Silicon Valley is stupid


Well, I wouldn’t be buying a car for at least a couple more years anyway (unless a tree falls on my current car or something), so it’s no rush. I do tend to virtual window shop for cars a lot, though.


Further news regarding Tesla:

Tesla under investigation in California after damning report by Reveal, the outlet Tesla referred to as “An extremist organisation.”.

A second probe also launched, after a Contractor’s jaw was broken by an equipment-on-human collision with a Skid carrier(basically, a skid-steer loader with a carrier cage attached) in the Gigafactory Tesla is attempting to blame the contractor. And, I might add, this is exactly the sort of thing that clearly-marked pedestrian lanes, usually in Safety yellow, are meant to prevent.


Preliminary results are in from the Uber Self driving crash. Turns out, the self driving system detected the pedestrian about 107 meters out, six seconds from the collision - more than enough time to brake to avoid the accident. However, Emergency braking isn’t allowed under the Self Driving system, and they rely on the driver to intervene. However, the system is not designed to alert the operator.

Prelim report.


That… Seems like a huge huge huge huge flaw that any reasonable person would’ve fixed before that system got out the door.


It depends on how flaky their emergency braking detection. Too many false positives, and you’re uselessly breaking all the time. Was the driver tasked with hitting the breaks? This raises more questions than answers.


Oh, not included in the report, but important contextual information - most self driving companies have two people in the car, one monitoring the self driving system, one looking ahead at the road. In this case, uber had just one, tasked with both monitoring the self driving system(mounted in the center console, which she was looking at just before the accident) and looking at the road.


Is emergency braking not allowed by Uber’s design or by some regulation? If it’s the former pile it on with the rest for Uber being a shit company. If it’s the latter the car industry lobby’s efforts to torpedo self driving cars is working.


Design. They disabled it to lower the chance of erratic driving from the self driving system.

Also, there’s no Car industry lobby effort to torpedo self-driving cars. Half the major automakers have put hundreds of millions into self-driving car research, and many have their own prototypes. There’s no spooky man behind the curtain, trying to stop self-driving cars.


To be honest it was a bit of a knee jerk assumption, knowing the history of the auto industry systematically destroying public transit and such, that if it was a legal regulation that they would have advocated for that sort of thing.


New Piece from BuzzFeed that has come out at a poor time for Tesla: Elon Musk has always been at war with the Media.

Some choice Excerpts:

“It doesn’t strike me as some drastic change in his personality,” said one former employee. “The people who are saying this is how he’s always been are correct,” said another. What’s changed is simply that Musk’s profile has risen while his staff’s ability to keep him in check has waned.

For example, in June 2016 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had contacted Tesla as a courtesy heads-up that it would be announcing an investigation into a May crash that killed the driver of a Model S sedan on Autopilot. It was the kind of call that, at most companies, would require executive restraint and sensitivity. Musk was not originally supposed to be on the call with NHTSA officials, Tesla’s general counsel, and the head of its Autopilot team, but chimed in as the conversation got underway. It was unfair that NHTSA was targeting his company, he said, noting that skeptics would just use the public investigation as evidence that Tesla was in trouble.

After failing to convince the government officials to keep their investigation private and forgo their announcement scheduled for the next day, Musk went ballistic and embarked on a profanity-laced tirade. He threatened to sue NHTSA for what he saw as unfair scrutiny and then abruptly disconnected the phone, leaving the people left on the line shocked.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said a former Tesla employee familiar with the call.

Former employees remember him being easily angered and “extraordinarily vindictive,” no matter how small the outlet or tempered the critique.

Multiple former staffers recalled being kept up late or woken up in the middle of the night because Musk was upset about a headline or an article. Two other former senior employees described Musk as notoriously thin-skinned. “He’ll read an obscure critical post by, like, some Belgian blogger at 3 in the morning and he’ll wake up people on the comms team and demand this person be crushed,” one former employee said. “It’s all utterly disproportionate in response.”

“You don’t sleep very much when you’re in communications at Tesla, because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said another former worker.

Also, you’ll notice one employee quote garnished with a hyperlink to the documentary on Enron, “called The Smartest Guys in the room” - this was obviously deliberate, but the interesting thing a little birdie tells me is that it was intended not just on the part of the people at BuzzFeed writing it, but explicitly intentional on the part of the person that gave the quote.

And this is right after an Ex-employee has taken a huge amount of data from the company and handed it to the media(which Tesla is both suing him for stealing, and claiming is fake), Elon’s vindictive, childish email exchange attempting to intimidate the whisleblower getting leaked to the press, after Tesla made claims to the media about the ex-employee threatening to shoot up the plant that the sheriff’s department(who were told after Tesla told the media) dismissed as falsified and non-credible soon as they heard about them(and the reporting is suspected of coming from Elon himself), and right as Tesla is forced to close nearly a dozen solar facilities.

And of course, aside from that, also right on the heels of severe and very public doubts about their saboteur/data theft stories, ex-employee Cristina Balan coming forward with her story of mistreatment at tesla(and she brings receipts), both harsh criticism for their tent-housed production line and for Musk’s Chicago hyperloop boondoggle, independent investigative reports showing that Tesla has blatantly lied about what the black-box data shows in at least one Tesla Autopilot death, and Tesla fans have Doxxed and harassed the whistleblower. Elon Musk is having a real bad time right now.


Hey @Churba, did you see his shit-fight with Existential Comics a while back? He literally launched a rocket in-between replies. Pure gold.


I did, it was glorious. He’s had a few more since, too, though not featuring Elon for obvious reasons.

And of course, the follow-up comic.



Eh, I think we need to have a hard split between car-only roads and shared roads.

Interstates are a world where there should never be a pedestrian, and a pedestrian entering one is effectively always “at-fault.” They are analogous to train tracks. Self-driving cars, on these particular roads, should indeed be able to make assumptions about lawful/expected behavior.

A self-driving car on a regular (shared) road, however, must defer to even extremely erratic or illegal pedestrian/bike/etc… behavior.

I hope for a world where AI cars are the only cars allowed on freeways, even if it takes another several decades for them to be capable of safely driving on regular shared-access roads.


So like… interesting point. I agree, but at the same time, lets take a minute to think through the natural consequences of such a move. In like 99.99% of cases, yeah that’s fine. But what about the extraordinary times.

Think, ran out of gas, blew a tire or, one of the above and it’s real hot and you don’t have water. In those instances, I could potentially see a pedestrian on the interstate figuring out which exit is closest and beginning walking towards it. Obviously not like, ON the interstate, but alongside it.

In our, interstates are like traintracks world, are these dealt with? Ideally, they just like press a button on their phone and a new driverless car comes and picks them up, but lets just live in reality and say that’s probably not happening soon.

Not saying any of this is good or bad, just interesting implications.


That is true. We could probably make a car right now where you pull it onto a freeway and it does not allow you to control it. You just tell it what exit you want to get off at. Then when it actually exits it wakes you the fuck up and makes you drive.


Do you build cars for places where people actually follow the law, or for places where there is no law? Obviously you have to compromise somewhere in between.


I just had the thought of how do motorcycles fit in with the self driving systems of the future?


To be honest, if someone invented the motorcycle today and decided to ride it on freeways at 80mph, it would be banned sooo fast.

In a world where we are allowing self driving cars for safety reasons, we’d disallow motorcycles for the same reason.


I’m guessing the motorcycle would go the way of the non-self-driving car. For the racetrack, and other non roads only