Lex Fridman interviews Elon Musk (12/28/2021)

Sirfun

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I'm driving the latest version of FSD and was recently in some super-high glare situations due to the road having been treated with an anti-icer and it being wet with brilliant white snow on either side of the lanes. It's about the most glare I've ever experienced as a driver - almost completely blinding. Anyway, I did not have to exit FSD even though FSD did slow down a couple of times briefly. But it kept going and even caught up with traffic ahead that had slowed down to deal with the extreme glare caused by the sun being low behind the wet road and fresh snow. The cameras are amazing.

I've also seen it drive in a whiteout blizzard with the only thing to go by were tire tracks in the snow that were barely visible due to flat light and whiteout conditions.
Wow, that is impressive. And that's what is currently installed in your vehicle. Just imagine how much better it will be over time. They have quite a ways to go, but it does seem as though they are on the right path.

 
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Long pauses are super-common among both engineers and autism spectrum behaviors.

It's frustrating at times because words are so imprecise and take so long to build and say. It's why I 'speak' much better in text than in voice.

To be given those pauses and respect for them is pretty awesome.

-Crissa
Thank you for this insight.
 

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Long pauses are super-common among both engineers and autism spectrum behaviors.

It's frustrating at times because words are so imprecise and take so long to build and say. It's why I 'speak' much better in text than in voice.

To be given those pauses and respect for them is pretty awesome.

-Crissa
agreed.... I'm not so good at improv but give me time and boy you'll get the answer.
 


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So Lex Fidman did a live Q&A about his interview with Elon Musk from the other day. Some really great quotes in there. I'm not fully done listening but here is the link.

 

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Regarding Elon's long pauses starting at 3:47

One of the things is the real gift that Elon gave me of, I would say trust and friendship in just sitting there and thinking. So the silence to me was really powerful. That he would trust me that I wouldn't interrupt him that I would just sit there and really listen. And then he could sit there, we could sit there in silence and think. I think silence is one of the most intimate things that 2 people can share with each other because it's having a trust that like, you're on the same page. Like with friends, within relationships, just silence can be beautiful.

In a podcast conversation, especially when there's nerves where there's so much uncertainty, the mics are recording, silence is a real gift. I don't know. Like I said, trust and friendship. And also it made me realize as a fan of podcasts, how much I love the silence. I used to think... Actually, the first time we talked, I asked him, what one question would you ask for an AGI system? An Artificial General Intelligence system. He took a long time to answer that. So we got more comfortable through the span of that conversation. And I actually, one of the only things I edited in that conversation was the length of the pause. Actually made it shorter than it was. Later I realized that that's not, you don't, you don't need to. People could wait. It's okay if the pause is 15 seconds. It's good to see a man, a human being, think. That's one of the beautiful things about long-form, is you have as much time as you need to think.
 

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Regarding critics, optimism, and getting things done (7:34):

I didn't know how to ask this, so of course in my usual mumbling way, I rambled on for a while in asking this question. But Elon Musk seems, and it's sad to me to see, but seems to have a non-zero non-empty set of doubters in this world. And yeah, you could say maybe it's because of financial, because of shorting stocks and all those kinds of things, but I know people that aren't shorting the stock and they're still full of doubt. First of all, to me as a human being, that breaks my heart. I think optimism is just fun. And also optimism is the thing that creates the change. But when I talked about them, I think the more interesting doubt is Elon Musk's own self-doubt. And the doubt from people that are in the field of battle. So these aren't just critics but you know the legit engineers that doubt whether something is possible. When there's all that kind of doubt, like you have with starship now, like you had when building autopilot from scratch. Throughout the history of autopilot, what do you do? And that's when he said, "Fuck that. I don't care about optimism or pessimism. Fuck that. We'll get it done."

I feel like I'm gonna take that little clip and just like play it every morning for myself. Because you can get so lost into overthinking stuff. The reality is, just get it done. And don't quit until it's done. That's it. It's simple.
 


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Regarding New Years's resolutions (9:09):

And New Year's resolutions, last thing I'll say. Off mic and on mic and afterwards we also hung out together for New Year's. I think from the company perspective, just overall, first of all, there's an excitement for the future. Like he tweeted today I think, let's make this the roaring 20s. I think there's an optimism that coming out of this pandemic, we'll build our way out of it. We will innovate our way out of it. And that means both the software and the hardware. It's again, the fuck that we'll get it done. And that's that optimism about the new years, definitely just permeates everything. So on Neuralink I mean there's a lot of really ambitious goals. So on the Neuralink side, it's implanting it to humans pending FDA approval. All that kind of stuff. They're full steam ahead there. Tesla autopilot, like he said in the podcast, solving level 4 full self-driving this year. I think he said likely this year 2022. Of course, I could talk for a long time, I probably will, about each word in that sentence. Like what is level 4 exactly? What does solve exactly mean? And what are the sort of stages of solution? Because one is the tech, the technological. Two is the deployment. And the human interaction, so the human factor side of it. Three is the policy. Like is this going to get approved? Like is NHTSA going to freak out? All those kinds of things. And then social acceptance of the technology. All that, you know, interaction with vehicles that don't have autopilot. Other Tesla vehicles. And then other vehicles in general. So solve is almost like Wittgenstein would lose his shit over the word solve. Like, you know, what does it exactly mean? And what does level 4 mean? Is it under certain geographical locations? And so on. But the big point is that in 2022, there's going to be big leaps of improvement. And that is the way I hear that message and the full steam ahead there. There's so much exciting stuff going on. Most of which is already made public. And I'm really excited as an AI person. And of course, as a person who grew up in the Soviet Union. Will he shut up about the Soviet Union already? I'm sorry. I loved my dad as a physicist. I loved space exploration. And to me starship and just the number of launches they have planned for 2022 on the SpaceX side. NASA and everybody else is just pushing straight ahead into space. Hopefully putting a human back on the moon. And hopefully soon enough. Let me take that 20-second pause as well. Putting a human on Mars. Maybe this decade. I mane to me that, that's exciting. I'll go. I'll be the first human. That's why I'm training with David Goggins. To be the first human on Mars.
 

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From 24:46

Question:
What is the biggest lessons you've learned through talking with Elon Musk?

Answer:
As I take a 20-second silent pause. I apologize. I'm thinking.
In many ways, don't listen to anybody when it contradicts the careful, rigorous, first principles conclusions of your mind. So your parents, society, friends, loved ones, school, don't listen to anybody. They have learned the ways of the past. If you want to define the future, you have to think on your own and take big risks with the thoughts you take. It's not necessarily a lesson I learned from him through words, but through actions. Just the way we talk about anything. He refuses to be weighed down by the ways things were done in the past. And that's a superpower. Listen to no one when it comes to following some kind of hunger to create the new thing that you have. But I should say, its not just about listening to the person. It's really spending time in that space around them. And I think that speaks to the fact that you should really surround yourself by people who refuse to be weighed down by the momentum of the way things are done. About the expectations and limitations and constraints of society.

 

 
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