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Electric Cars Are Barely Making Noise on the Road

In the US, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of new car sales. The path to 100 percent will be a long one, and the engine won’t cede such ground without a fight.
–As Electric Cars Surge, the Gas Engine Keeps Getting Better, Jack Stewart, WIRED Online

More people today likely know the name Elon Musk than Nikolaus August Otto. While Mr. Musk is believed by some to be the tech and pop-culture heir of sorts to the late Steve Jobs, Mr. Otto paved the way for what is known today as the internal combustion engine way back in the 19th century.

As Tesla’s are being bought and seen on the road, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s journey of an electric future is still in the crawling phase in many ways. Admittedly, that “1% of new car sales” statistic is surprising. Arguably, Tesla’s car line is evolving as the leader in the promising development of electric cars. Make no mistake that the pursuit of an emissions-free transportation future is admirable and intriguing. Combining a positive environmental impact with a dynamic and exciting product in the free market is a win-win scenario. The all-electric car is an impressive invention that should and will improve in the coming years and decades, along with its necessary and developing infrastructure. And yet, let’s not ignore the realities of society-altering innovations as technology continues to expand into every aspect of our lives, both professionally and personally.

As strange as it may read, we are facing a sophisticated, consequential dilemma with Tesla and its part in an electric transportation future. Will it be as promising and as beneficial as we want it to be? Wherever there’s electricity, there’s a grid that’s inevitably accompanied by a power struggle. Remember that. And in every situation, there are costs and benefits to seriously consider. With that in mind, as Tesla continues to sell and improve its various models one-by-one, let’s take the time to reflect on what the future would be if and when that 99%-1% statistic is one day flipped.

Random question: What are your thoughts on dealing with tech support?

Riding in a Tesla, according to reports, is a smooth and mostly noiseless ride. This is one of the bonuses of an electric engine that doesn’t roar like a Mustang. That is until you hit bumps in the road because there are always bumps in the road. But if we take the time to plan, we can avoid the greatest damage before it’s too late.

We should be equally excited and cautious concerning innovation. Moreover, we should be ready to not just ask when something new will happen, but what happens when it does.

Innovation has a long arc, so we best prepare for that long ride when that new road finally arrives and is here for the long, quiet haul.


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:


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

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?


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…