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.
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.
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.
IRL Iron Man
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.”
Hey, do you love Space Mountain and hate bumper-to-bumper traffic? Boy, does Elon Musk have the highly theoretical transit system for you!
The PayPal cofounder just released the open-source plans for his pipe dream, the Hyperloop, along with some futuristic renderings we’re pretty sure he stole from Frank Herbert’s Dune. It’s basically the love child of a supersonic jet and the monorail at Epcot. Mr. Musk says it’s “the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart.”
Anything more and you just want to upgrade to supersonic air travel. (As one does.) Though he’s not entirely done hashing out the details, after pulling an all-nighter working on the plans:
Looks like we’re going to have to come up with another description for inventor Nikola Tesla, besides “under-appreciated.” Plans for a museum at Wardenclyffe are well under way, and now a Kickstarter project has raised $127,260 to build a life-sized bronze monument to the man smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.
What, no colossus?
The project is the brainchild of Dorrian Porter, who discovered Nikola Tesla four years ago thanks to a Google doodle. The statue will be parked in front of a Palo Alto office building, and it will hold a time capsule to be opened in 2043. Also included: a Wifi hotspot!
Quinn Norton speaks out on what life inside the Aaron Swartz investigation was like. “This will not be the final word on Aaron’s story, nor is it intended to be. Two years later, these are the events as I remember them, and the feelings as I knew them.” [The Atlantic]
Former dotcom millionaire Jennifer Sultan plead guilty to selling prescription drugs and conspiring to sell a firearm in exchange for four years in prison on Friday. Ms. Sultan, who sold her company Live Online during the first boom, burned through her fortune after becoming addicted to prescription pain killers. Let this be a cautionary tale for bubble 2.0. [New York Times]
Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz took to Rap Genius this weekend to decode Andrew Mason’s goodbye letter. Swag? [TechCrunch]
If you got an email this weekend from Evernote that it had reset your password, that’s because the company suffered a major security breach. [The Verge]
SpaceX Dragon has successfully docked at the International Space Station, which is great because we don’t really need any more griping from Elon Musk right now. [Ars Technica]
The Final Frontier
Journalism 101 It looks like somebody is gunning for a spot at Nick Denton’s soon-to-relaunch Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag. TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis wrote an impassioned post about why tech journalism needs another Valleywag, “a watchdog with enough independence and daring to call it as it is.” Writers at blogs like her own, Ms. Tsotsis argues, are simply too embedded in the ecosystem to properly perform their jobs, unwilling to report on certain unseemly aspects of Valley business and culture for fear of having to, get this, sit next to those she’s written about at a demo day.
Space the Final Frontier
News has been swirling that PayPal vet and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is hellbent on creating a colony on Mars specifically targeting vegetarians. PETA, of course, immediately jumped on the idea, demanding that instead of making the colony vegetarian, it should obviously be vegan.
Now, Mr. Musk has spoken out on his Twitter account saying that, yes, he would like to get tech people to Mars, but no, he is not the red planet’s vegan-loving leader.
Looking for a lift… to space? Today, after a week of Internet speculation, a new commercial aerospace startup called the Golden Spike Company made its official debut. Headed by former NASA administrators, the company wants to get regular missions to the moon going by 2020–and at a fraction of the current cost. The name is meant to evoke the transcontinental railway that opened up the American west for settlement.
Yeah, they basically want to build a train to space. NBD.