Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Middle of the seesaw

To be honest, I am not sure where to stand, even now, as we see ‘Google starts appeal against £2bn shopping fine‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51462397), I am personally still in the mindset that there is something wrong here. 

We can give the critique that my view is too much towards Google, and that is fine, I would accept that. Yet the part where we see 

  • In 2017, €2.4bn over shopping results.
  • In 2018, €4.3bn fine over claims it used Android software to unfairly promote its own apps.
  • In 2019, €1.5bn fine for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

Feels like it is part of a much bigger problem. I believe that some people are trying to stage the setting that some things are forced upon companies and I do not mean in the view of sharing. I personally do not believe that it is as simple as Anti-Trust. It feels like a more ‘social mindset’ that some things must be shared, but why?

The BBC also gives us: “Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough stance on the Silicon Valley tech firms and what she sees as their monopolistic grip on the digital landscape” this might feel like the truth, yet I personally feel that this was in the making for a long time, Adobe was on that page from the start. I believe that as the digital landscape was slowly pushed into a behemoth by Macromedia, who also acquired Coldfusion a change came to exist, for reference, at that time Microsoft remained a bungling starter holding onto Frontpage, an optional solution for amateurs, but there was already a strong view that this was a professional field. that stage was clearly shown by Adobe as it grew its company by 400% in revenue over a decade, its share value rose by almost 1,000% and its workforce tripled. There was a clear digital landscape, and one where Google was able to axe a niche into, the others were flaccid and remained of the existing state of mind that others must provide. Yet in all this Social media was ignored for far too long and the value of social media was often ignored until it was a decade too late. 

For example, I offered the idea that it would be great to be in the middle of serviced websites where we had the marketing in hands, my bosses basically called me crazy, that it had no functioning foundation, that it was not part of the mission statement and that I had to get back to work, I still have the email somewhere. This was 4 years before Facebook!

I admit that my idea was nothing as grandiose as Facebook, it was considered on other foundations an I saw the missing parts, but no one bit and now that I know better on the level of bullet point managers I am confronted with and their lack of marketing I now know better and my 5G solutions are closed to all but Huawei and Google, innovation is what drives my value and only those two deliver.

But I digress, the Digital Landscape was coming to be, and as we realise that this includes “websites, email, social networks, mobile devices (tablets, iphones, smartphones), videos (YouTube), etc. These tools help businesses sell their products or services” we can clearly see that Microsoft, Amazon and others stayed asleep at the wheel.
some might have thought that it was a joke when Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered the email service on April 1st 2004, yet i believe that they were ahead of many (including me) on how far the digital landscape would go, I reckon that not even Apple saw the massive growth, perhaps that Jobs fellow did, but he was only around until 2011 when it really kicked off. IBM, Microsoft and others stayed asleep thinking that they could barge in at a later stage, as I see it, IBM chose AI and quantum computing thinking that they can have the other niche no one was ready for. 

When we consider that we saw ‘Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 US states and territories‘ 6 months ago and not 5 years ago we see part of the bigger picture, of course they could have left it all to China, was that the idea? When we get “Regulators are growing more concerned about company’s impact on smaller companies striving to compete in Google’s markets” we will see the ignoring stage, when it mattered smaller places would not act, as Google acted it became much larger than anyone thought, even merely two years ago we were al confronted with ‘companies’ letting Google technology do all the work and they get all the credit and coin, why should Google comply? Striving to compete with Google is no longer a real option and anyone thinking that is nuts beyond belief. The only places that can hold a candle are the ones with innovative ideas and in an US economy founded on the principle of iteration no one keeps alive, but they are all of the mind that franchising and iteration is the path to wealth, it is not, only the innovative survive and that is being seen in larger ways by both Google and Huawei. Those who come into the field without innovation is out of options, it is basically the vagrant going to the cook demanding part of the pie the cook made as they are hungry, yet the vagrant has no rights to demand anything. 

And as we are given (read: fed) the excuse of “Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820bn and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data” we can give others the state where Microsoft did its acts to take out Netscape, how did that end? It ended in United States v. Microsoft Corp.. In all,  we see that in the end (no matter how they got there) that the DOJ announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

As such, in the end Microsoft did not have to break up hardware and software, they merely had to adopt non-Microsoft solutions, yet how did that end? How many data failures and zero day breaches did its consumer base face? According to R. Cringely (a group of journalists and writers with a column in InfoWorld) we get “the settlement gave Microsoft “a special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other ‘platform software’ under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition.”” (source: Webcitation.org). 

Yet all this is merely a stage setting, it seems that as governments realised the importance of data and the eagerness of people giving it away to corporations started to sting, you see corporations can be anywhere, even in US hostile lands and China too. That is the larger stage and Google as it deals in data is free of all attachments, as governments cannot oversee this they buckle and the larger stage is set. 

From my point of view, Google stepped in places where no one was willing to go, it was for some too much effort and as that landscape shaped only google remains, so why should they hand over what they have built? 

It is Reuters that give is the first part of it all (at ) here we see: “EU regulators said this penalty was for Google’s favoring its own price comparison shopping service to the disadvantage of smaller European rivals“, yet what it does not give us is that its ‘smaller rivals’ are all using Google services in the first place, and Google has the patent for 30 years, so why share? This is a party for innovators, non-innovators are not welcome!

Then we get “Google’s search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker. If you are not found, the rest cannot follow“, which is optionally strange, because anyone can join Google, anyone can set up camp and anyone can advertise themselves. I am not stupid, I know whatthey mean, but whe it mattered they could not be bothered, no they lack the data, exaytes of data and they cannot compete, they limited their own actions and they all want to be head honcho right now, no actual investment required.

In addition when it comes to Browsers, Wired gives us “I spent the summer and beyond using Bing instead of Google for search. It’s a whole new world, but not always for the better“, I personally cannot stand Bing, I found it to have issues (not going into that at present), so as we are ‘not found’ we consider the Page rank that Stanford created for Google (or google bought it), when we consider when that happened, when was it reengineered and by whom? And when we got to the second part “Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords“, that was TWO DECADES AGO! As such, who was innovative enough to try and improve it with their own system? As I see it no one, so as no one was interested, why does there need to be an antitrust case? As such we see the Google strategy of buying companies and acquiring knowledge, places like Microsoft and IBM no longer mattered, they went their own way, even (optionally) better, Microsoft decided to Surf-Ace to the finish, I merely think, let them be them.

We are so eager to finalise the needs for competition law and antitrust law, but has anyone considered the stupidity of the iteration impact? If not, consider why 5G is in hands of Huawei, they became the innovators and whilst we are given the stage of court case after court case on the acts of Huawei, consider why they are so advanced in 5G, is it because they were smarter, or because the others became flaccid and lazy? I believe that both are at play here and in this, all the anti-Google sentiment is merely stopping innovators whilst iterators merely want to be rich whilst not doing their part, why should we accommodate for that?

so when we see (source: Vox) “United States antitrust officials have ordered the country’s top tech companies to hand over a decade’s worth of information on their acquisitions of competitor firms, in a move aimed at determining how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant” who does it actually serve? is it really about ‘how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant‘, or is it about the denial of innovation? Is it about adding to the surface of a larger entity that governments do not even comprehend, let alone understand? They have figured out that IP and data are the currency of the future, they merely need to be included, the old nightmare where corporations are in charge and politicians are not is optionally coming to fruition and they are actually becoming scared of that, the nerd the minimised at school as they were nerds is setting the tone of the future, the Dominant Arrogant player beng it sales person or politician is being outwitted by the nerd and service minded person, times are changing and these people claim that they want to comprehend, but in earnest, I believe that they are merely considering that the gig is up, iteration always leads there, their seeming ignorance is evidence of that.

Yet in all that, this is basically still emotional and not evidence driven, so let’s get on with that. The foundation of all Common Law Competition Law is set to “The Competition and Consumer Act prohibits two persons, acting in concert, from hindering or preventing a third person trading with a fourth person, where the purpose or likely effect of the conduct is to cause a substantial lessening of competition in any market in which the fourth person is involved“, yet in this, I personally am stating that it hinders innovation, the situation never took into proper account of the state of innovators versus iterators, the iterator needs the innovator to slow down and the foundation of Competition Law allows for this, when we see ‘preventing a third person trading with a fourth person‘, in this the iterator merely brings his or her arrogance and (optional) lack of comprehension to the table and claims that they are being stopped from competing, whilst their evidence of equality is seemingly lacking (as I personally see it). 

In this the Columbia Law School is (at least partially) on my side as I found “Scholars and policymakers have long thought that concentrated market power and monopolies produce more innovation than competition. Consider that patent law—which is the primary body of law aimed at creating incentives for innovation—was traditionally thought to conflict with antitrust law. Known as the “the patent-antitrust paradox,” it was often said that antitrust is designed to prevent monopolies and other exclusionary practices while the patent system does the opposite, granting exclusionary rights and market power in the form of patents. Given this framework, it makes sense that scholars, courts, and government agencies have only recently considered antitrust and patent laws to be complementary policies for encouraging innovation.” it gives the foundation and when you consider that iterators are the foundation of hindrance to innovators, you see how competition law aids them. In the old days (my earlier example) Microsoft and Netscape that was a stage where both parties were on the same technology and comprehension level. Microsoft merely had the edge of bundling its browser with the OS and got the advantage there, Netscape did not have that edge, but was an equal in every other way. 

Another name is Gregory Day, who gives us: “a greater number of antitrust lawsuits filed by private parties—which are the most common type of antitrust action—impedes innovation. Second, the different types of antitrust actions initiated by the government tend to affect innovation in profoundly different ways. Merger challenges (under the Clayton Act) promote innovation while restraint of trade and monopolization claims (under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act) suppress innovative markets. Even more interesting, these effects become stronger after the antitrust agencies explicitly made promoting innovation a part of their joint policies” yet I believe that iterators have a lot more to gain by driving that part and I see that there is actually a lack of people looking into that matter, who are the people behind the antitrust cases? Most people in government tend to remain unaware until much later in the process, so someone ‘alerts’ them to what I personally see as a  ‘a fictive danger’. In this I wonder who the needed partner in prosecution was and what their needs were. I believe that iterators are a larger problem than anyone ever considered.

In the case of Google, Amazon and Facebook, we see innovators driving technology and the others have absolutely nothing to offer, they are bound to try and slow these three down as they are trying to catch up. 

Ian Murray wrote in 2018 (CEI.ORG), “Yet there is no such thing as a dominant market position unless it is guaranteed by government. AOL, Borders, Blockbuster, Sears, Kodak, and many other firms once considered dominant in their markets have fallen as the result of competition, without any antitrust action” and that is a truth, yet it does not give that the iterators merely want innovators to slow down, so that they can catch up and the law allows for this, more importantly, as the lack of innovations were not driven over the last decade, South Korea became a PC behemoth, and China now rules in 5G Telecom land. All are clear stages of iterators being the problem and not a solution, even worse they are hindring actual innovation to take shape, real innovation, not what is marketed as such.

As such, governments are trying to get some social setting in place by balancing the seesaw whilst standing at the axial point, it is a first signal that this is a place where innovators are lost and in that are you even surprised that a lot of engineers will only take calls from Google or Huawei (Elon Musk being an optional third in the carbon neutral drive)? 

It gets to be even worse (soon enough), now that Google is taking the cookie out of the equation, we get to see ‘Move marks a watershed moment for the digital ad industry to reinvent itself‘, this is basically the other side of the privacy coin, even as google complied, others will complain and as Google innovates the internet to find another way to seek cookie technology, we will suddenly see every advertisement goof with no knowledge of systems cry ‘foul!’ and as we are given “Criteo, which built a retargeting empire around cookies, saw its stock tumble following Google’s announcement. Others such as LiveRamp and Oracle-owned businesses BlueKai and Datalogix, as well as nearly all data management platforms, now face the challenge of rethinking their business” (source: AdAge) we will see more players hurdling themselves over Competition Law and optionallytowards antitrust cases because these players used someones technology to get a few coins (which is not a bad thing, but to all good things come an end).

And I am not against these changes, the issue is not how it will be reinvented, it is how some will seek the option to slow the actual innovators down because they had no original idea (as I personally see it). Yet we must also establish that Google did not make it any easier and they have their own case ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC. to thank for.

That verdict was set to “With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.” in this situation, for me “The jury found that Google infringed Oracle’s  copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called “rangeCheck,” but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury  deadlocked on Google’s fair use defense.“, as I see it in that situation Oracle had been the innovator and for its use Google was merely an iterator (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it).

Basically one man’s innovator is another man’s iterator, which tends to hold up in almost any technology field. Yet this time around, the price is a hell of a lot higher, close to half a dozen iterators ended up giving an almost complete technology surge to China (5G), which is as I personally see it. They were asleep at the wheel and now the US administration is trying to find a way around it, like they will just like ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC.  more likely than not come up short.

And one of these days, governments will figure out that the middle of the seesaw is not the safe place to be, it might be the least safe place to be. As the population on each end changes, the slow reaction in the middle merely ends up having the opposite and accelerating effect, a few governments will learn that lesson the hard way. I believe that picking two players on one (or either side) side is the safest course of action, the question for me remains will they bite?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Politics, Science

The trivial and the not so

First the trivial, although $1.66 billion is no trivial matter, it is now one week that Avengers Endgame is in play (for a few countries 8 days) and it has made a staggering $1,664,151,786 so far, and it is now in 5th position on the list of biggest box office successes in the world right behind Avengers: Infinity War, It will not surpass that before the end of the weekend I reckon, yet by Sunday evening it will surpass both its older brother as well as Star Wars, the Force Awakens, less than two weeks and it will be nipping at the heels of the 20 year standing record of Titanic, the movie is going that fast and there is no stopping it, people want to see it more than once (I would really like to see the 3D version) which was not available to me on opening night. At this point 50% of the top 10 most successful box office titles are all Marvel titles. It made me think back to a conversation I had with some director on how he thought that Fantasy movies had no place to go in the 80’s at the Rotterdam ‘Lantaren Venster’ film festival. That conversation is currently making me giggle, the man was sincere in his belief and that is fine, and just like the Deer hunter is not for everyone, neither is Monster Inc.; we all have different takes on what we call entertainment and what we want to see on the big screen, yet I never forgot his view and me being the eternal diplomat remarking at that point to him on how amazing the movie Krull was (I had a mean streak in those days), and with actors like Liam Neeson (Kegan) how could it not be? He was not stricken with a sense of humour, let me assure you of that.

I never had any doubt that Endgame was going to get where it was now, yet the speed at which it did blew me away, it still does. The fact that during the week, in what is usually regarded as the lull of movie incomes, Avengers: Endgame added half a billion like it was a casual shower moment for Scrooge McDuck inside the United States Mint.

As for the not so trivial we need to take a look at Tesla. The Guardian gave us yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/may/02/tesla-elon-musk-raise-money-stocks-bonds) ‘Tesla seeks to raise $2.3bn after concerns it is running out of money‘, even as the newspaper is giving us: “Company announced last week it had lost $702m in the first three months of the year and sold 31% fewer vehicles in the first quarter“, that does not mean that we should go all negative on Tesla. Yet the part that does give rise to concern is: “Founder Elon Musk has previously dismissed the idea of raising more money but in the last earnings call said: “Tesla today is a far more efficiently operating organization than it was a year ago. We’ve made dramatic improvements across the board. And so I think there’s merit to the idea of raising capital at this point.”” When I see ‘a far more efficiently operating organization than it was a year ago‘ I wonder what that is based upon. Consider the cost of being somewhere, why is Tesla in two locations in Sydney, have Sydney sales given rise to a second store? They did the same thing for Melbourne, Amsterdam the Netherlands and we could go on, but when you realise that these are premium locations no matter where you are in the city, having an American approach to locations in Europe, your logistical cost will go through the roof and that is what is happening. The same for Sweden, yet there the cost setting might differ considerably and having part in Täby might make sense, although there are alternatives near Solna as well, perhaps it was a good deal. Now there is a second part, are these Tesla ‘owned’ places or are they independent dealers? No matter what, there are larger costs to consider like displays, parts to show and other items, and many of these places are in expensive areas, now we can agree that there might need to be one, but two?

It goes further that; it is not merely about the stores, it is about awareness to a much larger degree. You see charging the car is still an issue and yes there are solutions. Some look at the home charging solution. Yet consider the amount of energy required, your electricity bill will skyrocket. Now, there are alternatives, first there are solar panels and there we see: “This is why pairing a charging station with a solar panel system is a great solution for EV owners and solar panel owners alike“, I am less optimistic. Depending on several factors you could need up to 70 panels (low end 1kWh a day panel), and when we start looking at the options, when we go for a generic 7kWh solution, we get an annual average of anywhere between the numbers of 20 – 29 kWh daily created. Now this is merely one third of your battery, the question becomes, so you need a 100% every day? When we go commercial sized (30 kWh) we see that the production get to be between 86-133 kWh a day, so basically that takes you off the grid and give you a daily 100% charge, yet the price is also there. At prices that go up to roughly $30,000 – $40,000, now this is not to scare you. Consider that the car ‘fuel’ is free from thereon after, also your house electricity bill is reduced to almost zero, even better you can sell your excess energy to the energy provider, so there is that, but is that what you were after?

Why does this all matter?

It matters as I went to see a Tesla a few weeks ago, merely because I was curious and the Black Men’s Corp Jacket looked appealing for the upcoming winter ($120, which I did not get), and the Models looked pretty cool too (so did the Roadster), yet when I looked into charging, there was a little vagueness (unintentional mind you) they showed the charging unit, and it got me to think things through. I got from more than one source relative the same results “the average petrol car in Australia uses 11.1 litres of fuel to travel 100km (Australian Bureau of Statistics). That’s a cost of $16.65 to travel 100km at $1.50 per litre2. Even a very efficient diesel vehicle (5 litres per 100km) will cost $7.50“, most sites were all about how much cheaper the electricity was, not how much it would cost, so I got one result giving me “the average price for electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh) in Australia is about $0.25 and it takes around 18 kWh to travel 100km in an average EV. So, it will cost approximately $4.50 in electricity charges to travel 100km“, now we have something to work with. If you take the average annual driver distance (20K and divide that by 100) we now see that you are facing an optional saving of $900, not something you can ignore, but we all forget the infrastructure and now my panel viewing becomes important. If we see the brownouts that are going on all over, the switch to Tesla means that the price of electricity goes through the roof at some point, a shortage will do that for you, when everyone needs more electricity, prices go up, and that initial 30 kWh solution now becomes a more interesting money maker, but overall it is not the only path or method to rely on. You see, when the price changes we suddenly see that the $900 savings become a mere $420 savings, yet on the other side your electricity bill rises steadily and with the panels you avoid that 100%, optionally adding income to your household. I do believe that for now the 30 kWh is overkill and as we might not need a full battery every day, we could start with the 10 kWh solution, or even better if they have the plus package (double paneling). The initial $10,000 will earn itself back over 3-4 years and more important it will aid in lowering the electricity bill as the panels can do more than just reload the car battery. More important the larger issue will be the 40 panels, so apartment owners are almost directly out of the race for now, more important, when you have a solution that sets the stage for a doubling down the road with minimum extra you would be looking at reducing the bulk of your electricity bill which is not the worst idea in summer (AC’s swallow electricity like sponges) and that is where we need to look at with Tesla, as we can use Tesla battery power in other ways, the solution becomes an actual larger solution.

They are all about the car and rightfully so, but when did you look around for a battery charge point? That matters, because when there are no options and it must be done at home, you need to have the proper electricity contract, even if that is not the case now, it will be in the future. In Australia, we see Energy Australia giving us: ‘first 10.9589 kWh of peak usage per day‘, then we see ‘Next 10.9589 kWh of peak usage per day‘ and ‘Balance of Peak usage > 21.9178 kWh‘, the prices are all the same for now, but when that changes, which it always does over time? When we see that those in the highest range are charged an additional 5-15 cents per kWh? That will change the cost of living picture real fast and real direct. Now the electrical car is another matter and there is no way that these fears are not with every consumer looking at an electrical car the day after they receive their energy bill, fuel is still more expensive for now; yet when we see it against the Tesla that starts at $112,000 and the highest performance model at $137,000, the math does not work for the largest extent of people. I got here the long way round because it is not the buying of a Maserati that breaks the bank account (for those who can afford it), it is the annual insurance and fuel cost that grab you by the tender spot and makes you regret the choice. Now that we see that and we see that a new 2019 Infiniti Q70 is a mere $48,712 and that is not even close to the cheapest solution, so there is a saving of no less than $63K, if you put that in your super and use the interest to pay for the insurance and fuel you’ll end up paying the cost and growing your fortune, and that by merely banking the additional cost for a Tesla. So no matter how ‘environmentally aware’ you are, the entire saving part becomes a myth and when we see that and we consider that Musk is running out of cash in a myth based created car need that shows that there is a market, yet not with the hardworking population that makes up for a little over 65% of all workers, Elon Musk has a car that is supposed to be for those who prefer high end cars, all whilst we see that the new 2019 Jaguar XF Starts at $50,960, we see that there is a market for people, but is it with Tesla? Consider the question ‘when was the last time you could afford to handover $60K for keeping environmental principles?‘ I met two last year, one was driving a Lamborghini, the other has a black Mercedes-AMG, I reckon they will not join the Tesla community any day soon.

So as I took you on the scenic route towards the drive that Elon Musk requires us all to take and the fact that he seeks $2.3bn, implying he might pressingly need $1.5B by quarter end is a matter for concern, not because of the innovation he created, that is clear and down the track he will be the first; where would Henry Ford be if he never created the Model T? Elon Musk might be the next Henry Ford down the line, yet when we see certain steps taken, we need to see that ‘a far more efficiently operating organization‘ sounds as nice as seeing an organisation grow by 100%, yet when the reality is that they grew from 4 members to 8, we need to seriously consider where we are at and that is where I see Tesla at present. It looks great, yet it is for the bulk of all of us too unaffordable and the bulk of those who can afford it can get the luxury Nissan (Infiniti) or a new Jaguar at half the price and that is where Elon Musk is stationed, in a small niche and in all this.

I do not see the market going his way and that remains to be the sad part, because if he pulls it off and creates a large enough market it will be a historic day for him and for America, they need a win like this in the United States of America where they are in a technology drought. They currently lack of true innovation in too many fields and they show a lack of true new technologies, not amendments or mere iterative steps from the old models that exist. Elon Musk has that one true new technology and I hope that the US can stage it to an actual large enough market, I truly do.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

Our BBC alarm clock

It is Thursday, I just finished a baguette with salami and I was just going over the news (as one does) and I was hit by something stated in the BBC. I was not sure on how to react, but it made me take another look at certain matters. The event was initially about Saudi Arabia and their need for a nuclear reactor, they want to diversify their energy options. The one nation where sunlight would imply the need for large Elon Musk batteries to light Riyadh at night, whilst they get charged by free sunlight during the day, that one element is seen. Yet, they want a nuclear reactor requiring a huge water source to cool the entire matter. OK, that is their choice, and I am fine with it (no one cares what I agree with, I don’t care myself either). Yet the setting changes when I am confronted with two parts. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47296641) gives a few elements that become debatable in more than one way. So as I am listening to golden oldies like Atom Bomb Baby by The Five Stars (my sense of humour remains in place), as well as Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo) by Danny Kaye, songs that matter in this case. The first quote is: “Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation“, so why whistle blowers? Political impact does not require whistle blowers, there is no guarantee that it would result in destabilisation (it is likely though), and WHY EXACTLY did the BBC ‘hide’ behind the Whistle-blower statement?

The second part in all this is: “Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme“. So how does that relate to the Iran nuclear accords? America might have left it, but they were in the centre of all this. So, exactly why is there optionally a law against it and seemingly Iran was catered to, to begin with, and is still catered to at present by Europe. At this point everyone needs to sit down and really consider what their political representatives are up to all over the globe, because things are not really adding up at present.

Finally we get: “They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. But concerns around rival Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to US media“, if that is the case why allow talks with Iran to get it in the first place? And how exactly is ‘according to US media’ a valid response? And exactly who are the players in that US media mess? Does that not worry you?

Then we get the house report, based on whistle-blowers (who exactly?) where we see: “within the US, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

There is a larger play in this; the issue becomes who exactly are those ‘private commercial interests’? It seems that the media (including the BBC) is all about creating awareness whilst those writers are all about ‘not stepping on any toes’ and in light of the linked term ‘nuclear weapons proliferation‘, yet the BBC does not disappoint. We also get:

The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and security officials that organised a group of US companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by British-American Alex Copson
  • Colony NorthStar, Mr Barrack’s real estate investment firm
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy and lobby set up by Michael Flynn.

Now we are off to the races! You see, even as IP3 International is visible on their website (at www.ip3international.com) with: ‘A global enterprise to develop sustainable energy and security infrastructure‘, we need to realise that this is a presentation play (everyone is allowed to do that). Sustainable is often used as it more than not can be replaced with renewable energy (which is still not the same), the larger issue is that there is a sizeable debate as it is also an increasing controversy over whether nuclear energy can be considered sustainable energy.

The textbook gives us: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs“, which is reflected in: Kutscher, C.F.; Milford, J.B.; Kreith, F. (2018). Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, Third Edition, I believe that IP3 International is revenue driven and one tends to go to the players that can pay their bill, I would see it as an innovative thought to go to Saudi Arabia, if only (according to law) it was not illegal. Yet there is the second stump in all this, you cannot start that conversation with Iran and not optionally refuse to have it with Saudi Arabia. And now the music is still on par with the events in play, because the song at present is ‘Grandma Plays the Numbers’ by Wynonie Harris. It is not a bet and the players are not hedging their bets, the issue becomes Politico (at https://www.politico.eu/article/mohammad-javad-zarif-iran-to-eu-give-us-more-to-preserve-nuclear-deal/), which gives us “On the nuclear deal, from which Trump’s withdrew last year, Zarif said a so-called special purpose vehicle set up by the EU to allow European countries to keep trading with Iran despite U.S. sanctions fell short of what Europeans had promised. In a clear message to European powers, he said domestic support for the deal was fragile — with 51 percent of Iranians in favor, according to an opinion poll“, it is not about the deal, it is to some extent as to where 49% of Iran wants to be as the margin is too close to call an actual win. What is important is where the hardliners stand and what path they want to walk on, it makes all the difference in this.

The other party that draws attention in this is Michael Flynn and his Flynn Intel Group. Even as it is seen as a consultancy group, the issue is optionally seen with “In January 2017, National Security Council staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest“, the imperative part is ‘possibly illegal‘, it does not state ‘should be regarded as illegal‘, the difference makes for all the difference here and the fact that this is not clearly stated implies that this is a political push, optionally against Saudi Arabia, and optionally to keep nuclear energy out of the middle east completely. When we realise that the issue changes, it does not merely require Europe to stop any Iran nuclear deal, it gives different levels of rise to the political pressures in play. The fact that we see (source: Ars Technica): “Flynn had decided to adopt IP3’s plan to develop “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia during the transition while he was still serving as an advisor to IP3. Harvey also said that Barrack would be made a special representative, with credentials equivalent to an ambassador, to guide the plan“, yet the entire matter of ‘there is bi-partisan concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s access to nuclear technology‘, we seem to get a little less informed that this is not about the material itself, it is about upgrading the fuel required to upgrade it to weapons grade, that is the actual turkey in the oven.

And it is at this point that Bing Crosby starts sing Pistol Packin’ Mama. You see, we seem to forget that there are a few ways to upgrade Uranium towards a less acceptable use. It’s like stone washing your jeans (a small reference to alternative ways to upgrade Uranium), when you start looking into the matter, you can find several ways to upgrade the fuel to a boom point. That is where the issue is hiding at and when we go back to the case where people re happy to in like Flynn with Saudi Arabia, we get confronted with a memo that is seemingly linking former NSA Director Keith Alexander, when we look at the sources, there is a lot alleged, implied and not a whole lot valued as evidence (which does not make it true or false). The part that matter is that this is a lot larger and there is not a whole lot of information on the legality of it all (in one way or another).

The mess goes on and even NPR gets involved. We are all treated to: “Let’s take a closer look now at what a transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia would mean for U.S. national security“, yet how valid is that today? The first nuclear reactor was built in 1942, it is an energy solution that has been in place for almost 77 years. There are now 31 nations that employ nuclear energy, nations that include Armenia, Argentine, Romania, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, the UAE and Switzerland. So how sensitive is that technology? If the technology is up to date (which might be sensitive) does that not also include that the reactors are safer? Should safety not be the largest concern in all this?

Well that is not entirely the story and it is Ars Technical that gives us: ““We remain concerned that the Saudi Government has refused, for many years, to consider any agreement that includes so-called ‘Gold Standard’ requirements against pursuing technologies to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium-laden spent nuclear fuel,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump.” that was the part that the BBC did not give us, so even as part of that still needs to be vetted, yet if true, there would be a partial issue, yet in all this we still see that Europe is willing to give it to Iran and as such, should Saudi Arabia not be entitled to that choice too?

When we see the elements in play is it actual about stopping Saudi Arabia getting a nuclear reactor, or is it about stopping a handful of former admirals and generals laying their fingers on $200 billion? In the end whatever happens, the players forget that Russia is eager to serve Saudi Arabia with the 20 nuclear reactors that Saudi Arabia in committed to switch on in under 36 months. It seems to me that the United States or those reporting via the US media are all about removing the US as the larger economic power. That is how I personally would read it, the entire mess has too many angles and too many ‘possibly illegal‘ and ‘concern regarding access to nuclear technology‘, whilst the list of nations with nuclear reactors is already way out of control, and we read this, whilst we know that Russia and China are eager to put their fingers on that much revenue, when you want to buy a car that does at least 250Km, are you going to wait in front of the Ferrari door, or do you accept that Lamborghini and Aston Martin are not second choice cars, they are equally great choices in really fast cars. When we realise that part of the equation, we might consider that the Americans: General (ret.) John M. Keane, U.S. Army, General (ret.) Keith Alexander, U.S. Army, Rear Admiral (ret.) Michael Hewitt, U.S. Navy, Admiral (ret.) Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant General (ret.) Patrick J. O’Reilly, U.S. Army are not merely Americans, they might be the few true Americans left in that place. We catered to Wall Street for so long, we forget that innovation and had work and proper commercial deals made America great, short selling stock a lot less so, and even as we ‘acknowledge’ that these fine gentleman are still being mentored (or is that insightful advised) by Robert McFarlane, we need to realise that the entire media mess is set in motion for very different reasons. I am not pretending to know the reason, yet those so called whistle-blowers have their own alternative need, I wonder if we ever get the truth on that part of this much larger equation.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

The Tesla orator

The issue has been out for a little while, yet up to now it didn’t really interest me. Cars come and go, some cars have flaws, and others have merely a dent in its design. There are consumer laws and there are legal paths for those buying the wrong product, or better stated a flawed article. Like below, the T7 transporter, a space ship costing 17 million, its manoeuvrability is so bad that an opponent flying something at the cost of 5% of this ship can destroy it without too much hassle.

Worst buy ever (at 17,472,252 credits)

 

So why a game reference?

Does it matter what you bought, what it was for or why you bought it in the first place? Cars are like video games to most people; their marketing is about look, about sensation, about satisfaction and about joy. When was the last time that a car was actually marketed or sold to you with only a focus to get you from point A to point B?

So when I saw the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/21/tesla-whistleblower-sabotage-elon-musk-gigafactory-martin-tripp), with the title ‘Tesla whistleblower claims company is ‘doing everything it can to silence me’‘, I started to wonder what this was actually about. The subtitle gives us “The electric carmaker is suing a former technician for alleged hacking, but he says he’s being scapegoated for leaking concerns“.

So the two parties, is this one side about ‘leaking concerns (whistleblowing)‘ or is this about ‘alleged hacking (industrial espionage)‘. As the Guardian treats us to “By the end of the day, he had been sued by his former employer for alleged hacking and theft, engaged in a hostile email exchange with Elon Musk, come out as a whistleblower, and was being patted down by sheriff’s deputies over allegations that he was threatening to go to his former workplace and “shoot the place up”“, we need to wonder what this is actually about. You see, from my point of view, if there are concerns you take them up with the ‘right’ parties. Those who know me know that I did just that, straight to the CEO and I was not nice about it. I had customers to protect, I had their data to protect and I did just that. The real deal is not now, or was ever the issue to anyone outside the company. That is what a caring employee does. A caring employee does his job to the best ability and to the degree where he sets the proper stage to be able to do this. We see allegations left right and centre and when we see ““I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” Tripp told the Guardian on Wednesday evening. “This is obscene … It feels like I have no rights as a whistleblower.”” This is where we get the questions that matters:

  1. I provided information that is absolutely true‘ yet, who was this information provided to?
  2. I have no rights as a whistleblower‘, might be right or wrong depending on who you provided the information to.

At times the equation can be that simple. The Washington Post gives us “But Tripp, who says he became a whistleblower after seeing what he called dangerous conditions in the company’s car batteries, told The Washington Post“, gives less valid light to Martin Tripp, depending on the path he took. Any company has its own path to take. Are their emails that Martin Tripp took to the bosses, to his boss, to the legal department of the firm and to the QA division? Even if it was the subtle “Are you out of your effing mind to put such a battery in a car?” Did Martin do any of that?

In opposition the Washington Post gives “The showdown has exposed deep rancor at a tech giant famous for its head-turning cars, high-pressure workloads — and Musk, its unyielding boss. It also marks a new depth of suspicions from Musk, who recently sent companywide emails urging workers to stay vigilant against shadowy “outside forces,” saying, “Only the paranoid survive.”” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/21/saboteur-or-whistleblower-battle-between-elon-musk-and-former-tesla-employee-turns-ugly-exposing-internal-rancor), You see, we might be triggered by ‘high-pressure workloads‘, or ‘stay vigilant against shadowy “outside forces,”‘ in this we need to accept to some degree and realise that all the other brands are petrochemical driven, so any Tesla success will hurt them all. The Dow Jones Index is set by 30 companies, they include Chevron and Exxon, as well as a few financial institutions doing business with those two and as such a success on one site, is in the long term implies diminishment on the other side, so being paranoid is not the worst mindset to have, yet in all this, an unreceptive CEO (or should that be: unperceptive) is never a good thing. In all this it becomes a slight issue that neither side is bringing home the bacon on actual safety concerns or documented interaction other than the emotional one in the Washington Post. The other part we see is “He said he and his family have temporarily vacated their home after their address was posted online.” The question becomes, which person thought that doing that was a good idea ever? The Washington Post does give a link to the Business Insider (which had issues for me). It does give something else, which does not bode well for Martin Tripp. When we see: “Tripp said he tampered with no systems and shared information with the media only after seeing things that alarmed him within the company, including what he says were dangerously punctured batteries used in Tesla’s latest Model 3 sedans“. Here my question becomes, why the Media? Why not openly give this to the authorities? You see, a claim like ‘dangerously punctured batteries used in Tesla’s latest Model 3 sedans‘ implies that there is optionally a federal crime at the very least as production is national, in addition to allegedly endangering lives. So why not go to the FBI? Perhaps that was done, but the articles do not seem to give light to that part.

Yet another Business Insider article (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tesla-model-3-production-in-2018-so-far-2018-6), gives us:

  • Tesla has completed about 30,000 of its Model 3 sedans in 2018, according to internal documents viewed by Business Insider and two Tesla employees.
  • The company is trying to ramp up its output of the car to 5,000 a week, but that effort has been beset by challenges.
  • Tesla has made about 6,000 Model 3 cars in June, so far, according to a person familiar with the matter.

There are clearly issues with production, yet is it about managing expectations? Keeping the hype up and adjusting delivery times? Is there a resource issue, which we see with “CEO Elon Musk has called it a “production hell” on more than one occasion! The effort has been beset by bottlenecks, and the company has gone as far as flying equipment from Germany to speed up the process“. There was a news article last week on a battery catching fire, yet this is merely one instance, one instance on thousands of cars made. It does not give light to anything serious, not when it is merely one. This whilst in opposition there are more and more articles given claims that do matter, you see the element is not the car, it is about something entirely different. We see that when we consider the following: “cobalt has been a key ingredient in building high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries, like those used in electric vehicles. In some batteries chemistry, cobalt makes up as much as a third of the chemistry in a lithium-ion battery. Around half of the world’s cobalt production goes into rechargeable batteries, and concerns about supply constraints and the environmental and human impacts of cobalt mining have made it a controversial component of electric vehicles“, then we get “But Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell on the industry earlier this spring when he revealed that the battery cells in the Model 3 use less than 3% cobalt, a fraction of the amount that other state-of-the-art battery chemistries are using” (source: thestreet.com). The issue is not merely the battery; it is the Cobalt in the equation. If that is true in any way shape or form than Tesla is sitting on the hottest tech in decades. Well over 30% of our daily need is dependent on batteries. Your smartphone, your iPad, iPod, torches, compact camera, movie camera’s, Car batteries in general, batteries for motor cycles, so when we see that Cobalt is $42 a pound, and there has been reported lack of supplies, the one solving that problem is sitting on hundreds of billions of IP, and now Martin Tripp does not look so holy, he does not seem to be this concerned citizen. It is like someone publishing the recipe of Coca Cola. Once it is out, it is gone to public domain and in that Elon Musk is very correct to go ‘slightly’ overboard. People have been assassinated for a hell of a lot less.

Yet in opposition of this, we do see from Ars Technica: “I then had to provide numbers to a group of engineers/production every morning and asked several times if anything was being done to rectify the issues. [I] even [had] a few meetings with my HR rep and brought the issues up.” At that point, he began leaking to the press, specifically to Business Insider, which wrote a June 4, 2018 story entitled: “Internal documents reveal Tesla is blowing through an insane amount of raw material and cash to make Model 3s, and production is still a nightmare”“. It is clear that errors were made in action and reaction on both sides, yet, for Martin Tripp the issues should have stopped to some degree after he went to HR, and even if it makes for good ‘publicity’ from a media point of view to report ‘production is still a nightmare‘, as well as ‘Tesla is blowing through an insane amount of raw material and cash‘, they are issues that fall well above the pay grade of a technician, especially whilst we see clarity that this entire matter is being evolved to more and larger plants. A company in motion, no one denied that. Even as we see that there are production issues, they are not for us to opt on (unless we want to sell Elon Musk a solution). In all that I see, I see two parts. The first is that Martin Tripp is not and should not receive whistle blower protection. The second is that if the given presentations are true, Elon Musk is not merely sitting on some electrical car, he is sitting on an optional battery solution that might be the biggest desire for every mobile implementer around the globe. You only need to talk to half a dozen camera men working around the globe for news organisations to realise that their lives revolve around a better battery. Elon Musk might be in a stage where he is on top of a new IP. Sony had the same option in the early 90’s and with their battery (which was loads better than anyone else had) they conquered several battery dependent markets overnight. In a little over 25 years that dependency has only grown and it implies that the better battery can own the market share of whatever opposes it.

So as we saw that the confirmation was for the current batteries to have less than 3% (it was tested to contain only 2.8% cobalt), the claim “Musk recently doubled down, saying on Twitter that Tesla’s next-generation battery will use none of the element” would have an astronomical impact. In this the science is twofold. if less cobalt is an option, yet costs size (not an issue for cars) we see the first, now consider the second setting that with cobalt, the battery is even smaller and more powerful, this in equal measure counts, because when you consider the current players (iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy 9, Google Pixel 2 XL and Huawei P20), when one of them has that solution now offering the same phone with 5200 MAh, which one would you buy? All same sized, yet one has a battery span 40% longer? What would you do?

Consider the last time you needed a power bank or you were low on battery power, now consider some dumb individual makes that IP public knowledge and that was by right your property, what would you do?

I see no evidence that Martin Tripp is on some holy crusade. Him going to the Business Insider and not to the FBI, NY Times, LA Times or Washington Post gives me that conviction.

Feel free to disagree; this is merely my point of view on the matter.

Have a great weekend (to recharge your own internal battery) everyone!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Science

Fear mongers cannot learn, will the reader?

The technology section of the Guardian had an interesting article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/13/artificial-intelligence-ai-unemployment-jobs-moshe-vardi), ‘Would you bet against sex robots? AI ‘could leave half of world unemployed’‘, is that so? So, is the title a reference that 50% is in prostitution, or is there more?

The article starts straight of the bat without delay it gives the quote: “Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated“.

I remember a similar discussion now 35 years ago. It was 1981, I was working on the defence mainframe and I got the inside scoop how computers would replace people, how those machines would put hardworking people out of a job and a future. In the first 5 years that followed I saw the opposite, yes some work became easier, but that also meant that more work could be done. The decade that followed gave us an entire new region of technology. A region that would open doors that had never been there in the first place.

This technology is not any different, it will open up different doors.

Now, the people in ‘fear’ of it all are not the most half-baked individuals. They include Physicist Stephen Hawking and the tech billionaires Bill Gates and Elon Musk, in addition there is professor Vardi from Rice University, his statement “AI could drive global unemployment to 50%, wiping out middle-class jobs and exacerbating inequality“, I massively disagree here. The words of Elon Musk calling it “our biggest existential threat” and in addition professor Vardi stated “humanity will face an existential challenge“, those two comments are closer to the reality. Yet here too I believe changes will dominate. Consider a few years back, back to the time when I was younger then young (like 900BC roughly), in an age of Greek wars and utter ‘nationalism’ the Olympic truce was created. “Ekecheiria”, was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century BC through the signing of a treaty by three kings: Iphitos of Elis, Cleosthenes of Pisa and Lycurgus of Sparta. (Source: olympic.org) There was a lull but in 1896 it started again. An event, which origin was to create an option to not be in a war and to compete. Of all the existential angst we have, robots should not be on the list any time soon.

My reasoning?

As we saw the start of recruitment for Mars, a serious recruitment to start colonising mars, we must admit that there are issues on mars, several could be diminished with the use of intelligent robots. Or perhaps the idea that NASA is looking on how to get resources from asteroids, so how about that Android solution? The BBC gives us the speculation on ocean living (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131101-living-on-the-ocean), again an element where we do not thrive, but a robot could pave the way. In my own view, with the massive energy issues, how long until someone has the idea to place paddled wheels above a hydrothermal vent in the ocean to capture it as an energy source? Not the kind of work a person can do, a machine could, and an AI driven one could excel there. Just three places where we could end up with more and not less. Yet Vardi does give an interesting side, if robots replace people to some extent, that value of physicality might be lost. Now ask the bricklayer if he could do something else, would he? There is indeed the danger that physical labour becomes less and less appealing, yet that does not mean it will be gone. It would take at least half a century for things to be completed, whilst in that mean time new evolutions start, new challenges start.

More important, much more important is the one fact people tend to avoid out of fear. But you the reader, if you are over 45, consider that in the near future you will be dead! So will 3 out of 7 of your friends. Yes, the population is growing, yet the age groups are shifting, this implies that robots could be a solution for some of the work areas that do not require academic thinking. All these opportunities, not threats!

So as we see a new iteration of fear, is this version more valid than then the previous one? With that I mean the implementation of the PC. Perhaps having another set of less fear mongering eyes would help. The second part people forget is that fear mongering is also a drain on productivity here. Even as we speak Japan has a lead in this market, as does America. So how about we start getting ahead of the rest, so that is wrong with the commonwealth picking up a robotic skill or two, because one truth remains, once the other player get too much of a lead, the consequence will be that the followers are not considered for the creational jobs here and that is where the real mulah is, the IT explosion taught us that and that field grew a multitude of billionaires, the next technological iteration will do no less.

I am not alone in my way of thinking, the writer Nicholas Carr gives us: “human creativity and intuition in the face of complex problems is essentially irreplaceable, and an advantage over computers and their overly accurate reputation“, which is where the new future will head. Not to create robots, but the creativity to make then excel in extreme places where we could not comprehend until out boundaries are clearly mapped. So how is this news such an eyeopener? Well, when we get back to the beginning we saw “artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy“, as stated, much like the Personal Computer, it will not be a threat, but a solution, an opening into a new arm of the technology sector, even more important, this is not just a IT only field. It will require quality engineers and depending on the application of the scene. This means that we get new challenges, different ones mind you, but not lesser ones?

In that regard, depending on the implementation, it will require analysts, engineers, programmers and a few others on the list of adepts.

all these options and we did not even need to get close to the technological design of the new age cybernetic machines for the purpose of erotic exploration (level 1 at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/sexbots-realdoll-sex-toys), which is nowhere near an AI experience, time will tell how real that field becomes. Consider the age of STD’s we see nowadays. Mycoplasma Genitalium might be the new ‘trend’, as it can be cured with a mere one week setting of anti-biotics. So how long until it evolves into something that does not cure? Yet we do not even have to go that far, consider all the areas where man (or woman) cannot function, the risk too high and the rewards become too low. Here comes the clockwork system (aka the AI robot) and we are back on track.

So I see the robot as a positive wave. For careers, for jobs, for business evolution and for evolving technology. We only need to see the light of creation and we will end up with a lot more options than we bargained for.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Politics