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Engineering whistleblower explains why safe Full Self-Driving can’t ever happen

As it stands today, the technology to test fully autonomous vehicles is not feasible.



Pulled from the pages of science fiction, self-driving cars seem to be on the way to becoming real. Cruise and Waymo are expanding their reach with their autonomous taxi experiment and Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report, of course, has been amping up its Full Self-Driving rollout amid repeated promises that true FSD is right around the corner

But the technology remains heavily flawed. TheStreet reported last week that there are a number of vulnerabilities in the artificial intelligence models that power self-driving cars, not the least of which involves a lack of standardized testing platforms across the industry to ensure independently verified safe models. 

Related: Here's what needs to happen to achieve safe self-driving cars

Safe, human-level self-driving, however, isn't somewhere up around the bend, according to Navy veteran and engineer Michael DeKort. The costs, he says, in human lives, time and money, are too high for true, safe self-driving to ever be achieved. 

The issue for DeKort — the engineer who exposed Lockheed Martin's subpar safety practices in 2006 — is that artificial general intelligence (an AI with human-level intelligence and reasoning capabilities) does not exist. So the AI that makes self-driving cars work learns through extensive pattern recognition. 

Human drivers, he said, are scanning their environment all the time. When they see something, whether it be a group of people about to cross an intersection or a deer at the side of the road, they react, without needing to understand the details of a potential threat (color, for example). 

The system has to experience something to learn it

"The problem with these systems is they work from the pixels out. They have to hyperclassify," DeKort told TheStreet. Pattern recognition, he added, is just not feasible, "because one, you have to stumble on all the variations. Two, you have to re-stumble on them hundreds if not thousands of times because the process is extremely inefficient. It doesn't learn right away."

"You can never spend the money or the time, or sacrifice the lives to get there," he said. "You have to experience to learn and you have to experience over and over again."

Self-driving cars would have to clock billions to hundreds of billions of miles using their current methods to achieve a fatality rate in line with that of human drivers: one per 100 million miles, a 2016 study by Rand found. Rand found that as self-driving cars seem to improve, it gets harder to analyze their performance accurately because of the rarity of certain edge cases. 

Cruise is working to bring robotaxi fleets to more cities across the country.

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Tesla's beta version of FSD, according to Elon Musk, has covered some 300 million miles; the company would have to scale up mileage by 100 to 1,000 times to create a system that is as good as human, according to Rand's calculations. Still, as Musk himself inadvertently demonstrated in a recent demo, drivers can't yet take a nap while their Tesla takes them somewhere; human drivers need to be ready to take control at a moment's notice. 

Tesla is currently facing a series of investigations into the safety of its FSD software

More Tesla stories:

The focus, DeKort said, then centers around simulation, because "you can't spend the time and you can't sacrifice enough people" to teach pattern recognition in the real world. The issue with simulation training is that the game simulators currently in use aren't good enough. They lack the kind of specificity and real-time performance needed to be truly safe. 

"They can do a lot of it. They'll make progress, which is why they are where they are," he said. "But they will not get far enough to where they're better than a human."

DeKort doesn't even think a simple scenario — such as highway driving — can be considered remotely safe. 

"As soon as you go out into the public domain, it could be in front of your house, you incur so many of these problems that it's impossible to do," he said. There are just too many crash scenarios to cover. 

The only path to true FSD, DeKort said, would be a path lit by artificial general intelligence (AGI). And despite the frequent debate over whether AGI is even a remote possibility, unlocking AGI would not suddenly solve the problems at hand; companies would still need to enhance their simulators and find ways to guarantee the safety of their vehicles and the strength of their AI models. 

Carmakers, DeKort said, would additionally have to enhance their sensor systems, combining the cameras that Tesla is known for with Lidar, 3D imaging radar and a sound localization system. 

Waymo and Cruise have collectively driven more than 8 million driverless miles, in total reporting around 100 crashes, a ratio that works out to around one crash for every 60,000 miles. In the last quarter of 2022, Tesla recorded one crash for every 4.85 million miles driven by Autopilot (which is not a full self-driving technology). Drivers in the U.S., meanwhile, crash around once every 600,000 miles. 

The systems are getting better — they have become good enough to play the odds, DeKort said. But there are potentially insurmountable limitations and vulnerabilities baked into these systems that, according to DeKort and other experts, mean that, as it stands, human-level self-driving is likely not achievable. 

"I'm not against autonomous vehicles. I'm against using people needlessly to do it and companies going bankrupt for no reason trying to do it," DeKort said. "In general, I think there's use for autonomy and I'd like to help people get there."

"It's just not this way."

If you work for Tesla, contact Ian by email or Signal 732-804-1223

Forget Tesla – We’re all-in on this EV stock

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I Say We’re Setting Up For A Major Bottom

It’s almost impossible to call market tops and market bottoms using basic technical analysis tools like price and volume. Don’t get me wrong, that combination…



It's almost impossible to call market tops and market bottoms using basic technical analysis tools like price and volume. Don't get me wrong, that combination is my favorite during trend-following periods. But trying to spot bearish reversals is difficult when price action keeps riding higher and higher. The same is true in trying to spot bullish reversals when prices keep moving lower and lower. Maybe that seems unconventional to hard-core technicians, but I believe it's the reality. Too many folks say "when this line crosses that line, then this will happen". To me, that's following technical analysis and wearing blinders. Just my two cents.

I use technical price action to confirm what other signals are suggesting. We get plenty of signals on a regular basis - some short-term in nature, others long-term - if we're only willing to listen. While I've been bullish since June 2022, I do recognize short-term warning signals that tell us that risks of remaining long have increased substantially. In mid-July, I turned very cautious short-term and discussed those signals in a "Your Daily 5" episode that aired on July 19th. Let me pull up an S&P 500 chart, so you can see where U.S. equities stood when I fired this warning shot:

There were several reasons for the stock market bulls to hit quicksand. Tesla (TSLA), a Wall Street darling and a favorite stock of mine, suggested a possible 20% drop. That call aired the day of TSLA's top and TSLA fell closer to 30% in less than one month. These signals work and help us to manage risk! As I always say, they do NOT guarantee future price action, but they make us aware of increasing risk and that's how you invest more successfully. Since that July top, I've encouraged our EB members to tread very cautiously, whatever that means to each individual member. To some, it's being in cash. To others, it might simply mean to avoid leverage on the long side. But this cautious period is coming to an end.

If you want to see what was discussed on July 19th and why I felt the stock market was in short-term trouble, check out the Your Daily 5 recording on YouTube!

I absolutely LOVE when my signals take the opposite view of the masses. And now that everyone believes we're resuming the prior bear market, my signals are saying HOGWASH. Could we continue to proceed lower? Sure. There are never any guarantees with the stock market. But I see signs that suggest shorting is a VERY HIGH RISK strategy, with those risks growing every day. I'm discussing one major reason why in our FREE EB Digest newsletter that will be published early Monday morning, before the stock market opens. If you're not already an EB Digest subscriber, it's 100% free with no credit card required. Simply CLICK HERE and enter your name and email address. I'll discuss Reason #1 to turn bullish tomorrow morning. And I'll also focus on other reasons to be thinking bullish thoughts when I publish the EB Digest on Wednesday and Friday. Don't wait until it's too late. Check them out NOW!

Happy trading!


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Highlights from My Week’s Reading

Natalię Dowzicky, “How Florida Beat California to High-Speed Rail,” Reason, September 20, 2023.
Not only is Brightline the first privately…



Natalię Dowzicky, “How Florida Beat California to High-Speed Rail,” Reason, September 20, 2023.


Not only is Brightline the first privately funded intercity rail line in the U.S., but it’s also the fastest train in the country outside of the northeast corridor. Topping out at 125 mph in Florida, it will travel from Miami to Orlando in about three hours. For comparison, the Amtrak in the area takes about six and a half hours to complete that same trip.

Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline, told Reason that passenger rail makes commercial sense under specific conditions, such as the case in Florida, where it connects two populous, tourist-friendly cities that are about 250 miles apart. At that distance, Reininger says, “It is too far to drive and too short to fly. You can approximate the time of flying significantly, improve the time of driving, and you can offer it at a price point that makes it an economic proposition.”

Not surprisingly, though, Brightline has become a subsidy sucker.

Romina Boccia, “Social Security Benefits are Growing Too Fast,” Cato at Liberty, September 21, 2023.


When a Social Security‐​eligible worker’s benefits are first calculated, this worker’s past wages are indexed to bring them to the same level as today’s earnings. This is called wage indexing and is based on the growth in average wages in the economy. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) first indexes a worker’s lifetime covered earnings, it does so using the SSA’s Average Wage Index (AWI). The AWI includes all wages that are subject to federal income tax, including wages in excess of the taxable Social Security maximum payroll tax threshold.

Wage indexing gives retirees a benefit amount that reflects the increase in the standard of living over their working careers—even if they didn’t earn commensurate wages. It’s like giving workers retroactive credit for improvements in the economy, including for wage improvements among the highest income earners.

Definitely worth reading carefully.

Christopher Wilcox, “Truck This: Why I’m Leaving the Long-Haul Industry,” American Institute for Economic Research, September 21, 2023.


More recently, environmental regulations requiring manufacturers to reduce emissions gave us the diesel particulate filter (DPF), an exhaust treatment system that replaces a standard muffler. While there is no current federal mandate requiring a DPF, the filters are required by the 2008 California Statewide Truck and Bus Rule, which has incentivized many nationwide fleets to adopt them. The problem with DPFs is the filter system clogs. A lot.

When DPFs go down, trucks roll to a stop. Truckers report having to have a DPF serviced as often as every 5,000 miles, which means lots of lost productivity and stranded cargo. I’ve had four breakdowns over the past two years, and three were due to my DPF. A tow truck driver I spoke to on one of those occasions told me half of his business comes from malfunctioning DPFs. Repairs are a specialized affair, and replacements can cost up to $2,000. When my truck isn’t moving, I’m not earning. And these regulators have required that my truck stand still far too often.

Of course California is in the forefront of regulation.

Fiona Harrigan, “Biden Administration Announces New Measures to Get Migrants to Work,” Reason, September 21 2023.


Yesterday, the Biden administration announced new actions to help get recent immigrants to work, including offering almost half a million Venezuelans a status that will let them live and work in the U.S. legally for the next 18 months. The new measures come at a critical time, as labor shortages persist and cities struggle to provide for newcomers.

Certain Venezuelan migrants are eligible for temporary protected status (TPS), a designation offered to migrants who can’t safely return to their home countries due to armed conflict, environmental disaster, or another temporary safety hazard. Venezuela was first designated for TPS in 2021 due to a severe political and economic crisis perpetuated by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. Under that designation, Venezuelans who came to the U.S. before March 2021 qualified for protection; now, the status will apply to Venezuelans who arrived before the end of July this year. There are currently 16 countries designated for TPS.

If I understand the program correctly, it sounds good: let them work instead of forcing taxpayers to subsidize their living expenses. It’s win-win-win for immigrants, employers and consumers, and taxpayers.

James Herndon, “Keep the Washington Consensus,” Law & Liberty, September 21, 2023.


Despite those deliberate omissions, synergies still allowed the Consensus to exceed the sum of its parts. Opening up foreign direct investment eased privatization. Privatization enabled balanced budgets. Balanced budgets limited inflation, which encouraged foreign direct investment. The common denominators were respect and restraint: leaders had to trust that firms and citizens knew better than the bureaucrats how best to allocate their own labor and resources. That’s why the Consensus’ first beneficiary was always likely to be the poor. After all, funding for primary education and basic healthcare does far more to reduce poverty than subsidies for diesel fuel and national airlines.

In short, Williamson promoted policies that enabled sustainable growth in developing countries with respect for their autonomy and an emphasis on raising prospects for the least fortunate. The Left never forgave him.

It’s the nicest treatment of the Washington Consensus that I’ve read. Lots of good nuggets.



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Miss Universe denies link with recently unveiled coin project

The Miss Universe Organization said that there is no Miss Universe cryptocurrency or blockchain offering involved with the Miss Universe or Miss Universe…



The Miss Universe Organization said that there is no Miss Universe cryptocurrency or blockchain offering involved with the Miss Universe or Miss Universe Philippines.

The Miss Universe Organization has denied any association with the Miss Universe Coin project announced at the Philippine Blockchain Week (PBW) event held earlier this month. PBW said that they are in contact with all involved parties and will post an update soon.

Earlier this month, a project called Miss Universe Coin was announced at PBW. Donald Lim, the founder of the organization managing the PBW, said during the event that the PBW will “launch the Miss Universe Coin.” However, weeks after the announcement, the official organization behind Miss Universe has denied any association with the coin project and called it a fraud. 

Official announcement published on the Miss Universe Facebook page. Source: Facebook

On Sept. 22, the Miss Universe official Facebook page announced that the Miss Universe Organization and JKN Global Group, the company behind the pageant, are not associated with the coin project that was unveiled at the PBW event. According to the organization, it will be pursuing “all legal options with regards to this infringement.” 

“There is currently no Miss Universe cryptocurrency or blockchain offering, and these products are in no way involved with the voting or selection process for Miss Universe or the Miss Universe Philippines pageants,” they wrote.

Related: JPEX hikes withdrawal fee to almost $1K after Hong Kong watchdog warning

In a statement sent to Cointelegraph, a representative from the Miss Universe Organization claimed that the Miss Universe Coin is a "fraud," and they expect it to be further announced in other events across the globe. “We suspect that people may be planning to mention this at upcoming blockchain conferences in Dubai and Singapore. If you see it there, please do not cover, it's a fraud,” they said.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), PBW said that they are currently in contact with all of the parties involved and will announce an update as soon as possible. Cointelegraph reached out to the Philippine Blockchain Week but did not get an immediate response.

Magazine: Chinese billionaire’s $1B fraud charges, Kwon’s $11M bet, Zhu Su and Islam: Asia Express

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