Technology

#19: Robert Scoble on Tesla, Autonomous Vehicles, Computer Vision & Spatial Computing

Josh Gonsalves
10.14.2020
1 HR 37 MIN
Listen to Mind Meld on your favorite podcast app

Episode Description

Josh is joined by Robert Scoble in his Tesla over Zoom to talk about the future of Tesla and autonomous vehicles, computer vision and augmented & virtual reality.

Robert Scoble is a silicon valley pioneer and tech blogger who grew up in Cupertino, California and studied with Apple's co-founder in college. He wrote for Fast Company Magazine, and was the first person to drive a Tesla with Elon Musk. Robert is a futurist and technologist who has written four books on technology. His latest book is The Infinite Retina, which is all about Spatial Computing.

Connect with Robert Scoble on Twitter @Scobleizer

Check out The Infinite Retina book on Amazon

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Show Notes & Links

  • Robert has written four books about technology
  • Robert's latest book is The Infinite Retina, which is about Spatial Computing
  • Robert was one of the first bloggers in Silicon Valley
  • He worked at Microsoft and Fast Company Magazine
  • He was the first one to get a ride in the first Tesla
  • He was the first person to buy an iPhone at Steve Jobs' Apple Store
  • He grew up in Cupertino, California
  • Robert studied with Apple's co-founder in college
  • Robert's Twitter Lists of people in different industries
  • Toronto is at the center of A.I and Cryptocurrency
  • Robert interviewed Vitalik (creator of Ethereum) in Toronto
  • Robert does not hold any cryptocurrencies (at the time of publishing this)
  • Robert is very bullish on Tesla ($TSLA) long-term
  • Robert knows people who invested in Uber very early on during their seed round
  • Rober has done over 6000 interviews with Entrepreneurs and most of those ideas haven't panned out
  • "Venture capital is all about increasing your batting average high enough so the few home runs outweigh the failures."
  • "You can have 100 failures, but as long as you have one success, it hides all your failures."
  • Robert is more of a diverse, "traditional" investor
  • If Elon Musk died, $TSLA would go down 50% or more in a single day.
  • Elon Musk is like the Steve Jobs or Walt Disney of our age.
  • Tesla's neural network will be one of the most important things in the coming years
  • Intel bought a company called MobileEye to compete with Tesla's computer vision
  • Tesla's iteration speed is really fast. Tesla had two major updates between Christmas and New Years Day, and they consistently update the software over the air.
  • Tesla is going to disrupt Apple and Google Maps in the next 24 months
  • As millions of Teslas with multiple cameras start driving around the streets, they will start to add objects, places and destinations on the Tesla Map.
  • The bleeding edge of computer vision is the AI training is getting exponentially cheaper, faster and easier.
  • Nvidia graphics cards are used to train AI computer vision.
  • Right now the Tesla system can only see itself, but the next big update will allow Teslas to see cars around it and connect them to their neural network.
  • Tesla's autonomous car network will be an Uber-killer
  • What makes Starbucks, Starbucks? It's not the quality of the coffee, it's the consistency and ubiquity around the world.
  • Robert figures his Tesla costs him roughly $2.00 USD per hour (in 2020).
  • When the Tesla's autonomous network goes live, you'll be able to make something like $4.00 USD per hour when you're not using it.
  • Retail price typically triples the wholesale price of anything
  • Uber and Lyft cost roughly $60 / hour, whereas an autonomous Tesla will be around $10 per hour.
  • When transportation costs go down, delivery costs also go down, so you'll be able to order food and supplies for much cheaper and you don't argue about the delivery fee.
  • Virtual and augmented reality will close the gap between Zoom meetings and in-person meetings
  • Robert went to Burning Man in virtual reality this year
  • In two years, Apple will be releasing augmented reality glasses
  • Neuralink
  • A Neuralink brain implant surgery to fix Parkinson's effects costs roughly $100,000 USD.
  • Neuralink is first being used to help people fix neurological issues like Parkinson's or spinal cord injuries.
  • Robert thinks it'll take Neuralink 20-30 years before there are very little side effects and they can do the implant fairly cheaply.
  • Elon Musk is one of the people most vocal about the dangers of AI, yet he is one of the forefront builder of AI technology.
  • Robert is worried about peoples' jobs and the economy once AI technology starts to take over.
  • Robert went to the Tesla factory in 2018, then again in 2019, and found there were 20% more robots in the factory.
  • Automated manufacturing to make things more reliably, consistently and cheaper.
  • Universal basic income
  • "Humans are not happy just sitting on the couch getting a paycheck. They need to have a mission in life and they need to have something to make them happy."
  • In the next 30-40 years there will be a lot of jobs in the technology and content creation sectors.
  • Truck drivers are going to lose their jobs in the next 15 years.
  • We should be re-training truck drivers other skills that will also be in need like plumbing.
  • There's a school called Silicon Valley 42 that's a free school that doesn't have any teachers. The reason it works is because you have to go there for 10 hours per day and learn from others and teach your peers in small groups.
  • Roberts father grew up in poverty in the projects in Brooklyn, New York. He got himself out of poverty by getting an education in University. He was able to afford it by going into the army for a few years and get the GI bill.
  • Robert believes that the government should be paying people who want an education a full-time wage for 4 years so they can get an education without having to worry about paying their bills so they can focus on their studies during that time.
  • DJI Osmo Gimbal
  • Robert says his skill is understanding how to convert "nerd talk" into english so everyday people can understand technology easier.
  • The new iPhone 12 will have a LiDAR 3D sensor on it in addition to regular cameras.
  • Amazon just announced a little drone that flies around your house.
  • Airpod Pro have more compute power than an iPhone 4.
  • Airpods Pro now support spatial audio.
  • Robert believes augmented reality will be more popular and impactful than virtual reality
  • There are more use-cases and situations where you can use augmented reality glasses
  • Apple will have a huge pricing advantage over Facebook's upcoming AR glasses
  • Apple will be able to offload a lot of the compute power from the glasses into the phone and have the phone and glasses "talk" to one another.
  • The glasses will have twice the size of computers as the current Apple Watch
  • Robert gets a new iPhone every year. Historically, Josh gets a new phone every 3 years.
  • Facebook will compete with Apple's pricing on AR glasses by using advertising in the device
  • Apple and Epic lawsuit over the App Store taking 30% cut of all in-app purchases
  • Apple's AR glasses could also be a health device that can sense eye problems or heart health issues, and help you meditate.
  • Robert thinks Facebook VR/AR headsets will be cheaper than Apple's at some point.
  • Fog computing: like cloud computing, but a server that's closer to you.
  • 5G & EMF exposure
  • Nobody really knows the health implications of 5G radio waves.
  • Apple glasses could be more safe because the 5G antenna would be on your phone, away from your head.
  • When iPhone first came out, Apple had 100% market share of touch screen phones, then Android came out a year later and now Android has 90% market share.
  • Cloud computing
  • Google Stadia
  • Nvidia cloud rendering
  • Starlink from SpaceX
  • The latency for a human brain is about 80 miliseconds. Anything more than that and we can notice "lag".
  • Robert spoke with an Entrepreneur who is building a company that is looking to digitize shopping malls and factory floors.
  • Robert's Twitter list of people and companies building in augmented and virtual reality
  • Boston Dynamics robot dogs
  • Microsoft Hololens
  • COVID-19 has sped up the rate of digital adoption and innovation
  • Online shopping has been sped up by 8 years
  • Robert thinks the adoption of AR glasses will be faster than with mobile phones
  • Virtual field trips will be very valuable for schools
  • Josh just got the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone
  • Robert's first camera was $100,000 USD in 1980
  • Porn and gaming lead the technology markets
  • Intel has a volumetric video studio
  • Apple acquired NextVR for their volumetric camera for 3D sports

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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