The mind behind Tesla is digging tunnels underneath Los Angeles. Joe Rogan interviewed Elon Musk on Episode #1169 and dug into his brilliant plans for the future of technology. Some of these plans are the simple joys of an engineer - selling 10,000 hats for his company “The Boring Company” or toy “non-flamethrowers,” and then immediately shutting down those sales. Some of the plans are very serious, like the Tesla Electric Cars and the hope for sustainable energy sources. Other ideas seem ridiculous on the surface, but actually, are working to solve the world’s problems underneath.
But first, the end of humanity...
AI is taking over the world. Musk has spoken directly with the government (Congress, Governors, etc.) to let them know that Artificial Intelligence is quickly reaching the point that it will be able to learn faster than we will be able to register and restrain it. We already see it today in the way that our phone technology is changing human behavior, rather than human behavior leading the technology. Musk is confident that the current challenge is that our minds process data incredibly fast, but our eyes and ears are very slow to receive that information from outside sources. New technology in neural data conduction is on the way through, and this will overcome what may be the last hurdle to a merging of human and machine.
Speaking of machines…
Tesla’s EV cars are not really cars, according to Musk. They are “a thing to maximize enjoyment” and “The most fun thing you could buy ever.” Why? It is not because they can drive 330 miles on a charge. No, it is because Elon has installed “easter eggs” in them to add to general enjoyment in life. For instance, they just installed an Atari ROM Emulator which includes the video arcade games Missile Command and Lunar Lander in the car. Don’t worry, the car will not allow you to play the games while driving. He also hinted that the vehicle could dance to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We don’t even know what that looks like, but it sounds incredible and out of this world.
Elon Musk is not entirely against gas engines though. He owns a 61 series 1 E-type Jaguar.
The Tesla is where his heart is though. Soon after a man fell asleep behind the wheel in one and ran over a bicyclist, Musk set about to install automatic driving functions into the cars. Now, they drive themselves. They are programmed to take exits on the highway, change lanes to overtake cars, and if you fall asleep behind the wheel in them now, they will gradually slow down, turn on the emergency lights, and come to a stop when they notice you are not touching the wheel. People fall asleep in cars all the time and crash… the Tesla doesn’t crash. It also has programmable speeds: allowing it to simulate a more conservative or more aggressive driver. That is very helpful in places like L.A. where you have to be pushier in LA traffic to make lane changes to make your exits.
The Tesla auto company fits their cars with waterproof batteries, to keep them from exploding during flood situations. They also have excellent traction control - even in snow and black ice. Electric motor cars have a swift reaction time, giving them better traction control. The lowest injury rates of all cars are the Tesla SX and 3. Even with those incredible records, being in the automobile business today is tough. Only 2 American Car companies have not gone bankrupt: Ford and Tesla, and both came too close for comfort.
The Tesla EV cars could be powered by solar cells on their roofs, but Musk said it was much more practical to put the solar cells on house roofs instead. These cells can be retrofitted onto roof tiles, or they can be placed inside specially made roof tiles. These cells could power more than just EV cars, they could power the house itself. Tesla’s CEO shared that the tiles could generate between 50-150% of the household electrical needs through solar power. The major factors were the size of the roof and the use of air conditioning.
What about those tunnels?
Why is Tesla interested in digging tunnels anyway? He shared that the biggest problem (from an engineering perspective) with traffic in big cities is that the workplaces were three dimensional, meaning buildings go up and down with multiple floors, as well as side to side, but when you leave work and go to drive home, the transportation grid is two dimensional, causing traffic jams. By creating a network of layered tunnels, you can make transportation three dimensional as well, thinning out the traffic. These tunnels could be constructed into vacuum tubes to make them incredibly fast. For those concerned about earthquakes, Elon assured that it was safer in these tunnels that it was on the surface.
How far away are we from this transition to driverless EV cars running 250 mph through underground tunnels? Elon Musk says about 25 years… or the lifespan of a new truck today. However, with the AI we have available, your car could hear you cough several times, sync with your phone calendar, send emails to change your schedule and reserve you a doctor appointment as your AI-guided Tesla car reroutes your GPS and drives you to the nearest medical facility. Tomorrow may get here sooner than we think.
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