When it comes to assessing a company’s culture, you always want to listen to the rank-and-file employees. In the case of Tesla, one such employee has gone on the record and eviscerated how Elon Musk and his lieutenants are managing the $42 billion company.
A video interview with a former Tesla employee, posted on the Tesla fan website LikeTeslaKim.com, should give every Tesla owner and investor pause. The employee describes working inside Tesla as “a circus.”
The Fish Stinks From Elon Musk’s Head
Tyson is a 44-year-old father who was a Tesla fanboy and he went to work for Tesla, was fired after just a year on the job, and remains a fanboy of the car. However, he expressed deep skepticism regarding the viability of the company in the long term.
He described Elon Musk as being a disruptor for the sake of being a disruptor. Apparently, Elon Musk was determined to do everything different from the way traditional car manufacturers do them, even if some of these traditional methods had been proven to work for decades.
Tyson also indicated that there is a tremendous amount of redundancy at Tesla, numerous managers don’t know what they’re doing, and too much needless bureaucracy.
This should come as no surprise considering the guy running the company, Elon Musk, seems to be far more concerned with making outlandish promises and predictions than actually managing the company.
He also seems to enjoy spending time at other ventures like SpaceX more than paying attention to what’s going on inside Tesla.
Elon Musk Has No Vision Regarding Execution, Only Results
The problem with a company when it has cult-of-personality culture is that managers and employees are often left without any real direction. Elon Musk seems to be more interested in a vision of results than a vision of execution. And if he doesn’t have a vision of execution, why would anyone else at Tesla?
One shocking revelation was that Tyson said that he wouldn’t be surprised if 25% of test employees are infiltrators and saboteurs from other traditional car manufacturers, who are deliberately trying to wreak havoc within the company.
Another revelation that was not surprising at all, based on reports of Elon Musk cracking the whip on employees in the same employees working in the near-sweatshop conditions, is that the work environment at Tesla is getting progressively worse.
A lot of Tyson’s former coworkers said they are waiting for their options to vest at which point they will leave the company.
Worst of all, Tyson indicated that all the awful stories about Tesla in a recent CNBC story, also covered here at CCN, are true.
Tesla Ex-Employee: Everything You’ve Heard is True
One of the most bizarre stories to come out of Tesla, in its rush to meet second-quarter delivery quotas, was that Tesla Model 3s were literally being held together by electrical tape.
Tyson said in the interview that he knows it’s true because he was the guy who had to remove the tape. Following the delivery of the vehicle, he would prepare them for the owner, and he said that things like interior door panels were being held on with electrical tape.
No other legitimate car manufacturer suffers the kinds of stories that are coming out of Tesla.
Yet we have never heard anything like we hear out of Tesla. Cars held together with electrical tape? Workers in sweatshop conditions? Legitimate car manufacturing unions would never permit the stuff that goes on at Tesla.
Elon Musk must go, and Tesla investors should be very cautious.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.
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Author: Lawrence Meyers
Animals around the world are seeing their environments change. Climate change is causing heating and changes to weather patterns, the oceans are becoming more acidic, and previously undisturbed habitats are being altered and degraded by human activities.
If we want to understand how these changes will affect animals around the world, we need a better understanding of how their biology might determine how well they survive these changes. My colleagues and I have just published research that demonstrates how important an animal’s mating system is to this. We found that species whose males compete for mates are more likely to survive damaging changes to their environment.
In many species, males try to woo females with signals like calls, coloration or long tails, or they try to monopolize access to females by fighting other males with weaponry like horns or antlers. This competition for mates helps drive the evolution of these species, in a process called sexual selection. The most attractive or most aggressive mates are more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation and produce more offspring with their attractive features or aggressive nature.
There are many reasons to think competitive mating could affect the resilience of a species to environmental change. First, the signals and weapons that often evolve in those species where competition is more intensive are costly to grow and to carry. They can make animals more conspicuous to predators, and both contests with rival males and extravagant displays to females can use enormous amounts of energy. So these strongly sexually selected species could be less able to cope with environmental change because of these costs.
On the flip side, strong competition between males for mates means that only a few particularly strong, healthy or energetic males “win” and father the majority of the next generation. If the environment is changing, then males that are genetically best suited to the new environment are likely to be in the best condition. If these males end up as the winners in the competition for mating then their well-adapted genes will spread very rapidly.
So strong sexual selection could make animal populations adapt faster to new environments, making them more resilient in the face of it changing.
So which process is more important in influencing species survival? A series of lab studies have consistently found that strong sexual selection improves outcomes for animal species when the environment shifts from their optimum. But studies of animals in the field have often found either no effect of sexual selection or the opposite. For example, when birds have been introduced to islands such as New Zealand, then the species that are more sexually selected are less likely to become established.
One possible reason for this disparity is that the field studies have often concentrated on very small populations of animals. It’s possible that the effects of sexual selection on a population’s resilience vary with its size.
Very small populations living in a certain location might not have enough genetic variety to produce individuals that are very well adapted to its particular environment. In which case, the costs of sexual selection could make them more likely to go extinct. Whereas large populations are more likely to have the genetic variety that will produce “winning” males even when the environment is unfriendly.
What was needed was a field study of sexual selection and persistence in larger populations. To that end, my colleagues and I conducted a study, published in Ecology Letters, of how dung beetles respond to environmental change in the rainforest of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.
Dung beetles are fascinating animals for many reasons, one of which is the diversity of their sex lives. Males from the familiar ball-rolling species do compete for matings.
But there are also many species of dung beetle that don’t roll, instead burying dung directly under where they find it, and these species show much greater variability. Some species have males with horns, which they use in fights with other males, whereas others are less strongly sexually selected, with hornless males who are less aggressive in their pursuit of mates.
Using an existing large-scale study called the SAFE Project, we followed 34 species of beetle found in untouched “old growth” forest. We looked at how they fared in lightly-logged and heavily logged forest and then oilpalm plantation where the original forest was largely removed.
We found that those species with horns were more likely to survive in all these cases. Strikingly, all 11 remaining species in the most disturbed plantation environment carried horns.
We also compared species with relatively small horns against those with big horns for their size. We found that beetle species with big horns are not only more likely to survive in disturbed environments, but they also tend to have larger remaining population sizes.
This tells us that – in some particular cases at least – we should think about sexual selection as well as other aspects of an animal’s biology if we want to predict or to manage population sizes in the face of environmental change. Sexual selection is a ubiquitous and powerful force driving evolution in the animal kingdom and has been intensively studied by behavioral and evolutionary biologists. Maybe now it’s time ecologists and wildlife management specialists started to think about it as well.
This article is republished from The Conversation by Rob Knell, Reader in Evolutionary Ecology, Queen Mary University of London under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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Author: Team E-crypto News
The term “artificial general intelligence,” or AGI, doesn’t actually refer to anything, at this point, it is merely a placeholder, a kind of Rorschach Test for people to fill the void with whatever notions they have of what it would mean for a machine to “think” like a person.
Despite that fact, or perhaps because of it, AGI is an ideal marketing term to attach to a lot of efforts in machine learning. Case in point, a research paper featured on the cover of this week’s Nature magazine about a new kind of computer chip developed by researchers at China’s Tsinghua University that could “accelerate the development of AGI,” they claim.
The chip is a strange hybrid of approaches, and is intriguing, but the work leaves unanswered many questions about how it’s made, and how it achieves what researchers claim of it. And some longtime chip observers doubt the impact will be as great as suggested.
“This paper is an example of the good work that China is doing in AI,” says Linley Gwennap, longtime chip-industry observer and principal analyst with chip analysis firm The Linley Group. “But this particular idea isn’t going to take over the world.”
The premise of the paper, “Towards artificial general intelligence with hybrid Tianjic chip architecture,” is that to achieve AGI, computer chips need to change. That’s an idea supported by fervent activity these days in the land of computer chips, with lots of new chip designs being proposed specifically for machine learning.
The Tsinghua authors specifically propose that the mainstream machine learning of today needs to be merged in the same chip with what’s called “neuromorphic computing.” Neuromorphic computing, first conceived by Caltech professor Carver Mead in the early ’80s, has been an obsession for firms including IBM for years, with little practical result.
Neuromorphic chips transform incoming data by “spiking” in electrical potential, whereas today’s deep learning performs a “matrix multiplication” operation that transforms incoming data via a set of “weights” or parameters, and then passes them through a non-linear operation called an “activation.” The two different paths of the data are incommensurable, which is why they have been pursued as separate technologies to date.
The Chinese researchers, led by Jing Pei of Tsinghua’s Center for Brain-Inspired Computing Research, claim their “Tianjic” chip has successfully “fused” the two approaches. Back in 2015, Pei and colleagues developed a strictly neuromorphic computer. This time, they’ve combined some of the aspects of that chip with the deep learning matrix multiplication. The Tianjic chip has numerous “cores” that operate in parallel, and each one can perform either the spikes of the neuromorphic approach or the matrix operations of the deep learning approach.
The crux is that Pei and colleagues have “aligned the model data flow,” meaning, they organized which operations of the deep learning calculation correspond to which in the neurmorphic ones, so that the cores can flip back and forth between the two.
The paper has provocative terms for the various areas of the chip cores, borrowed from the biology of the brain, such as “axon,” “soma,” “dendrite” and “synapse.”
To demonstrate what they can do, they programmed the chip to perform a number of real-world tasks such as identifying objects and determining a course to move through a terrain of objects. They have demonstrated it by attaching the chip to a bicycle with no rider that is able to move on its own through its environment, responding to voice cues from its master. You can see the demo in a video accompanying the article, and posted on YouTube.
The bicycle moves by computing a number of things with the different neuromorphic or deep learning networks, “including a CNN for image processing and object detection, a CANN [continuous attractor neural network] for human target tracking, an SNN [spiking neural network] for voice-command recognition, and an MLP [multi-layer perceptron] for attitude balance and direction control.”
Also: Chip world tries to come to grips with promise and peril of AI
The stunt was picked up this week by the media, big time, with various headlines playing upon the feat with quips such as, “look, no hands,” regarding the autonomous bike. The New York Times ran with “And now a bicycle built for no one.”
The problem is, there are a number of strange omissions here. Start with the notion of AGI: nowhere is a really sharp definition provided, much less a theoretical suggestion that combining functions is somehow an approach to AGI. The implication is that having one chip do a bunch of things is somehow a more “general” kind of chip. As the authors write, “An AGI system […] requires a general platform” that supports lots of processing “in a unified architecture.” That sounds like consolidation and integration, not necessarily like intelligence.
For another thing, there is very little information about how the two types of networks, neural and neuromorphic, are trained, which is an important issue for either one separately, and even more important when they’re combined. Pei and colleagues write, in the “Methods” section of the paper, that they trained the deep learning part in the normal way, and that for the neuromorphic part, they relied on a method introduced last year by some of the researchers, called “Spatio-temporal backpropagation,” a version of the backpropogation approach common in deep learning.
There are also some missing details about the chip’s fabrication. For example, the part is said to have “reconfigurable” circuits, but how the circuits are to be reconfigured is never specified. It could be so-called “field programmable gate array,” or FPGA, technology or something else. Code for the project is not provided by the authors as it often is for such research; the authors offer to provide the code “on reasonable request.”
More important is the fact the chip may have a hard time stacking up to a lot of competing chips out there, says analyst Gwennap. The specs seem underwhelming, in his view. “Tianjic’s reported 1.28 TOPS/watt [trillions of operations per watt, a common measure of performance] is similar to today’s GPUs,” he notes, referring to graphics processing unit chips made by Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices. However, the performance is “well behind more advanced architectures” of newer chips, he notes.
Also: AI is changing the entire nature of compute
Gwennap’s colleague, Mike Demler, concurs. He notes some inaccuracies in the paper, such as the contention that spiking neurons require “extra high-precision memory” circuits for some functions. Demler’s review of a neuromorphic chip by chip giant Intel, called “Loihi,” shows that such is not the case. A chip developed by startup Brainchip, Inc., also proves the claim false, he says. Moreover, since the Loihi chip has already shown that conventional neural networks, such as a convolutional neural network, or CNN, can be implemented as a spiking neuron, there’s no need for the kind of “unified” chip that the Tsinghua authors claim.
To Gwennap, it is a bit of an odd goal to try and combine two things in one. “What the paper calls ANN and SNN are two very different means of solving similar problems, kind of like rotating (helicopter) and fixed wing (airplane) are for aviation,” says Gwennap. “Ultimately, I expect ANN and SNN to serve different end applications, but I don’t see a need to combine them in a single chip; you just end up with a chip that is OK for two things but not great for anything.”
But you also end up generating a lot of buzz, and given the tension between the U.S. and China over all things tech, and especially A.I., the notion China is stealing a march on the U.S. in artificial general intelligence — whatever that may be — is a summer sizzler of a headline.
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Author: Team E-crypto News
Today at the Chinese gaming expo ChinaJoy, a devoted fan destroyed a PlayStation 4 in protest at what a cluster of onlookers saw as Sony’s promotion of shameless The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ”clone” Genshin Impact.
When Mihoyo unveiled Genshin Impact for PS4, many noted the game was inspired by BOTW.
Some fans of BOTW are upset that Sony is promoting this game because of the similarities + they think it’s shameless of Sony.
This man smashed his PS4 at ChinaJoy in protest. pic.twitter.com/jwJqwREgaz
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 3, 2019
Genshin Impact’s announcement trailer released during E3 2019 last month sparked heated reactions that immediately identified it as a thinly-veiled copy of Breath of the Wild.
From the airy anime-inspired art style to the bright halo-like lighting effects by way of an uncannily similar cooking and dungeon mechanics, and even a towering castle dominating the horizon and map, it’s hard to argue that Breath of the Wild hasn’t inspired developer miHoYo.
See for yourself in the gameplay footage below.
A Furious Fan Displeased With Sony’s Involvement
During its press conference at ChinaJoy held in Shanghai on Thursday, Sony earmarked a segment to promote Genshin Impact’s arrival on PlayStation 4. The company is also involved in developing the port and is set to publish the title on its platform.
One fan felt the Japanese publisher had taken matters too far, and to voice his discontent, opted to obliterate a $250 console in front of the crowds gathered at this year’s edition of ChinaJoy – an event widely considered as China’s answer to E3.
Other than the theatrics on show as the fan removed his PlayStation 4 from a backpack and smashed it on the ground, reactions from onlookers were priceless. These ranged from disbelief to amusement with one pink lanyard-sporting gentleman clearly unimpressed by the whole debacle.
Whether such an overt display will have the desired effect and ward Sony away from promoting the title is up in the air.
Reports suggest he isn’t alone as hundreds of enraged fans have left insult and threat-riddled comments on a post authored by Sony on Chinese social media platform Weibo announcing the PlayStation 4 version of Genshin Impact.
Genshin Impact – Clone or Hommage?
Cooler heads succinctly point out that although the similarities with Breath of the Wild are unmistakable, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The game Genshin Impact developed by Mihoyo is completely copying The Legand of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The company uses all the elements in Zelda to make their own game and selling it (currently in beta version). Please take a look at this, thanks. @Nintendo @NintendoAmerica pic.twitter.com/mKgamjIFla
— Vivian.Ysy (@SiyuYang_V) June 23, 2019
If Genshin Impact even flirts with that level of game design and overall quality, gamers are the ones who stand to gain. Furthermore, Breath of the Wild isn’t without its faults. It’s argued that the prospect of a game that may improve upon these should please fans rather than evoke their ire.
Equally, a closer look at Genshin Impact reveals a game predominantly inspired by the rich heritage of manga and anime and, more importantly, a few significant differences to Breath of the Wild.
The combat appears more impactful and fast-paced while the cast of characters is a whimsical bunch rather than reminiscent of the stoic resolve of Breath of the Wild’s protagonist Link. With this in mind, the derogatory use of the term clone appears a tad too extreme and claims of plagiarism equally disproportionate.
As Oscar Wilde once said ”Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness,” and Genshin Impact looks anything but mediocre at this point.
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Author: Thomas Bardwell
A study by DataTrek Research compared the evolution of specific searches on Google associated with periods of stagnation and economic recession, concluding that North Americans manifest behaviors typical of a robust economy.
Google searches associated with negative terms have been declining during the last years. DataTrek explains that they only used data from 2004 to 2019 for the research.
Americans Love Netflix & Chill — For Real
A solid economy is generally associated with good working conditions and good quality of life.
According to DataTrek, leisure-related terms such as TV, YouTube, and Netflix reached historical peaks at the end of the last decade.
Since 2010 the trend stabilized. But this can be explained by the rising number of smartphones, smart TVs and other inventions that make it unnecessary to search for such terms.
Unemployment and Coupons are Not So Popular Anymore
The study also concluded that Americans do not fear an economic crisis. Searches on Google for the term “Coupon” have steadily declined since 2012. Before this, it was continually rising, especially from 2005 to 2008.
Coincidentally this episode led to the creation of Bitcoin.
In general terms, the public should be more interested in getting discounts during times of recession, unemployment or inflation; however, in the past few years, there has been no significant interest among Americans to get these offers from Google
It also seems that the concern for eventual layoffs is not in the minds of most Americans. Searches on Google related to “unemployment” have remained stable compared to 2018 and have decreased over the last decade.
Google Searches Are Good News
DataTrek says these results are characteristic of a stable economy and a change in the monetary policy would not be as necessary as many politicians think, – should Google trends be correlated with the actual economic situation:
Summing up: if the Federal Reserve looked at Google Trends, they might not be so inclined to cut rates next week.
Several economists and financial analysts share an optimistic view of the US economy, and Tom Lee is one of them. In an interview for Yahoo Finance, CEO of Fundstrat explained:
“We’ve studied past FED cuts, and as long as the Leading Economic Indicators are positive, it has a huge effect. But at the moment, there are some funky things happening in the credit markets that a Fed cut would really ease.”
Highlight: A rate cut is “coming at an appropriate time because it’s really acting as insurance,” says @fundstrat’s Tom Lee. “But at the moment, there is some funky things happen in the credit markets that a Fed cut would really ease.” Full interview: pic.twitter.com/u6A2pvDzgc
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) July 24, 2019
The theory of rational expectations could be used to explain the relationship between Google searches and the current state of the economy. According to this concept, people’s current expectations can influence the future state of the economy.
Applying this concept to everyday life could mean DataTrek’s results are good news, and America is not going to wind up in a recession any time soon.
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Author: Jose Antonio Lanz