Sustainable Energy, Self-Driving Cars, Robots, Starships, and AI-Augmented Humans

One of my guiding philosophies is that ideas are cheap. Ideas don’t lead to success. Successful people are those who take ideas and follow-through. They implement them. They make them happen. The bigger the idea, the bigger the success.

If you agree with my philosophy, then Elon Musk’s success should not surprise you. He has taken big ideas like mass-market electric vehicles and reusable rockets and turned them into a reality. Therefore, when he starts talking about his vision of the future, I listen.

Earlier this month, he sat down with the head of TED, Chris Anderson, for an interview that covered a wide range of topics. Musk talked about his vision for sustainable energy by 2050, when autonomous vehicles would be a reality, household robots, armadas of starships taking people to Mars, and his plan to augment humans with AI and why it needs to happen.

It’s a rather long interview at just over an hour, but worth your time if you have any interest in how the future may unfold. Usually I would discount this kind of “crazy” talk, but Musk has a track record of making it happen. I’ve included additional interviews of Musk below that date back to 2013 if you want to see how his past predictions have panned out. Spoiler alert: they were pretty spot on, especially when you consider how big the vision is.

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The Gas Station of the Future

Tesla Charging station - Kettleman City, CA

On our recent trip to Bandon Dunes, Brad and I chose to make the drive in his Tesla. Two reasons factored into our decision. The first was $6 gas prices. Second was trying out the charging experience on a long distance road trip. Kettleman City was our first charging stop, and I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen the future, the future of what a gas station (aka charging station) will be.

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Half Moon Bay: Old Course vs Ocean Course

18th hole at the Half Moon Bay Old Course

On the way back from our epic Bandon Dunes experience, Brad and I stopped off at Half Moon Bay to play a round. I’d been wanting to play Half Moon Bay for years, and this was perfect way to end the trip.

Originally, we had only planned on playing the Old Course. However, after completing our round in a tidy 3 hours, I twisted Brad’s arm and convinced him to play the Ocean Course. It was a treat since I wasn’t sure when I would get a chance to return to Half Moon Bay.

Below are my thoughts on the two courses, including which I liked best.

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Book review: Qualityland

Book cover for Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling

With each passing day, computer algorithms are increasingly controlling and directing our lives. The big tech companies have developed algorithms that touch every part of our daily activities. They dictate our search results, filter the articles in our news feeds, show us the products we didn’t even know we want (or need), recommend places to go, suggest who our friends are, tell us who we should date, and more.

In theory, all of these computer controlled algorithms are designed to optimize our existence, but what if things go awry? What if the algorithms are wrong? What would happen if they instead made a complete mess of things?

Welcome to Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling.

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Bandon Dunes: A True Golf Experience

Brad and Gregg Borodaty on the 13th tee at Pacific Dunes Golf Course  Bandon Dunes, OR

A few years ago, a good friend asked if I had golfed at Bandon Dunes. I told him that I had heard of the place but didn’t know much about it. He attempted to explain his experience. While he struggled to find the right words, he used a lot of superlatives. Exasperated, he finally gave up trying to describe it and said, ” You have to go. You just have to go.”

Having just returned from Bandon Dunes, I can finally understand and appreciate his fascination with the resort. Words cannot adequately describe the experience, nor will I do it justice in this post. However, I’m going to give it my best shot and will tell you in advance – if you are a golfer and have a true passion, love, and appreciation for the game, it’s a place you have to go.

Wait, let me rephrase that – Bandon Dunes is a place you MUST go.

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Book review: Metabolical

Book cover for Metabolical by Dr. Robert Lustig

Is it possible that everything we’ve been taught about nutrition is wrong?

Are the nutrition and health guidelines developed by the USDA and FDA designed to improve our health, or are they contributing to the epidemic of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, obstructive sleep apnea, autoimmune disease and others?

Are doctors being taught how to prevent sickness or how to treat symptoms?

Are “Big Food” and “Big Pharma” companies looking out for our health or are they more concerned with generating profits for their shareholders?

These are just a few of the questions that Dr. Robert Lustig explores in his book Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine.

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

For years, I assumed I was a bit crazy. I thought I was the only one who had constant, on-going discussions with myself. I did my best to suppress it, to ignore the voice inside my head.

Imagine my surprise when I became aware that we all have this “inner voice.” Some refer to it as “inner chatter.” I like calling it “the stories we tell ourselves.”

As it turns out, the stories we tell ourselves are important, extremely important.

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Book review: Uncanny Valley

Book cover for Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

When you work in the technology space like I do, reality gets distorted. It’s easy to forget that people outside the industry don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes in the software, websites, and mobile apps they use. For example, I’m careful, some may even say paranoid, about how much information I share on social media, if any at all.

Why the paranoia? I don’t trust that any of those companies have our personal privacy and best interests at heart. As the old saying goes, if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.

Because I work in this echo chamber, I find it interesting when a person outside the industry shares their perspective on what goes on inside of it. That’s why I chose to read Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener.

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Sourdough Hydration

It’s been almost two years since I started baking my own bread, among other things. Baking appeals to me, more so than cooking. I think it’s because I see baking as more science than art, whereas cooking is more the opposite.

Two sourdough loaves of bread

Baking speaks to my analytical, engineering mind. Each bake is a like a science experiment where I am trying to find the right mix of ingredients. Even the slightest of changes in ingredient ratios can have dramatic effects, which is why I like to measure everything with a scale. The ultimate goal is to find the right mix and ratio of ingredients to create a repeatable process.

As part of my journey baking sourdough bread, I’ve experimented with lots of different variables. My latest experiment involved trying different hydration levels.

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