Oh hey look, it’s just Elon Musk making the future awesome again, as usual:
Can you hear it, that slight whirr in the distance? That’s the future, and it’s coming today.
I am excited.
Today the world is introduced to the Tesla Model 3.
For those who I haven’t yet proselytised to, the Model 3 is Tesla Motors foray into the affordable electric car market. Previously Tesla has only made high-performance roadsters, luxury sedans, and a newly released luxury SUV; all running on their excellent electric powertrain. But Tesla’s long-term plan has always been to get in a position to create an affordable electric car for the masses. Indeed one of the things I love about Elon Musk (founder/CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX) is that he always has such grand plans for his businesses. It’s not just about making cars or going to space; it’s about the future of mankind. Just look at Tesla Motors official business goal:
To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.
Note that it isn’t just about them making the best electric car (though they do), but rather about bringing about a future where everyone drives electric cars, because that’s what all the car companies make. And while some may doubt the seemingly altruistic (and possibly self-detrimental) goal of this ambitious company as mere spin, the fact that Tesla recently made their patents available for anyone to use should help sway any doubts.
I have been fully wrapped up in Musk-mania this past year, telling anyone who will listen to me about how not only is Elon Musk objectively the coolest guy alive right now, but how his companies Tesla and SpaceX are going to change the world. The unveiling of Telsa’s Model 3 has always been a game changing point when I have talked to people. Watch this space, I would say, because when it happens it could possibly change the way the world looks at cars.
Well now it is happening, and I am brimming with excitement.
And I’m not the only one, for a couple of days now people having been lining up at the Tesla stores in Melbourne and Sydney just for the chance to pre-order a car that not only probably won’t be available for another two years, but one that they haven’t even seen yet! Just look at one of the lines currently snaking its way from a store in America; people are excited.
But hey, you don’t have to look far to find rabid Tesla fans on the internet, and clearly I am one of them. I am one of those tragics who has been following Tesla for years, despite their cars being well out of my price range. Multiple times I have gone to the Tesla website, customised my Model S, and stared longingly at the electric future that was just out of my grasp.
The best I have managed is to slowly buy myself some Tesla shares in the hope that one day, I can transform them into a portion of my very own kick arse electric car. But until then I will have to make do with my little Model S Hot Wheels, taking pride of place next to my alarmed Spiderman toy, and my Van Gough cow.
But the Model 3 is bringing this future tantalisingly close. I can actually see myself being able to buy one of these cars in the 6 or so years that have to pass before my family needs a new set of wheels, so for a future that seemingly assured I am willing to wait.
Also in some weird quirk of cosmic coincidence, the price of my tesla shares, converted into Australian dollars, just happens to equal exactly $300.000 at the moment:
Quite fitting for the debut of the Model 3
Tesla Model 3, trust me, this is going to be a changing point in the history of the motor vehicle.
Book 12 for 2016: Superintelligence
I have had this book waiting in my kindle all year, but it seems so daunting being written by a philosopher, and tackling some heady issues. Thus I had been picking some easier reads instead of delving in.
I have to say though, I do like the grand nature of the issue being tackled. Sure it may sound like science fiction, but if we are indeed working towards artificial intelligence, even a little, then this is clearly an issue, and a possible threat, that we need to be devoting our time to understanding.
So while the book itself may not solve any of the problems it elucidates, indeed many of these problems may never even come to be true, it is nevertheless a worthwhile undertaking simply to try and wrap our heads around the idea of Superintelligence, and how it will impact humanity.
It reminds me of one of my favourite Bertrand Russell quotes, where the philosopher explains why he thinks philosophy is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s worth reading, despite it being one of the largest sentences I can recall reading (it has two semicolons!):
“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.” – Bertrand Russell, Problems of Philosophy
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