I think, sometimes — perhaps too often — about Versailles. It was by all accounts, staggering: all of the richest people in France staying in one of the world’s grandest palaces eating and drinking themselves into a stupor at the feet of Louis XIV while the country fought and starved. It was, and remains, a symbol of the purity of excess: a grand, insane bacchanal that seemed to aspire to nothing less than oblivion. Of course, there were good political reasons for the thing that was Versailles to exist as well (keep the nobles drunk enough that they neither notice or care that you’ve become an absolute monarch), but the main takeaway is this: one of the most powerful men in the world used the resources of his nation to throw the bitchingest party on Earth.
This week, I’m thinking about Versailles because of Burning Man.
If you’ve been counting on Elon Musk to perfect space travel soon so that you can blast off into the cosmos and never have to look at Twitter again, we’ve got bad news: you’re going to have to wait a little longer.
See, Mr. Musk’s SpaceX tested a rocket Friday and it kind of exploded after takeoff.
There’s a lot of chatter in the air about a second tech bubble, though many of the smartest people in the room think it’s not the case. Either way, it doesn’t help when the tech media goes wild at every sky-high valuation — especially when the media gets it wrong.
Space the Final Frontier
We guess Elon Musk won’t be attending the robot Olympics. The billionaire mastermind behind technology companies like Tesla Motors and SpaceX says artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” Oh, shit.
It’s been 45 years since humans first landed on the moon, and the world’s now wondering when people — not just adorable selfie-loving rovers — are going to head over to Mars.
Buzz Aldrin seems confident a Mars colony will happen, based on a Reddit AMA the famed astronaut conducted this afternoon. Among other fascinating topics, like that time he met Tina Fey, Mr. Aldrin espoused his “very strong idea, concept, conviction, that the first human beings to land on Mars should not come back to Earth.”
There’s trouble in paradise for Yo, the app that raised a million bucks and rocketed to Internet fame this week.
If you haven’t yet heard of the absurd app, Yo lets users do one thing — message the word “yo” to one another. Useful, right?
Besides the widespread fear that Yo’s funding confirms the existence of a tech bubble, the app has been experiencing some more concrete issues in the past 24 hours, involving a fake celebrity account and a pretty serious hack.
Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Ashton Kutcher — a veritable tech trifecta — have quietly come together and invested $40 million in a “secretive artificial-intelligence company,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company is called Vicarious FPC, and its goal is to create a computer program that functions like the neocortex in a human brain.
Tumblr Goes Hard Taking a break from reblogging, faving and figuring out when their shares are going to vest, Tumblr employees threw themselves a cute little Halloween party. We spotted them sharing some photos on rival social network Twitter, but it looked like they were having a good time. The sales team dressed up as the cast of Spring Breakers, Betaworks’ golden child Poncho was spotted in the crowd and some jokester decided to be a Yahoo! employee. That forced smile and suit looks rigid enough to fit in the corporate world, so well done.
IRL Iron Man
Sometimes, when news is slow, Betabeat likes to imagine what the tech elite would be like should they appear on Bravo’s hugely successful reality TV franchise The Real Housewives. Would Sean Parker throw a glass at Zuck? Would Brit Morin flip her arts and crafts table in a fit of rosé rage? Will Elon Musk disappear for Read More
Elon Musk really wants to convince everyone that the Tesla Model S won’t constantly run out of juice, leaving you stranded in traffic more than the lemon of a Triumph this reporter’s dad drove in the late 1970s.
Now, it seems, he’s decided to rope his kids into promoting the Tesla brand with a cross-country road trip, designed to demonstrate that you can get wherever you need in a Model S.
This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for Mr. Musk and his five sons to subsist entirely on Vienna sausages and cheese and peanut-butter sandwich crackers. But let’s hope the experience is more Crossroads, less National Lampoon’s Vacation.