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SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son sees a future with 1 trillion Internet of Things devices

Masayoshi Son envisions 1 trillion Internet of Things devices.


ARM’s partners shipped more than 15 billion in 2015, generating $50 billion in chip sales. But Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, and new owner of ARM after September’s $31 billion acquisition deal, said in a keynote speech at the annual ARM developers conference that you haven’t seen anything yet.

At the opening of ARM TechCon in Santa Clara, California today, Son said he expects the Internet of Things (IoT), or enabling everyday objects to be smart and connected, will lead to an explosion of new technologies — just like the Cambrian Explosion enabled thousands of new species on Earth — that will lead to 1 trillion connected IoT devices. And that will lead to The Singularity, when machine intelligence exceeds the collective intelligence of humans, Son said.

Son started his speech with a slide on evolution. He noted that the trilobite was the first creature on Earth that had eyes, or the ability to sense and process the environment. And that creature lived during the Cambrian Explosion, a period around 500 million years ago, when thousands of species were born.

“The Internet of Things explosion is coming,” he said. “If the Cambrian Explosion happened, so too will the Internet of Things explosion happen.”

By 2018, the number of Internet of Things devices will surpass the number of mobile devices, he said. By 2021, we’ll have 1.8 billion PCs, 8.6 billion mobile devices, and 15.7 billion IoT devices, he said.

Masayoshi Son says car chips need to be more secure for driverless cars.

Above: Masayoshi Son says car chips need to be more secure for driverless cars.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

“More important, in the next 20 years, we will see 1 trillion Internet of Things devices,” he said.

By 2035, he said, the amount of data will grow more than 2,400 times, from 1 exabyte to 2.3 zetabytes.

“This is the first time on the Earth we will experience 1 trillion chips aggregating all kinds of data,” he said. “We can aggregate all sorts of analytics. This will give us intelligence. That will make us super smart. Security will be essential. Security becomes more important than doubling the clock cycle. Without security, this becomes so dangerous.”

He noted that cars already have 1,000 chips, including hundreds of ARM chips, and none of them are secure. As cars become connected and driverless, they will be susceptible to hacker attacks. Someone could launch a virus and turn it on all at once and crash every car on the highway, Son said.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, foresees life getting easier.

Above: Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, foresees life getting easier.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

“I shouldn’t talk too much,” he said. “We shouldn’t give too much hint to the bad guys.”

But he noted that speech and visual recognition of artificial intelligence is already surpassing that of humans. With 1 trillion devices, we’ll get “super AI,” Son said.

“This will become the super intelligence,” he said. “This will become the Singularity,” where machine intelligence exceeds the collective intelligence of humans.

When that happens, we’ll have a world where we can predict the future. There will be no car accidents. And we’ll live much longer, Son said.

“Some bad things could also be anticipated,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, this Cambrian Explosion is happening. Would you like to be on the side to be able to eat, or be eaten? We have to equip technology on our side. The one who evolves with this technology will make it happen.”

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Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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