29th May 2018 by Carolyn Fortuna
Elon Musk always seemed to have a bit of a mad scientist in him. Apart from his vision of all-electric vehicles, there is the Hyperloop concept of underground transport tubes, SpaceX and passenger transports in space and certainly much more.
Of course, genius and madness have often been confused in the past. The withdrawn yesterday's lab, which is bubbling with elixirs and electric power, has been replaced by negotiations with investors and corporate boards. Today's crazy scientists are probably individuals who have studied long hours at competitive universities. And the Tesla CEO is no exception. When Elon Musk makes fun of the difficulties of the Tesla production line and his vision of robotics, we are a little surprised ̵
I can not believe anyone has leaked this scheme of the Tesla Production System !! pic.twitter.com/ylaAX3uKTI1
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2018
The tweet is titled "Self-Operating Napkin". Under the title is a Rube Goldberg suit-and-tie dressed character sitting at a formal dining table. When the soup bowl is placed in the middle, the diner must be ready for dripping. Voila! A cloth napkin appears after traveling a tortuous mechanical route. A spoon throws a piece of toast at a parrot, which turns and fills a cup, which then rises, slides over a bar and opens a box. The lid of the box ignites a rocket, lifts a clock pendulum and wipes the cloth napkin back and forth – the whole apparatus is attached to the head of the guest master!
Rube Goldberg was known to find humorous aspects in the details of everyday life. The 1931 cartoon Musk tweeted is an indication of a "schematic representation of the Tesla production system !!". While making fun of the intricate nature of today's technology in general and Tesla's assembly line, Elon Musk implies a lot of corporate symbolism about what is necessary for today's systems and processes to be effective and thrive.
Goldberg's cartoons usually captured machines that were purposely designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and over-complicated manner. In 2015, Elon Musk claimed that there would be "3-4 times more robots" on the Tesla Model X production line. By 2018, he stated in a tweet that the pace of Model 3 was limited by the choice of automation over workers. Then on a May 2 raffle call, Musk admitted, "We went too far and automated some pretty stupid things." The company had intended to dampen the engine noise with fiberglass insulation on the battery packs inside the cars by using a "fluff-bot", which became an overly complex undertaking.
It was an indication of Tesla's reputation for too much automation at a time when people could do the job well and simply.
Yes, exaggerated automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. People are underestimated.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018
Humor, problem-solving and dealing with paradoxes
Why is it so interesting that Elon Musk makes fun of Tesla automation? these days? It's not that the company renounces the power and promise of robots. In fact, Musk confirmed this week that 6 airplaneloads of Grohmann robots in Germany were on their way to California. These automated assembly systems are used in the Gigafactory to solve the latest battery module assembly problems and overcome hurdles to the Model 3 production.
This is the new production line for the Battery Module Zone 4. Will play a key role from 3000 / week to 6000 / week for Model 3.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 25, 2018
We have known for some time that there are deep connections between intelligence and creativity. Creative thinking strategies, cognitive processes and cognitive and cognitive neuroscience skills have shown that intelligence and creativity are closely interlinked, with common accents and similarities between solving problems with correct answers and flexible, critical and playful thinking.
When Elon Musk nudges his own decisions, he uses humor in a way that has attracted some of the greatest minds in the world, from Aristotle to Shakespeare to Bergson and Freud. Hobbes noted that the meaning of humor is its timing – a kind of sudden glory based on a new conception or insight. He admitted that he had fallen into the "hell of hell" because of a "crazy, complex web of conveyor belts". Musk stepped back from a reflexive response to critics and instead used the humorous meaning of a cartoon to explain how oppositional meaning is sometimes generated in everyday life. Yes, the all-electric car company could not meet its weekly production target of 2,500 Model 3 vehicles in the first quarter of 2018. "We were complacent about some of the things we thought were our core technology," musked Moschus mid-year. April. "We've put too many new technologies into Model 3. This should have been staged."
Humor has incongruence, which is a difference between expectation and results. In comparing the Rube Goldberg napkin with Tesla, Elon Musk makes fun of the inappropriate way we try to unravel the changing and contested cultural meanings in society, technology, and nature. The way in which we group many social processes and objects around the technological function leads to controversial meanings and meaning transformations. When we see that a simple task, such as wiping one's own mouth while eating, can become overly complicated and tedious, we can step back and ask ourselves if other life routines have transcended their functional necessity.
With the extension, Tesla's Gigafactory production systems can improve production efficiency as originally planned? When making fun of the Gigafactory processes, Elon Musk gives confidence in the vertical integration of the company and points to an improvement methodology that examines the number of defects in the company's systems. Because humor has a semiotic nature – in which the signs and icons of a society help us deal with communication, paradox, play, and the solution of logical problems – Musk's allusion to Rube Goldberg speaks with a dialectic in which technology and nature are always internal others.
Final Thoughts on Automation and the Future of Human Labor
Material changes in our environment inspire a different and potentially deeper discussion. As we trace the lines of society and nature in the Anthropocene, we make transparent how human actions have fundamentally shaped Earth systems. And they transform and develop a "natural" or "normal" human life.
Scott Kirsch, a geographer at the University of North Carolina, looks at the relationship between language and the environment and historical change. Elon Musk's latest tweet seemed to be playing the same thing in some ways.
Perhaps we should ask Musk, "What responsibilities do Tesla and other high-tech companies have for human workers today?"
Musk's Gigafactory aims to automate and optimize the production process to a new level, while reducing human involvement and maximizing production speed through the economics of artificial intelligence. Whatever the improvements in robotics may have on short-term sales and production, Tesla seems to be revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. If so, the manufacturing industry could experience another exodus of human labor.
Where is the humor in the loss of human jobs? Hope is based on the constant obsession of society with inventing new products and services, so that automation can not make human labor obsolete.
Musk has recommended a possible shift to a universal basic income. Responsibility seems to translate to society as a whole, to our ability to develop into that policy. But what responsibility and leadership could companies like Tesla take to open our doors and peacefully facilitate such a development?
Photos of Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases (CC BY-NC) and AndYaDontStop (CC BY), both about Foter. com