Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Born Every Minute

Amazing how many headlines featuring the name Elon Musk would be clarified by switching the name to P.T. Barnum.


AndrewSshi said...

Well, compared to most other "futurist" con-men and mountebanks, he's actually making real, physical things. That's more than most...

Dale Carrico said...

Tech CEOs are both scam AND *skim* operators -- there is a whole lot of parochial profiteering and commoditization and shar(ecropp)ing economy shenanigans of collective and non-profit work (usually accompanied by crowing about celebrity sooper-genius entrepreneurial worship), a whole lot of appropriation of public investment and subsidization (usually accompanied by libertopian grousing about Big Bad Gu'ment) and then there is the scamming -- profitable attenion-grabbing drama about the promises and dangers of AI, or life-extension, or geo-engineering technofixes, or what have you. Musk does all of this. I don't count LEO amusement park rides as a Mars colonization deliverable, or hyperloop or luxury Tesla sportscars as renewable transportation deliverables personally. I think Musk writes a lot of checks his ass can't cash and then struts around basking in techbro circlejerks praising him as Ironman for realz. I think he's one of the worst personally -- right up there with Thiel.

jimf said...

> I think Musk writes a lot of checks his ass can't cash. . .

Is this one of them?

In 2012, 33,561 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, announced in 2015 that
Tesla cars would handle 90 percent of driving within five years.
This plan included all Tesla vehicles being equipped with an
autopilot system. Musk compared Tesla's autopilot to the autopilot
in airplanes, where people still manually control the vehicle
in risky situations. . .

Autonomous vehicles will drive themselves without the need for
a driver to touch the steering wheel. Car companies are
developing autopilot systems to make vehicles safer, but autopilot
should not be confused with autonomous vehicles. Google has
been developing their autonomous car in the Nevada desert
since the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. For now, the self-driving
car is far from perfect.

The programming in Google's Self-Driving Cars cannot always
determine how to react, so the vehicle stops moving or relinquishes
control to the driver. Before Google cars can drive, researchers
must create a detailed map of their route. Researchers have to
account for all road markings, including driveways, stoplights,
and road signs. Complex situations, like four-way stop signs,
force the autonomous vehicle to drive cautiously as it tries
to determine what rules to follow. Google Self-Driving Cars
may be available soon because they have safely driven more
than 700,000 miles.

2018 -- that's the same year warp-driven starships will
come on-line, according to _Star Trek_ TOS canon:

loc. cit.
By 2018, Elon Musk predicts that the company will have created
a car that can drive without a driver. In fact, the goal is to
have a car that can be summoned to the driver and reach its
destination entirely unaccompanied by a human.

Google has Ray Kurzweil, but Tesla has. . . this guy, Jim:

loc. cit.
In late January of 2016, Tesla took steps in their hiring to
ensure that the goal of a self-driving car could be met by the
2018 expectation set by Musk. The company confirmed hiring processor
design veteran Jim Keller to lead its Autopilot hardware engineering team.
Jim Keller is responsible for some of AMD's key architectures,
including the Athlon K7 and the upcoming Zen, and helped make
Apple's A4 and A5 chips, which powered everything from the original
iPad through to the Apple TV. . . “We have all the pieces, and
it's just about refining those pieces, putting them in place, and
making sure they work across a huge number of environments-and then
we're done," said Musk. "It's a much easier problem than people
think it is. But it's not like George Hotz, a one-guy-and-three-months
problem. You know, it's more like, thousands of people for two years.”

I wonder if he's read _The Mythical Man-Month_.

Anyway, stay tuned.