Blog Archives

The Pipe Dream: A Roundaloop?

21st-century ground transportation:

Envisioned by Elon Musk.

Traveling from Point A to Point B seems (and can literally be) pedestrian. In the modern world, there seem to be far too many detours, connecting flights, complications and mind-numbing traffic patterns to conceptualize a simplistic, easy-going path from Point A to Point B.

Then a big idea happened. And then that big idea was built and tested.

And what happens next?

Innovator Elon Musk founded The Boring Company, which is the firm that is building the Hyperloop (featured in the video above). While people won’t be lining up just yet to experience this futuristic form of transportation, the fact that a proof of concept has been achieved is a giant first step towards the reimagined American railroad. To be more precise, the reimagined American train and railroad system.

The Boring Company has essentially taken the archaic railroad system from 19th and 20th centuries and created a significantly faster 21st-century upgrade. Is it the right upgrade? Is the Hyperloop the next great innovative masterpiece in transportation we’ve been waiting for? Would you ride in the Hyperloop?

Fortunately, there’s a model (actually, a few models) to follow for judging the future progress and success of Hyperloop’s introduction to the American traveler, current and new:

Tesla.

Now, who is the co-founder and CEO of that innovative car company…?

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Since Artificial GRASS is a Problem…

Elon Musk, the face defining and promoting Tesla Motors and its impressively intriguing product line, gave surprising remarks recently to a gathering of American governors.

For the CEO of Tesla, Inc., which designs and builds cars that are arguably more supercomputers than automobiles, to speak about the far-reaching dangers of artificial intelligence going forward involving unrestrained technological variations in this arena is newsworthy. Fascinating, in the very least. Moreover, Mr. Musk has the unique perspective and influence to affect the mindset of large communities of people and innovators with his recent warning revealed in the video above.

But will people listen?

The challenge is that innovation, in its purest form, presents the eternally intoxicating allure of “the future” that every generation has imagined and pursued with purpose to varying degrees. The primary concerns of building a world heavily influenced and dictated by artificial intelligence seems more reckless than wise, yet Westworld (at least to Michael Crichton fans and HBO viewers) was built with great intrigue.

Aren’t you curious to visit Westworld?

Answer honestly.

Jimmy’s Daily Planet maintains its consistent position that innovation, in all of its varieties, should be viewed with excitement and caution in equal measure. What are the costs and the benefits? More often than not, the costs and the benefits of a particular innovation are on a sliding scale nowhere close to a conclusive 100-0 result. Artificial intelligence is a very slippery slope because, in the initial stages, the benefits may appear to make our lives easier, more efficient and, above all, better. It’s usually at this point, however, when the investment into something (in this case, AI) is too grand and, consequently, becomes too interwoven into societal expectations to turn the digital clock back.

It just seems like humans, in too many situations, are far too eager to not only “big brother” themselves, but to also make themselves less relevant and necessary through ill-advised inventions. Impressive? Typically yes. The best idea? Hmmm…

A Google search defines the word “artificial” as, “made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.”

How would (will?) Google define a product consciously created and then made or produced by something artificial?

Hmmm…

P.S. In the video above, Elon Musk spoke about the need for increased regulations to combat the threat of AI in the future. While a sensible regulation here and there may help, do you want to know what the better solution would be to deal with AI?

Intelligent people leading by example, like Elon Musk. 

Zero Degrees of Innovation?

Patterns only become patterns if something is repeated enough times.

And the following blog post will highlight impressive alumni.

Elon Musk is best known for his innovative work on Tesla cars and SpaceX. Tesla focuses on electric cars, which includes the Model 3 (starting at $35,000 before any tax breaks). SpaceX focuses on technology built and imagined for space ventures. Mr. Musk is viewed by many as a Steve Jobs-like thinker who is changing the game of transportation on Earth and in the stars. Part of the attraction to Mr. Musk’s way of thinking is that he breaks from conventional wisdom. Norms do not appear to impress Elon Musk.

For instance, listen to what he thinks of college degrees within the space of creativity, innovation and potential.

While it’s not quite as simple to declare a high school or college degree inconsequential, Mr. Musk’s point does raise valid concerns in attempting to view the potential of applicants. If a firm wants conventional results, then a conventional approach works. But if a firm wants unconventional results, then past ways of determining skill and potential demand revision and a procedural overhaul.

If only Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison had track records of success…

Frank Sinatra Had the Right Idea

Fly me to the moon,
Let me play among the stars…
–Frank Sinatra, “Fly Me to the Moon”

Richard Branson and Elon Musk are planning to travel into space in the near future under the guise of private adventurism.

Add Naveen Jain to this growing list.

“The Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that Moon Express, a firm co-founded by billionaire Naveen Jain, was approved to launch a suitcase-sized rover to the moon. Another company, Celestis, has reserved room for ashes and inert DNA samples.”
–Steven Nelson, U.S. News & World Report

Whether a rover, a commercial flight or the colonization of Mars, private citizens and their successful companies are revealing a paradigm shift that’s developing in extreme exploration.

Add movie director James Cameron to the list for oceanic exploration.

The dynamics of and success through globalization (increased customer base and, therefore, increased wealth potential and influence) is permitting a few of the craziest and most eccentric business leaders and firms to dream with their heads in the stars in a literal sense.

Given that many of the world’s most powerful economies are struggling and overwhelmed with more questions than answers, business leaders and ambitious innovators are taking advantage of their positive business ventures with inspired aspirations. Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Elon Musk (SpaceX) and¬†Naveen Jain (Mon Express) are among the extreme explorers in the world today. Utilizing their winsome character, the reputations of the aforementioned dreamers attract followers nearly akin to Apple enthusiasts to the late Steve Jobs. There’s a sense that the world, in terms of space travel, is changing in a profound way and people want to be a part of this excitingly promising future.

The ingenuity, daring mentality and, perhaps most essential, the money is on the side of fun, personable billionaire private citizens.

Space travel in the 20th century was defined by the heroic crew of Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) walking on the moon, courtesy of NASA, an integral part of the United States government. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Space travel in the 21st century will be defined by —

The smart money is with “private citizens.”