Elon’s Musk . . . and Fungible Threats

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Teslas keep on crashing into things – because Tesla hasn’t stopped encouraging Tesla owners to keep their hands (and eyes) off of things.

The steering wheel, for one.

And the road.

Teslas says no such thing, of course. It says the opposite – while merely making the technology to take one’s hands off the wheels and one’s eyes off the road . . . available.

If the driver uses it, he is expected – legally obligated – to be ready to use his hands and eyes to prevent the car from Auto-piloting itself into things.

It’s like a toilet for the bind that moves itself to another corner of the room – and then blaming the blind man for the mess on the floor.

Well, per Whitesnake, here we go again.

Musk says that soon Tesla drivers will be able to take their eyes off the road – and their hands off the wheel – all the time.

This is “Level 5” – the Tesla-verbiage equivalent of Phase 3 or whatever the government gibberish is with regard to the WuFlu and what we’ll be allowed to do. What it means is a completely automated car.

But will Tesla be completely responsible for what happens?

He hasn’t been – for what’s already happened.

How about when it snows – and the electronic eyes that “see” for the driver who doesn’t no longer do? Or the software gets senile or it just can’t handle the inputs because of its limited parameters?

See eggs and omelets.

“I’m extremely confident that Level 5 or essentially complete autonomy (sic) will happen and I think will happen very quickly,” the nation’s rent-seeker-in-chief said the other day at the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.

The “sic” inserted to correct the editorial inaccuracy of referring to a car that drives itself according to the programming instilled by a corporation as autonomous – i.e., independent of external control – when in fact Tesla’s automated cars are completely controlled by the corporation’s programming and so not by you.

How confident will you feel about being on the same road with Level 5 cars with no one’s hands on the wheel or even expected to be? Level 5 cars may not even have steering wheels or brake pedals, these being the equivalent of vestigial tails . . . if the cars are truly automated and the driver just another passenger.

But if the wheel – and pedals – remain, it implies an obligation to drive. And to be held responsible for not driving, even if car supposedly does. If, on the other hand, the wheels and pedals are absent, then the driver can’t be held responsible for what the car does and what he couldn’t have done to prevent it.

This brings up an interesting piece of cognitive dissonance.

No measure, it seems, is too extreme to “stop the spread” of a virus that might get you sick but 99.7 percent not dead. On the basis of this we are expected – we are required – to emulate the look – and neurotic behavior – of Michael Jackson in order to be allowed to go shopping or go to work. The entire country, just about, completely reorganized on the basis of an asserted threat to almost no one.

But a car that regularly kills people by running into them – because there’s no one’s hands on the wheel or eyes on the road – is turned loose without any restrictions at all.

It is illegal for anyone to have the air bag in their car disabled but it’s perfectly legal for Elon Musk to sell cars that disable people permanently.

Not just the people in the car, either. Also people in other cars, who happened to be in the orbit of one of these de facto driverless cars.

What about de jure liability?

Businesses are under extreme pressure to enforce Face Diaper decrees issued by the government – and out of fear of being sued because someone might get sick. Why isn’t similar “concern” expressed by the government for cars that get people dead?

Note that while The Virus (TM) is largely avoidable – the people who fear it can stay home, wear a Diaper when not home – avoiding a Level 5 Tesla is unavoidable. How would you even know one’s nearby?

And yet, there is no equivalent of a Face Diaper mandate or even “social distancing” imposed on them. They are free to mingle as they like, to insinuate themselves directly into our vicinity – and perhaps directly into us – without any legal impediment or even social shaming to keep the threat they pose to our safety at bay.

Isn’t it interesting how fungible these “threats” are? How they don’t carry much weight – or rather, impose much in the way of mandates or restrictions – when to impose them would present certain  . . . difficulties.

Meanwhile, the imposition of extreme difficulties for other reasons having nothing to do with threats to our safety is reasonable and necessary.

It makes my teeth ache.

. . .

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    • Hi Drumphish,

      Yup. Though what gripes me most is this sick presumption we’re all plague carriers. On exactly the same basis – the possibility of might – why not also insist that every man wear a codpiece on the presumption that he might be a rapist? Why not require a kind of restraint device on all men capable of throwing a punch?

      Dogs should be forced to wear actual diapers when out in public, too.

      The whole awful idiocy empowers neurotics, busybodies and psychopaths.

        • Hi Giuseppe!

          Actually, might as well start wearing one – to make the point. Also maybe a strap to prevent my right arm from throwing a punch, which I might just do… just as I might be sick. You can’t be too safe.

      • Hi Eric,
        The Tesla lawyers obviously found a way to remove any of their liability for crashes BEFORE they were even produced, or they never would have gone into production.
        Self driving cars were obviously not ready for prime time yet, but they sold them anyway, knowing they were not liable for them.
        The same thing with vaccines. All vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop making them since they were so risky, and they were liable for so many lawsuits.
        They paid congress to remove their liability, which is why you can’t sue them for any wrongful deaths now.
        Now who would trust any company or any product of theirs that was immune from liability? Not me!

    • (CNN) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk just zoomed past Warren Buffett on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to become the world’s seventh wealthiest person.

      Musk’s fortune rose more than $6 billion Friday, according to Bloomberg, after Tesla’s stock surged 10.8% to a record $1,544 per share. Its market value stood at $286.5 billion.

      Musk owns 20.8% of Tesla’s stock, making his stake worth just under $60 billion.


      Big Gov made Elon the e-con rich.

      But like a lot of gov assets who develop a mind of their own, now he’s becoming a problem.

      So Big Gov will take him down … for the greater good.

  1. I keep looking because I am curious but Tesla’s are not more dangerous than most cars either on autopilot or driven by clovers from what I can tell. Compared to large luxury sedans they are on the bottom of that list but safer than every other car category which puts Tesla in the top 20 safest cars when it comes to deaths. I do not want a electric car but highlighting a single manufacture without comparing actual numbers is false reporting.

    Kind of like what they are doing with covid. Sensationalism over reality. Eric an honest look at the real numbers from somebody who is not a sycophant would be welcome.

  2. There are 45,000 people in the United States that kill themselves every year. There are 250,000 people keel over in hospitals from medical mistakes.

    There are over 400,000 deaths each year from abuse of tobacco products.

    Alcohol kills 88,000 people, something on that order in the US alone.

    35,000 people die in car accidents in a year in the US.

    50,000 people over age of 65 died from Vioxx prescription medication.

    Living on earth is dangerous business no matter where you are no matter where you go.

    I won’t mention the number of dead from the past 40 years of wars, body counts don’t count there.

    I’ll take my chances not wearing a mask.

  3. The cancer epidemic is killing WAY more people than anything else, for past 20+ years too. But no worries about THAT! Interesting how the jerks just pick what’s important and what’s not important.

    And now the stupid garbage toy cars are killing people too — but no worry about THAT! Not on the nightly news every single day… no special messages at every commercial break… no “We’ve got to DO something!!!”. In a NORMAL world, this muskrat guy would literally be burned at a stake on LIVE television, along with all the govt ppl that enabled him and his GARBAGE FAKE company. PLUS they’d all be asset stripped for SLANDERING and INSULTING the name of a great scientist (the real actual great N. Tesla) for the purpose of FRAUDING the public. SHAME and HUGE BAD KARMA for everyone involved in this TRAVESTY of EPIC insanity endangering and MURDERING the public in the name of playing with their stupid garbage toy cars on public streets! ALL the employees/engineers that work on this stuff KNOW it can never work well — yet this still goes on?! INSANITY — TOTAL MADNESS because the people lost control of their countries worldwide… now MAD CRAZY MURDERERS are having a field day… they’re all worse than cartoon “Batman” villains! And this company is now doing SPACE related things?!?! Since when did some dumbass scam artist and his junk company replace NASA??????? What a joke.

    Almost every ad break on TV has a specially made brainwashing ad to remind everyone to put a useless paper/cloth mask on — so they’re okay with giving the public DEADLY ADVICE. So, the killer movie virus could be floating around and could kill anyone at any moment… but you peasants DON’T NEED those dual respirators or NBC masks — NOPE!!! A cheezy leaky thin layer of cloth is 100% GUARANTEED PROTECTION — it’s all HUNKY DORY NO WORRIES MAN!!! Who PAID for all these expensive ads anyways? And they’re on ALLLLL the time, EVERY SINGLE show seems to have these special messages… so that must’ve costed ALOT of money!!!

    Twilight zone — bizarro world — opposite sketch world — evil mad dictators out of control — THIS ENTIRE PLANET IS BEING RUINED BY PSYCHO TERRORISTS TELLING EVERYONE HOW “SAFE” AND WONDERFUL AND LOVING ALL OF THEIR EVIL ROTTEN CRIMES ARE.

    • I forgot to mention how ANTI planet-sustainable this fake car company is … super toxic batteries that don’t last long… all the resources & pollution that went into building their toy cars that noone can use because they’re completely impractical… WHERE’S all the college students protesting this??? It’s polluting the planet! Where’s the govt complaining about how unsustainable and wasteful this is?


  4. https://www.garmin.com/en-US/autonomi/ this feature was just certified and is available on a few high end aircraft. The main difference between aircraft autopilots and Musk’s attempts is that there are fewer things to hit in the air. That and the fact that aircraft electronics are much more robust and reliable. Jetliners have had ‘autoland’ systems for a while–‘cat III’ systems in aircraft and at airports can allow landings with zero visibility.

    A category III A approach is a precision instrument approach and landing with no decision height or a decision height lower than 100ft (30m) and a runway visual range not less than 700ft (200m).

    A category III B approach is a precision approach and landing with no decision height or a decision height lower than 50ft (15m) and a runway visual range less than 700ft (200m), but not less than 150ft (50m).

    A category III C approach is a precision approach and landing with no decision height and no runway visual range limitation.
    These systems are VERY expensive and require extensive initial testing and repeated reinspections of both aircraft and airports. Is this type of detailed, thorough and expensive work going to be done on every road and vehicle using said road? Not a chance.

  5. “Musk says that soon Tesla investors [sic] will be able to take their eyes off the road – and their hands off the wheel – all the time.”

    Yeah, right! Sit back and enjoy the rocket ride to wealth.

    Today Tesla’s share price reached an all-time record of over $1,430 per share, giving Elon’s electric hustle a market value higher than Toyota.

    Tesla will go down in the record books as one of the great bubbles of all time, not unlike a prized Semper Augustus tulip bulb selling for the price of a house in Amsterdam in 1637.

    See ya in hell with your back broke, Elon 🙂

  6. On a totally different subject………Addressing the controversy of the names of sports teams I ran across this:

    The Washington Foreskins

    I think all sports fans and most everybody else will get a kick out of this letter written to the Chicago Tribune. No matter which side you are on in the matter of renaming the Washington Redskins, this guy is hilarious…

    This is an e-mail sent to Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune after an article he published concerning a name change for the Washington Redskins.

    Dear Mr. Page:

    I agree with our Native American population. I am highly jilted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins. One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward.

    Let’s ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.

    The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60’s alive. Gone. It’s offensive to us white folk.

    The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men’s lives. I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.

    Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!

    Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.

    The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children. The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates. Wrong message to our children.

    The Milwaukee Brewers. Well that goes without saying. Wrong message to our children.

    So, there you go. We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing Congress loves.

    As a die-hard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, suggest it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women’s athletic teams to something other than “the Beavers (especially when they play Southern California. Do we really want the Trojans sticking it to the Beavers???

    I always love your articles and I generally agree with them. As for the Redskins name I would suggest they change the name to the “Foreskins” to better represent their community, paying tribute to the dick heads in Washington DC.

    Just trying to lighten things up a bit…..

    • Nicely done, Oskar. One might add the Oakland A’s as a team name that must go, as it denigrates those who are not academically excellent. And while we’re at it, we should change the names of July and August, which are named after the slave owners Julius and Augustus Caesar.

  7. It’s quite simple. Teslas serve the Psychopaths In Charge in their goal of total surveillance and control. So they will not be restricted. Likewise, a response to corona flu that allows total surveillance and control, such as vaccine certificates, serves their goal. Masking is just a preparatory infliction to prepare the sheeple for mandatory vaccination. The Psychopaths In Charge care not one wit for your welfare, except as it may coincide with theirs. Every single thing they do is for the sole purpose of their own benefit. They are after all insane.

  8. Tesla gets away with it because enough people who want self-driving cars are willing to live with the risk. The dream is seductive for sure. I’d love to hit the autopilot on a long stretch of highway and kick back, relax, and not stop until the next bio-break. And of course any shipping company would love love love to get rid of those pesky drivers (and pass along any operational savings to the customers, natch 😉). Heck, the military loves them some drones, but why should the Air Force have all the fun? Why not have automatic ships, tanks and submarines too? My battlebot can beat up your battlebot!

    • Hi RK
      “Tesla gets away with it because enough people who want self-driving cars are willing to live with the risk.”
      That’s nice. And I agree where the driver is concerned. So the rest of us are just flotsam on the road? When my wife and I are out enjoying a ride on our motor, have we signed a some liability waiver we are unaware of? Or is our possibility of injury or death just a small part of of the progress in technology?

      • Amen, Ken –

        The same people croaking about how we UnDiapered have no right to “get them sick” are the same type who are ok with their Tesla getting us dead.

      • Didn’t say it was right, just that’s how it is. Good luck with a personal injury lawsuit when the jury is convinced that Elon is the next Edison, especially if he decides to make it a show/Twitter trial. By the time the decision comes in, the defense will even have you convinced it was your fault for getting in the way of St Elon’s vehicles.

        BTW, this has played out before, when vehicles were new to begin with. GM and Ford made “jaywalking” a crime. Never mind that people have been walking on streets for literally centuries before the automobile and therefore should by default always have the right of way. But that gets difficult when physics make it difficult to stop on a dime, and you have a bunch of new drivers. So there was an effort to make automobiles have the right of way, and to make pedestrians who didn’t comply into scofflaws and objects of ridicule.


  9. Not only does that car hit the truck, it almost hits the guy standing in the median. If he hadn’t stepped away he would have gotten hit too.

    If it wasn’t Tesla, the threat of lawsuits would be enough for a car maker to shut this “tech” off (or never release it to begin with) for the general public. It should stay on the test track. But folks like Musk don’t like that because it’s likely that it won’t leave there for decades yet. It just doesn’t work very well yet and likely never will.

    I don’t see automated cars coming anytime soon. The computer industry after 25-30 years hasn’t made let alone perfected a WEB browser that really works well. They all have major glitches and functionality problems that make them malfunction on a daily basis. I would say a web browser works about 85% of the time. That means its probably broken about 15% of the time. You can’t have that with a car. It will have to be 99.99999%, and that isn’t really possible.

    Plus the electronics made today are too fragile and short lived.


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