Machines to handle half of all work tasks by 2025 as NASA spacecraft successfully lands on an asteroid

A new report shows that half of all work tasks are set to be handled by machines by 2025. NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx successfully lands on an asteroid over 200 million miles away. The Nobel Prize Winners were announced this month virtually. A new type of cooling paint is made by scientists which will likely help in the fight against climate change. Hummer is joining the new electric pickup truck market by releasing its first vehicle in over a decade. Here are this week's top stories.

1. Machines to handle half of all work tasks by 2025

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

According to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) report, half of all work tasks are set to be handled by machines by 2025. Currently around a third of all work tasks were handled by machines, with humans doing the rest. The robot revolution is expected to create almost 100 million jobs worldwide but destroy almost as many if not more, which will worsen equality and put various communities at risk. The forum surveyed 300 of the world's biggest companies that employ more than 8 million people combined. More than 50% of them said they expected to speed up the automation of some roles in their companies and 43% felt they were likely to cut jobs due to technology. The pandemic has helped speed things up by forcing companies to adapt to new technologies and remote work environments. Companies are also cutting jobs and replacing them with machines to save money. There is an expected surge in green economy jobs, engineering, and cloud computing but manual jobs will slowly disappear.

2. NASA spacecraft successfully lands on an asteroid

NASA

NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx touched down on an asteroid this Tuesday. The spacecraft collected a sample and is expected to return to Earth in 2023. The spacecraft landed within 3 feet of the targeted location and did all the commands that were set previously. The capsule used its advanced navigation system to land by itself and assistance from Earth was not possible due to an 18.5-minute communication delay. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is in good condition after the landing on Tuesday. The data sent by the probe shows that everything went according to plan but it will take the scientist about a week to figure out the quantity of sample collected. The spacecraft launched in 2016 and is going towards Bennu, a boulder-studded asteroid located more than 200 million miles from Earth. The asteroid almost has a cube-like shape with a height close to the Empire State Building in New York. The capsule has been orbiting the asteroid for about two years and the asteroid has been mapped in greater detail than our own moon or any other celestial body in our solar system. The OSIRIS-REx mission stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. One of the goals of this mission is to understand the origins of the solar system and life on Earth. Scientists will archive about 75% of the sample. They want to leave the collected material so future generations could use technologies not available yet to learn from the sample and understand more about the universe.

3. 2020 Nobel Prize Winners

The Nobel Prize medal. Alexander Mahmoud

The winners of the Nobel Prize were recently announced virtually. The prize is usually presented to recipients in Stockholm and Oslo in December but due to the pandemic, they have changed the event. Drs. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The trio has helped discover the Hepatitis C virus which made blood tests and new medicines possible. They have helped save millions of lives. Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, and Andrea Ghez won the Nobel Prize in physics. They have helped understand the universe and they did a lot of work on black holes. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They worked on the development of CRISPR-Cas9, a method for genome editing. Louise Glück received the Nobel Prize in Literature for her work in poetry. Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson were awarded the Nobel in economic science. They made many improvements to auction theory and they invented new auction formats. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme for combating a surge in hunger during the Coronavirus pandemic. They provided food to millions of families around the world who were facing economic hardships.

4. Cooling paint could help cut greenhouse gasses

Photo by Owen Lystrup on Unsplash

The lighting, cooling, and heating for buildings are responsible for around 28% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. The heating and cooling of buildings are mostly powered by oil, gas, and coal which release carbon dioxide. To solve this problem, scientists in the USA have created a new type of white paint that will keep buildings cool. This special kind of paint reflects 95.5% of sunlight reducing the reliance on air conditioning. There have been many kinds of paints that reflect sunlight but none of them have made the building’s temperature lower than the ambient conditions. The new kind of white paint cools the surface by 1.7C below the ambient temperature and during night time it even cooled up to 10C below the ambient temperature. This kind of paint will be very useful to fight climate change and it has a broad range of applications. The paint needs to be tested for long-term reliability and efficiency before it will be available commercially.

5. Hummer is making big moves with its first vehicle in over a decade

GN’s Hummer EV

General Motors brings back Hummer, a decade after discontinuing the brand. The Hummer EV is Genernral Morter’s answer to the emerging electric pickup truck industry. Many companies like Tesla, Ford, Nikola, and Rivian have announced plans for releasing an electric pickup truck in the next 5 years. The Hummer EV is expected to be one of the most powerful electric pickup trucks with 1,000 horsepower and an estimated 11,500 pound-feet of torque. Like other electric vehicles, the Hummer EV has extremely fast acceleration. It can go from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds and has a decent battery with a range of around 350 miles. General Motors is calling the truck a “supertruck” due to Hummer’s off-road capability as well as on-road driving and handling. The pickup truck has many special capabilities, like the ability to move diagonally which is similar to crab walking. General Motors also promised fast-charging abilities of 100 miles in 10 minutes. The biggest disadvantage of this truck is the price. The most expensive model, Hummer EV Edition 1, will start at $113,000 and be available during the fall of 2021. The more “afordable” models will go on sale every year with the least powerful model being available in 2024 for $80,000. The Hummer EV is the most expensive by far compared to other electric pickup trucks. The Tesla Cybertruck will start at $40,000 while the Rivian R1T will start at $70,000.

Above were my top stories for the week ending October 24, 2020, hope you liked it. Please leave your feedback or point of view in the form of a comment.

Thanks, see you next week!

Curious High Schooler, who loves to share new and exciting stories. Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com