10
   

The Ballad of Twitter and that Billionaire Bumpkin, Elon Musk

 
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2023 05:50 am
Musk Overruled Tesla Engineers, And Now They Are In Serious Trouble

One of Tesla’s key technologies lies in tatters, and it is all Musk’s fault.


Quote:
Over the years, we have witnessed Tesla’s incredible rise to power, and they now stand as a juggernaut of the EV world. But one of Tesla’s most important promises has yet to be fulfilled: true self-driving cars. In fact, according to Musk, we should already have millions of Tesla robotaxis shuttling around the globe. Yet, far from this utopian vision coming true, Tesla is actually slipping behind in the autonomous vehicle race — and by quite a margin! So what happened to cause this fall from grace? Well, thanks to a report from the Washington Post, we now know the real reason, and we’ve come to understand that it is all Musk’s fault.

To understand this whole debacle, we first need to understand how autonomous vehicles work and why Tesla’s recent approach is counterproductive. I already covered this topic in a previous article, so just consider this a quick recap. Most autonomous or driver-assistance systems use a suite of different sensors around the car to understand the world around them and then use artificial intelligence to make driving decisions based on that data. These sensors include cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar, and lidar. Why are there so many different sensors? Well, because it ensures the data going into the AI is of sufficient quality, given that the sensors often experience redundancy (including broken sensors, obscured vision, or difficulty performing in conditions such as rain or bright light). It also gives a far deeper understanding of the world around the car, which enables better and easier decision-making by the AI.

However, in 2021, Tesla bucked this trend. They abandoned all the sensors and opted for a vision-only system. The reason why? At the time, it seemed that Tesla thought that their AI could cope with this limited data input and that their image processing software was able to generate spatial understanding at a high enough level for their AI, meaning that losing the sensors would save a significant amount of money and increase their profit margins.

own suite of sensors and that a visual-only system is simply impossible with current or nearly-current technology. Over the past two years, these opinions have been proven right. For example, Tesla’s FSD (Full Self-Driving) is considered a Level 2 autonomous system. Level 2 systems are deemed driver-assistance systems because the driver is still legally responsible for paying attention to the road and taking control when necessary. However, Mercedes received approval last year to sell and operate Level 3 autonomous vehicles, which can be fully autonomous in certain situations, allowing the driver to relax and take their eyes off the road. (Read more here).

In other words, Mercedes has technically beaten Tesla to manufacturing a genuinely autonomous vehicle. And it doesn’t end there; GM, Google, and Amazon all have autonomous robotaxi services now in operation across the US (read more here), and even GM and Ford’s autonomous systems are ranked higher than Tesla’s (read more here).

But the problem here goes far deeper than just Teslas losing their autonomous advantage. A recent report by the Washington Post has lifted the lid on what was occurring behind the scenes during this period, and what they found was far from ideal.

According to the report, Musk overruled a significant number of Tesla engineers who warned him that switching to a visual-only system would be problematic and possibly unsafe due to its high risk of increasing the rate of accidents. His own team knew their systems weren’t up to the task, but Musk believed he knew better than the industry experts who helped propel Tesla to the forefront of autonomous technology and ploughed on with this egocentric, counterproductive plan. He even disabled sensors in older models so that pretty much the entire Tesla fleet went visual-only.

The report interviewed nearly a dozen former employees, test drivers, safety officials, and other experts, who all reported an increase in crashes, near-misses, and other embarrassing mistakes by Tesla vehicles that were deprived of their critical sensors. The report even found that Musk rushed the release of FSD (Full Self-Driving) before it was ready and that, according to former Tesla employees, even today, the software isn’t safe for public road use. In fact, a former test operator went on record saying that the company is “nowhere close” to having a finished product.

Unfortunately, this fiasco has a rather macabre backstory that elevates it from a bad business decision to outright disgraceful behaviour. The Department of Justice is currently investigating Tesla for a series of accidents — some fatal — that occurred while their autonomous software was in use. In the DoJ’s eyes, Tesla’s marketing and communication departments sold their software as a fully autonomous system, which is far from the truth. As a result, some consumers used it as such, resulting in tragedy. The dates of many of these accidents transpired after Tesla went visual-only, meaning these cars were using the allegedly less capable software. (Read more here).

Consequently, Tesla faces severe ramifications if the DoJ finds them guilty. The fact that Musk ignored his engineers’ warnings and then pushed out the early release of the unfinished autonomous software could potentially implicate him as the root cause of these accidents. But even if these consequences don’t come to pass, this information still paints Musk’s attitude towards public health and how he views his responsibility to his customers as far from golden.

At the very least, Musk appears to have seen the catastrophic error of his ways. Currently, Tesla seems to be gearing up to add radar back into their cars, except this time, it is a 4D imaging radar. These radars create a 3D map of the world around them, but they also use the Doppler effect to record velocity in each image they produce, hence the capacity for 4D. This should plug the gap in their sensor suite and make their system much better.

But keep in mind that Tesla’s AI still needs to be trained on this new type of sensor input, as it has been optimised for visual-only input for some time now. This means throwing away a lot of hard work and starting the long, laborious task of training the AI correctly, which could take months. This process isn’t entirely returning to square one, but it is still a significant setback. Especially when you consider that the majority of the industry isn’t chopping and changing their sensor suite, which allows their AI to develop at a lightning pace, meaning that Tesla may really struggle to catch back up, let alone reclaim their autonomous lead.

Then there’s the fact that many customers paid thousands of dollars for Full Self-Driving capabilities that would constantly update over time, but whose vehicles only have visual sensors? What about those people? Do they get a free retrofit for this expensive sensor? Do they have to pay for it? Or are they not allowed to access the service Tesla promised, meaning Tesla might face a flurry of justified lawsuits?

This entire affair is such a mess. Musk’s greed and cosmos-sized ego have caused Tesla to lose one of its keystone technological advances, and the aftermath of this could potentially plunge the company into disrepute. Let’s also not forget that Musk himself said that Tesla’s self-driving technology was what justified their sky-high stock prices. So where does that leave Tesla now?

I’m in a fortunate position to potentially buy a new EV soon, and I have dreamed of getting a Tesla for years. But I am struggling to justify the purchase, as I don’t want to support a company that knowingly shipped out potentially lethal software. It’s ultimately a massive shame, and I can’t believe Musk has knowingly let this all happen.

medium
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2023 03:44 am

Fidelity has marked down the value of Twitter/X by 65%
(axios)




0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  3  
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2023 04:49 pm
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/84/01/95/840195e991f089fcb2748238bb3bcc41.jpg
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2023 07:08 pm
@hingehead,
Gotta admit, I like this better than the original. Someone did a very nice job on that.
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  3  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2023 10:19 am

SpaceX’s second Starship ends with another explosion
(wsj)

Laughing

#RapidUnscheduledDisassembly
#AnotherEpicFail
#Facepalm


bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2023 10:27 am
@Region Philbis,
Good. I think he should do a ride along on the next one so he can observe the inevitable disaster first hand.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2023 10:58 am
https://i.imgur.com/D7gWtJy.jpeg

I keep waiting for Musk to die.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  4  
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2023 08:49 am
IBM suspends advertising on X after its ads were placed next to pro-Nazi content
Quote:
IBM is pulling back from X after its ads were placed alongside pro-Nazi content on the platform. The company says it has suspended all ads from the network after nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters reported that it found ads for IBM and several other tech giants next to pro-Nazi memes and other posts promoting Hitler.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement. Comcast, whose ads were also highlighted by Media Matters, told the Financial Times it was looking into the situation.

An executive at X told Engadget that the posts identified by Media Matters will “no longer be monetizable” and will appear with “sensitive media” labels that require users to click through a warning in order to view the content. They added that “while we understand it's not an ideal placement for any ad,” the post had only racked up “about 8,000 impressions.”
bobsal u1553115
 
  4  
Reply Tue 21 Nov, 2023 08:37 am
https://i.imgur.com/K12dZlg.jpg
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Nov, 2023 09:57 am
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Nov, 2023 11:45 pm
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/58/aa/31/58aa31d0d352860af9cb6b69ba034cc1.jpg
Below viewing threshold (view)
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Thu 23 Nov, 2023 03:56 am
@PoshSpice,
How's that Seymour Hersh story about the USA sabotaging the Nordstream 2 pipeline holding up?
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Nov, 2023 06:21 am
Elon Musk is now boosting the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory

Quote:
Elon Musk on Monday boosted the dangerous, years-old “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, just days after being roundly criticized and facing an advertiser exodus following his embrace of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

In a post Monday, an X user attempted to link the founder of Media Matters — the progressive media watchdog that last week identified ads for major brands running alongside pro-Nazi content on X — to the owner of the “Pizzagate restaurant.” Musk replied: “Weird.” By replying, Musk called the post to the attention of his more than 160 million followers on X.

Pizzagate is an anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory that spun up on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter and other platforms in the final days before the 2016 US presidential election. Believers imagined a pedophilia ring supposedly being run out of a Washington, DC pizza shop that involved Clinton and other Democrats.

The wildly false claims were behind self-appointed “investigator” Edgar Maddison Welch’s decision in December of that year to fire an assault rifle inside the restaurant. (No one was hurt, and Welch later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.)

It’s just the latest conspiracy theory Musk has drawn attention to using X. Musk last week agreed with an antisemitic post on his social media platform X, endorsing the claim that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites.” Musk last year also gave credence to a fringe conspiracy theory about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by posting a link to an article full of baseless claims about Paul Pelosi.

Musk last week faced backlash from the White House and others for engaging with an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

“It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement to CNN.

On Friday, at least a half dozen major advertisers, including media giants Disney, Paramount and NBCUniversal, halted their spending on X. IBM also suspended advertising on the platform after the Media Matters report showed its ad appeared alongside pro-Nazi content.

Musk has pushed back at idea that he is antisemitic. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said in a post Sunday. Musk’s company has also claimed that Media Matters’ report was misleading and that it has taken steps to combat antisemitism and discrimination on the platform. X on Monday sued Media Matters, accusing it of distorting how likely it is for ads to appear beside extremist content on X.

However, X has not removed the pro-Nazi accounts mentioned in Media Matters’ report, instead saying that their posts had little engagement and that they would no longer be eligible for monetization.

cnn
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Nov, 2023 11:11 am
Elon Musk calls strikes ‘insane’ as Swedish workers take on Tesla

Strike at carmaker prompts sympathy action from dockers, painters and postal workers in fight over Swedish labour model

Quote:
Elon Musk has decried a wave of “insane” strikes focused on Tesla workshops in Sweden, as workers target the US electric car manufacturer in a strike calling for collective bargaining rights.

In what has been portrayed as the largest fight in decades to save Sweden’s union model from global labour practices, the powerful trade union IF Metall has been leading a strike across eight Tesla workplaces in Sweden for five weeks.

It is the first time workers for the US carmaker have gone on strike and on Thursday, Musk, the tech billionaire and chief executive of Tesla, made his feelings clear, writing on X, formerly Twitter: “This is insane.”

He was responding to a social media post about secondary, or sympathy, strikes by Swedish postal services that are preventing licence plates reaching new Tesla cars.

IF Metall, which has more than 300,000 members in Swedish industry, has said it will “keep going [with the strikes] for as long as needed”. It says it took action after Tesla refused to sign a collective agreement with its members.

Collective agreements, which cover conditions including salary, pension, working hours and holidays and mean that, in theory, unions and employers regulate the labour market rather than the state, are seen as a cornerstone of Sweden’s labour market model.

Although union membership in Sweden has fallen in recent decades, many workers are still in unions and about nine in 10 employees have collective arrangements.

The Tesla strike has attracted secondary action from eight other unions and is threatening to spread to neighbouring Norway, where Fellesförbundet (the United Federation of Trade Unions), the country’s largest private sector union, said it was prepared to take sympathy action.

Marie Nilsson, the chair of IF Metall, said the strike was not only a fight for Tesla workers, but to protect the Swedish union model. “If we allow companies like Tesla to operate without collective agreement, it will open it up for other international companies and other types of industries,” she said. “It can take a long time,” she added. “We will keep going for as long as is needed.”

The strike has gained support from transport and harbour workers, who have refused to load or unload Tesla cars in all Swedish ports; electricians who have refused to carry out service or repair at Tesla’s workshops; and charging stations and painters, who will not work on Tesla cars. Other sympathy strikes include those by service and communication workers, who have stopped distributing post and shipments to Tesla.

“We are well prepared for a prolonged conflict,” said an IF Metall spokesperson, Jesper Pettersson. “Regrettably, we have no ongoing talks with Tesla Sweden at the moment, but as always, we are available for further talks as soon as possible.”

The action appears to be influencing businesses beyond Tesla. Shortly after the Tesla strike began, the Swedish global payment firm Klarna signed a collective agreement, averting a planned strike at its Stockholm headquarters.

Afterwards, Klarna’s co-founder and CEO, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, made reference to the Swedish model, saying: “I am convinced that we will benefit from this agreement and that Klarna can contribute to making the Swedish model stronger from the inside.”

Some commentators have suggested that the action at Tesla could start conversations at the Swedish division of Spotify, the streaming firm, which earlier this year pulled out of talks about a collective agreement, saying it did not believe that would “add any significant value” for employees.

In Norway, where Fellesförbundet says about 500 Tesla employees are organised, the union’s leader, Jørn Eggum, said it would block Swedish Teslas from coming to the country. “Norway should not be a transit country for Tesla to get away with strike-breaking,” he told the broadcaster NRK earlier this month. “We must hold Tesla accountable and make them commit to collective agreements in the European countries in which they operate.”

Jesper Hamark, an economic history researcher and visiting research fellow at the University of Gothenburg, said the strike was about defending the Scandinavian model against the American one.

Comparing it to strikes in 1995 at Toys R Us, which the unions won, he said: “My guess is that Tesla will not remain in Sweden without collective arrangement. The union will win. I have difficulty seeing the unions folding. The question is too important.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Spotify declined to comment.

guardian
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Nov, 2023 07:19 am

https://iili.io/Jo14ZZX.jpg
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Nov, 2023 05:06 pm
@hingehead,
Cracked me and the missus up completely. Where do I sent the dry cleaning bill for the sprayed red wine?
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  4  
Reply Mon 27 Nov, 2023 09:54 am
Quote:
Paris mayor quits X, calling social media site a ‘gigantic global sewer’
Anne Hidalgo, whose opponents have used the platform to criticise her, citied disinformation and antisemitism as reasons for leaving

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced she is quitting X, formerly Twitter, calling it a “gigantic global sewer” that is “destroying our democracies” by spreading abuse and misinformation.

After buying Twitter in 2022, the billionaire Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees, including many who moderated content on the platform. Rebranded as X, it has lost several major advertisers and has been criticised, including by the White House, for not doing enough to curtail antisemitism.

“I have made the decision to leave Twitter,” Hidalgo wrote in lengthy posts in English and French on Monday, citing manipulation, disinformation, antisemitism and attacks on scientists, climatologists, women and liberals.

“Twitter, far from being the groundbreaking medium that initially made information accessible to the greatest possible number of people, has in recent years become an impressive tool for destroying our democracies,” she added.

“This platform … intentionally exacerbates tensions and conflicts.”

Hidalgo’s campaign to transform Paris into a cycling capital has earned her scorn and praise on social media over the years, with some users criticising the seemingly endless work and visually unappealing worksites under the #SaccageParis (WreckParis) hashtag.

“This medium has become a gigantic global sewer, and we should continue to wade into it?” said the Socialist politician, whose failed bid for the French presidency garnered 1.7% of the vote in 2022.

“I refuse to endorse this evil scheme,” she said.

More recently, Hidalgo has come under fire for a trip to the French island of Tahiti, purportedly to view a 2024 Olympics surfing site, but that opponents said did not fall under her remit and during which she visited her daughter who lives there.

X users and opposition politicians used the #TahitiGate hashtag to lambast her over the partially taxpayer-funded trip.



https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/27/paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-quits-x-calling-social-media-site-a-gigantic-global-sewer
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Nov, 2023 08:03 am
@izzythepush,
What took him so long?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Nov, 2023 09:54 am
@bobsal u1553115,
Him?
 

 
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