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Is Elon Musk the greatest visionary or the greatest snake oil salesman of our age?

NoXion

oof
Also, to avoid misunderstandings, I don't think that there should be more spending (of money, resources, whatever) on space than on climate change. Retooling entire industries, transforming the energy economy, large-scale environmental programs etc are not going to drop out of the sky.
 

Nylock

I hate 'these days'...
its not either or

To clarify: personally speaking, I don't want space research and tech development binned in favour of sorting out the problems we face on earth, I just feel that at the moment if priority is to be assigned then it should be skewed towards sorting out environmental problems on earth and advancing clean energy capture and storage (as well as the previous stuff I'd mentioned). That way, when the funding pendulum swings back in favour of space tech, a whole raft of useful technologies will have been developed in advance :)
 

ferrelhadley

These violent delights have violent ends.
Action on climate change and space exploration are pretty much in zero competition with each other for funding, or for research effort. Space research has been a massive boost to climate research, two of the most prominent early voices for action on climate change came from planetary astronomy, James Hansen and Carl Sagan. Both were influenced by their research into Venus' atmosphere.
Space was a key impetus on the development of solar panels and early microprocessors.
We are massively dependent on a host of space technologies for our climate research including GPS and Earth observation satellites. If we cut down the number of launches, the cost per launch will jump up meaning climate research and meteorology will cost a lot more. And meteorological satellites save countless lives per year.

We do not need "more research" to fight climate change. We do not need new technologies, though they will help as they continue to arrive. We have the tools now to make the transition to a low carbon world. And in one of the biggest upsets in the history of industrialised society it looks like we are within a few years of onshore wind and solar pv becoming more economically competitive than fossil fuels in the best locations. The problems are political not space or astronomy or particle physics hoovering up all the money.

Our problem is political will and the huge money that goes into political pockets to bend that will.

Now back to regular programming.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know about this batteries deal Musk has made with an Australian state, something like if he does not deliver in 100 days they get the batteries for free?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
But isn't Musk's battery factory in California, these guys are in Australia, long way away especially for shipping big heavy things ..
 

Cid

嗯嗯
Yes, however that is say 10 days or 10% of his time available and he has to get the batteries to South Australia not Sydney.
Still only marginally more than 2 weeks at the lower speed (to Melbourne). And anyway I imagine the batteries are largely prefab things and reasonably simple to install once on site... So the time they spend sailing the Pacific will be spent doing whatever they need to do in terms of foundations and basic infrastructure.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Still only marginally more than 2 weeks at the lower speed (to Melbourne). And anyway I imagine the batteries are largely prefab things and reasonably simple to install once on site... So the time they spend sailing the Pacific will be spent doing whatever they need to do in terms of foundations and basic infrastructure.
Oh well, I suppose time will tell.
I know he made the offer but do we know that South Australia took him up on it?
 

DotCommunist

slowtime
I see has been in the news again today calling doom on AI. It would be amusing if he got the mars colony off the ground, populated it with all the randist alphas like himself and then the computer takes over and kills them all
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I see has been in the news again today calling doom on AI. It would be amusing if he got the mars colony off the ground, populated it with all the randist alphas like himself and then the computer takes over and kills them all
Seems quite a few peeps are warning on AI, and I agree .....
There is stuff to worry about ..
 

NoXion

oof
I think the issue with AI is less "OMG Skynet" and more "how the fuck can capitalism work when it demands both increasing automation and that people work for a living?".
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I think the issue with AI is less "OMG Skynet" and more "how the fuck can capitalism work when it demands both increasing automation and that people work for a living?".
I recently read an article that claimed robots would not do away with jobs, because they need educated workers to control and program them. Can't remember where I saw it now sadly. But the general consensus seems that robots will take jobs and if people don't have jobs they won't be able to buy things and hence doom both for them as individuals and to the economy as a whole.
 

NoXion

oof
I recently read an article that claimed robots would not do away with jobs, because they need educated workers to control and program them. Can't remember where I saw it now sadly. But the general consensus seems that robots will take jobs and if people don't have jobs they won't be able to buy things and hence doom both for them as individuals and to the economy as a whole.
Automation doesn't have to get rid of each and every job in order to fuck things up. It'll happen long before that.

Does permanent 50% unemployment under capitalism sound particularly stable to you?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Long time ago I used to sell stuff that was used in automation. Back then projects were relatively simple with some automation sharing production lines with workers - but often the customer's managements would fantasise about fully automated production lines.

One place I worked at they developed an automatic machine which could make something like 60 of an item per minute, (one a second), and totally untouched by human hand. At first when they were bedding it in, it produced scrap at that alarming rate and then absolute disaster struck, their single customer cancelled their order. Because the machine was dedicated, it could only make that particular item, it was immediately obsolete and the massive investment and effort that had been expended to develop the machine was lost.
 

NoXion

oof
Long time ago I used to sell stuff that was used in automation. Back then projects were relatively simple with some automation sharing production lines with workers - but often the customer's managements would fantasise about fully automated production lines.

One place I worked at they developed an automatic machine which could make something like 60 of an item per minute, (one a second), and totally untouched by human hand. At first when they were bedding it in, it produced scrap at that alarming rate and then absolute disaster struck, their single customer cancelled their order. Because the machine was dedicated, it could only make that particular item, it was immediately obsolete and the massive investment and effort that had been expended to develop the machine was lost.
I imagine retooling machinery is much easier these days, since I doubt that technology or design has stood still in the meantime.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I imagine retooling machinery is much easier these days, since I doubt that technology or design has stood still in the meantime.
Things have moved on indeed, people tend to use more flexible technologies these days which can be repurposed more easily.
 

DotCommunist

slowtime
CNC is a good example. I ran 6 machines with zero finishing and filing skills for the parts. They just get cut out and stacked up by the machine operator and given to a finisher who discards bad parts and files/finishes the good. Automation might not wipe out the entire workforce but it leads to de-skilling of the process (lower wages for the machine monkeys like myself) and inevitably less need for human beings except specialists
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
so one tender to 6 machines where once there was 7 jobs.
Yes, depressing innit.

High labour content stuff gets exported to China or somewhere with low labour rates.

But automation is capital spend so it should suit places with good costs of capital, i.e. it could work here still with some jobs for engineers and machine tenders.
 

cupid_stunt

Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.
I used to think that Branston was an overrated braggart, but Musk has his own space programme his overrated motor cars, his giant solar powered shed and now has visions of drilling tunnels at minimal cost and great speed under Los Angeles. Investors seem to love him and throw money at his projects. I think it will all end in tears.

Ted 2017: Elon Musk's vision for underground road system - BBC News
Ironic you should mention Branston in the OP, because Branson's Virgin invests in Hyperloop One
 
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weltweit

Well-Known Member
I am sure when I was a kid there was a TV program in which a rocket ship took off and landed how SpaceX rockets do it. I think Musk just watched that same program and that is where he got his idea!
 
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