Speaking of DUNED…
The book that inspired our name is “Dune” by the American Frank Herbert. First published in 1965 by the Chilton Book Company, it is the first of six novels in the “Dune Cycle.” “Dune” is cited as the best-seller of science fiction literature of all time: 12 million copies sold. The original edition is still sold at prices between $10,000 and $15,000; Copies signed by the author are up to 30,000. He has inspired video games, music bands (such as Thirty Seconds to Mars), TV series and film adaptations, from David Lynch’s “Dune” (1984) to the brand new “Dune” (2021) directed by Denis Villeneuve, the director of “Blade Runner 2049. ”
The plot of this science fiction with an ecological background revolves around the struggle between two dynasties for control of the planet Arrakis, the only place where Melange or Spezia is produced, harvested and refined, a precious substance fundamental to the structure of galactic society.
An easy read after a heavy winter
Questions about the meaning of what’s happening to us are interrupted. Or try an ironic response, as Douglas Adams did in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Published in 1979 for Pan Books (in Italy in 1980), it is a novel that continues to stimulate the imagination of science fiction and artificial intelligence enthusiasts. Inside it is quoted a kind of encyclopedia, the Galactic Guide, which provides bizarre and surreal suggestions for “the answer to the fundamental question about life, the universe and everything. ”In order to search for the key, a supercomputer called Deep Thought is built, which, after seven and a half million years of processing, gives the answer “42.”
To understand the influence of this novel, it is enough to think that in 1989 Ibm named a computer programmed for the game of chess Deep Thought . It lost both games with Garri Kasparov in 1989, but inaugurated the “Deep” series of artificial brains, including Deep Blue, Ibm’s supercomputer, which defeated Kasparov himself in 1996.
In much more recent days, Pandu Nayak, Google’s vice president in charge of search business, asked if the search engine “will give us an answer to the fundamental question about life, the universe and all that? He said, “The answer has already been given by Douglas Adams: is 42.”
This is the year of stellar travel. Or at least suborbital…
At the beginning of July, the entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson gave himself a nice ride 80 kilometres from Earth. With Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft, the company he created to “open space for everyone”, he ushered in the age of extraterrestrial tourism. A passion he shares with Elon Musk (founder of Tesla and SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon and Blue Origin).
If you want to explore Branson’s idea of space as “nearby” and within reach of “everyone”, check out his book “Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen And Blasting into Space” (2010, Virgin Books). What we are talking about is explained by the same magnate: “I retrace the history of flight through the stories of the people who have always been my inspiration. In these pages you will find stories of miraculous rescuer; records achieved and surpassed; astonishing examples of endurance and survival, including some of my adventures, but also advances for the future of air and space travel. It’s a story of pioneers.”
Jeff Bezos adds two “records”
A few days after Branson’s “galactic” flight, Bezos (who recently left the role of CEO of Amazon to devote himself to space entrepreneurship) repeated and expanded the feat by adding two records: aboard New Shepard, a suborbital spacecraft built by her Blue Origin, carried as passengers 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, the youngest person to fly into space, and 82-year-old Wally Funk, the oldest to go into orbit. But not a novice. The Funk pilot was part of the Mercury 13 space program conducted in the United States in the early 1960s, which involved the selection and training of female astronauts.
The story can be read in Martha Ackmann’s book “The Mercury 13: the untold story of thirteen American women and the dream of space flight” (Random House, 2003) e in quello di Stephanie Nolan “Promised the moon: the untold story of the first women in the space race” (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003).
Nolan also reports what Jerrie Cobb, the great American pilot enlisted in 1959 in the Mercury 13 program, told her. The US thought women were more suited to space flight than men and wanted to use them as a “winning weapon” against Russia.
Branson and Bezos are not exactly the first space tourists, but they are the first to travel in vehicles built by their own private company. In 2001, Dannis Tito gave a vacation of a few days in space to himself, to the tune of millions, traveling on the Russian space shuttle Soyuz.
Elon Musk, readings from “galactic hitchiker”
We started from the book by Douglas Adams and there we come back, because Musk by Tesla and SpaceX also mentions among his book the singular “Galactic Guide for Hitchhikers.”
The entrepreneur also includes the works of Isaac Asimov, in particular the “Cycle of Foundations”, in his favorite readings of science fiction.
Being a Good Entrepreneur Musk’s reference books include Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future byPeter Thiel (the co-founder of PayPal together with. . . Elon Musk!) and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, a guide for those who want to navigate the open space (and not without challenges) of Artificial Intelligence.
Do you know how to build the future of your company?
With the data, of course! Which are your most valuable asset and value. Not a commodity or a “technology”, but the tool to focus business objectives on, because they allow you to make informed decisions based on the knowledge extracted, with Data Products. DUNED, the Data product company,leads your company to becoming a Data-driven company by combining a scientific approach to data analysis with AI algorithm development experience and a service design methodology to create Data Products. You already know what a Data Product is and what the basic elements of our mission are, but on our new website we wanted to illustrate and highlight them again at best.
Visit us to review the concepts of Data blending, Embedded analytics, Explainable AI, Actionable insights. Yes, for DUNED Artificial Intelligence is at the heart of our services offered– precisely – it is explainable, just to give an answer to the fears of Musk and the warnings of the philosopher Bostrom. Happy summer and enjoy your readings!
Food for thought…
- The book with which the pilot Jerrie Cobb recounts the experience of the Mercury 13 program: Jerrie Cobb, “Solo Pilot”, Jerrie Cobb Foundation Inc (1997).
- The Deep Blue chess supercomputer on Ibm website.