Observations in China

Mist-veiled limestone peaks at picturesque Yangshuo, shot on the iPhone

It’s a breezy evening by the lake. The walk on the pavement near a busy intersection is marred only by wafts of cigarette smoke. Petrol fumes are a thing of the past – electric vehicles dominate the tree-lined boulevard. Restaurants and cafes are packed, with an orderly queue forming in front of an internet-famous eatery (网红店). I’m at the scenic West Lake in Hangzhou. This is China in the year 2024.

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Thoughts on Tesla AI Day 2022

🖤 Tesla

I love this time of the year – crisp autumn mornings, fall foliage, pumpkin spice latte, and Tesla’s annual AI Day.

Tesla AI Day is part product demonstration, part university lectures. These events provide technical details that showcase the company’s progress in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. They’re also staged to attract the best and brightest.

Tesla’s ability to recruit and retain top science and engineering talents in the age of the Great Resignation is an unparalleled competitive advantage, on par with its zero advertisement customer acquisition strategy.

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Thoughts on Tesla AI Day

Tesla Bot; photo from Lex Fridman’s tweet

Tesla has done several technical deep dives over the years to give the world an update on the company’s progress in fully self-driving (FSD) and battery technology. It started with Autonomy Day, followed by Battery Day, and more recently, AI Day. Tesla uses these events to help recruit the best and brightest.

The events are also probably staged to make Tesla stock short sellers sweat profusely. Elon Musk had, in various presentations, interviews and podcasts, alluded to most things presented at the event. To see them fleshed out in details must have made critics regret calling Elon Musk a shyster.

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The Tesla Thesis

I’m not a car guy. When I got the Tesla Model S (with the wife’s permission), it was out of my love for tech, and my genuine belief in the environmental ethos of zero-emission electric cars. The love affair started the moment Elon Musk unveiled the Model X. I fell for the car hook, line and sinker when Elon (yes, we’re on first name basis in a parallel simulated universe) promised autonomous driving capabilities.

The Model X was love at first sight. Alas, a car is a financial liability and the Model X, with the then base price of around £95,000, was the epitome of financial folly. So I settled for a modest Model S with a 75 kWh battery pack.

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