Elon Musk Speaks at AI Day 2022: Optimus Wears a Giga Texas “Don’t Mess With Tesla” Belt Buckle

Optimus robot wears the Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle. credit, Tesla.

Elon Musk is leading Tesla towards a bright future where the company is just as much an artificial intelligence company as it is a vehicle and energy company. 

Elon spoke Friday evening on September 30 at Tesla AI Day 2022 in Palo Alto, California and he introduced the world to an Optimus robot wearing a Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle. The belt buckle was first seen at the October 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders in which it was used to announce the moving of the Tesla HQ from California to Austin, Texas.

Elon’s unveiling of the new Optimus is also worth a big celebration, so it is appropriate the robot wears the belt buckle. This article highlights,

  • Optimus is designed to be useful, affordable, and made at scale
  • Optimus has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance
  • Tesla is structured so the public can ensure a safe future in regards to Optimus
  • A technical presentation followed by a Q & A reveals more about Optimus

Optimus: Useful, affordable, and made at scale

Elon Musk explains,

“Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible and we’ve also designed it using the same discipline that we used in designing the car, which is to design it for manufacturing such that it’s possible to make the robot at high volume at low cost, with high reliability.

That’s incredibly important, I mean, you’ve all seen very impressive humanoid robot demonstrations and that’s great but what are they missing?

They’re missing a brain and they don’t have the intelligence to navigate the world by themselves and they’re also very expensive and made in low volume, whereas Optimus is designed to be an extremely capable robot but made in very high volume, probably ultimately millions of units and it is expected to cost much less than a car.

I would say, probably less than $20,000, would be my guess.

The potential for Optimus is appreciated by very few people.” – Elon Musk

Optimus has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance

One day our civilization may be one of great abundance, as Elon Musk explains,

“The potential really boggles the mind, because you have to say what is an economy?

An economy is sort of productive entities times their productivity.

Capita times output, productivity per capita. But the point at which there’s not a limitation on capita, it’s not clear what an economy even means at that point!

Economy becomes quasi-infinite. So, taken to fruition, in the hopefully benign scenario, this means a future of abundance.

A future where there is no poverty, where you can have whatever you want in terms of products and services.

It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.” – Elon Musk

Tesla is structured so the public can ensure a safe future in regards to Optimus

This important issue was emphasized by Elon Musk,

“Obviously, we want to make sure that transformation is a positive one, and safe.

But that’s also why I think Tesla, as an entity doing this, being a single class of stock publicly traded owned by the public is very important and should not be overlooked.

I think this is essential, because then, if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy shares in Tesla, and vote differently.

This is a big deal, like, it’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. It’s very important that the corporate entity that makes this happen, is something that the public can properly influence.

So I think the Tesla structure is ideal for that. Like I said, self-driving cars will certainly have a tremendous impact on the world.

I think they will improve the productivity of transport by at least a half order of magnitude, perhaps an order of magnitude, perhaps more.

Optimus has maybe a two order of magnitude potential improvement in economic output. It’s not clear what the limit actually even is. But we need to do this in the right way. We need to do it carefully, and safely and ensure that the outcome is one that is beneficial to civilization and one that humanity wants.

This is extremely important, obviously.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk also explained to the audience that, 

“At Tesla, we really care about doing the right thing or are inspired to do the right thing, and really not pave the road to hell with good intentions and I think the road to hell is mostly paved with bad intentions, but every now and again, there’s a good intention in there.

We want to do the right thing.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Optimus humanoid robot. credit, Tesla.

A technical presentation followed by a Q & A reveals more about Optimus

You can watch the presentation on Tesla YouTube, and it may be best watched in parts as it is highly technical.

Prior to questions and answers from the audience, Elon explained,

“We really wanted to show the depth and breadth of Tesla and artificial intelligence, compute hardware, robotics actuators, and try to really shift the perception of the company away from … you know a lot of people think we’re just a car company, or we make cool cars, or whatever.

Most people have no idea that Tesla is arguably the leader in AI hardware and software and that we are building what is arguably the first, the most radical computer architecture since the Cray-1 supercomputer.

I think if you’re interested in developing some of the most advanced technology in the world that’s going to affect the world in a positive way, Tesla is the place to be.” – Elon Musk

Many interesting points were made during the 40-minute Q & A session, including,

  • There will be endless possibilities for Optimus, many different versions are planned
  • You will be able to have a conversation with Optimus
  • As a safety precaution, Optimus will not have over-the-air updates.  Optimus will have a safety off-switch
  • Optimus should be ready for customers in 3-5 years
  • Tesla may begin a monthly podcast to explain what is going on behind the scenes
Tesla Optimus humanoid robot. credit, Tesla.

CONCLUSION

The incredible new Tesla Optimus robot (wearing the Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle!) was unveiled on Tesla AI Day 2022 and it aims to be very affordable, made to a massive scale, and also very useful.

It has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance.

To ensure this is done right, Elon Musk explained that, “Obviously, we want to make sure that transformation is a positive one, and safe. But that’s also why I think Tesla, as an entity doing this, being a single class of stock publicly traded owned by the public is very important and should not be overlooked. I think this is essential, because then, if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy shares in Tesla, and vote differently. This is a big deal, like, it’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. It’s very important that the corporate entity that makes this happen, is something that the public can properly influence. So I think the Tesla structure is ideal for that.”

How do you think an Optimus Robot could make your life more abundant?

Big Sur Drive, California. credit,  Iris Papillon on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like,

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future Elon Musk is optimistic, lives with a sense of urgency, and takes action daily to make the future good. His essay is an inspiration to all people, and here he talks about exciting uses for the Optimus humanoid robot!

Who will Benefit once Tesla Autonomy is Solved? I believe a world where autonomy is the norm is closer than we realize.  This article attempts to answer the question, who will benefit once Tesla autonomy is solved? 

If You Haven’t Used Autopilot Yet, Why Not? (3 Essentials) This article is for everyone who has ever thought, “I love my Tesla, but I will never do Autopilot, it’s too scary.”  I am with you, it can be scary. 

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – October 2, 2022. All Rights Reserved. 

Elon Musk Conversation with Reporters (Only 4 minutes long and packed with information)

Elon Musk with reporters, Stavenger, Norway. credit video image from TV 2 Norway.

You may notice that it is rare for Elon Musk to talk with reporters.  In a gesture of love for Norway and it’s people, he stopped and had an informal conversation with reporters outside under the beautiful trees on his way into the ONS 2022 Conference (on August 29, in Stavanger). Here is the conversation and major highlights. I also share my informal outlook at the end of the article.

  • Gratitude from Elon Musk to Tesla owners in Norway
  • Why we need to maintain oil and gas production 
  • Is it possible for Norway to produce more wind and hydropower?
  • Norway possibly storing wind power from North Sea in large battery packs 
  • World’s Biggest Challenges: Underpopulation and transition to sustainable energy
  • Underpopulation is at a crisis level

Elon Musk visits Norway to show appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles

Elon Musk: Hello everyone, I look forward to speaking today.

Reporter: Why did you come to Stavanger?

Elon Musk: Actually I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles. I wanted to say thank you to the people of Norway for their tremendous support for sustainable transport over the many years. 

Reporter: What’s your message for today?

Elon Musk: Actually I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles. I think I’m going to maybe answer some questions and provide some ideas for the transition to a sustainable energy world, But, like I said, the reason that I’m here is in appreciation for the support that the people of Norway have provided for electric vehicles, so once again, thank you very much for that! 

Civilization depends on energy and would crumble without it

Reporter: What do you think about the oil and gas now? Should we use it?

Elon Musk: I think, realistically, we do need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise, civilization would crumble. So, in order for civilization to continue to function, we do need oil and gas. And I think actually, especially these days, with the Russia sanctions, we do need to provide oil and gas to keep civilization running. I think any reasonable person would conclude that. While at the same time accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.

Winters in Norway may benefit from stationary battery packs storing wind, hydropower

Reporter: So, Norway should explore more?

Elon Musk: I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time, and also continue to support the transition to electric vehicles.

I was sort of wondering if it’s possible for Norway to produce more perhaps hydropower, and wind power as well? And potentially export that to Southern Europe?

But overall, I’m very glad to be here and I’m looking forward to a lovely day, and I always have a great time here in Norway.

Reporter: Would you consider yourself endorsing oil and gas?

Elon Musk: No, ha ha, I’ve got to focus on sustainable energy, electric vehicles, stationary battery packs, and solar.

But, one of the things I was wondering, is if there might be sort of the North Sea, places where it’s very windy, there might be a potential for a tremendous amount of wind power.  And then, when combined with stationary battery packs, this could be a very strong sustainable energy source in the winter. So, that seems like something that would be worth exploring as well.

Reporter: You were here in 2014, what is the biggest difference now?

Elon Musk: I don’t know, Norway looks great, ha ha! I mean I just got here, so… I don’t know, I love Norway, it’s a great place! 

World’s Biggest Challenges: Underpopulation crisis and transition to sustainable energy

Elon Musk also met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on the sidelines of the ONS 2022 Conference. credit The Brussels Times

Reporter: What is the biggest challenge for the world right now?

Elon Musk: Definitely, one of the biggest challenges that civilization has ever faced, is the transition to sustainable energy.  And having a sustainable energy economy, so obviously, we’ve got that. But that will take some decades to complete.

And then one of my sort of less obvious things to be concerned about, is the birth rate. You know, I think it’s important that people have enough babies to support civilization. and we don’t sort of dwindle away. Because they say like, civilization may end with a bang or a whimper. and if we don’t have enough kids, then we will die with a whimper in adult diapers. and that will be depressing, and… 

Reporter: So make more babies?

Elon Musk: Yes, make more babies! At least make enough babies to sustain the population. you know, we don’t want the population to drive so low that we just eventually die, you know? haha 

Sorry, I’ve got to go inside guys. 

Reporter: Energy crisis, climate crisis, and also the war crisis?

Elon Musk: And the baby crisis! Let’s not forget the baby crisis. 

Reporter: More babies means more demand for energy.

Elon Musk: Trust me, the baby crisis is a big deal.

Elon then said goodbye to the press and was soon talking to Xenia Wickett inside at the ONS 2022 Conference.  You may enjoy that interview here, on Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview)

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk at ONS 2022 Conference. credit Twitter user @kapsarc

Norway is a leader in the support of EVs. On his way to the ONS 2022 Conference, Elon Musk expressed gratitude for this, saying “I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles.” Norway has promoted EVs by giving certain benefits at different times to EV owners. (These have included lowering taxes on EVs, some free parking and toll road access for EV owners.) About 75% of NEW cars sold in Norway are electric and most are Teslas. Tesla vehicles are also known to perform well in cold weather.

I agree that keeping civilization running smoothly depends on energy, and today that has to include gas and oil.  Norway currently supplies about 22% of the EU’s natural gas demand using subsea pipelines.  Elon Musk said he does not specifically endorse this, and said more exploration is warranted due to the Russian sanctions.  He did emphasize that he wonders if Norway could produce more hydropower and windpower and export that to Southern Europe. He also said that stationary battery packs could store wind power from the North Sea and that could provide Norway with power in the winter. 

When asked what is the biggest challenge for the world right now, Elon spoke about both the transition to sustainable energy and underpopulation.  He said, “Definitely, one of the biggest challenges that civilization has ever faced, is the transition to sustainable energy.”

For the last 70 years, fertility rates have significantly decreased worldwide, with a total 50% decline, according to numbers from Our World in Data. Elon spoke with conviction about the low birth rate, saying “I think it’s important that people have enough babies to support civilization. and we don’t sort of dwindle away.” He later called it a baby crisis and urged people not to forget that the baby crisis is a big deal.  I agree with Elon Musk and hope to offer my personal encouragement in a future article, written from the viewpoint of a mom with 5 kids.

If this topic interests you, you may also read  Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

Watch the video of Elon Musk talking to reporters here. (credit, Tesla Hype)

Tesla Model 3 | Norway by Minimal Duck.
Boats in the harbor of Stavenger, Norway on the day of ONS 2022 and Elon Musk’s arrival, credit Juliet Dunlop.

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to preserve this interview in text or written form for the purpose of 1. education and 2. preserving the brilliant insight and words of Elon Musk. All Rights Reserved. September 11, 2022

Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview)

Arriving to Norway: Elon Musk on way to ONS 2022 Conference. cr. Jarle Aasland / Stavanger Aftenblad

Elon Musk spoke at the ONS 2022 Conference in Norway in a less than 25-minute interview with Xenia Wickett. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have, its packed with so much important information. Elon got to the main points quickly, making this a fabulous interview.

Main Points in Interview

  • Thoughts About Trust (Twitter)
  • Taking The Set Of Actions That Are Most Likely To Lead To A Better Future
  • 3 Pillars Of A Sustainable Energy Future: Sustainable Energy Generation, Stationary Battery Packs, Electric Vehicles
  • Sustainable Rocket Propellant
  • Looking Years Ahead At The Auto Industry
  • What Are The Limiting Factors Governing The Rate At Which We Can Transition To Sustainable Energy?
  • Update On Master Plan Part 3
  • Is There A Limiting Function To The Transition To Sustainable Energy?
  • China, Gigafactory Expansion, The Fundamental Good Of Tesla
  • Approach To Risk, The Riskiest Thing Is No Action 
  • Ukraine
  • Caution in Developing Artificial Intelligence
  • Two Goals: Starship To Orbit And Self-Driving Cars 
August 29, 2022 Elon Musk speaks at ONS Conference, Stavanger, Norway in an Interview with Xenia Wickett.

Of course, Elon started out warmly thanking the Norwegian people,

“Thank you for inviting me and it’s an incredible honor to be here. I love Norway. And I just want to thank the leaders and the people of Norway for their long-standing support of electric vehicles and sustainable energy. I just want the people of Norway to know, that hey you have really made a difference. So thank you!”

Thoughts About Trust (Twitter)

In response to “what do you think about trust?“ Elon said,

“That’s really quite a philosophical question, and one could wax on at length about that. (laughter asking if talking about Twitter?)  I do think, with respect to information, generally, people want to know that the information they are receiving is accurate, that it is representative of the full picture, and they want to be able to believe what they read and not feel that it’s overly biased or at least understand the nature of the bias.

I think one of the key things to trust is transparency, and for people to really know or understand, if it’s a social media company, what the algorithm is. We should open-source the algorithm so people can know it and critique it, and so it’s not a black box. And then if there are any modifications done by people who are at that social media company, it should be clear and transparent, so it’s not hidden.

I believe in the free flow of ideas, and just generally erring on the side of free speech, within the boundaries of the law. You can’t go beyond that without being arrested I think.”

Set Of Actions That Are Most Likely To Lead To A Better Future

Elon Musk and Prime Minister (Jonas Gahr Støre) have lunch together at ONS. cr. Bjørn Shaogon / VG

“I don’t aim to disrupt for the sake of disrupting. It’s more like, what set of actions are more likely to lead to a better future? In order for humanity to have a compelling future for civilization, we must have a clear path to a sustainable energy future. That’s one of the things that I think everyone would agree with. I am not someone who would tend to demonize oil and gas, to be clear. This is necessary right now or civilization could not function. So I do think at this time, we actually need more oil and gas and not less. But simultaneously, moving as fast as we can to a sustainable energy economy.  I thought the words of the Prime Minister were spot on. I am glad to hear that there is a large effort for ocean wind. That’s a massive untapped potential. I would say go even more than what the Prime Minister said frankly, I mean if you did a 100 x 100 array, of 10 MW systems, you would have 100-gigawatt capability. And then, you do need to combine that with stationary storage battery packs to buffer the energy, because sometimes the wind blows and sometimes it doesn’t blow, or it just blows hard. So you need to buffer it with stationary battery packs. Tesla and other companies are also making that.”

3 Pillars of Sustainable Energy Future: Sustainable Energy Generation, Stationary Battery Packs, Electric Vehicles

“The three pillars of a sustainable energy future are sustainable energy generation, which is hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar.  I’m also pro-nuclear. I think we should really keep going with the nuclear plants. I know it’s an unpopular view in some quarters, and I think if you have a well-designed nuclear power plant, you should not shut it down. Especially right now.

But I try to say what I think is scientifically cogent, even if it is not popular. So the pillars are sustainable energy generation, but then you must also store the energy. The two main sources of sustainable energy, wind and solar, are intermittent, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. So you must buffer the energy in stationary battery packs. And then the third element obviously is electric vehicles. Electric cars, trucks, aircraft, boats. with the ironic exception of rockets.”

Sustainable Rocket Propellant

“We do have a plan for sustainably producing the rocket propellant, which is actually, almost 80% liquid oxygen. So liquid oxygen you can get obviously from the atmosphere. And then we are going with Methane fuel, which is 20% of the propellant, but that you can make also sustainably long term from CO2 and water, H2O which produces CH₄ and O₂ so that’s the sustainable long-term path for rocket propellant generation and that’s how it would have to be done on Mars, for example. 

We do actually have some sustainable power generation for some of our propellant generation already, but it’s a small percentage now but will be a big percentage in the future.”

Car Industry Moving Rapidly Towards Electric

“I think we’ll see tremendous change over the next 5, 10, or 15 years. By 2030, I would say probably about half of all new cars will be electric. By 2035, it might be 80% or something like that. It could be even higher than those numbers, but the car industry is moving rapidly towards electric.

One country after another, and one state after another is making zero-emission mandates. California recently passed, I think, by 2035 all new cars can only be zero emission. So, clearly, the people of the earth, decided this is the way to go.

So we’ll see quite a tremendous change in that regard and if you look at Norway you will see kind of an advanced version of that because Norway has some of the highest, I believe Norway has gone to the majority are electric vehicles of new cars sold, which is great. Again, thank you! So, it’s pretty cool! (applause)”

What Are The Limiting Factors Governing Rate At Which We Can Transition To Sustainable Energy?

“What are the limiting factors governing the rate at which the world can transition to sustainable energy? I think it’s the rate at which one can grow battery production. So then, if you say, what are the constituents in the battery, in lithium-ion batteries? You’ve obviously got lithium, you’ve got the cathode, which is the main cathode materials are going to be metal, and that’s nickel, manganese, and iron. And on the anode side, it’s primarily carbon and graphite. So, in a sense, you’re sequestering a little bit of carbon in the battery, with some silicone added for energy density on the anode side. And then there’s the electrolytes and whatnot.

The main limitations are not that these metals are exceptionally rare, but that there’s a tremendous amount of processing equipment to take the ore and turn it into battery-grade materials. Because the battery grade anode and cathode have to be extremely pure in order for the battery to last for a long time. So, it’s sort of processing of those elements.”

Update on Master Plan Part 3

“I’m sort of writing this master plan part three, which is, what are the steps needed to scale sustainable energy, again, what are the limiting factors? And how can we potentially accelerate these? So hopefully, I’ll finish that in a month or two.”

In response to Xenis’s question, Can you give us a preview, what are the big steps, what are the gating functions? Elon said,

 “Well, the materials that I mentioned are really essential. There’s not a raw material constraint, there’s actually a tremendous amount of Lithium.  Lithium is almost everywhere, it’s one of the most common elements on earth, so is Iron, and so is Carbon. On the Iron you usually combine Phosphorus, so it’s Iron Phosphate (FePO4). So that will probably be the biggest chemistry that’s used.  It’s not so much the raw materials as it is converting the raw materials into the highly purified form used in batteries. There’s a tremendous amount of processing that needs to happen for that at the sort of scale that is currently, you know, comparable to the oil and gas industry. The scale is just tremendous. So this is all happening, it’s happening fast. It’s just a question of what we could do to accelerate that, to go even faster. So this is happening, it’s just a question of when.”

Is There A Limiting Function To The Transition To Sustainable Energy?

Elon explains that he does not see a limiting function to the transition to sustainable energy, he explains it this way,

“I don’t see a limiting function, it’s really just, what actions can we take to have it be faster? And it’s going to be, increasing the rate at which we can convert the ore into battery-grade materials. hat will set the rate at which we can build electric vehicles and stationary battery packs to capture solar and wind.

What I’m saying, is this is an optimistic and positive message. I’m not suggesting at all, complacency. But just saying that things are moving in a good direction, and but obviously if we can make them go even faster that’s better.”

China, Gigafactory Expansion, The Fundamental Good Of Tesla

“Tesla is actually investing in production in China. so we have a large factory in Shanghai that we are continuing to expand outward and invest in the factory. We’re also investing in Europe with our factory just outside of Berlin. and in the US, with our factory just outside of Austin. [note: pictures of Austin factories appear at bottom of this article] We hope to announce a location for another Gigafactory perhaps later this year. So we’re going as fast as we can. 

I’ve always said that the, I would say when you look at Tesla, the fundamental good that Tesla does, I think, sometimes it’s by profit, but rather by how many years will Tesla have accelerated the transition to sustainable energy? This is how I think one should look at it. 

I think we have accelerated it to some degree already. You know, I think if it wasn’t for Tesla, the car industry would have transitioned to EVs much later.

It is an exponential curve, yes. Most people don’t know what an exponential curve means, but it’s a (moves hand in the upward direction). I think things are improving exponentially with respect to sustainable energy. but if we can make it go faster, all the better.

What will actually happen is, the transition from, it’s following an S curve. So you have an exponential increase, then linear, then logarithmic. (points hand into the air) that’s basically how any large industrial transition happens.”

Approach To Risk, The Riskiest Thing Is No Action

“I don’t sort of like, just arbitrarily seek risk. I think some things are risky, but if the stakes are important enough then you take the risk. (applause). The stakes are extremely important. Very fundamental to the future.

I think there are probably a lot of people in this room that do take a lot of risks. I literally just try to use the scientific method, frankly. What is the importance of the outcome? What is one risking, in order to achieve that outcome? Like I said, if the outcome is important enough, even if the probability of success is low, I think, still do it, in my view, some things are very important, and in order to have a good future, if we don’t do them then we are in big trouble, and so how much of a risk really is it? Because if we don’t take those actions we won’t have a good future. I think the riskiest thing would be no action.” 

Ukraine

“We did have some guess that maybe there would be something happening in Ukraine, and so we did pre-position some STARLINK terminals there, just in case. And so that was helpful for the initial part of the invasion. And then we accelerated delivery of a lot of terminals within a few days of the invasion taking place and then the Ukrainian government tells me it’s been very helpful.

I do hope some peace can be achieved in Ukraine and Russia. I do think some thought should be given to, what’s the endgame there. I think the endgame will require some compromise on the part of both parties.”

Caution in Developing Artificial Intelligence

“Tesla‘s goal, from when we started it, has always been to accelerate sustainability, so that is still our primary goal by far. Our secondary goal is to solve at least real-world intelligence as it applies to self-driving cars, and then potentially with humanoid robots, so Tesla is in part an AI company and increasingly an AI company but it’s still primarily a sustainable energy company. I don’t think we need AI to solve sustainability. If that is happening, it might help us accelerate it. 

I think we should also be cautious about AI, and just make sure that as we develop AI, that it does not get out of control, and that AI helps make the future better for humanity. 

I think we should be more worried about AI‘s safety than we currently are. Especially, the future wars are going to be (and we’re seeing a taste of that with Ukraine), very much, drone wars. So if your drones are better than their drones, then you win, basically, it’s what will happen.”

Two Goals: Starship To Orbit And Self-Driving Cars 

In response to the closing question, “what keeps you up at night?” Elon stated,

“I’m fundamentally a technologist, it’s kind of important, or an engineer, so, yes sometimes people call me a businessman, I have to do business, I have to have a group of people because I can’t just do this in a garage by myself.

But, I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on trying to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond Earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars be able to do self-driving. So have self-driving in wide release at least In the USA, and hopefully, potentially in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.”

CONCLUSION

Some of the main points made by Elon Musk in the Norway interview that really caught my attention:

  • Twitter algorithm should be open-source, and Elon believes in the free flow of ideas and free speech.
  • Elon explains that in order for humanity to have a compelling future for civilization, we must have a clear path to a sustainable energy future. 
  • When asked what are the limiting factors governing the rate at which we can transition to sustainable energy?  Elon explains that Lithium, Iron and Carbon are plentiful.   He says, “The main limitations are not that these metals are exceptionally rare, but that there’s a tremendous amount of processing equipment to take the ore and turn it into battery-grade materials. Because the battery grade anode and cathode have to be extremely pure in order for the battery to last for a long time. So, it’s sort of processing of those elements.”
  • Similarly, Elon was asked again if there is a limiting function to the transition to sustainable energy, and he explains, “I don’t see a limiting function, it’s really just, what actions can we take to have it be faster? And it’s going to be, increasing the rate at which we can convert the ore into battery-grade materials. That will set the rate at which we can build electric vehicles and stationary battery packs to capture solar and wind.”
  • We are moved to action by Elon’s explanation of risk: He says, “Like I said, if the outcome is important enough, even if the probability of success is low, I think, still do it, in my view. some things are very important, and in order to have a good future, if we don’t do them then we are in big trouble, and so how much of a risk really is it? Because if we don’t take those actions we won’t have a good future. I think the riskiest thing would be no action.”
  • If you know Elon, he has warned us all about the dangers of AI many times before. Here is expresses great concern over developing artificial intelligence in the context of war.  He cautions, “I think we should be more worried about AI’s safety than we currently are. Especially, the future wars are going to be (and we’re seeing a taste of that with the Ukraine), very much, drone wars. So if your drones are better than their drones, then you win, basically, it’s what will happen.” 
  • As the world’s Technoking, Elon explains he is most driven to get Starship to orbit this year and have Tesla cars be able to do self-driving.  “But, I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on trying to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond Earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars be able to do self-driving.”
Tesla Gigafactory near Austin, cathode plant seen in the distance at 12 o’clock. September 3, 2022. cr. Joe Tegtmeyer
Tesla builds massive battery cathode plant next to Gigafactory Texas near Austin, Sept 3 cr. Tegtmeyer

Enjoy this article?
You might also like to read,
Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation
which is a highly acclaimed article
published on July 9, 2022.

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to preserve this interview in text or written form for the purpose of 1. education and 2. preserving the brilliant insight and words of Elon Musk. All Rights Reserved. September 4, 2022

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future

Elon Musk, Legendary Bomber Jacket, Gigafactory Texas, August 19, 2022. credit: Gail Alfar

It’s mid-August and school is starting up for many and this is a great time to read this inspiring essay by Elon Musk.

I hope you’ll relax with me and have a snack & a cold drink, may I suggest a KIND bar and a Coke Zero? This is what I enjoyed at Giga Texas right before briefly meeting Elon Musk and going on a tour of the gigafactory with brilliant Tesla engineers. I can tell you that after meeting Elon Musk, what he shares on Twitter is essentially the same as he talks about when meeting. He spoke about how important it is to get Starship into orbit and how important solving autonomy is.

I asked Elon if it was okay for me to take his picture, “Aren’t there already enough of me?”, “No, there isn’t one of you like this, alone, with Giga Texas in the background.”

Elon Musk is optimistic, lives with a sense of urgency, and takes action daily to make the future good. Yang Liu gave me permission to re-post this from his substack, Beijing Channel. 请用中文查看整篇文章。点击这里。 Elon Musk recognized Liu’s work in a tweet, “Reasonably accurate translation.”

BELIEVING IN TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER FUTURE 相信科技创造美好未来

Thank you for the invitation from China Cyberspace magazine. I am pleased to share with my Chinese friends some of my thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity.

As technology accelerates, it may one day surpass human understanding and control. Some are optimistic and some are pessimistic. But I believe that as long as we are not complacent and always maintain a sense of urgency, the future of humanity will be bright, driven by the power of technology. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: if humans want to make the future good, they should take action to make it good.

I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity. To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.

Whether it’s Tesla, Neuralink, or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of enhancing the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible—Tesla to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX for making interstellar connections possible.

CLEAN ENERGY: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Tesla Megapack and Solar. credit: Tesla

The starting point for my thinking about clean energy is how to create and store energy sustainably and for the long term, and how to provide a constant source of power for the future of productive life. In my view, the future of sustainable energy involves three components.

The generation of sustainable energy. The sun is like a giant fusion generator, from which mankind currently exploits a tiny amount of energy. In the long run, solar energy will become the main source of energy for human civilization. Of course, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear power are also useful energy supplements.

The storage of sustainable energy. Given the change of day and night and the change of weather, we need a lot of fixed battery banks to store solar and wind energy, because the sun does not shine all the time, and the wind does not blow all the time, energy needs to be stored in a large number of fixed battery banks.

Electrified transportation. Full electrification of transportation, including cars, planes, and ships. Electric rockets may be more difficult, but we may be able to manufacture the propellant used in rockets from sustainable energy sources. Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.

The world is on track for a sustainable energy transition, and humanity should continue to accelerate the process. The faster this transition is achieved, the less risk humanity poses to the environment and the more it will gain. When clean energy is available, carbon sequestration and desalination will be cheaper, climate change and water shortages will be solved, and when fossil fuels are out of the picture, the skies will be cleaner, the world will be quieter, the air will be fresher, and the future will be brighter.

Tesla Solar Roof. credit: Tesla

Solar power, battery packs, and electric vehicles paint a rosy picture. Next, we need to focus on the limiting factors. The electrification of cars has become a consensus among nations, but battery support on a terawatt-hour scale is needed to roll out pure electric vehicles around the globe. According to our estimates, the world needs about 300 TWh of battery storage to achieve a transition to sustainable energy. The biggest difficulty in advancing sustainable energy lies in the large-scale production of lithium battery cells. Specifically, from the mining and element refining to battery cells coming off of the production line and finally assembled into battery packs, this is a complex process that is restraining the rapid development of a sustainable energy economy.

As a pioneer and innovator focusing on energy innovation technology, Tesla was founded to solve the problem of energy innovation. On the one hand, we create integrated sustainable energy products from the three segments of energy: production, storage and use; on the other hand, we are committed to redefining battery manufacturing by innovating and developing advanced battery technology to remove restrictions on battery capacity.

I believe that the world will transition to a sustainable future through a combination of solar and wind energy plus battery storage and electric vehicles. I am pleased to see more and more companies joining this field. Chinese companies will be a force to be reckoned with in the cause of energy innovation.

HUMANOID ROBOTS: DOING WHAT HUMANS DO

Tesla humanoid robot prototype, Tesla Bot. credit: Barbara @bmt094

Today’s cars are increasingly like smart, web-connected robots on wheels. In fact, in addition to cars, humanoid robots are also becoming a reality, with Tesla launching a general-purpose humanoid robot (Tesla Bot) in 2021. The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people. You may wonder why we designed this robot with legs. Because human society is based on the interaction of a bipedal humanoid with two arms and ten fingers. So if we want a robot to adapt to its environment and be able to do what humans do, it has to be roughly the same size, shape, and capabilities as a human.

Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly.

Achieving this goal requires that robots evolve to be smart enough and for us to have the ability to mass produce robots. Our “four-wheeled robots” – cars – have changed the way people travel and even live. One day when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (i.e., real-world artificial intelligence), we will be able to extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have a much broader application than cars.

We plan to launch the first prototype of a humanoid robot this year and focus on improving the intelligence of that robot and solving the problem of large-scale production. Thereafter, humanoid robots’ usefulness will increase yearly as production scales up and costs fall. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Perhaps in less than a decade, people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday gift.

It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only scarcity that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.

NEURALINK: EMPOWERING THE DISABLED

Image credit: Neuralink

Some of our Chinese friends may not be as familiar with Neuralink as with electric cars. These companies focus on developing computer-human brain fusion technologies, developing brain chips the size of coins, similar to wearable devices such as smartphones, except that they integrate more deeply with the user’s body—recording and stimulating brain activity through implants in the cerebral cortex.

At this stage, the technology is helping injured people on an individual level. We have received many saddening letters: a 25-year-old young man was in the prime of his life when he had a motorcycle accident that left him unable to eat on his own, which is a great grief for the individual and the family. In light of this, brain-machine interface technology will be focused on curing or alleviating brain injury and other related disorders in the years to come. For example, it could help restore sensory or motor function to limbs of those with spinal injuries and mental system disorders or allow quadriplegics to use their brains to easily operate computers or cell phones.

This technology can also improve a wider range of brain injury problems, whether these disorders are congenital or accidental, or caused by age and external stressors, including severe depression, morbid obesity, sleep problems, and underlying schizophrenia, all of which are expected to be alleviated by human-computer devices.

With the development of brain-machine interface technology, in the long term, this connection is expected to expand the channels of communication between the outside world and the human brain, “accessing” more brain regions and new neural data. This technology could allow humans to effectively integrate with artificial intelligence and ultimately expand new ways for humans to interact with the world, themselves and others. Even if the goal of human-machine integration is difficult to achieve, brain-machine interface technology could be of great value in the field of medical rehabilitation.

SPACE EXPLORATION: THE POSSIBILITY OF CROSS-PLANET HABITATS

SpaceX team, Starship, and booster in Starbase, Texas, Feb 16, 2022. credit Austin Barnard

Finally, my greatest hope is that humans create a self-sustaining city on Mars. Many people ask me why I want to explore outer space and turn humans into multi-planetary creatures. In the vast universe, human civilization is like a faint little candle, like a little shimmering light in the void. When the sun expands one day and the Earth is no longer habitable, we can fly to a new home in a spaceship. If humans can inhabit other planets, it means that they have passed one of the conditions of the great screening of the universe, then we will become interplanetary citizens, and human civilization will be able to continue.

The first step toward interplanetary habitat is to reduce the cost of travel, which is what SpaceX was founded to do – first by building recoverable rockets and then by building reusable mega-ships with ever-increasing carrying capacity. As of earlier this year, SpaceX had successfully reused 79 rockets to deliver cargo to the space station and send ordinary people into space. We have also designed and built the largest launch vehicle in history, the Starship, which can carry 100 passengers and supplies at a time. In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.

As technology continues to change lives at an accelerating pace and the world evolves, life is more than simply solving one problem after another. We all want to wake up in the morning full of anticipation for the future and rejoice in what is to come. I hope more people will join us in our fight to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration, and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for.

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk wrote about the future of humanity in four critical areas

1. Clean Energy. Elon Musk envisions a thriving future that is powered by the sun. “Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.”

2. Humanoid Robots, “The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people.”

3. Neuralink’s great potential to improve physical and mental health and eventually serve millions of households, especially the elderly.

4. Space exploration is the last topic and Elon’s words describing his greatest hope inspire us, “In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.”

Photo Cyber Rodeo. credit Ross Gerber

Underpopulation is very real, and Elon Musk has ideas on how to tackle this problem, you can read about what he thinks in my article, “Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation,” which is highly acclaimed and noticed by Elon Musk who tweeted in response to it, “Children are essential to the future” on July 11, 2022.

I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to get to know some of the Dogecoin community including Gary Lachance. Elon received the Dogecoin t-shirts and was appreciative and grateful for them.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 21, 2022. Featured banner photo of Elon Musk in the Legendary Bomber Jacket on August 19, 2022, credit: Gail Alfar

Reasons Why Tesla Has the Best Factory Safety in the Industry 

This article will bring you along with me as we look into how Tesla has become a leader in job site safety in manufacturing.  Our focus will be on statements about workplace safety from Elon Musk at the 2022 Shareholder’s meeting and the Tesla 2021 Impact Report.  You’ll look at Tesla’s approach to software as a way to improve safety. Finally, we’ll see how Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect over 5000 contractors. 

For fun, I share what it was like walking through Tesla’s employee cafeteria, where Elon says, “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.” You’ll see 2 rare pictures of the cafeteria area at the end of the article.

“In 2021, our focus remained on protecting people, the planet, our property and products.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report

Elon Musk Spoke about Factory Safety on August 4th at the 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Elon Musk at Shareholder’s Day, credit: Tesla

While sharing a chart titled “Safety Records Continue to Improve,” Elon said,

“We’ve also made a lot of improvement with factory safety, so I believe we now have the best factory safety in the industry.

We are excited to have very good safety, and getting better, and a bunch of this is driven by just encouraging people in the factory to submit ideas for safety improvement.

We have passed our goal of three suggestions per employee this year.  This really is a game changer for improving safety.”

Elon Musk

“Safety Records Continue To Improve” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Tesla featured employee Sherry Ihrig in the 2021 Impact Report. Sherry made over 1,800 improvement suggestions using the “Take Charge” software.  Her suggestions were to safety, processes, cost-savings, and more since the program’s start in early 2021. Sherry stated,

“The Take Charge program encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment. 

When these and other potential safety hazards are noticed and resolved, it allows associates to improve their overall work performance.” 

“Driven by Increasing Employee Engagement” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Giant Cybernetic Collective Where Everyone is a Worker

I think the most important aspect of humans working alongside big machines is safety.  Software should be designed to improve processes and ensure safety instead of stagnating.  Elon Musk likens his factories to giant cybernetic collectives,

“You can think of the factory as a giant cybernetic collective.

So the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works.

I don’t think other OEMs think like that, but that’s what it is!”

Elon Musk, 2022 Shareholders Meeting

I think safety processes can improve when all workers operate at the same level.  On June 2, Elon Musk described this in a tweet,

“Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.

There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”

Elon Musk

When I visited Gigafactory Texas on August 4th for the Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria, food truck area, and use the company restrooms and it is true, there are no special areas for any executives, including Elon himself.

Tesla Builds New Software to Improve Safety

In Early 2021, Tesla developed new software to help workers build capacity to ensure safeguards are in place and functioning. 

“In order to build capacity and allow our workers to fail safely, we needed a more dynamic approach to how we collect and manage data that allows us to make decisions that reduce risk.

In response to that need, we developed an internal Environmental, Health Safety & Security [EHS&S] tool named MyEHS to help drive execution and improve outcomes by allowing the intake and visualization of data globally.

We designed and deployed 11 modules in 2021, allowing us to better manage our EHS&S information, identify emerging risks and take action to implement improvements suggested by our employees. 

Foremost in this effort was our improvement suggestion module — Take Charge.

Combined with Action Tracker, this module allows workers to submit improvement suggestions in various categories, including environment, health, safety, security, people and accuracy, while connecting with their supervisors and other work groups to identify and implement solutions to improve the presence of safeguards.” – Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.48

Tesla Extends Safety Protection to over 5000 Contractors

Solar Roof Install credit: Tesla 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the civilian occupations with the highest rates of fatalities include roofers and construction trade helpers.  Tesla employs solar roof installers and construction workers and contracts with over 5000 contractors.  Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect contractors and keep them safe through a new program they developed called ‘Constructing Our Future’ led by 87 Tesla Responsible Persons [TRP] and Contractor Responsible Persons who are all trained in the new process that includes meeting a TRP and EHS&S professional at the location of work to complete a Pre-Work Risk Assessment.

“We are on schedule to release the new and improved supplier and contractor onboarding and management system, Workforce Management, in the second quarter of 2022.

This simple, scalable, centralized system will build on the efficiencies of the interim onboarding process and provide better visibility for managers and engineers to track performance.

We will report our contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.54

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk called Tesla’s new improvement suggestion module, Take Charge, a “game changer for improving safety.”

One employee said Take Charge “encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment.”

When I toured Gigafactory Texas, it was easy to see why Elon Musk referred to it as an “enormous cybernetic collective.”  Within this gigantic space, Elon stated “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff. There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”  

Safety is an integral part of this collective because it is based on humans and machines and software all working in symphony, and that includes Tesla’s over 5000 contractors.  In fact, Tesla will include contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report. 

FUN FACT:  

At the Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria area and it is true, there is no executive chef area, not even for Elon Musk.

The cafeteria was stunning with a beautiful clean white design featuring floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides. One side has a view of the City of Austin in the distance and the other side overlooks Model Y production. Also featured near the Coffee Bar were Model Y seats mounted on a structural battery pack, Model Y frame with castings, and a drive train!

Tesla Coffee Bar, credit: the author
Model Y structural frame by Coffee Bar at Tesla Giga Texas Cafeteria by glass overlooking Model Y production. credit: the author.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 14, 2022. Featured banner photo, credit: Tesla Media

5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting

Elon Musk spoke at the 2022 Annual Shareholder Meeting on August 4th. I attended in order to experience the event firsthand so I could write about my impressions for you.

This article features highlights of what Elon Musk said about Tesla Gigafactories, AI, Cybertruck, Optimus robot, how we can help support the mission, and more.

Elon Musk at GIgafactory Texas, credit: Tesla

Elon Musk and Tesla, Inc. are grateful to you as a Shareholder

The Cyber Roundup was Tesla’s kind way of saying thanks to you as a retail TSLA shareholder. This year’s meeting was the largest in-person meeting ever and it provided an opportunity to see products up close, take a factory tour, and even speak with Elon Musk.

Towards the end of this article, I will share info with you on how you can attend in the future. Martin Viecha, Tesla’s Investor Relations, opened the meeting and he later joked on Twitter, “It’s not a Shareholder Meeting, it’s really a rock concert for TSLA supporters.” 

Cyber Roundup felt like this because it was a way for Tesla supporters to thank Elon Musk and Tesla directly.  This was evident as I observed many people cheering, clapping [sometimes standing], and even whistling after every informational slide, statement, or joke that Elon Musk made.  

A new way of thinking about a factory

Model Y front hoods as Art Installation at Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

Cybernetics is a term coined by American mathematician Norbert Wiener to refer to the general analysis of control systems and communication systems in living organisms and machines. At the meeting, Elon explained how Tesla went from a small start-up to what it is today, with factories as a giant cybernetic collective,

“When we started out here, we were told electric cars were impossible and if you could make an electric car with a couple hundred miles range then nobody would buy it anyway because people just love gasoline cars.

You know, when we started out it was down to a start-up company and then down a square to an electric car company, and we were told you are never going to make money, etc. and we didn’t for a while, but now we have the highest operating margin in the whole industry. 

Tesla is not just a car company, Tesla is many companies in one and we’re as much a software company as we are a hardware company and that’s really going to be obviously essential for the future.

Software in the car, and in neural net training, but also software in the factory as well.

You can think of the factory as a giant cybernetic collective. So the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works. I don’t think other OEMs think like that! but that’s what it is.” Elon Musk at 2022 Shareholders Meeting

Tesla is close to solving an important part of AI and Welcomes Talented People to Apply 

Elon Musk shares the hands of the Tesla Optimus robot for the first time. credit: the author

Fully autonomous driving is an incredibly difficult problem to solve.  Elon‘s positive outlook at the meeting gives us hope that autonomy will be solved.  Elon stated, 

“It’s really interesting because we are effectively solving an important aspect of artificial intelligence, real-world AI for self driving, which, when you think about it, is what’s needed to solve self-driving because how was the road system designed?

Its designed for a biological neural net and eyes, and so naturally the thing that would therefore work for the silicon analog is therefore cameras and silicon neural net.

So, sort of by accident, we’re actually solving an important and very useful element of artificial intelligence.

I definitely want talented people who are working on AI to consider working at Tesla because I think we’re solving an important part of AI, and one that can ultimately save millions of lives and prevent tens of millions of serious injuries by driving an order of magnitude safer than people.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk talks about upcoming products Cybertruck and Optimus

Cybertruck at Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

On Cybertruck, Elon said,

“What I can say is that the Cybertruck will be one hell of a product, and it’s going to be like a damn fine machine, and we’re on track to be in production middle of next year from this factory. 

So we’re going to be installing the production equipment, the tooling and all starting the next couple months we will begin the installation so aiming to be in volume production middle of next year.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk spoke about Optimus,

“I’m sort of surprised that people, or at least analysts out there are not understanding the importance of the Optimus robot. 

My guess is that Optimus will be more valuable than the car long term. 

In fact, I think it will turn the whole notion of what an economy is on its head. 

The point at which you have no shortage of labor.  You know, the economy is capita, if you don’t have capita constrain then the economy will be arbitrarily huge, so it’s crazy.” – Elon Musk 

The Mission to Accelerate the Transition to Clean Energy and How you Can Help

Tesla let shareholders sign a Model Y, credit: the author

The shareholder’s meeting took on a Town Hall vibe towards the end, where people formed two lines and were given microphones to ask Elon questions.  That portion starts at 51 minutes into the video, and it was delightful to experience.  A total of nine lucky people had the chance to comment, suggest, and or ask Elon a question. 

The last question was by a young man who said he simply wanted to thank Elon for everything he has done for the earth and the community and ask, aside from working for Tesla, being a shareholder, or purchasing a Tesla, how can the masses help push your vision? Elon replied,

“Well I think just generally encouraging sustainable energy and being supportive of that, I think is really helpful.

I say, you’re doing great so far! Without your support, Tesla wouldn’t be where it is.

Its people like yourself, and everyone in this room and out there and the 3 million people who bought our cars, and the millions who have gotten solar, that all really helps make the world a better place for the future. 

I’d like to sort of convey a message about optimism about the future. If we work really hard to accelerate sustainable energy and sustainable transport, the future will be good!

Just make sure people know that, I’m not suggesting complacency at all, I’m literally saying, if we work hard towards a sustainable future, we will achieve it!

And the future is bright!” – Elon Musk

CONCLUSION

5 Takeaways

  • Tesla goes above and beyond to show appreciation to shareholders, the Cyber Roundup was a unique event that was well planned out and a delight to attend in person.
  • Elon Musk is advancing the concept of a giant cybernetic collective, saying, “the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works.” 
  • Once again, Elon asked for people talented in the field of AI to consider applying to work at Tesla. Elon also said, “I think we’re solving an important part of AI, and one that can ultimately save millions of lives and prevent tens of millions of serious injuries by driving an order of magnitude safer than people.”
  • The exciting news about Cybertruck was that the production equipment will be installed in the next couple of months. About Optimus, Elon said it, “will turn the whole notion of what an economy is on its head.  The point at which you have no shortage of labor.”
  • Finally,  Elon thanked all of Tesla’s customers and shared a positive message about the future, “I’d like to sort of convey a message about optimism about the future. If we work really hard to accelerate sustainable energy and sustainable transport, the future will be good!”

As a Tesla shareholder, you can become involved by voting.  Tesla has shared information about how you can vote on their website

Tesla Investor Relations has shared that the new Tesla Shareholder Platform has been launched.  You can join the program to participate in Tesla events and receive updates about events by logging into your account at this link.

Tesla Semi awaits outside the doors of Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 7, 2022.

As Batteries begin to replace fossil fuel power plants, what are 4 challenges to overcome?

Tesla Megapacks at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Credit: Tesla

You are living in the early stages of the transition to clean energy.  In the coming years, expect most gas and coal peaker plants to close.  These will be replaced with battery storage of mostly solar energy. 

This article is about four challenges that will be overcome for this incredible transition to succeed.

UPDATE: Elon Musk saw this article on Twitter, and replied to it on July 25, 2022, calling it a “Good article.” I hope that you’ll enjoy it as well!

#1 Increasing Supply of Refined Lithium

There is currently not enough refined Lithium, and this provides a challenge in the transition to clean energy. Tesla is working to scale battery production with refined Lithium at Giga Nevada and the new Megafactory in Lathrop, California.

At the Q2 2022 Earnings call, Elon Musk emphasized the need for more refined Lithium, the component needed for batteries.  Elon said, 

“I’d like to, once again, urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business.”  Elon Musk

Elon Musk revealed in a recent interview with Johnna Crider that extremely pure battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate is needed to prevent breakdown in the battery cell, 

“For example, with lithium, it’s more lithium refinement than it is the actual mining. So you better take the ore that contains lithium, and you’ve got to refine it and get it to battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate. And it has to be extremely pure. Otherwise, you could have a breakdown in the cell.” Elon Musk

#2 Scaling Battery Manufacturing

Scaling battery production is a constant challenge as processes must always be flexible enough to improve.

Building batteries faster and at larger scale will occur in order for our world to transition to clean energy. Tesla is addressing this challenge and currently building batteries ranging in size from 13.5 kWh Powerwall to 3000 kWh (3 MWh) Megapack.  Large and small batteries are needed to combine with others to form massive power plants, replacing old-style gas and coal energy with solar. 

Tesla Energy Engineer Mike Snyder speaks against the backdrop of 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at Moss Landing

Mike Synder of Tesla Energy, spoke at the opening of Moss Landing Elkhorn Battery last month, saying Megafactory Lathrop will produce ~ 40 GW hours of Megapacks a year,

“The Megafactory fully ramped can produce up to 40 GW hours of Megapacks per year.  For context, 40 Gigawatt hours is approximately 50 of the projects you see behind us here, being produced each year here in California and really around the world.”

#3 Working with Existing Infrastructure to Streamline Clean Energy Installations

Tesla Megapacks, Angleton, Texas. cr: Tesla

It is difficult to integrate the existing older infrastructure seamlessly with Tesla’s new hardware and software system, and it has to be done.  Moss Landing near Monterey, California is a location known for decades as exclusively a gas peaker plant site. Thus, it contains physical infrastructure needed to wire energy to customers. Snyder spoke about this challenge,

“There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure.

As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.

Its about landing the wires here at a critical substation, like Elkhorn, or it’s about assessing the grid impacts at different interconnection points in the grid.

All of those problems become much more interesting for engineers and much more complicated to solve, and we need to be doing that together.

And really, as we grow we need to collectively assess how best to leverage such a flexible, fast-acting, bidirectional resource like we’ve never really had. It’s truly an exciting time to be in the industry!”

#4 Updating Local Policy to Encourage Virtual Power Plants

As Tesla Energy works to meet the demand for battery storage systems with Megapacks, another way to meet demand is through aggregating together Tesla Powerwalls that individual people like you and I own to form Virtual Power Plants.

It takes time and effort to change old ways of thinking at state and local levels.  Tesla’s Energy Policy team is working in my home state of Texas to help get virtual power plants online.  I wrote about that last month in “Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP.”  Although the process might seem slow as molasses in wintertime, eventually it will happen, and there are things you can do to support these efforts! (I list some at the end of this article).

It was a change in policy for PG&E to allow ~1500 California residents who own home Tesla Powerwall batteries to volunteer to join together to form a virtual power plant.  PG&E announced they will “call load management events for participating customers, directing their battery to discharge when there is high demand for electricity.” 

A positive policy change led to the “Emergency Load Reduction Program [ELRP]” which aims to discharge stored battery energy to the grid during high electricity demand. Tesla Powerwall owners are the foundation of this program. According to a news release, the ELRP is managed by PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. 

These programs and similar ones will eventually be seen in many states and in countries around the world over time.

CONCLUSION

  • Having a constant and reliable source of refined grade lithium is a challenge.  This must be achieved in order to scale battery manufacturing.
  • Tesla Energy leader Mike Synder voiced the challenge of working with existing infrastructure.   “There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure. As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.” 
  • Local policies are a challenge.  Transitioning to clean energy means giving up the old ways of relying on gas peaker plants.  Tesla Energy Policy team aims to continue to work with local policy leaders in order to speed up the transition to sustainable energy.

Here are a few ways you can help:

If you own a Tesla Powerwall, sign up to participate in a pilot program if it is available in your state.  Currently, Texas has a three-year pilot program in the planning stages!

Join the Bros. for Decarb. Their motto is “just a group of Bros who care about decarbonizing the global economy as fast, cheap and reliable as possible.”  They can be found on twitter and they also sell t-shirts with LFDECARB to subtly remind us that the Southeast is often ignored in DECARB.  All their profits go to @energyalabama

Photo in downtown Austin, Texas by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I would love to share a few more interesting articles with you that relate to Tesla Energy!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 24, 2022. If you can support this blog financially, info is at “How You Can Support.”

Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation

With the hot weather we are having this summer, why not grab a cold beverage, and join me to soak in what I think might be Elon Musk’s “first principles” approach to addressing today’s declining birthrate?

A Model S Family in S. Korea. Credit: Tesla

Historically, Being Wealthy Has Led to Having Fewer Kids

Elon Musk was asked about the declining birthrate on Johnna Crider’s podcast

Elon said,

“The declining birthrate is somewhat counterintuitive, but generally, the wealthier someone is, the fewer kids they have. 

I’m an exception, but it’s quite rare.  Basically, the higher the education level and the wealthier people are, the fewer kids they have. 

So it’s not a money thing.  In fact, it seems the opposite, like the more money that someone has, the fewer kids they have. 

Somebody who is living as the 2022 standard for the poverty level would be really, I mean they have access to things that the richest person didn’t have 100 years ago.”  

Population COLLAPSE is Coming. Credit: After Skool, see https://youtu.be/zC1khWr7wg8

Elon’s approach: Correcting the false perception that there are too many people

Johnna asked, “Do you have any other thoughts or ideas on how to reverse population decline?”

“The population decline problem, I think is possibly the biggest risk to civilization or its certainly one of the biggest risks. 

First of all, a lot of people think that there’s too many humans on the planet and the planet can’t sustain this number of humans.  This is absolutely not true. 

We could double the population without any meaningful damage to the environment. You can put all the humans on earth in the city of New York.  That’s the cross-sectional area of humans. They could literally fit in the city of New York on one floor, you don’t even need high-rises.  And if you’re on a plane flight and you look down and you say, “what percentage of the time, if I were to drop a ball, would that ball hit a person?”  Basically zero.

Even in a city like LA, where we think, “oh, that’s a crowded city,” looking at it from above, what’s the cross-sectional area of humans relative to the rest of the ground?”  It’s much less than 1%, even in LA. 

So if you’re in a big city environment and you see a lot of people you sort of extrapolate that to everywhere, but it’s actually very rare to see a concentration of humans. 

Earth is very sparsely populated with humans.  There’s not enough humans, far from being too many.  I think people are still sort of operating on the assumption that the population is growing like crazy when in fact the opposite is occurring.  These numbers are easy to look up, they’re just on the internet.  We had the lowest birthrate in recorded history last year.” – Elon Musk

“Far too many people are under the illusion that Earth is overpopulated, even though birth rate trends are so obviously headed to population collapse” – Elon Musk

False perceptions persist that fewer kids are better for the earth’s environment. Credit: Elon Musk on After Skool’s video “Population COLLAPSE is Coming.”

Supporting Families at Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Co.

In addition to being very vocal about underpopulation, Elon Musk is making sure families get needed financial support at all four of his companies. The Musk Foundation is also now tasked with donating directly to families.

“Kids are worth it if at all possible. I’m planning to increase childcare benefits at my companies significantly. Hopefully, other companies do same. Also, Musk Foundation plans to donate directly to families. Hopefully, details to be announced next month.” – Elon Musk

(article update, July 12) Elon Musk responded on Twitter to this article, saying “Children are essential to the future.” His comment led to over 2000 people giving their opinions on underpopulation.

Conclusion

Elon Musk carefully explains that wealthier people have fewer kids.  In a sense, even people living at the 2022 poverty level are better off than wealthier people in times past. 

Oddly, this counterintuitive situation has parallelled a lower overall birthrate.

There are still billions of people in the world who lack literacy and access to the internet, but for those who do have it, you can learn almost anything online.

When asked if he has any other thoughts or ideas on how to reverse population decline, Elon Musk uses the first-principles approach in correcting the false notion that there are too many humans on the planet for the earth to sustain, “I think people are still sort of operating on the assumption that the population is growing like crazy when in fact the opposite is occurring.”

Finally, Elon Musk has directed both the Musk Foundation and his companies to directly support families with children.

My thoughts

Most people are surprised to find out I have 5 kids. I do, and they are all amazing! After we had our 5th, my husband and I wanted more. My husband’s logic was that the USA is wealthier than most countries and he liked my parenting style. Kids really DO grow up fast, making parenting easier and less of a challenge than I once thought.

I think first-principle thinking can be applied to population collapse.  Here are a few of my observations:

  • Raise awareness that population decline is a real problem, in the process people, will stop thinking that there are too many people
    • After Skool created a great education video featuring Elon Musk, Chamath Palihapitiya, Dr. Shanna Swan, Jodan B. Peterson, Chris Williamson, and Dave Chappelle, you can view it on Youtube
  • Change the fact that wealthier people have less kids.  As world literacy and education and internet connectivity rise, this will become more important
  • The Tesla Optimus Bot can help relieve the difficulty we will face with too few young people to care for older people
  • Optimus can also perform tedious jobs that people find unattractive

Though it may be inevitable that we will experience population collapse, we as a society can still work towards lessening the severity of it.  We can work towards correcting misunderstandings about it. Companies can increase childcare benefits, encouraging and supporting their families.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree with Elon Musk?

Downtown Austin, Texas at night. Credit: David Gallentino on Unsplash

In addition to solving the problem of underpopulation, Elon Musk said, “I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity. To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.” You can read more about this in my article, “Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future.

Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 9, 2022

Header photo by Tyler Nicks on Unsplash

Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #3: Body and Paint [multi-part series]

Elon Musk with Black Original Roadster at Giga Texas’ Cyber Rodeo on April 7, 2022 [credit Josh West]

A few days ago Tesla released a video that featured the Giga Texas Cyber Rodeo and it included these words from Elon Musk,

“When we first started out at Tesla, I thought optimistically there was a 10% chance of succeeding, and here we are today, damn!

“We are really entering a new phase of Tesla’s future, with six giant factories around the world, and scaling to extreme size, as you can see from this building, it’s not small.

“This is the machine that builds the machine, and it’s the latest version of the machine that builds the machine. I’ve said it before, that the factory is the product. You know, prototypes require imagination, and they’re not easy, but relative to production, prototypes are easy. Production is hard.

“And this building is the most advanced car factory that earth has ever seen.

 

 

Cyber Rodeo was a wonderful Celebration!

Cyber Rodeo was a celebration of the opening of Giga Texas, the most advanced car factory in the world today. When I walked up the entrance stairs into Giga Texas on April 7, what impressed me was that Tesla made a complex manufacturing process look simple. So, I created this three part article series, in the hopes that it will help in understanding Giga Texas.

Tesla builds one car body every 45 seconds

Model Y body in white will head to the paint shop [credit: Tesla Q1 2022 Update]

At the Cyber Rodeo, Tesla explained,

Giga Texas has the highest capacity line for building the car body that Tesla has ever built.

Robots conduct highly precise and rapid movements in an extremely dense space.

Tesla can build one car body every 45 seconds.

This is twice as many vehicles per week compared to previous lines that took up much more space.

 

Giga Texas’ Paint Shop is Optimized for Speed & Scalability

Model Y Paint Shop at Giga Texas [credit: Tesla Q4 2021 Shareholder’s Deck]

At Cyber Rodeo, the paint shop was explained,

Tesla’s paint shop is at the center of a highly integrated manufacturing process.

Tesla has reduced time and space between each step

The paint shop is designed and optimized for speed and scalability

The paint shop is nearly 10% denser, requiring fewer vehicle turns than current lines

Layers of paint that are thinner than a human hair form a colorful skin to protect the Model Y

 

Walking around the Gigafactory

Tesla allowed visitors to walk along the manufacturing line at Cyber Rodeo on April 7, 2022 [credit: Gail Alfar]

Cyber Rodeo was an opportunity to explore most of the robotic assembly areas. This experience was explained by Chris Anderson of TED Talks, who also interviewed Elon Musk at the gigafactory. Chris said,

This is Elon Musk‘s famous machine that builds machine and his view, the secret to a sustainable future!

Its not just making an electric car its making a system that churns out huge numbers of electric cars with a margin so that they can fund further growth.

 

You can watch Chris’ full interview of Elon Musk at Giga Texas here [recorded on April 6, 2022].

Tesla Thanks Supporters

Since 2003, Tesla employees have defied the odds by accomplishing what others have deemed impossible. By working from first-principles and ignoring bureaucratic conventions, the Tesla team has come together in an effort to accomplish our global mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. We’ve been supported by thousands of fans and customers along the way. Thank you all for believing in us.

 

My thoughts

Elon Musk was not exaggerating when he said, “And this building is the most advanced car factory that earth has ever seen.” According to my estimation after I discussed with Joe Tegtmeyer, [he has documented progress since the beginning], Cyber Rodeo likely only included 1/3 of just one of four floors of Giga Texas. I think the gigafactory will exceed production expectations because of its size and ability to adapt fast. I like that the Model Y is such a fun car, as this makes the transition to all-electric vehicles enjoyable. Thanks to Elon Musks’ vision, Tesla cars make people happy and joyous. I love this quote from Elon Musk,

What really gets me excited is when people experience delight with the product. I don’t think there are all that many things where you really experience delight and if you can make the product good enough that it far exceeds peoples expectations, I think that’s amazing.

 

The Tesla Cyber Rodeo inspired me to create this series. Part #1 shows details on how Giga Texas makes front and rear castings and seats.  Part #2 explains how Tesla builds batteries into assemblies to form a structural pack to connect the front to the rear casting. Thank you for reading the final part of my series and for being an amazing supporter of Tesla and Elon Musk!

Photo of Austin, Texas by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – May 1, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

 

Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #1: Casting and Seats [multi-part series]

Welcome back to my blog and to Part #1 of Cyber Rodeo Anthology.

Cyber Rodeo took place on April 7, 2022, at Tesla Gigafactory Texas. The rodeo showcased all aspects of how Tesla is mass-producing electric vehicles in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. Using color, lights, music, and the help of Tesla’s expert employees, different aspects of the gigafactory were presented in a truly unique way.

Cyber Rodeo marked the opening of Giga Texas, and thus it is a very important historical event. For that reason, I am creating a multi-part series of articles and will publish them over the coming weeks.

Tesla provided this map for the event, as you can see, there are a lot of areas to be covered between Entry 1 and Entry 3. The yellow pathway that held the exhibits was probably about 1/3 a mile long.

Map of Cyber Rodeo exhibits [courtesy: Tesla]

Casting Exhibit: Manufacturing is Beautiful

The rodeo gave the gigapresses the royal treatment. They are gigantic and produce what could be Tesla’s most innovative manufacturing feat ever. They create front and rear castings simultaneously for Model Y at the rate of 0.13 seconds per casting or 130 milliseconds. In fact, they created so many castings that they were used throughout the gigafactory for other purposes, as I’ll share later.

Gigafactory Texas Casting photo by @Brandonee916, April 7, 2022

The above exhibit is an example of a Model Y rear casting. What once took over 70 parts laboriously put together, Tesla has condensed into just one part.

Gigafactory Texas Casting photo by G. Alfar, April 7, 2022

The two largest parts of an Austin-made Model Y, the front and rear casting are produced by injecting 700° C molten aluminum into a high-pressure die-cast mold that is clamped shut with 6,100 tons of force. It is filled with liquid metal in just 130 milliseconds, producing a durable shape and giving each car body its strength. This process has left Tesla with 168 fewer parts to assemble and a much more efficient casting process for the car.

During a casting, giant heat release conduits and valves are used to make sure pressure is perfect and heat is released in a precisely measured way. When inspecting the vertices that the aluminum is fed into, employees wear protective space-like suits to ensure safety from the radiant heat of the molten metal used for the castings.

Gigafactory Texas casting machine, photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

At the rodeo, hundreds of additional castings were available to be used as decorations in the main entrance of the Gigafactory and throughout the building because of the speed and efficiency of this machine and Tesla’s overall manufacturing process. An employee explained that using front and rear castings in this way was a natural choice because there were so many extra ones, they needed a good place to put them!

Tesla Gigafactory main entrance Cyber Rodeo, credit: Elon Musk

Seats Exhibit: Fully Assembled at Gigafactory Texas

At Tesla, the first and second-row seats are fully assembled right at the gigafactory.

Model Y Seats assembly exhibit sign and photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

The Tesla Model Y seat exhibit was presented in three parts. Part One shows the pretensioner, two side shields, seat buckle, suspension, sandwich, wire harness, happy basset, and ocs. Part Two reveals the Model Y seat back cover, trim, headrest, back frame, lumbar support, seat cushion, and seat frame. Part Three reveals the Tesla “T” in an incredible display of fully assembled seats.

Model Y Seats assembly exhibit photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

A Symphony of Seats

Model Y Seat exhibit photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

After Model Y seats are assembled and inspected, they come together as part of the structural battery as seen here. Future parts of Cyber Rodeo Anthology will go into more detail on this miracle of manufacturing.

This article is Part #1 of a multi-part series titled Cyber Rodeo Anthology. Part #2 can be found here.

My thoughts

I chose to start “Cyber Rodeo Anthology” because the opening of Giga Texas marks a major shift in mass vehicle production capabilities. I want to spend time with you to understand how this “Machine that Makes the machine” works, and it will take multiple articles to do so.

I decided to start with my favorite parts of Giga Texas: Seats and Casting.

I agree with Elon Musk that chairs are underappreciated. The seats in the Tesla are incredibly comfortable!

Front & rear simultaneous casting begins here in Texas with Model Y. This difficult process had to be created to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

I know you join me in having a deep respect for Elon Musk because he is doing phenomenal work to make our world a better place. Hope you enjoyed this first part!

Read the rest of this three-part series here:

Photo of Ladybird Lake in Austin by Trac Vu on Unsplash

Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – April 16, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved