Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bill Joy's Investment In The "Jesus Battery"

David Levy of Wired wrote an articled titled:  Bill Joy Finds the Jesus Battery.

Levy discusses the Holy Grail challenges of battery technology and then writes:

"But earlier this month came news of a potential game changer, from no less a tech luminary than Bill Joy. A long-time investor in clean tech—for years he was involved in venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins’ ill-fated foray into “green” funding—Joy is now serving on the board of Ionic Materials, a battery-tech company in which he has invested. (His personal investment comes on top of the KP funding he oversaw; he is no longer with the venture firm.) Because of Joy’s earlier history as a legendary computer scientist—a co-founder of Sun, a co-inventor of Java, and a visionary who was working on the Internet of Things two decades ago—his views have weight, separate and apart from his financial interest in the company."

David Pogue of Yahoo writes an article on Ionic Material titled: Search For The Super Battery

As Pogue writes, "Fortunately, I got to meet one man who’s breathtakingly close to cracking the powerful-cheap-safe battery problem. He’s a Tufts University professor named Mike Zimmerman, who runs a company on the side called Ionic Materials—and until our TV cameras entered his lab, he had never shown his invention to the press."

It is certainly worth watching the three minute video that Pogue has in his article to see the tremendous advantages in safety for this new battery.   Watching the lithium ion batteries easily explode will give you greater appreciation for TSA's warnings.  Watching Pogue literally cut a battery that looks like a piece of paper with no ill affects, in terms of fires or explosions, is impressive.

Will it scale is the question.  Bill Joy certainly knows how to make things scale and if this does become the "Jesus Battery", then Bill will become a billionaire just like Sun co-founders Andy and Vinod.  Scott was a billionaire for awhile, but no longer is as he preferred to keep his SUNW stock and not dump it to protect his wealth.  Scott is still worth $100 of millions, so it is not like he is living paycheck to paycheck :-)

I did like the ending of the Wired article that asks Bill about Jini and what is on the horizon:

"Let me shift the subject. In the 1990s you were promoting a technology called Jini that anticipated mobile tech and the Internet of Things. Does the current progress reflect what you were thinking all those years ago?

Exactly. I have some slides from 25 years ago where I said, “Everyone’s going to be carrying around mobile devices.” I said, “They’re all going to be interconnected. And there are 50 million cars and trucks a year, and those are going to be computerized.” Those are the big things on the internet, right?"

What’s next?

We’re heading toward the kind of environment that David Gelernter talked about in his book, Mirror Worlds, when he said, “The city becomes a simulation of itself.” It’s not so interesting just to identify what’s out there statically. What you want to do is have some notion of how that affects things in the time domain. We need to put everything online, with all the sensors and other things providing information, so we can move from static granular models to real simulations. It’s one thing to look at a traffic map that shows where the traffic is green and red. But that’s actually backward-looking. A simulation would tell me where it’s going to be green and where it’s going to be red.

This is where AI fits in. If I’m looking at the world I have to have a model of what’s out there, whether it’s trained in a neural net or something else. Sure, I can image-recognize a child and a ball on this sidewalk. The important thing is to recognize that, in a given time domain, they may run into the street, right? We’re starting to get the computing power to do a great demo of this. Whether it all hangs together is a whole other thing."

It is still fun tracking what former SUNWers are doing these days.