The Cult of Tesla's Elon Musk

This article was posted to my personal blog at Talkmarkets. It is my opinion only:

Americans want to belong. This sense of belonging is often mingled with their political and economic desires. If you worship Elon Musk and support Tesla you will become rich, or support Amazon or Apple, or if you hitch your future to Trump you will reap financial rewards.

In the short run those scenarios are all proving to be true, some are long term successes, and who knows how long the others will last. With the Tesla experiencing one if its self driving cars running into a stopped firetruck on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, it is necessary to focus on Elon Musk. Musk appears to be using technology and a cult of himself to impact the American business world in ways rarely seen.

I focus here on Musk, because he is likely the the most powerful cult leader in America, other than perhaps Donald Trump. We know Trump is aware of his cult following, having said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his followers would still follow him. Cult figures have power over the minds of people. They can do and promise to do things that would normally cause people to distance themselves from other regular crackpots.

But Elon Musk seems to be able to make outrageous statements and still retain his followers. He is revered and even lionized, even though he said twice that people should not have the power to drive their own cars. Yes, he said it twice. Musk makes some legitimate products and far out ridiculous products like vacuum tubes for high speed travel and brain lace, discussed below. But it has been reported continually that even many of the legitimate products cost more to make than they can be sold for.

Elon Musk is a Utopian dreamer.  He sees himself as the guardian of what is best in the battle between man and machine. And he could very well be a totalitarian Utopian dreamer. At least we get some critical articles coming out now and again warning about Musk and his visions. He should, in the words of Stevie Nicks, keep his visions to himself. Musk is a con man if he thinks A1 will morph into Hal. This is silly irrational promotion of Artificial Intelligence.  But it may even be calculated to bring more money to the industry. The Vanity Fair author says it best:

Musk is without doubt a dazzling salesman. Who better than a guardian of human welfare to sell you your new, self-driving Tesla?

Here is one of his more dastardly visions, brain lace for mind control: 

Neural lace: it sounds like something a cyborg might wear to a wedding, but it's also yet another future technology Elon Musk has added to his eccentric potential inventions list. Just one problem with that: the fictional sci-fi series that coined "neural lace" doesn't suggest we'll have a fine time with such brain implants — and it also represents exactly the kind of future that Musk himself has said he's trying to avoid.
It appears that Musk wants to internalize artificial intelligence, so thoughts are controlled within, and so external computers won't take our place.

This is an absurd discussion to have. So, this TESLA business seems to be a cultish scam. I am not saying some of these failings cannot be reversed with real and profitable products that make money coming online. With Tesla, we see through a glass darkly. Now we have the rumors of someone buying the company, and the stock keeps rising.

We know that artificial intelligence is over hyped. No where is that more evident than in the promotion of self driving cars.

Save lives, we hear as the reason for promoting self driving cars. The human race has failed to drive properly says the promoters of self driving cars. But really, isn't it all about control? Haven't freedoms in America been eroding on a regular basis for years now? What bigger totalitarian move could be made against Americans than taking away the ability to drive your own car?

The reality of self driving cars is likely overstated, and people will still be able to drive their own cars, at least in most places. The concern with Musk is his relentless willingness to take away freedom if he could just master the technology he creates. And he always appears to be close to mastery.

His mission statement since high school is his goal to "increase collective consciousness", whatever that means. You can be a loony totalitarian and get away with it if you are an engineer and a wily inventor.

Yet, with Elon Musk, it is difficult to know what he thinks is a scam and what he thinks is legitimate, what can really be accomplished and what cannot. And can any of it make money?

After all, anyone who is for taking away the freedom of people to drive is likely willing to take away other freedoms as well. Brain lace seems to be in line with self driving cars as means to limit freedom.

After all, it isn't much better to be controlled externally by computers or internally with AI controlling people through thought control. Neither idea is viable, and both are totalitarian concepts. But they fascinate the investors who are mesmerized by Musk. Even the Departments of Aviation and Transportation are mesmerized by Musk as they subject him to minimal regulation. But he better stop his products from running into fire trucks or that little window of freedom will close fast.

Cult leaders' single greatest gift is the power of mesmerization. Trump has it, and Musk has it. It is an evil gift. History has shown that to be true.

Musk keeps people off balance. That is typical cult behavior. He wants to live on Mars for crying out loud. The believers will follow even if the stock goes to zero. They seem to rely on his outlandish futuristic ideas. The faith in self driving technology, with Elon Musk being its most vocal proponent, is off the charts. Yet self driving cars are not Hal like either. They have no judgement and they are not that intelligent. Mashable reported the crash on the 405. The article reveals some issues with the entire concept of self driving technology:

For now, Tesla's software is still in what's classified by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a "Level 2 automated system." This means that Tesla's autopilot is "driver-assisted" technology that requires drivers to always be fully aware and ready to take control to the steering wheel and pedals. 
But we see from the article that Musk has made promises about his technology that are at least questionable. I am no attorney, but this sounds really cult like:

In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the significant announcement that, henceforth, every Tesla would now be fitted with the hardware necessary (like cameras) to be a completely autonomous vehicle.
It must be unfortunate for Musk that his dreams are indeed ahead of his technology. Mastering that technology is simply not happening. But his followers do not seem to understand this at all.

I just don't think it is smart to bet the entire farm on Tesla, because no one can get inside the mind of Elon Musk, brain lace or not. A cult leader is always invincible, until he is exposed.

Tesla stock is purely speculative. People should remember this fact. Trading the stock may be profitable, but pouring a large percentage of one's fortune into the stock should be avoided, at least until the cult issue and money making capability issue are settled in the minds of potential investors.

Rational thinking is always important when dealing with a cult figure unless you can afford to lose your investment. But it is hard to short a cult figure, because of the following they command.


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