Planet Google

We’ll All Have Self-Driving Cars Long Before We Can Actually Use Them

Doesn't matter if the tech is ready, you still need to map every road before the cars are worth anything. (Photo by Jakob Montrasio)

Every other week, some automotive CEO or founder you’ve never heard of will make news and keep their stock prices stable by guessing at the future of self-driving cars. Late Wednesday night, the robot-fearing space explorer and transportation tycoon Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX took his turn when he told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla would have self-driving cars ready in six years.

“The big car companies have been a lot slower than I thought,” he said.

Mr. Musk is fond of making fanciful predictions and projections about the future of transportation, but saying that he’ll have a self-driving car in six years isn’t as far fetched as, say, a bullet-speed interstate monorail in the sky. After all, Nissan says that they’ll have self-driving cars ready by then, too. Read More

Unproven Thieries

Burning Man Is the Versailles of Silicon Valley

Burning Man 2012. Let them eat... acid? (Photo via Flickr)

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. Read More

Space the Final Frontier

Buzz Aldrin Thinks We Will Colonize Mars in the Next 25 Years

Buzz Aldrin. (Getty)

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.” Read More

Hacked!

Yo Drama: Everything You Need to Know About the Backlash Surrounding the World’s Dumbest App

Yo no! (Screengrab: iTunes)

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. Read More

Investments

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Ashton Kutcher Mysteriously Invest in Artificial Intelligence Company

Mr. Zuckerberg has teamed up with Mr. Musk and Mr. Kutcher to invest in an artificial intelligence company because WHO KNOWS WHY? (Getty)

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. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Tumblr’s Spooktacular Halloween Party and Techies Flee to the Emerald Isle

Screenshot_2013-11-01-15-40-04

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. Read More