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Elon Musk and Jack Ma Discuss AI

An August 2019 article by Mohit Oberoi, CFA posted on the website asked the question: Elon Musk or Jack Ma: Who’s Right about AI?

Quoted from the Oberoi article: "Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, and Alibaba’s cofounder, Jack Ma, debated AI at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China. Musk holds strong views on AI. He said, “The first thing we should assume is we are very dumb.” He added, “We can definitely make things smarter than ourselves.” Musk also said that humans “are hopelessly inadequate.” According to Musk, there are only a few areas in which humans can do better than computers. However, he feels that such avenues are quickly shrinking. He said, “We will be far, far surpassed in every single way. I guarantee it.”

Such predictions are nothing new for Musk. Whether it’s Tesla’s deliveries and valuation or the future of gasoline cars, he’s made several bold statements. At times, authorities have faulted Musk for his comments. For example, he got into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet about taking Tesla private as well as a prediction about Model 3 deliveries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also issued a subpoena and a cease and desist letter to Musk over his use of the term “safest” to describe Tesla cars.

Jack Ma was somewhat circumspect in his views on AI. He said, “Computers may be clever, but human beings are much smarter.” Musk disagreed with Ma’s statement. Ma also said that it’s humans who have created computers—not the other way around.

Musk said computers have beaten human beings at chess and Go, but Ma said “it’s stupid to compete” with computers at these games. He gave the analogy of cars, saying humans can’t run faster. Ma said that humans would be smarter and wiser to do better than machines and that the education system might have to change for that to happen.

AI and man versus machine. AI has brought into focus the debate of man versus machine. There’s no denying that today, machines are doing a lot of the work humans did years ago. In many ways, machines are extremely efficient. However, in several areas, technology is still not perfect. Tesla’s Autopilot and self-driving technologies are a testament to AI’s deficiency. Tesla says its Autopilot currently doesn’t support full self-driving functionality. However, the company is working on it."

. . . . . . Read this complete article and the source of this information at: Role of AI Discussed

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Tesla’s Impressive China Gigafactory Progress

An August 2019 article by Anuradha Garg posted on the website discussed the Tesla investments in China, positive Chinese actions and Trump's tariffs negative affects.

Quoted from the Oberoi article: "Tesla’s Chinese Gigafactory has gone from groundbreaking to trial assemblies in a matter of just eight months. The construction work at the factory started in January this year. Within just three days of applying, on August 19, Tesla received a comprehensive acceptance certificate from the Chinese government. On August 26, Teslarati reported that leaked images and videos showed Tesla conducting trial production runs of its China-made Model 3. Then came the reports that Tesla would unveil its China-made Model 3 on August 29 at the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference. According to Inside EVs, Tesla actually showcased its first China-made Model 3 on August 29.

The pace of the progress at the Gigafactory has been impressive, surprising many analysts—and even Musk. Many Tesla skeptics had completely ignored Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in their estimates.

Gigafactory to help Tesla avoid tariffs. The Gigafactory has become a wild card for Tesla as trade tensions between the US and China escalate. Tesla had to increase its car prices in China starting on August 30 due to Chinese yuan-related uncertainty. The Gigafactory will not only produce cost-efficient Model 3s for the domestic market but will also help the company avoid a large portion of the tariffs. ...

The impressive progress of the China Gigafactory wasn’t the end of the surprises for Musk during his visit. On August 30, China announced that it would exempt cars made by Tesla from its 10% purchase tax. Citing China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Reuters reported that the country would exempt 16 Tesla models from its purchase tax. The exemption will reduce the prices of Tesla’s Model S, Model X, and Model 3 in the country. According to CNN, 34 carmakers are on the exemption list. The list, however, mostly applies to cars made via joint ventures between Chinese and foreign automakers, such as Toyota (TM) and Daimler (DDAIF). Tesla is the only foreign automaker that has this exemption. Interestingly, this development came after Musk met Chinese Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng....

Trump denied Tesla’s exemption requests. In June, Tesla asked the US Trade Representative to exempt some Chinese-made car computer components from the tariffs. President Donald Trump denied this request, according to Reuters. GM (GM) and Uber (UBER) also requested tariff relief and were denied. Tesla’s requests were denied on the grounds that they concerned “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025,’ or other Chinese industrial programs.” As per Reuters, Tesla had previously argued that increased tariffs on these products would cause “economic harm to Tesla, through the increase of costs and impact to profitability.”

China’s latest move to give Tesla purchase tax exemptions that were thought to be reserved for domestic companies or joint ventures proves that it’s ready to go the extra mile to attract foreign investment. Tesla, on the other hand, is benefiting from China’s efforts, and the country could prove to be a significant catalyst on its path toward sustainable profitability. . . . . . . Read this complete article and the source of this information at: Tesla's Impressive China Gigafactory

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ASIA Advances With Digital and AI Technologies

In July 2019, the report Asia's Future Is Now was issued by the McKinsey Global Institute. Below is a tech related excerpt from the report.

The report was authored by Oliver Tonby is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Singapore office; Wonsik Choi is a senior partner in the Seoul office; Jonathan Woetzel is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, where Jeongmin Seong is a senior fellow; and Patti Wang is a consultant.

"For years, Western observers and media have been talking about the rise of Asia in terms of its massive future potential. But the time has come for the rest of the world to update its thinking—because the future arrived even faster than expected.

One of the most dramatic developments of the past 30 years has been emerging Asia’s soaring consumption and its integration into global flows of trade, capital, talent, and innovation. In the decades ahead, Asia’s economies will go from participating in these flows to determining their shape and direction. Indeed, in many areas—from the internet to trade and luxury goods—they already are. The question is no longer how quickly Asia will rise; it is how Asia will lead.....

Asia is online and booming. Today it already accounts for half (2.2 billion) of the world’s internet users; China and India alone account for one-third (Exhibit 3). The region’s enormous pools of digital consumers support a flourishing and innovative technology sector.

China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are among the most digitally advanced nations in the world. China has joined these ranks with startling speed. In e-commerce, for example, China accounted for less than 1 percent of the value of worldwide transactions only about a decade ago; that share is now more than 40 percent. Penetration of mobile payments among China’s internet users grew from just 25 percent in 2013 to 68 percent in 2016. Three of China’s internet giants—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—are building a rich digital ecosystem now growing beyond them.

Asia has ample venture capital to support technology innovation and entrepreneurship. China now ranks second only to the United States in terms of start-up investment. From 2014 through 2016, China provided just under 20 percent of the world’s venture capital. India is also catching up quickly, tripling Germany’s venture funding in 2018. Asia now accounts for nearly half of global investment. It is now among the top global sources and destinations for venture capital in fields such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Innovation hubs are starting to take root. As of April 2019, Asia was home to more than one-third (119) of the world’s 331 “unicorns” (start-ups valued at more than $1 billion). Ninety-one of these companies are in China, followed by India with 13, South Korea with six, and Indonesia at four. By comparison, the United States is home to 161 unicorns, while the United Kingdom has 16 and Germany has nine.

China has made AI development a strategic priority, and it currently ranks as one of the global leaders in this field. South Korea and Singapore also have major national initiatives to build AI capabilities. Japan has similar ambitions and recently announced new courses in its universities and technical schools to produce 250,000 graduates annually with proficiency in AI. Despite this flurry of activity and innovation, some two billion people across the region lack internet access, including many in rural areas of India, China, and Indonesia. Building out backbone digital infrastructure beyond major cities and bringing more of this population online is an issue for both economic and human development.

However, even lagging countries are rapidly digitizing. Private-sector innovation is bringing internet-enabled services to millions of consumers and made online usage more accessible. As this process unfolds, it is creating a mobile-first environment, with large populations skipping over the stages of broadband and PC usage altogether in favor of mobile-phone usage and applications.

Indonesia and India have outpaced the world in the speed of digital adoption over the past three years—and once new users go online, they quickly gain digital savvy. The number of internet subscribers in India alone has almost doubled since 2014 to 560 million. Their use of mobile data is growing at 152 percent annually—more than twice the rates in the United States. ...

Whether they are digital leaders or laggards, the next stage of the journey for countries across the region is to go beyond consumer use and encourage wider adoption of digital tools in traditional sectors, from agriculture to retail and logistics. Similarly, the public and social sectors can continue deploying digital systems to make government services and healthcare more efficient. The ultimate goal is harnessing the latest technology tools to boost productivity in a meaningful way...

Asia’s consumers are a force in the global economy. Over the past two decades, global poverty has dropped dramatically. Some 1.2 billion people have been propelled into the consuming class, meaning that they have passed the income level at which they can begin to make significant discretionary purchases. This is one of the greatest economic success stories in history—and it is very much an Asian story. . . . . . . Read the complete McKinsey Global Institute article and the source of this information at: Asia's Future Is Now.

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Technical Expertise - Aircraft in 2019

Hundreds of passenger aircraft fly into and out of airports around the world everyday. Because of the aircrafts' very high level of technical reliability, the expertise of the flight crews and the air traffic controllers skills and dedication at the airports the thousands of landings never make news. Here is such an example. We hope you enjoy your flight.

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