I wasn’t going to post the video of Elon Musk announcing Tesla’s new batteries, but having watched it on Rachel’s blog, I thought I would. I was more impressed than I expected to be. I think my slightly cynical, initial response had been that it might just be too good to be true. That may still be the case, but what I really liked about the video was the sense of genuine optimism: there is a potential problem, but we have a solution. Of course, I’d also forgotten that Elon Musk was born in South Africa, which clearly means that he’s brilliant and – obviously – right 😀
It was a nice change from the Ridleyesque form of optimism, which is essentially “don’t worry, everything will be fine, carry on as usual”. It’s one thing to be optimistic that we can address the problems we might face; it’s another to assume that the problems don’t exist, or aren’t anything to concern ourselves about. What was also impressive was that Elon Musk presented his vision without even the slightest hint that those who might disagree with him were effectively advocating for the death of millions in the developing world. Maybe some people could learn from this?
The final thing that I found impressive was that Elon Musk claimed that it would need more than just Tesla to develop these technologies, and claimed that all the patents would be open source. This seems like a risky business strategy, but if you really do want your technology to make a significant contribution to solving what might be a major problem, this does seem like the right way to do so.