Elon Musk appeared today at E3 (a video game conference) in a talk with Todd Howard and Geoff Keighley. While a lot of the conversation was about games and science topics, like faster than light travel and dark matter, some of it was about Tesla. Elon also answered some very interesting general questions.
The conversation started off with video games and how, coincidentally, Elon’s business ventures did as well. That was followed by the question of whether “there is anything in the gaming industry that helps push technology forward in areas of automotive?” To which Elon answered:
“I wouldn’t have started programming if it wasn’t for video games. Video games are a very powerful tool for getting kids interested in programming. Creating very realistic graphics with very little computer resources is a very hard programming challenge.” Thus, a lot of the best programmers have at least at some point worked for a gaming company.
Elon explained how some of the most advanced technology in reality, like SpaceX and Tesla tech, also inspire new possibilities in science fiction. “SpaceX inspires the plots of video games.” People making science fiction come to Elon for inspiration for that purpose.
When it came to the topic of Tesla, Elon mentioned some interesting facts, like how Tesla is developing self-driving and photorealistic simulations. While it wasn’t entirely clear, he was probably talking about Tesla’s upcoming dojo simulation.
“At Tesla we have a whole sim team that tries to create a photorealistic world. We are trying to be photorealistic about the most boring things, like skid marks and concrete curbs, faded lines.” Here are some more interesting quotes of Elon Musk explaining the difficulties in creating a self-driving car:
“The reason why self-driving is hard is all the corner cases, like where the road should be one way but isn’t.”
“If you have clearly painted lines and you can count on them, then self-driving would be a piece of cake.”
“Where should I be on this road that has no painted lines or has the lines painted wrong?”
We also learned that Tesla’s non-self-driving computer has some serious space limitations. As Elon said:
“Tesla’s computer doesn’t have a ton of memory. It was never intended as an entertainment center, and so it won’t be able to have a lot of games on there at once.”
Elon also reiterated some other interesting goals. He wants to: “Enable people to watch videos, Netflix whatever, YouTube, when the car is parked.” Something that according to previous information will be available to the public in V10. Although, that previously only mentioned Netflix. If the ability to watch YouTube is also coming to Tesla, then that is very exciting new information. All of this will not, however, be introduced in the form of an app. It will all simply be accessible via the new Chromium-based web browser that Tesla introduced some months ago.
— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) June 13, 2019
At E3, they also demonstrated two video games, one story based and the other a racing game that makes use of the steering wheel as well as the brake pedal. The scroll wheel will be used for acceleration since accidentally moving the car forward by pressing the accelerator pedal is too risky. Also while it wasn’t shown in the video, it was mentioned that Fallout Shelter for Tesla is currently in the works.
Elon’s also discussed the upcoming pickup truck. After reiterating that the pickup truck will have a cyberpunk science fiction kind of style and will be unveiled later this summer, Elon gave another new description of the pickup truck: “It looks like a normal car but also looks like something that shouldn’t be on the road.” To find out what Elon meant by that, we will have to wait a bit longer, but it does make it even more exciting.
— 💎🐾Esteemed Earl of Frunkpuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) June 2, 2019
Finally, there was a Q&A session. After listening to boring bonehead analyst questions from a previous Tesla analyst call earlier in the day (to prep for the next analyst call), the kind of questions asked here were a bit shocking in contrast.
While we won’t go into the details of some of the irrelevant questions, there are a few interesting ones that dealt with Elon’s general life experiences over the years.
One question was about how Elon is handling all the FUD (manufactured fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and insanity in the mainstream media. While Elon did not have a clear answer to that question, he did ask rhetorically, “Can we ratchet the difficulty level down one notch? Just off nightmare level?”
While not part of the Q&A, the context is that Elon has had a rough couple of years. He did say previously that, “the last couple of years, I haven’t really played a lot of games … the last game I played a lot was probably Fallout 4.” Poor Elon — I really do sympathize.
Another question was: “What is the biggest failure that you have gone through?”
Elon answered: “I blew up 3 rockets in the beginning, that was bad” and “Had the 4th rocket not launched, we wouldn’t have SpaceX and we wouldn’t have Tesla.”
Best way to wrap it up is with what I would definitely say were my 2 favorite Elon quotes from E3:
“If reality was a video game, the graphics are great, the plot is terrible and the spawn time is very long.”
“If you’re trying to figure out what others love, but you don’t love it, it’s very hard to make that great. So when you work on something, if you fall in love with it, that’s a good sign. Don’t worry about if others do. If you do, others will.”