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Billionaire’s Space Race, Intel’s Mega Bet and More: Top News of the Week

The 20th century science fiction dreams of flying cars and space tourism are finally coming true. On Sunday, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, made history by becoming the first billionaire to go into space. Branson said his Virgin Galactic experience on Sunday was “beyond his wildest dreams” and that he was taking notes to improve the trip for the company’s future passengers. “The only way to find those little things sometimes is to get on a spaceship and go into space and experience it,” he said after landing. Jeff Bezos, who recently stepped down as CEO of Amazon, would make history himself until Branson decided to change his plans accordingly. However, Blue Origin is well on its way to something more ambitious than what Virgin Galactic has achieved.

From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly over the Kármán Line, so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins at an altitude of 100 km on the internationally recognized Kármán line. pic.twitter.com/QRoufBIrUJ

– Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 9, 2021

Bezos’ space company recently flaunted some numbers about its mission to dilute Branson’s space performance. The billionaire’s space race has begun and there is no doubt that there will be more contenders trying to move the goal posts (think: Musk and Mars). On the flip side, pumping more money into space exploration could make space tourism likely to become more affordable in the years to come.

Intel’s biggest bet so far

Intel is reportedly taking steps to buy GlobalFoundries, which can cost the chipmaker a hefty $ 30 billion bill. familiar with the matter, in a move that would accelerate the semiconductor giant’s plans to make more chips for other tech companies and become its biggest acquisition of all time. GlobalFoundries is owned by Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment and has approximately 7% of the foundry market share in terms of sales. Intel’s rival AMD is GlobalFoundries’ largest customer. If that deal goes through, it will be Intel’s most expensive purchase after Altera, which was acquired in 2015 for $ 15.4 billion in manufacturing facilities. These plans were also backed by President Biden, who has pledged to spend about $ 50 billion to boost domestic chip manufacturing. In other news, Samsung is looking for a location in Texas to build its $ 17 billion semiconductor plant on the US Soli and address the ongoing chip shortage.

OpenAI closes its robotics shop

On Friday, Venturebeat reported that OpenAI disbanded its famous robotics team that made headlines a few years ago by teaching a robotic arm to solve a Rubik’s Cube, we decided last October not to do any further robotics research and instead decided to open the team to host other projects. Because of the rapid advancement in AI and its capabilities, we have found that other approaches, such as reinforcement learning with human feedback, lead to faster advances in our reinforcement learning research, ”OpenAI told VB. The company’s co-founder, Wojciech Zaremba, said in a recent podcast that the decision [to disband the robotics team] was pretty difficult for me. “Some time ago I realized that this is actually the best from the company’s point of view.”

DeepMind Open Sources AlphaFold2

On Thursday, DeepMind announced that it has open source AlphaFold2, an attention-based neural network system that interprets the structure of this graph while reflecting on the implicit graph to make biophysical problems essential tools of modern biology, ”DeepMind researchers write in their Article published on Nature. Predicting the 3D shape of a protein based on its genetic sequence alone is a complex task. The challenge here is that DNA only contains information about the sequence of amino acid residues that form long chains. Predicting how these chains fold into the intricate 3D structure of a protein is known as the “protein folding problem”.

AlphaFold’s predictions could enable advances in all sorts of areas. Predicting protein structure could be useful in future pandemic response efforts. Protein structure predictions could also contribute to the understanding of certain diseases with a few specialist groups. Identifying malfunctioning proteins could enable more accurate drug development work and help identify promising treatments more quickly. According to Arthur Levinson, the founder of Calico, AlphaFold is a unique step forward in a generation and shows how computational methods are poised to transform research in biology and hold great promise for accelerating the drug discovery process.

Google fined by France

The French watchdog reportedly fined Google $ 593 million for allegedly violating orders to negotiate paid deals with news publishers. The French competition authority has accused the search engine giant of violating its April 2020 orders that the company must negotiate with publishers in order to obtain the right to display snippets of their content in its search results. Apparently, Google wasn’t happy with this decision but decided to move on. “We acted in good faith throughout the process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement and the reality of how news works on our platforms, ”said a Google spokesman.

Netflix’s Got Game

Netflix wants to make its own video games. This week the company hired an industry veteran to oversee its strategy. Bloomberg initially reported that streaming company hired Facebook’s Mike Verdu as their VP of game development. At Facebook, Verdu oversaw content and branding related to Oculus VR headsets. According to the WSJ, the top 100 most successful mobile games in the US in the past year had at least 10 games based on TV shows or movies. For example, Netflix’s mobile game Stranger Things made decent revenues when it launched in 2019. Given the wide range of content Netflix owns, it can definitely do well where Disney failed.

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