Sunday 21st July 2019

Has Elon Musk got his fingers in too many pies? He’s in for some digital disruption

Published on August 3rd, 2018

There are many puzzling phenomena in the Internet of Things. It’s amazing how many people admit to being hardware ‘agnostic’, says Nick Booth. If you’re not sure about the existence of computers, you’re in the wrong job, surely.

Is there any irony in the fact that nobody has ever invented a new way of describing ‘innovation’. Another mystery that needs explaining is that Tesla’s ‘automated’ car assembly plant now employs more people to make fewer cars than when the plant was owned by Toyota.

Elon Musk is an outstanding individual and his bravado has been a tremendous asset in talking up the connected car. However, analysts are starting to get nervous about recommending this man because, in the words of one of automation’s most successful machines, there is an ‘unexpected item in the bragging area’.

Musk was recently incredibly rude to the expert pundits of Wall Street, dismissing their analysis as ‘boring’ and ‘dry’. That’s not a sign of good judgement. These pundits are paid huge amounts of money to spot anomalies in character, because an early intervention will save their employers a fortune. They are meant to be sober and risk averse.

Besides, why provoke a reaction from people whose approval can affect the flow of venture capital? Then there was that unfortunate spat with Vernon Unsworth, the British diver who saved a squad of boys from a grisly fate in a Thai underground cave. Musk thought he could have done better and made things even worse by insulting the man who is the world’s foremost authority on that particular type of rescue operation.

All because Mr Musk wanted his unproven home-made submarine to be the hero. And, like many in Silicon Valley, he has no respect for tradition and thinks he knows everyone else’s business better than they do. Maybe he thought he was ‘disrupting the emergency rescue market’.

Musk doesn’t seem to be steering Tesla very skilfully. Maybe he should let a machine take over because there are tougher questions about to be asked.

Nick Booth

Technology analyst Frost & Sullivan seems to have been emboldened by the changing climate and pointed out another contradiction about EVs: their engines are as much as three times the weight of a traditional internal combustion engine.

The tone of the report, Material Technologies Shaping the Future of Electric Vehicles (EV), is generally positive. It discusses the way that manufacturers should ‘embrace lightweighting’ of the core machinery required to keep the vehicle running.

The study outlines inventions that could transform the EV landscape, along with patent filing trends.
“Battery packs are up to three times heavier than an ICE engine,” said Isaac Premsingh, industry analyst at TechVision.

Battery technology needs to raise its energy densities, especially for lithium-air, says the report.
Got that Mr Musk? The car battery industry is outdated and needs to be modernised. The ‘legacy’ battery makers are outdated and going the way of the Dodo, listening skills and good manners.

Are you ready to be digitally disrupted Mr Musk?

The author of this blog is Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer

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