If a firm's profits are underwritten by systematic evasion of environmental and safety regulations, a runaway "Full Self-Driving" scam, deposits on vaporware vehicles and a massive list of unfunded obligations, you need to be analyzing it as a criminal enterprise, not a business.
If you like Tesla's products, think it has a sustainable business, whatever, that's fine. I won't quarrel with any of those views. But the current leadership has made it clear that it operates the company as an unapologetic criminal enterprise, more or less top to bottom.
Tesla's fundamentally criminal attitudes and actions have revealed deep weaknesses in America's regulatory regimes, which aren't easy to fix. But if the systems has been working, and one player's amorality is all that has broken it, maybe the system isn't the problem... nahmean?
The core of the problem is impunity. Tesla has gotten away with so much for so long, even its toughest critics often assume it will continue to do so no matter what it does. That assumption is toxic to the rule of law and every regulatory regime that touches the company.
So, if you need to keep Tesla as the maker of cool cars and icon of EV evangelism separate from Tesla as a management culture of criminal impunity, that's fine. Hopefully the two can be separated. But the one sure as hell doesn't just cancel out the other.
Finally, don't take your eye off the actual stakes here. Tesla is the master of context collapse as a tactic, but there is so much more to this now than just whether the stock goes up or down. This company's attitude, and the actions that flow from it, are a systemic risk.
I know that sounds hyperbolic, but if you look at what Tesla has done to the auto safety regulatory system, and particularly the automated vehicle regulatory system, they've broken the whole thing in the name of continued scamming and malfeasance. The stakes are the system.

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More from @Tweetermeyer

13 Oct
The ticking from Tesla's regulatory risk time bomb just got a little louder, as NHTSA sends a letter asking why an update to Autopilot related to emergency vehicle detection (the subject of an investigation) wasn't made as a recall. Read the whole thing 👇 static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2021/I…
This isn't just a reckoning for Autopilot, which NHTSA seems increasingly likely to recall due to the risk of foreseeable misuse, it's a reckoning for Tesla's entire approach to safety regulation compliance. Some context 👇


Fans may praise Tesla's over-the-air update capability, but the reality is that Tesla routinely uses it to avoid recall reporting requirements and conduct "stealth recalls." That is effectively what the regulator has just accused Tesla of doing: performing a stealth recall.
Read 8 tweets
12 Oct
Being anti-autonomous vehicle is like being anti-robot.

When you imagine a car, we're all imagining more or less the same thing. When you imagine a robot, you could literally be imagining anything. A robot takes its form from the problem it's solving. Same with AVs.
If you like cars and want to perpetuate their monoculture, sure, think of AVs as self-driving cars.

But if you don't, don't let a lack of imagination lead you to default into thinking of AVs as self-driving cars. That's as lazy as thinking of robots as all being humanoid.
The idea of "cars" has been so hammered into our brains by a century of marketing and ubiquity, that our imaginations have been shackled. We can imagine cars that are electric or self-driving, but we struggle to imagine a future that isn't a monoculture. Where mobility is diverse
Read 4 tweets
28 Sep
First of all, this gross utilitarianism (people will die but it will be worth it) has no place in the development of complex, safety-critical systems. If you aren't principled about safety, you won't get it. Just ask Uber ATG... oh wait, they don't exist anymore!
Uber ATG bought into this utilitarian logic, it cut corners on safety in the development process, and it killed an innocent human being. What it never saw was the implicit payoff: a technical advantage arising from its embrace of these deaths as inevitable and worth it.
Today, Uber ATG no longer exists. There are lots of lessons to be learned from their experience, but the most important part is that rushing and cutting corners on safety only causes innocent deaths and delivers no advantages: thedrive.com/tech/27023/10-…
Read 9 tweets
28 Sep
Rivian embargo just hit, brace yourselves people
(turns out it's good)
I'd like to take this moment to say: these reviews affirm my impression, first formed long ago, that Rivian has cultivated an effective blend of traditional automotive values and high-tech startup culture. Much remains to be proven, but a very promising, balanced blend so far.
Read 4 tweets
28 Sep
Fanboys be like "Tesla is such a leader in AV tech that the industry is banding together to take them down."

No fool, the AV industry is coming together to differentiate their shared technology and safety practices from this janky mess. Open your eyes.
Every time one of these half-baked camera-only nightmares crashes, taking out emergency responders or innocent bystanders, someone somewhere decides they will never get in an autonomous vehicle (which Teslas are not). Tesla is a menace to public adoption of this life-saving tech.
Blurring the line between driver assistance and autonomy (#autonowashing) not only leads to misuse of Autopilot and more crashes, but it also leads to misreporting of said crash as being by an "autonomous vehicle"... which leads to lower trust in a technology Tesla doesn't have.
Read 4 tweets
27 Sep
Academics: unscrupulous ADS developers will use unsuspecting humans as a "moral crumple zone" to protect their imperfect systems from the moral consequences of inevitable failure

Unsuspecting humans: Image
The only thing @m_c_elish didn't predict in this mess was that toxic social media-fueled consumerism would make serving as a "moral crumple zone" a status symbol papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf…
"How is this different than what AV developers are doing?"

There is a fundamental difference between using highly-trained professionals as safety operators and pushing dangerously immature ADS software to any clout-chasing rando gullible enough to pay for the pleasure.
Read 5 tweets

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