elon sees it, artificial intelligence’s only value is in the service of Humankind

A picture says it all - January 18, 2017

Elon Musk expresses his concerns on the subject of artificial intelligence at the Code Conference 2016:

From Google to IBM, Amazon to Facebook, everyone’s investing loads of money in Artificial Intelligence. The goal is to develop a new kind of AI that can make independent decisions, equaling or even superseding human brains.

On the sidelines of this frantic race, some companies, CEOs, world-renowned scientists, and visionaries are raising some ethical concerns: what will be the consequences for humanity, should AI rival the human brain, surpass it, or make decisions for us? To answer this question and frame an ethical approach to AI R&D, Elon Musk created OpenAI, a non-profit research lab whose mission is to develop a form of AI that is beneficial to humanity.

Founded in December 2015, the organization has already garnered support from legendary philanthropist Bill Gates, physicist Stephen Hawking, scientist Stuart Russell, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, and Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator (the world’s most fertile start-up incubator). OpenAI also collaborates with other institutions and independent researchers, notably by making its patents and results available to the public via open-source software.

With a budget of $1 billion, OpenAI has already fine-tuned several tools that measure AI learning curves, like OpenAI Gym and more recently Universe, a software platform based on “learning by reinforcement.” They enable researchers to design AI that can interact with environments conceived by humans (video games, the Internet, computers…). The goal is to enable AI to reproduce human behavior through trial and error. Imagine that!

Elon Musk shares his concerns on artificial intelligence.

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How has Elon Musk made himself indispensable?

The killer question - January 18, 2017

Elon Musk unveils Solar Roof and Powerwall:

Elon Musk’s ability to invent technology that changes the world is common knowledge: his Hyperloop train, electric cars and Tesla batteries, and the SpaceX rocket ships, and more recently, his Solar Roofs that make every home energy-sufficient. Photovoltaic tiles capture energy and send it to super-batteries designed by Tesla.

Not only is he providing post-carbon solutions to energy supply challenges, he’s created a virtuous circle business model. In a nutshell, by using solar panels by SolarCity (solar energy specialist for homeowners, acquired by Tesla in June 2016) and Powerwall technology (home batteries from a Tesla and SolarCity partnership), Elon Musk has created a new industry.

Elon Musk and his firms control every step of the process, from R&D prototype design to market. His clients are individuals, companies, even countries. So how do you make a business out of tackling humanity’s most daunting challenge: global warming? He ensures economic viability for every project. For example, by developing reusable booster rockets for SpaceX and marketing them to NASA, Musk is financing part of his wildest scheme – the colonization of Mars. He’s even dreaming of offering tourists expeditions to the Red Planet. Galactic getaways!

Interplanetary transport via SpaceX:

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Tim Urban, the author and procrastinator Musk has taken a shine to

Who's who - January 18, 2017

Tim Urban, an expert in the fine art of procrastination:

The site Wait But Why, cofounded by American Tim Urban, offers long articles, sometimes whimsical, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, on subjects like artificial intelligence, exploration of deep space, and his most disruptive inventions (the ones that change the world)… Another of his favs is procrastination, the art (or compulsion) of putting off until tomorrow what you could do today. He’s even given a TED talk on it.

So what does Elon Musk see in Tim Urban? Certainly not procrastination. Musk probably doesn’t even know the word. In addition to being one of the 4 people Musk follows on Twitter (of his total 38 subscriptions), Tim Urban is a sort-of conscience the engineer/entrepreneur has hired to assess his projects and companies – an ethical mirror. His 4 articles (complete with analyses, interviews, illustrations, videos, and plenty of rapier wit) are a useful warning light for Musk, keeping his projects on the straight and narrow.

  1. Article 1 introduces you to Elon Musk, the man, his background, his ambitions and his conception of Humanity.
  2. Article 2 is all about how Tesla is going to revolutionize the world.
  3. In Article 3, Tim Urban zooms in on Elon Musk’s most ambitious project, the colonization of Mars.
  4. Finally in Article 4 the author elucidates Musk’s method, deepest motivations, and the nuts and bolts of guiding projects and running companies.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Elon Musk, and more.

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TOP 5 Elon’s reads

Gimme 5 - January 18, 2017

When asked where he learned to build rockets, Musk responds, “In books.” A bookworm of a child, he was thirsty for knowledge. Here are 5 books or authors that are/were seminal for Musk:

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. As a young teen, Elon Musk was looking for professional direction and a meaning to life. He found all that and more in this witty sci-fi read by British writer Douglas Adams. The characters are searching for the answer to the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. “Hitchhiker’s Guide” taught me that the most difficult part is asking the right questions, explained Musk in September 2012 on Bloomberg.

2. Structures : Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. Gordon. Musk devoured this book while he was launching SpaceX and needed the structural know-how to put a rocket together. He may also have learned of the role a Paris dressmaker played in aerospace history or what traditional Chinese junks have in common with bat wings.

3. Superintelligence : Paths, Dangers, Strategies’ by Nick Bostrom. A foundational text for Musk’s avant-garde philosophy on artificial intelligence. It’s a bold serious inquiry into what might happen if AI usurped human decision-making.

 

4. The Fundation by Isaac Asimov. Nothing plants cool futuristic ideas like science-fiction. Like any space nut, Elon Musk devoured Isaac Asimov (inspirational to Georges Lucas for Star Wars), who famously broached the subjects of galactic colonization and the future of humanity. For Musk, Mars is just the beginning.

5. Zero To One by Peter Thiel. Elon Musk doesn’t conceive an invention without considering its impact on mankind. To ensure an invention’s success and its widest-possible distribution, he puts business acumen first. And this book forged his vision of what a start-up should be and what a young CEO should do.

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SpaceX rocket successfully lands : Elon Musk brings humanity closer to Mars

Stories - January 18, 2017

Slowly but surely, Elon Musk is bringing humanity closer to Mars thanks to his company SpaceX. Their latest achievement has been to land a Falcon 9 rocket!

After successfully deploying 10 Iridium communication satellites in space, the rocket came back to Earth and landed perfectly on a drone ship in the Pacific.

Despite previous failed attempts, Elon Musk’s persistence has paid off. This is a big step for the company which possesses ‘’reusable’’ rockets – financially speaking this saves them about $60 million on the construction of each Falcon 9.

But this is much more than just good news for the 46-year-old Iron Man: each success is a step closer to his dream to ‘‘colonize’’ Mars, as well as making the trip affordable. ‘’Getting to Mars now would cost you $10 billion. The same amount of cash could buy you a few square blocks in Midtown Manhattan. But once the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System is fully operational, you’ll be able to travel to the Red Planet for around $200,000’’.

Mars is no longer a dream, it’s a trip to look forward to 😉

Falcon before launch

Une photo publiée par Elon Musk (@elonmusk) le

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Even when recommending films, Elon Musk is all about science

Stories - January 19, 2017

Elon Musk never seems to turn off his scientific mind – even during his leisure time!

He recently shared on Twitter the fact that he had rewatched “Ghost in the Shell” and the end of “Colossus: The Forbin Project”. These names may not ring a bell, but they sure do resonate in today’s world: artificial intelligence, a field of study which Elon Musk is passionate about. He actually started a non-profit organization, OpenAI, to democratize “safe” research in artificial intelligence.

The word “safe” is very important to Elon because he does not want to endanger Humanity with progress. He does not want to repeat “Colossus: The Forbin Project”, where a supercomputer is given total control over launching nuclear missiles, nor does he want to reach a stage where humans are partly cyborgs like in “Ghost in the Shell”.

Rewatching these sci-fi classics (which were way ahead of their time) might be a way for Elon Musk to keep in mind the possible threats of AI, and start thinking of ways to prevent them.

Hopefully, before facing these threats, Elon will have been able to see the cinematic adaptation of the Japanese anime “Ghost in the Shell” – from what he answered to a follower on Twitter, he sounds very enthusiastic about it 😉

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Elon Musk leads the way for the future of transportation with Hyperloop

Stories - January 20, 2017

Imagined by Elon Musk in 2013, the vacuum-sealed hyperloop train system just hurdled a few steps closer to reality.

The project now has a list of feasible routes! Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One announced 35 semifinalists in its Global Challenge (out of 2,600 submissions!), in which teams had “to identify locations around the world with the potential to develop the world’s first hyperloop networks”. An important criteria for Elon Musk was outlasting ground shaking – which would cause real problems for high-speed pods. That is why Musk favours tracks on columns, so that they can be adjusted and realigned in the event of ground movement. Next step of the competition, three showcases to narrow the list down to winners.

2017 is also going to be the year Hyperloop’s 700 mph pod performs its first full-scale tests! Over 500 meters, than over a few miles. Being a CEO of rare transparency, a five-part video series has been planned to follow TE Connectivity engineers over the course of the project.

Hold on tight because this year Elon Musk is shaping the future of transportation right before our eyes. Start getting used to your World Metro Map : San Francisco-Los Angeles will soon only be a 35-minute ride 😉

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Elon Musk’s OpenAI recommends a video game for scientific research

Stories - January 23, 2017

Although Elon Musk might (very) probably be the busiest man on Earth, he never turns down a gaming session!

Musk is so passionate about video games that he has even found them a scientific purpose. His non-profit association OpenAI has put out a royalty-free kit of tools and data (DeepDrive) for developers to explore artificial intelligence. There is just one condition: you must possess the video game Grand Theft Auto V!

Elon Musk and OpenAI researchers have pointed out the fact that the video game’s realistic urban landscapes has two advantages for AI car use. Firstly, it allows developers to refine their apps with virtual but realistic backgrounds/accidents/scenarios. Secondly, it is a quicker way for the AI to memorize and identify a wide range of environmental surroundings and objects in different weather conditions.

GTA V is less time and money consuming. To give you an idea, in real life an AI can analyze an image in 90 minutes, but with GTA V it only takes it 7 seconds to analyze 25 000 images! Elon Musk does it again 😉

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Elon Musk: visionary CEO and attentive client advisor at Tesla

Stories - January 24, 2017

Back in 2008, Elon Musk gambled on affordable electric cars and became CEO of TeslaNow, his company is worth $33.5 billion and is considered the most innovative in the world.

Although the company struggled at first, trying to compete with the likes of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, its virtuous business model is now in place. Tesla manufactures and sells energy storage products (powerwalls and powerpacks), electric cars, and solar products (thanks to its recent acquisition of SolarCity) – each part of the company provides for another.

Elon Musk’s priority is now expansion. But to do so, he must first make sure that customers can charge their car wherever they are. Latest projects have therefore been about implementing Stations in the world. Currently Tesla hosts more than 5,000 Superchargers and 985 Stations worldwide – their latest achievement being a 1,000-mile long “Supercharger corridor” in Australia (from Melbourne to Brisbane).

In parallel to new Stations, Tesla is also planning the production of its next Model 3 (a $35,000 car – equivalent to half the price of previous models). Elon Musk is getting closer to winning his “affordable electric car” bet…

However, despite having world scale projects and being CEO, Musk is very implicated in delivering great service and assistance. Tesla actually received the 2016 customer service award! So next time you have a complaint or a simple question about the logo, don’t hesitate to contact Elon Musk on Twitter – he’ll gladly be of assistance 😉

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See you next week!

To be continued - January 18, 2017

Next Wednesday, we’ll remind you that Google is originally a scientific product!

teachers-day-2015-turkey-4703287659986944.2-hp2x

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