🚀 What the Blue Origin brain drain means for SpaceX
Musk Reads #261
Tesla celebrates A.I. Day; SpaceX waits for the moon; Elon Musk calls for universal basic income. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #261 — subscribe now to receive two more emails later this week!
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Musk quote of the week
“Tesla is much more than an electric car company.” — Elon Musk said August 19 at “A.I. Day.” During the event, Tesla engineers discussed Tesla’s newest A.I. research in detail, updating the public on things like Tesla Vision, the supercomputer Dojo, and a humanoid Tesla Robot. The robot part may or may not be a joke.
Tesla: So there’s this robot…
Tesla’s A.I. Day event on August 19 featured in-depth discussion of many of Tesla’s latest A.I. developments (that came with bold claims afterwards), but many viewers were captivated by Tesla’s most rudimentary invention. Enter the Tesla Bot, Tesla’s helper robot that is currently just a dancing human in a zentai suit.
It’s difficult to overstate how strange Tesla’s robot “presentation” was. This wasn’t a presentation of any tangible technology, but currently just a concept accompanied by some fun EDM. I recommend you check out the video for yourself.
During his presentation, Musk said a humanoid robot would just be a step up from Tesla’s existing vehicles, which are, according to him, “semi-sentient robots on wheels.” The Tesla Bot would be “friendly” and designed to eliminate “dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks” like going to the grocery store.
Although Tesla hopes to complete a prototype by 2022, there has been some debate about whether or not Musk is doing his favorite thing second to engineering: trolling.
If we take Musk’s word for it, though, the Tesla Bot will “aspirationally [improve] the probability that the future is good.” There are worse things. Read more about the Tesla Bot on Inverse.
In other real Tesla news…
Musk’s SolarCity trial wraps up
The Model Y reaches Europe
SpaceX: Good news for SpaceX brings bad news for Bezos
SpaceX’s lunar lander contract with NASA has been put on hold yet again because of Blue Origin. This time, the Bezos-led company is suing NASA in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims over its decision to choose one lunar lander provider instead of two.
NASA hopes to resolve the suit by November 1, which, in addition to previous Blue Origin-borne delays, non-existent spacesuits, and a global pandemic, makes its intended 2024 flight window highly unlikely.
And all the government drama and infographics don’t seem to be working in Blue Origin’s favor. Since NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract, Blue Origin lost “at least” 17 top staffers, CNBC reports, with at least one of them leaving to join SpaceX instead, Insider writes.
Speaking of SpaceX, the company is gearing up for an ambitious future filled with “regular orbital missions” and has its first launch in two months scheduled for August 28.
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In other Musk-related news…
T-minus the internet
A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.
10. Did you know that Musk’s sister, Tosca Musk, owns a streaming company dedicated to romance called Passionflix? I didn’t!
9. Did you know that Musk’s girlfriend, Grimes, used TikTok to tell teenage Elon Musk haters that they were spreading “fake news”? Yeah, I guess I did.
8. In spite of all its challenges (some of them self-created), Blue Origin is still pushing for democratic spaceflight. Its next launch, which will feature an art installation by Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo, is scheduled for August 25. Read more.
7. Ahead of his September 15 all-civilian SpaceX flight, billionaire Jared Isaacman plans to bring hops to space so a brewery on Earth can make beer with it. Tastes like the ozone layer.
6. This coloring YouTube channel aimed at children made a video entitled “Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck Drawing and Coloring for Kids!” First graders like EVs, right?
5. A.I. researcherLex Fridman broke down Tesla’s A.I. Day highlights on his YouTube channel, providing commentary on things like neural networks, Autopilot, and supercomputer Dojo. For the record, he thinks the Bot is cool.
4. And even if the Tesla Bot isn’t real, robot nurse Grace certainly is. Read more.
3. And so are all the other robots joining healthcare workers on the front lines. Read more.
2. NASA’s Curiosity Rover drove around a Martian mountain. Watch now.
1. And a piece of Musk history: In 1999, Elon Musk founded X.com, his first claim-to-fame (but not his first company — that was the forgotten Zip2), beginning a long career defined by entrepreneurship. In 2001, Musk was fired from X.com, which was then a newly-made PayPal. You can read the full separation agreement, if you’d like. Three years later, Musk founded SpaceX, so it’s okay.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #261, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.
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