A Race for Our Future

March 24 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: 2008   Rating: 11

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-linked from jumpthecurve.net

A few years back, I came across a quote that has really stuck with me: “You can’t incrementalize your way into the future.” With this quote in mind, I’d invite you to read this short article from Popular Mechanics discussing the new X-Prize to create an automobile that achieves 100 miles-per-gallon or more—and can be mass-produced.

What I like about the contest is that it is not trying to “incrementalize” the automobile industry into the future. In other words, the sponsors of the contest are not looking for a crappy 5 or 10 mile improvement in MPG performance from the automotive industry. They are looking for a 4X improvement.

I’m optimistic that the contest will succeed and that within a decade’s time many of us will be able to purchase a safe, stylish and comfortable car that can run more than a 100 miles on a single gallon of fuel. This is because by freeing researchers, scientists, hobbyists and tinkers from the constraints and paradigms that have so far mired the automotive industry in a century of un-innovative thinking; the sponsors have provided inventors a sufficient financial incentive – in the form of a $10 million prize – to approach the issue from a completely fresh perspective.

As an analogy consider the following: If you asked a high jumper to improve his jump by 5 to 10%, he would probably focus only improving his leg strength – so he could jump higher. If, however, you told him the goal was to “jump as high as possible” and that he would be rewarded for reaching the highest level, he would llikely look at a whole new set of tools with which to achieve the goal. To keep the analogy simple, he might consider using a pole vault – an advance which would effectively double the height he could jump.

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NYC's Mayor Bloomberg Touts Benefits of Automotive XPrize Competition

March 25 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Transportation   Year: 2008   Rating: 2

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who last week proudly announced that his city has agreed to host the first leg of the 2009 competition, is a big fan of the impact the event could have on the way we approach the future.

“We really do need some new thinking, we need some innovation,” urged Bloomberg, “We’ve got to get people to participate, and to change their lives and to understand that we’ve have to use less energy and that we have to find alternative energy sources that aren’t destroying our planet.”

Check out Bloomberg and XPrize CEO Peter Diamandis in action at Thursday’s XPrize Announcement press conference, just released to the web a few hours ago:

“I don’t think there’s any bigger threat to our world and out country than global warming and our dependency on oil,” added the philanthropist-business-magnate-turned-mayor.

Peter Diamandis, Chairman & CEO, XPrize Foundation, echoed Bloomberg’s sentiments, stating, “It’s a challenge to every one of us. We face these issues together. We must solve them together.”

Most interesting, as Jump the Curve author Jack Uldrich points out, was the ambitious project scope that Diamandis laid out:

“We’re not talking about concept cars,” says the XPrize CEO, “We’re talking about real cars that can be brought to market in the near-term, that consumers will want to buy.”


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X-Prize CEO Peter Diamandis Envisions a Race to Claim the Moon

November 03 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Space   Year: General   Rating: 2

As the costs associated with orbital escape and space flight continue to drop the stage will be set for a daring new company to lay claim to parts of the moon and nearby asteroids, posits X-Prize CEO Peter Diamandis.

Diamandis envisions that such a future could produce a “land rush” for rights to lunar surface area, as in this future fiction piece, and asteroid mining rights which could be valued at “hundreds of billions of dollars”. He believes such a resource race is likely to “drive huge investments in launch vehicles, brings the cost down, and open up the future in space that all of us can enjoy.”

Do you agree with such a scenario? Might space industry drive massive economic growth and get us up there along the way?

Eye On The Prize: $10 Mil for Car that Does 3,000 Miles per Fill-up

October 27 2008 / by Will / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 1

Cross posted from Where There’s A William (with edits) by Will Brown.

I would like a concensus, should I submit this to the X-Prize Foundation for official consideration?

The Singularity Summit was held this past weekend. X-Prize Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis confirmed that there is something in the works leading to what he termed a Singularity University, prompting Alvis Brigis to ask:

“Might this be a first step toward a Singularity X-Prize? :) What do you think a “Singularity University” might consist of?”

I address these questions directly in comments, but all of the foregoing inspires me to suggest a future X-Prize for the good doctor’s consideration: The Island Hop Challenge.

Here are the terms:

A $10 million prize to the first vehicle that can travel from Staten Island in New York to Coronado Island in California, within a six day period and using only the fuel carried by the vehicle at the start of the challenge (plug-in recharge of electric vehicles is forbidden, but an on-board mechanism to re-fill the internal fuel storage is permitted if such is powered from the vehicles on-board power system).

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