Elon Musk has been pitching cheap tunnels from The Boring Company to big names

Elon Musk—CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company—has been pitching his new tunnel-boring capabilities to curious elected officials as …
A map of a potential location for a tunnel through Australia's Blue Mountains.
Enlarge/ Plans for a potential tunnel connecting Sydney, Australia, to the West.

Elon Musk—CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company—has been pitching his new tunnel-boring capabilities to curious elected officials as well as the director of CERN (the organization that owns and operates the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland).

Just a month after Musk opened up his first, rather rugged test tunnel under the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, California, the CEO has been on Twitter floating prices and talking projects.

Last week Jeremy Buckingham, a member of Parliament in New South Wales’ Upper House, asked Musk on Twitter, “How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?” Musk replied, “About $15M/km for a two-way high-speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station.”

About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2019

In his original tweet, Buckingham tagged Mike Cannon-Brookes, an Australian billionaire who co-founded Atlassian. Cannon-Brookes was involved with a bet in 2017 that led to Tesla deploying the world’s largest battery in South Australia.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), senior engineering and tunneling experts are incredibly skeptical of Musk’s prices. They said that including ventilation and emergency egress locations in the mountainous region would increase the cost, as would “geotechnical conditions and integration with the wider transport network.”

Musk himself has said that traditional tunnels can cost up to $1 billion per mile in heavily populated areas. An estimate of $15 million/km or roughly $24 million/mi would represent a significant and ground-breaking technological change, the likes of which The Boring Company hasn’t demonstrated yet. At a press briefing in December, Boring Company representatives showed off the next steps in modifying boring machines to improve on the cost of boring. But these machines were still demonstration projects as of December 18.

Such a tunnel would have to conform to the operating model that Musk outlined when he opened his first tunnel in Hawthorne in December—that is, it would be a tunnel that exists exclusively for electric vehicles. Owners of electric vehicles could drive into the tunnel, and people who don’t own electric vehicles would, theoretically, catch rides in electric vehicles for hire managed by the owner of the tunnel. (Musk said in December that The Boring Company would be willing to own and operate the transportation networks that it builds or it would turn them over to the entity that commissioned the network, depending on circumstances.)

Musk has said that restricting the tunnels to all-electric vehicles is key to reducing the cost of tunneling. He reasons that the diameter of the tunnel can be somewhat smaller since electric vehicles don’t need as much airflow as internal combustion vehicles. (And a smaller tunnel diameter means less muck to haul out and fewer materials needed to reinforce the structure.)

No CERNtainty of this partnership

Plans for the Future Circular Collider.
Enlarge/ Plans for the Future Circular Collider.
CERN

On Monday morning, Musk made a second informal pitch. He tweeted in response to an MIT Technology Review article about the Future Circular Collider, a project by CERN to build a new particle collider that’s four times bigger than the current Large Hadron Collider.

“Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety,” Musk tweeted. “Would probably save several billon [sic] Euros.”

Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety. Would probably save several billon Euros.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2019

This month, CERN released a Conceptual Design Report outlining a series of high-performance particle colliders housed in a tunnel that is 100km (62mi) in circumference. According to MIT Technology Review, the Future Circular Collider could be completed as soon as 2040. Absent a lower Boring Company bid, researchers have estimated that the tunnel alone would cost €5 billion ($5.7 billion) to build.

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Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

No wonder, at Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, co-CEO Mark Hurd predicted that about 85% of companies’ interactions with …

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now ranks highly on the list of businesses’ most precious capital resources, and there is no question that it is increasingly being seen as essential to support creating new products, services, and ways of working.

But as companies begin to understand the vast potential of their data, the question they face is how to make the most of it? The answer lies in getting real-time insights that enable better business decisions and accelerated product development.

But, what if the insights were used not just by humans, but also by the systems themselves, for their own ongoing optimisation at previously inconceivable speed and accuracy?

That is the promise offered by automation and machine learning, which are already bringing the advent of revolutionary technologies like self-driving cars and virtual assistants.

Overcoming key challenges

Already these emerging technologies are helping today’s digital businesses, solve a number of complex issues most companies face when it comes to harnessing the full potential of data:

nComplex data management – Many enterprises are having to spend as much as three-quarters of their total database management cost on labour2, meaning the focus of business has been put on completing less-interesting administration and operational tasks rather than high-value work.

nReliability of systems – On average, companies are suffering almost 100 hours of database downtime per year3 as a result of human error, causing the business to bleed $7,900 every minute4.

nSecurity – As highlighted by the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report, 20185, only 14% of respondents felt able to effectively analyse and respond to the vast majority (75-100%) of their security event data.

nTime spent on manual work – Businesses continue to be held back from accelerating the speed of innovation due to the excessive amount of time spent on manual management impedes, despite the fact that even a 10% increase in data accessibility translates into an additional $65.7 million in net income6.

And while automation and machine learning are already assisting organisations to overcome these key challenges, particularly when combined together they have the potential to let businesses do so much more in terms of managing and getting value from their information even more easily, effectively, and with less effort. No wonder, at Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, co-CEO Mark Hurd predicted that about 85% of companies’ interactions with their customers will be automated7. The result? Instead of having to do repetitive, low value support work, employees can spend their time solving the most difficult customer problems and thinking about better ways to serve customers.

Likewise, companies need artificial intelligence (AI) driven automation because the amount of information that a company has about its customers, and the possible ways to best use that insight, are beyond the ability of humans to assess and make judgments on—especially given customer expectations for real-time responses.

However, despite these huge benefits, many organisations are hesitant to adopt these new technologies concerned about the risk of being early adopters and being put off by the need to bring in new, expensive skills.


Smart machines

Fortunately, new cloud applications empowered with machine learning and automation8 are helping give companies a leg up in terms of adoption through tools they are already familiar with across many key area of the business including customer experience, enterprise resource planning (ERP)9, supply chain management, and human resources.

Take a typical ERP application – it will already support processes like expense reporting, procurement and so on. Increasingly tools like this will have AI built into to help improve usability and efficiency by intelligently automating core processes and providing guided actions for users. For example, the smart automation of routine tasks such as employee expense reports will not only automate the entry and classification of expense information, but also the expense approval itself.

Similarly, the system could intelligently automate the ordering and fulfilment process for standard inventory items by automatically monitoring stock levels and learning the optimal lead time and sourcing options for reordering. This is actually simple data analysis. Rather than people, systems decide which factors matter the most and can continually update recommendation engine rules over time. This capability can be extended to other high-value, high-frequency business processes, both in the finance team and in other departments, like HR and marketing.

From automation to autonomous

Another area of the business in which automation and machine learning are playing a key role, is in data management. Modern tools like Oracle’s autonomous database which can self-patch, self-repair and self-secure help CIOs pull their organisations out of maintenance mode and into innovation mode, allowing their people to fulfil their potential.10

With a self-driving system that uses built-in machine learning algorithms to manage itself, businesses can lower costs and increase productivity whereby manpower can be optimised and resources can be deployed to higher value tasks. Being self-securing, the database can automatically apply patches to protect against external attacks as soon as they become available and automatically encrypt data, for lower risk.

While it has never been more challenging to lead a business, or IT for that matter, there’s never been more opportunity and around this time, organisations cannot afford to miss those opportunities. By leveraging AI-driven automation and machine learning, organisations and hence businesses can deliver new capabilities and more business value much faster than they would have ever dreamed possible before.

(The writer is Regional Managing Director, ASEAN and SAGE.)

Footnotes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/05/21/how-much-data-do-we-create-every-day-the-mind-blowing-stats-everyone-should-read/#af5dfcd60ba9

2 http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/idc-oracles-autonomous-database-4497146.pdf

3 https://www3.dbmaestro.com/blog/5-ways-to-prevent-database-downtime

4 https://www3.dbmaestro.com/blog/5-ways-to-prevent-database-downtime

5 http://www.oracle.com/ctr

6 http://www.baselinemag.com/analytics-big-data/slideshows/surprising-statistics-about-big-data.html

7 https://blogs.oracle.com/3-predictions-about-artificial-intelligence-from-oracle-ceo-mark-hurd

8 https://blogs.oracle.com/transform-your-growing-business-with-emerging-technologies

9 https://www.oracle.com/applications/erp/

10 https://blogs.oracle.com/why-autonomous-systems-are-critical-to-the-future-of-business

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Here are some of the big names going to Davos this year

Dara Khosrowshahi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uber Technologies, speaks with the media in New Delhi, India, February 22, 2018.

Davos at the end of the day is an over-hyped conference: Nile Gardiner

Former Margaret Thatcher aide Nile Gardiner on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the concerns over the future of Brexit.

It’s that time of year again, when the who’s who of the international business world descend on the Swiss mountain hamlet of Davos to discuss pressing global issues.

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And while several notable political leaders — i.e. President Trump and his cabinet — will be absent from this year’s World Economic Forum, there are still several big names going.

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Here are some of the biggest names that will be in attendance this year.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro smiles during a ceremony where he signed a decree loosening restrictions on owning a firearm at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Before, non-military or police who wanted to o

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Brazil’s newly elected populist president will take center stage after Trump announced he would not be attending as the partial government shutdown enters its fifth week.

Bill Gates

Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is expected to take part in a panel discussion on financial innovation for global health.

Prince William

The Duke of Cambridge is expected to take in a conversation with David Attenborough as well as a session discussing mental health.

Al Gore

The former vice president and environmental activist is expected to take part in several conversations about climate change.

Dara Khosrowshahi

Dara Khosrowshahi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uber Technologies, speaks with the media in New Delhi, India, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal

Uber’s CEO is expected to join a discussion on how capitalism can be used to promote prosperity.

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Christine Lagarde

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde briefs the media during a news conference at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is also expected to take part in several panel sessions.

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Roger Ver Says Scammers Made $6 Million

Some of the most popular individuals who have been impersonate include John Mcafee, Vitalik Buterin, and Elon Musk. Specifically, billionaire …

One major issue with the cryptocurrency markets is the fact that there are so many scammers involved, that are ready to take advantage of those who might not be knowledgeable about how scams work. Often times, scammers use the likeness of influential figures in the cryptocurrency space in order to profit.

Specifically, Roger Ver, the CEO of Bitcoin.com, has stated that social media accounts using his information have scammed individuals out of $6 million in cryptocurrency.

About Ver

For those who are unaware, Roger Ver was one of the earliest and most famous Bitcoin adopters and investors. He was one of the few individuals actively investing in the space around 2011-2012, and he invested in notable companies such as Ripple, Bitpay, and Kraken.

He is one of the five founders of the Bitcoin Foundation, as well, and is known for supporting Bitcoin (BTC) as a means towards true economic freedom. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley, but no longer lives in the United States. He has a Twitter account with over 500,000 followers, which makes him easily one of the most influential cryptocurrency-related accounts.

Clarification

Ver has gone on record to let cryptocurrency traders and investors know that he would never directly ask for donations or investments. He stated: “I’m never ever ever going to contact any of you guys asking for money or asking to invest in something via direct message on any of these social media platforms.”

Ver is not the only one who has been impersonated, as scammers attempt to leverage the influence of major cryptocurrency figures to gain credibility and solicit donations. Some of the most popular individuals who have been impersonate include John Mcafee, Vitalik Buterin, and Elon Musk. Specifically, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has even complimented how innovative the scamsters have become.

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SpaceX Will Build Prototype Mars Rockets In Texas, Not California

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting …

From Texas Standard:

It’s not often that the Los Angeles times covers news with a Texas slant, but this time, it was somewhat unavoidable.

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting production to South Texas. The story got lots of play in Southern California where it was considered something of a blow to the region’s dream of becoming the epicenter of the next wave of space exploration. And it was seen as a victory for Texas – one of California’s economic rivals.

SpaceX already has a launch facility in Boca Chica, near Brownsville, and Steve Clark, a staff writer at the Brownsville Herald says the facility was initially expected to host 12 launches a year once completed. When Musk attended the site’s groundbreaking in 2014, he hinted that Boca Chica could have an even higher-profile role in SpaceX plans.

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“He did say something about the possibility that the first person to depart Earth for Mars could actually leave from Boca Chica,” Clark says.

The Starship Hopper project – the one moved from Los Angeles to Texas – is the first prototype of SpaceX’s Mars initiative. The prototype vehicle will be built at Boca Chica. But development of the overall Starship Mars project remains in California.

Clark says the economic impact of Starship Hopper on South Texas is unclear, but that traffic to the Boca Chica site has increased. He says tourists are posing with the rocket prototype.

Texas likely got the nod to build these rockets because it would have been logistically more complicated to build them in California and then transport them to the Texas launchpad.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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