Tech News Weekly 280 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Mikah Sargent (00:00:00):
Coming up on Tech News Weekly, Ant Pruitt joins me, Mikah Sargent, yet again for this episode. We start things off with Dr. Tela. That's right. MIT Wise Black joins us to discuss ai. But don't worry, this is a conversation about, you know, if you're feeling like there's too much going on with ai, if you're hearing it left and right and trying to make sense of when it, it, it, it's scary when it's not. Should we be scared? Why should we be scared? Or why should we be excited? Just trying to find that middle ground when it comes to ai. Then I have two stories of the week. First, about the illegal history of the emoji, as well as a story about Tesla workers who are reportedly have been sharing video and images from Tesla vehicle cameras of its customers. Then Sam Amid joins us to talk about not only that story, but also several other EV car stories, including more about Tesla. Stay tuned for this episode of Tech News Weekly
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This is is TWiT
Ant Pruitt (00:01:18):
This is Tech News Weekly episode 280, recorded Thursday, April 6th, 2023.
Mikah Sargent (00:01:25):
This episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Dell Client Solutions devices orchestrated by the experts at cdw, which deliver a more personalized user experience with adaptive AI-based software that boosts collaboration. Wherever your team works, learn more at cdw.com/dell client and buy bit warden. Get the password manager that offers a robust and cost effective solution that drastically increases your chances of staying safe online. Get started with a free trial of a teams or enterprise plan, or get started for free across all devices as an individual firstname.lastname@example.org slash twi. Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where every week we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am one of your hosts today, Mikah Sargent
Ant Pruitt (00:02:19):
And I am Aunt Pruitt. How you doing, sir?
Mikah Sargent (00:02:22):
I am doing well, aunt, it's good to have you here again for another episode of Tech News Weekly. I believe Jason Howell will be making his triumphant return next week, but it's been great having you on the show for a few episodes.
Ant Pruitt (00:02:36):
Hey, I appreciate you having me on, man. It's been a lot of fun and been able to talk to some fascinating people as well. Let's go through some really interesting stories these last couple of weeks in the world of tech and today that's no different because, you know, we've been talking about AI here at TWiT again, but I wanted to do a bit of a different spin on it. You know, cuz what the, the world of ai from a coverage standpoint, you're gonna get a couple different perspectives. You're gonna get those folks that are just gung-ho and just really super hype about ai. And then you're gonna get, decide that is gloom and doom and telling you just how horrible and how problematic it is. And I have, I've yet to been able to find a interesting balance of, of the world of ai far as the coverage goes.
But today I wanted to bring on one of, one of our great friends of the network, Dr. Nuit Weiss Blatt. She's also known as Dr. Tech Lash because she has a book called Tech Lash where we're looking at how everyone is just with their, their claws out against big tech. And sometimes it's this, it's worthy and sometimes it's not worthy of all of those claws coming out. But Dr. Nirit is here to talk about what's going on with AI and what we like to call some AI doomers of today. Dr. Nirit, how are you?
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:03:57):
I'm great. Happy to be here,
Ant Pruitt (00:04:00):
<Laugh>. I appreciate you joining us today. Yeah, this story, I I, I went back and saw a former story of yours over on Tech Dirt, but what really got me interested is a couple of your recent tweets here online. You, you've had a lot of fun with the folks out there, but let's first start with the story back on Tech Dirt, which is headlined, overwhelmed by all the generative AI headlines. This guide is for you, and you touched on a lot of different things going on from like the tabloid standpoint with how AI is being covered and how AI is being discussed. Can you dive into that a little bit more for our listeners and viewers?
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:04:38):
Of course. So what I'm showing there is that our AI panic now is unprecedented, but it's not new. So the way the media is covering in AI has decades of different panic, but it's always you know, capturing this merging technology in a way that it's either to utopian or to dystopian. And it's moves from the most promising thing for humanity and productivity and, you know, other industries to, it's gonna kill us all. And as you said, correctly, not a lot of middle ground here, <laugh>. So not a lot of balance or nuance or something sane, it's mainly either gonna save your lives are gonna kill and wipe up humanity. And the problem with this is that if it was only, oh, it's a good picture here, like the Daily Star. So if it was only the British tabloid saying attack of this psycho chatbot, that was fine. Cuz it's funny and you expect this type of, you know, sensualism from, from down right?
Ant Pruitt (00:05:41):
By tabloid, like
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:05:43):
<Laugh> <laugh>. Yeah. And, and this tabloid his its front page was followed by a different headline says Psycho killer chatbots are confused by Wordle. So yeah, they can, they have fun, they just have fun with this, which is fine. It's funny, the same tablet. But my point is I'm a communication researcher, so I'm looking at the like legacy media, traditional media prestige news outlets, and they publish the same level of you know, populist BS and create this mass AI panic hysteria because they just give stage to the loudest most insane critics mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So the New York Times gave stage two, if we don't master ai, it'll master us. The Open by Tristan Harris, Yuval and Halal and Asar Raskin and the Time Magazine of all places gave stage two, be willing to destroy data centers by Airstrike <laugh>, you know, Eliza Kovski.
So with the help of mass media, this AI Doism is moving from, like, we had the petition, the letter about government should, you know, enforce a six month pause mm-hmm. <Affirmative> to something that is just insane, batshit crazy discussion about we should bomb data centers <laugh>. Now why do we see lovely <laugh>? How, why, I mean, and, and then you ask the why question. Right? And I think that the right background here is that AI panic is a good marketing tool. So some Altman who open AI for months now since like d e like first launches products, told us again and again, like really frequently that we should all be scared of the coming super intelligence agi, artificial general intelligence mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And because it has so much, you know, magic powers the worst care scenario will be light out for all of us. Oh. And, and now you need to ask, okay, if you are developing this thing that you're super nervous about, and every interviewer said you're scared of it, and I emphasize with people who are a lot of you know, afraid and scared of it, why <laugh>? Right? Why? And then I think that, that the right question is that it serves him well, that all of us thinks that it's this magical, powerful thing that they're being developing in their place, right?
Ant Pruitt (00:08:23):
But it's good
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:08:24):
For future employees, it's good for investors if your machine is this magical, super intelligent force.
Ant Pruitt (00:08:33):
Okay? So it's definitely a marketing ploy whether we like it or not, because one would assume that the teams behind these different generative AI platforms could come forward and say, Hey, look, it's not all bad. It's not all good. It's somewhere in between, but yet that's not really happening because it's
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:08:53):
No, I, no, I can tell you that with Sam Altman, the interesting thing was okay, so I think it was January when he spoke like for two hours and a half with this lady from a VC that worked in Tech Ranch. So two hours and a half he's talking about the benefits, productivity revolutionized education and industry and wealth and creativity and whatnot. The last question was, okay, so after all, you know, two hours of good things bring me some worst case scenario. And then he said, the lights out for all of us Right. Sentence, right? What do you think the headlines were from this interview? All the headlines were opening I c O says light sound out,
Ant Pruitt (00:09:35):
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:09:37):
Nobody listened to the two hours and a half that he said, actually, good balance, nuanced smart things that are beneficial for study the media is a part, is an actor in here, in, in making this peak ahi hysteria because cause spreading it, it's also good for its business. This is why Time Magazine takes someone like Eliza Kovski instead of not giving him stage and giving stage two nuance, actual ai you know, AI researchers that actually knows mm-hmm. <Affirmative> what they're talking about. He does not mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, he's a sci-fi lunatic.
Ant Pruitt (00:10:11):
Okay? So it's good for the business of, of those journalistic platforms, whether it's New York Times or Time Magazine or who have you, but that's not good for society, right? That's just creating, that's gonna potentially create angst amongst all of the people reading those headlines and the people that are not necessarily reading those headlines and tabloids. But hearing about it outside of, you know, just at the local watering hold, if you will, minute of, did you hear about this AI and this thing is going to take over the world, it, this, this can't be good for all of us, right?
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:10:46):
Yeah. So my problem with those AI boomers, which I characterize and we can talk about it later is that at least with Sam Altman you say, okay, at least he, he produces products to the world. He does actual influence. My problem is, is with the all ai dors that's creating this AI panic is their product <laugh>, it's their career. It's their source of money. So look at Tristan Harris that I mentioned, or Eliza Kovski. All that they do is talk about AI is gonna kill everybody and wipe out humanity for their own good, for their lectures, for their centers of humane technology, for their books, for their whatever
Ant Pruitt (00:11:27):
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:11:27):
And their integration with the media is the toxic one. And, and I can understand if you have an AI researchers who are going to bore the audience with nuanced, logical, smart take about the state of this technology, I dunno if it's so interesting as someone who's going to yell, it's gonna kill everybody.
Ant Pruitt (00:11:48):
All right? Right. So tell, tell us a little bit more about this, this tweet that I have here how to spot an AI dor, make up fake scenarios in which AI will wipe out humanity. <Laugh>,
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:12:01):
Most of them, it's what they do.
Ant Pruitt (00:12:03):
Gary Marcus here is, is what
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:12:06):
Actually, I don't think he's a qualifies as a dor. I want to clarify that.
Ant Pruitt (00:12:10):
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:12:11):
You need to have all criteria and he does not meet all criteria <laugh>.
Ant Pruitt (00:12:16):
So, so what are all of the criteria that you, that you would like to list under import ai dor someone that's going to, yeah,
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:12:24):
So after we mentioned like, like people like Tristan that's saying that this, we summoned an alien intelligence, a god-like power who's going to ruin our humanity culture, creativity, and at the end wipe everybody off the planet. This is the type of people that I'm, I'm thinking of when I'm talking about AI doers, not the ones who actually say, this is our logical problems that we see today with, let's say misinformation or deep faces, or things that I raised the alarm when I integr talked about the AI generated art tools. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, the thing is, those AI boomers are distracting us from the real problems because they have apocalyptic imaginary scenarios, fantasy in their mind. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So the way I characterize it is, yes, they make fake up scenarios, they don't even bother to have any evidence to back up those scenarios. Mm-Hmm.
It's just hypothetical questions. Should we develop something that will replace us and kill us? No. Just like <laugh>, why is that the question and the basic for a petition, like they clearly watched and read too much sci-fi. They're all mm-hmm. Speaking the same language, from the same books, from the same Terminator, Skynet you know, world of thinking about the world. Again, they said that the AI's godlike power should be stopped. And they only, they, the on that few, the chosen ones can stop it. Right. And this is where it bothers me because it's very eternalistic logistic. We are the superior ones. We have the knowledge about this super intelligent thing that you, the public, the little scary hopeless people that don't have our intelligence. You can't handle the ai. So let us tell you what should be done, right. And for that, give us money and we'll tell you what should be done, which is just ironic <laugh>, right?
Ant Pruitt (00:14:12):
Wow. Such a scam. <Laugh>. So, so let, let me ask you just point blank, Dr. Nirit generative ai, be it chat, G p t or, or whatever open AI is offering mid journey stable diffusion, all of these different platforms and offerings out there. Is it okay? Is it, is it, is it just, is it good to use? Is it bad to use? Just, or is it just totally fine? Okay.
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:14:37):
So again, we should have a nuance discussion. Yes. It has tons of potential harms, again, some that I raised early on. Yeah. we need to mitigate those to put a lot of safeguards, which again, I think the letter, the petition ignores what the companies are actually doing to put safeguards. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> their human reinforcement, the feedback that the really thinking about ethics and safety from the beginning and not, I don't can, we can think on any other technology that everybody's thinking really thorough about the safety from day one. So, right. I'm optimistic that we can handle it. We can, you know, edit it, change it, find our norms around it, it'll have mm-hmm. <Affirmative> uses, it'll have misuses, like any technology, the panic is just distracting us from the real issues.
Ant Pruitt (00:15:31):
So getting, getting AI right, if you will, I hate really saying that, but getting it to where nobody
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:15:38):
Knows what's right really means, but Yeah.
Ant Pruitt (00:15:40):
Yeah. <laugh>. Right. But getting it, nobody defines where we can consider it safe, if you will, or, or not necessarily something that's gonna destroy us as human beings. You think we're a year away in time before things are a little bit more normalized with ai, generative ai
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:15:56):
No one knows because things move so fast. I think it's part of the problem, the speed of things. It's so overwhelming that I understand why people are afraid of it. It is overwhelming. I'm a subscriber of like, I know 10,000 newsletters about ai and every day, every day brings like hundreds of new startups and applications and uses and misuses and things that happen. Like, we need to <laugh>, they, they just a lot of things and it'll take time. But I'm hopeful that we can get it to be just more beneficial to us than hurtful.
Ant Pruitt (00:16:35):
Right. Well, Dr. Nere, this has been a fun and <laugh> interesting conversation with you. I really do appreciate you joining us today. Where can we find out more about the things that you're researching and writing and covering here in the world of ai?
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:16:51):
Ant Pruitt (00:16:53):
Dr. Tela. Got it. You'll find, and also you wanna tell us briefly about your book?
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:16:59):
Sure. So as a communication researcher, I'm analyzing the tech discourse for the past 13 years. So I started when it was all positive and cheerleading and glorifying the tech companies. And then it switched to the tech lash, the big tech lash against big tech. It was, was mainly about social media ruining democracy targeting ads and things like that. So I analyzed the coverage of the big tech companies and also the company's crisis responses, their PR efforts to, you know, respond to all the criticism in the media. And it's an ongoing story cuz now with AI panic, it's like a gift that keeps on giving because Right. We, we moved from analyzing social media that's ruin democracy to instead of user-generated content, it's now AI generated content that's going to ruin democracy. Of course. Please notice of the reoccurring things here. And we were back to from visuals that was last summer to text to Big Tech cuz we started the arm race now. Right. So the tech Yes. Is like this cycle of things that happening and then the backlashing the media. So my hands are full. I have a lot to analyze. <Laugh>.
Ant Pruitt (00:18:12):
Yeah, you're gonna be quite busy. Quite busy. <Laugh>, thank you so much for joining us Dr. Near. I really do appreciate your time.
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt (00:18:19):
My pleasure. Thank you.
Mikah Sargent (00:18:21):
Thanks so much. Up next, we've got the first of my two stories of the week, but I do wanna take a quick break to tell you about our first sponsor. It's Dell Client Solutions devices, orchestrated by the experts at C D W. We're bringing you this episode of Tech News Weekly. The people at C D W get that your unique workforce has unique needs for their devices, especially as we all continue with hybrid work. It's a challenge for it to supply devices that can meet everyone's needs everywhere they work, so that they can stay connected throughout the day. Luckily, C D W can help custom configure Dell client Solutions devices for a more personalized user experience. What this means is that your workforce gets adaptability for performance with AI-based software that learns how your team works and optimizes workflows. And check this out. Dell client solutions devices have intelligent noise detection and cancellation along with high quality video that adjusts with your lighting.
Pretty amazing, right? This fleet of devices is really great because wherever your team works, it's built in security responds to malicious attacks, providing a secure way to boost collaboration and productivity from anywhere. When it comes to seamless experiences, Dell Systems makes adaptive performance possible. CDW makes it powerful. Learn more at cdw.com/dell client and thank you Dell Client Solutions devices orchestrated by the experts at C D W for your support of Tech News Weekly. Alright. Back from the break. And there is a fantastic story that I think is well worth reading over on the Verge from Sarah Jung, who has reported on the poop emoji <laugh>. So the poop emoji has made a recent return to the limelight. Or perhaps the nevermind we'll go with Limelight has made a return to the Limelight <laugh>, thank you. Because of <laugh>, Elon Musk, as you might imagine.
So a couple of ways. First when we saw the poop emoji make an appearance in court, but also because some of my fellow journalists who have sent requests to Twitter's sort of PR line in many cases are receiving in return just the single poo emoji as a response. And so this is kind of haha funny, funny, et cetera, et cetera, the way of Elon Musk. But what was interesting is the reporter over at the Verge decided to look into kind of the history of how this particular emoji has made its appearance in court. And the first time as far as the report can determine was in 2018 when there was a a, a, a case in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals with Emerson versus Dart. Emerson versus Dart was a corrections officer who essentially sued the county in the area for workplace discrimination.
And while this was going on the individual, the corrections officer was in a private Facebook group and had posted something a little message in this private Facebook group saying in part, so glad that the arrogance of this employer has them believing their own poo emoji. So that ended up being part of this this actual court case, and it didn't end up going to trial. So there was not the conversation between lawyers about how they were going to talk about the poop emoji and say it out loud, what, what they would say exactly <laugh>. But it is something that's well worth kind of looking into because we also saw the, the, the poop emoji kind of displayed in Elon Musk's tweet in response to the then Twitter c e o. And during that whole period of time where Twitter was looking, or where Elon Musk was looking at acquiring Twitter, and Twitter was sort of doing their due diligence, and then there was an agreement that Elon Musk would not disparage the company.
And then Twitter ended up, remember all this that took place. It's wild. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> Twitter ended up suing Elon Musk for disparagement. And that poop emoji was one example that Twitter's lawyers had for this potential disparagement. But a single poop emoji on its own is kind of hard to, to interpret, at least when it comes to the law. So Right. We looked or we at the normal full context of things. Yes, exactly. And without that context, you could make the, I mean, Elon Musk could make any sort of argument for what that poop emoji could mean, and we've seen that with different emoji. Right? This is right. A a very common thing where we see emoji being used in means that run contrary to what one might expect, where among certain groups, an emoji might have a different meaning where, you know, you might interpret an emoji a certain way, you send it to somebody and they don't see it that way.
And then there's even just like individual disagreements. So there have been some researchers who have looked into emoji and its sort of effect on law because of course, as time goes on and as internet communication continues, and as the use of emoji only climbs, we are seeing more emoji make their way into court. And so there needs to be a conversation among lawyers about how to go about handling this. Because when you think about sort of, for a lawyer, much of their work is, well, depending on the lawyer, much of their work is about data gathering and historical understanding and precedence. So they are looking through previous court rulings and trying to make arguments based on how different court cases in the past have turned out. And so there needs to be now for going to have emoji, and this is going to be part of the conversation, there needs to be an understanding of how these emoji are handled.
So there are a couple of research articles that the Verge links to one from Eric Goldman called Emojis and the Law, and another report from Jennifer Barons for Duke Law School called Unknown Symbols Online Legal Research in the Age of Emoji and both of these pieces. Right. It's the super fascinating stuff. And I've linked to both of them and we'll have those if people want to check them out they, they talk about of course, emoji in general, sort of what they're used for, but then misunderstandings and even going as far as to talk about emoji dialects. And I find this incredibly fascinating because emoji dialect Yeah. Which is a great way of sort of thinking about emoji in the same way that the, an English language has multiple dialects. Well, many languages have multiple dialects. Depending on how you're using the language and the context of it, it can have different meanings.
And the same thing applies to emoji. So I wanted to make a co a quick comparison. For the longest time, there has been an ongoing discussion about the way that dialects can and have impacted certain court cases African American vernacular. English is one example where that dialect of English is has its own as many dialects do its own set of, of grammar usage and mechanics, the its own set of mm-hmm. <Affirmative> ways that you communicate and particularly when it comes to tenses. And so there are times where a person in court who speaks with African-American vernacular English has said something and due to sort of the, the legal systems method of sort of sanitizing language, and in many ways kind of taking context away from it, it mm-hmm. <Affirmative> has led to a misunderstanding about what someone was testifying to or how what they were actually saying versus if they had the context and the understanding of the dialect, it could mean a different thing. And all, you know, folks, if you want to look into that yourself, you can there are, I believe,
Ant Pruitt (00:27:42):
I believe John Mc has brought that up on several occasions. John McCort is a linguist that was, I don't know if he's still here or not, but he used to be in be at Cal Berkeley. And he has brought up a lot of different instances regarding black English versus what happens in the court of law and, and how sometimes it, it could be misconstrued in Tom, just as you said, based off of, especially with tents not mm-hmm. <Affirmative> tension, but tense as in time. And it, it was pretty fascinating. John Mcw is another one.
Mikah Sargent (00:28:14):
Yeah. That's an, I think, in fact, that was the exactly who I was thinking of. Because it does discuss there's a New Yorker article about mc order, and there is quite a few links in this new Yorker piece that talks about that very specific thing. So I wanna draw that comparison in the sense that at all times, our language is changing and even if sort of the, the basis of English isn't changing the way we communicate is, and that's kind of what these, these folks are saying, these law researchers are saying. And it goes on from just sort of this, this standard conversation about how you know, haha funny that lawyers are trying to figure out ways to talk about the poop emoji. It goes even more than that though because the, the, the researchers, Jennifer Barons in particular who teaches at Duke University in, in Jennifer's study, she was looking at how these law libraries, these digital libraries in many cases just completely forego, displaying emoji or in some cases provide just sort of references to the emoji.
So there was a piece, and I I'm actually just gonna read from the introduction of Jennifer Baron's piece because I think this is, it exactly sums it up. In April, 2018, an entry in the Kansas Bar Association journal's regular called Substance and style legal writing column was entitled Simply. And then it's three of the thinking face emoji three thinking face emoji icons adorned the issues Table of contents at the top of the article, whose author examined the proliferation of emoji in legal evidence and the associated problems with varying online displays and reader interpretations. The entirely graphical article title included an explanatory footnote in text. This essay might be called Thinking About Emojis, but, and, and now I'm, I'm paraphrasing when this was sent to these online legal research services, thinking of like Lexus Nexus, Westlaw Gale, one File, legal Track, all of these different online libraries, many of them just completely ignored the title and did not display that title.
Some of them just went with calling it Substance and style, which is the name of the column. So it did not have that exact representation. And some of them sort of tried to explain that the title were was three emojis or, or emoji. But in every case, the bigger problem is that if a lawyer then has a case that involves a poop emoji or another emoji, and they're trying to look back and find some precedence or find how other court cases sort of worked out, you can't just type in an emoji as it currently stands mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And you in many cases, can't even do something like thinking face emoji and come across the piece that you were looking for, because these online libraries are just like an emoji. We can't handle that. Well, I don't know what to do about it.
So they just give it a name that sort of works. So the technology needs to change as much as a sort of legal understanding surrounding these, these the, these symbols that many of us are using now. Yeah, I, I, I find this, this entire thing fascinating, and I have to be honest, like, I had not considered the legal implications of something because I'm so used to, I can remember working at a journal, a journal, a journalism publication where we were, you know, doing our normal headlines. And then at one point we thought, oh, it'd be so great to do an emoji in this headline. And so I asked, Hey, can we do an emoji in this headline? And the person directly that I was asking sort of got these big eyes and then they were like, oh, we've gotta ask this person to go to that person.
Then we're going up, we're going up, we're, you know, basically filing a, a a mm-hmm. <Affirmative> support case, and I mean, it just went up the chain until finally and it was off the chain, and it finally made it to where we needed it. And the person was like, I don't know if we can do that. Let's try it <laugh> and see if it breaks anything. I don't know to this day if we can do that on TWiTs content management system. Right. I don't know if we've ever tried it because it's one of
Ant Pruitt (00:33:03):
Those things again where like, where in the world is Unicode in all of this?
Mikah Sargent (00:33:07):
Ant Pruitt (00:33:09):
Yes. Where, where is Unicode and where is Jeremy bge? Is that Burge? Yeah, Burge Burge. Jeremy Burge. Where is he on all of this here? This is, there needs to be some type of evolution and fairly swiftly because it seems to be the norm of people communicating with emojis and rather, you know, just random text messages amongst themselves. But heck, even in day-to-day work, chat is so easy for us to slap a emoji into Slack <laugh> to communicate mm-hmm. <Affirmative> the job being done.
Mikah Sargent (00:33:43):
Yeah. You can quickly <laugh> answer by doing so. And that's the thing too, is like, this is the whole point of the Unicode standard, is you have a set of code points that a computer, a server like anything can read, and then in turn display because mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, it exists as a code point that all of the different computers can understand and all the operating systems can understand, and they can all go, okay, that's exactly what this is. And then display whatever's available. But in some cases, they don't have the ability to display whatever's available. And I also have to say and, and then we'll wrap things up here in Eric Goldman's research, one of the things that Eric talked about was the way that proprietary artwork can be an issue when it comes to emoji, because I think a lot of people are, they're becoming more aware, but in some cases aren't aware that the way that an emoji is displayed with Apples devices is different from the way that it's displayed on an Android device, is different from the way that it's displayed on Twitter is different from the way that it's displayed on Facebook.
Because the Unicode group, they do a very specific thing. And in fact, it's the, the sort of sub body of the Unicode group for emoji and the subcommittee, and they provide a name for each individual emoji. They provide a description for that emoji, and then in many cases, they provide a sample artwork for that emoji. But any operating system that reads Unicode and displays characters based on Unicode, can choose to display that icon in the way that they see fit. And so that's why you get different examples of emoji, and sometimes those have different understandings. And so with that desire to set oneself apart in terms of, of proprietary artwork Goldman argues that that also plays a role in the confusion that exists when it comes to legal grounds, because the poo emoji from Twitter might look different from the poo emoji on Apple's platform might look different from another one. Right. The poo emoji on Twitter is pretty goofy. It's got huge eyes and a big old smiling face versus some of the other ones where it's just a poo. And some that also have faces. So yeah. It's,
Ant Pruitt (00:36:20):
It's, one could be interpreted as chocolate soft serve. Yes,
Mikah Sargent (00:36:24):
Exactly. <Laugh>, it's, it's a bit, oh, no, I just sent ice cream. It doesn't matter that it has you know, this or that or the other. Anyway,
Ant Pruitt (00:36:34):
So is there like a starry night emoji out there?
Mikah Sargent (00:36:39):
There yeah, I think they call it sparkle. Wow.
Ant Pruitt (00:36:44):
I, I know so little <laugh> when it comes to this stuff.
Mikah Sargent (00:36:49):
Ant Pruitt (00:36:49):
And even thought about the fact of putting proprietary work as an example to further explain what said emoji is. But I guess that's what it takes though.
Mikah Sargent (00:37:00):
Yeah. And, and I mean that again, with, with Goldman's argument, it's like, so Apple has a team that designs, so they, they look at the, the name of the emoji, they look at the description of the emoji, they look at their set of emoji that they already have, and then they design the artwork for their version of that emoji. Google has a team that does the same, so they're trying to match their own library. And in doing so, you get these variations. I understand what you were saying now. I thought you were just asking if there was like a star emoji. When I said proprietary artworks, I was more talking about, and Goldman is talking about how every company that mm-hmm. <Affirmative> has their own emoji library, those are, those, those artworks Okay. Belong to that company. So proprietary in that sense. Proprietary
Ant Pruitt (00:37:53):
In that sense. Okay. Yeah.
Mikah Sargent (00:37:54):
Yeah. So like Twitter, that could be they own theirs
Ant Pruitt (00:37:56):
Mikah Sargent (00:37:57):
<Laugh>. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. They don't do it like you know, instead of doing the sparkly stars, they decide to just display. Yeah, yeah. What is it? Van Goff's starry Night. So Starry
Ant Pruitt (00:38:10):
Night, yeah. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
Mikah Sargent (00:38:12):
But in any case, I, I think this is a really interesting conundrum that I had not considered. Because there's already sort of just in general life, this back and forth, I think between generations in particular about the use of emoji and should we be doing it. And in some cases it's like, oh, it's a repeat of history because we're, we're, we have hieroglyphics as part of our conversation. I like it as an augmentation of the, of our language as an opportunity to add more potentially to what we're saying in a smaller bite size package, rather than having to, in some cases type everything out. Or as you're pointing out, it's very easy for us to communicate the things that we're trying to say in Slack and get a point across by responding with just a simple emoji rather than going, I saw what you said and that is great, and I am giving a thumbs up in real life <laugh>. It's like, think and we're done. I'll
Ant Pruitt (00:39:19):
Say it's easy-ish because there are times where I'm confused if someone is giving me a high five or if they're praying for me.
Mikah Sargent (00:39:27):
Oh yeah, that was, see, but that's the thing. Depending on who you're talking to, it means one of those other things. Cuz that was originally supposed to be a, a, it was not even, if I remember correctly, it's not meditation your hands originally. It's like hands placed together and you're sort of bowing and you're saying bowing not mistake. Yeah. Yeah. Sort of, I, I don't remember exactly what it is, but Right. Like no one is using, well, some people are using those hands pressed together as prayer hands. Some people are using it as high five, some people are using it as namaste. It all has different meanings to different folks. And that's the argument here that we have to consider that, especially when it comes to law. But that is going to have to bring us to the end of this conversation.
So I will thumbs up emoji, sparkle emoji and the wind blow emoji because it's time to move on. Up next I've got Far <laugh>. See, see, oh Lord have mercy. I do have another story of the week coming up, but I wanna take a quick break to tell you about our second sponsor today. And that is Bit Warden. So I think it's incredibly important that you out there have a password manager, and given that Bit, warden is bringing you this episode of Tech News Weekly, why not check it out? Bit Warden is the only open source cross platform password manager that can be used at home, at work, or on the go and is trusted by millions, even our very own Steve Gibson of security now who has switched over with Bit Warden. All of the data in your vault is end-to-end encrypted, not just your passwords.
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That's bit warden.com/twitch. Thank you bit warden for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly and for keeping so many people safe online. Alright, my second story of the week is rather concerning report from Reuters talking about Tesla. So Tesla vehicles have, and I know we'll be talking about Tesla soon. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, Tesla vehicles have cameras on them and part of the reason that they have cameras on them is to help with the self-driving functionality with some of the sort of lane detection avoidance detection, all of the, the magical stuff that's supposed to make your car driving experience a lot safer. And just to help you become more aware of what's around you. And as the, the Reuters article points out, you know, Tesla has long talked about how the privacy of its users is very important and that the cameras in the vehicles are quote, designed from the ground up to protect your privacy.
However, according to Reuters, who spoke with they say several no nine former employees of Tesla between the years 2019 and 2022, there were groups of Tesla employees who shared videos and images recorded by the Tesla vehicles the cameras on the Tesla vehicles of some customers. And they would share these in an internal messaging system. So along with sharing some photos, some videos they would share crashes, road rage incidents. Reuters says that there was one recording that involved video of a man approaching a vehicle completely naked. Hmm. In some, yeah, <laugh> in some cases the videos were, or photos were of people's interiors. So once the car was parked in the garage, then those images and videos were there. They would take these images, these videos, and sort of make them into memes, add captions to them, share them around internally.
And while Tesla vehicles no longer do this, there was a point where you could opt in to having the cameras basically running at most times, even whenever the car was turned off, so that it, the whole point was your car would kind of be watched even when you weren't around it, and just to make sure that it wasn't being broken into. Or if it was broken into, then you'd have that evidence. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> that is no longer a feature, but when it was Reuters said some of the video appears to have come from times when the car was turned off and that feature was enabled. There was one really interesting story that is part of this piece, and I'm, I'm gonna read a little bit from the article cause I think it's the best way to summarize it. About three years ago, oh, go ahead. Did you have a question?
Ant Pruitt (00:48:26):
Oh, no, no, I was saying, okay,
Mikah Sargent (00:48:27):
Go ahead. Oh, cool. So about three years ago, some employees stumbled upon and shared a video of a unique submersible vehicle parked inside a garage, according to two people who, who viewed it the vehicle was nicknamed Wet Nelly, the submersible, rather, was nicknamed Wet Nelly, the White Lotus e Sprite, or EPRI sub that had been featured in the 1977 James Bond film, the Spy Who Loved Me. There's one person who, as far as we know, had purchased for about $968,000 this unique submersible vehicle. And who owned it? That person was Elon Musk. Mm. So employees Mm. Viewed the footage of Elon Musk's own Tesla to see into Elon Musk's garage to capture this image and to share it in internal messaging in the internal messaging system. And as Reuters points out, it's not clear whether Musk was even aware of the video or that it had been shared with people. You know, and
Ant Pruitt (00:49:39):
You, the, the first argument some people would say was, how, how do we know that was his, his car? You know, you, you, you you just tapped into some random camera in the database. You, you don't know that was Musks car. Well, stuff like that is, is personal identifiable information right there. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> could clearly just start to connect the dots. You know, everybody's not gonna own a $968,000 car, you know, <laugh>
Mikah Sargent (00:50:04):
Ant Pruitt (00:50:05):
Yeah. Is in record of who does own a 98, 960 $8,000 car.
Mikah Sargent (00:50:10):
Wow. And that was the other thing too. In many cases they didn't have the, the Tesla said that even in the before times, whenever they were recording this video regularly, and even to this day, if you if the video that is being captured is shared with the, the system that kind of tags these videos to figure it out mm-hmm. <Affirmative> Tesla says mm-hmm. That it's separated and anonymized so that they don't know who the video or the photos are coming from. However, there were two things that these previous employees pointed out. One, in some cases, the video and the photos, while it didn't have people's names or like their Tesla accounts or anything like that, it did have location information. And so that can be enough to narrow in on a person. And then because there were distinct items like this this submersible, then that also could point to a specific person.
So it wasn't entirely the case that they didn't, or that, that the, the information was completely anonymous. But I think kind of the, the bigger conversation here talks about how much of this, these videos, these photos it used to be that they would send a lot of this information off to human beings in Africa. They employed we've, we've even talked on this show before about how companies will hire out to different countries the process of tagging data for an artificial intelligence engine and to help it better understand this is a person, this is an ice cream cone. That's what I was using. This is a horrible thing. This
Ant Pruitt (00:52:01):
Part of the terms of services. Once you purchase a car, this says, you know, what, where you're going to analyze some data bit that's coming from your car, do you opt in? I've asked a similar question about purchasing a Tesla when it came to full self-driving, or FSD or whatever it called. There had to be something in the contract regarding what you're signing up for. And I wonder mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, the customers even knew what they were signing up for, because I'm, there's no way they're just willy-nilly doing this. They had to have this on the contract and figuring they can cover themselves from, from the court of law if someone says something.
Mikah Sargent (00:52:42):
And that's the thing is the images, the videos were that, that were supposed to be sent over for the sake of tagging, and again, I say sent over because Tesla in 2016 had employees who would label those images for pedestrian street signs, et cetera. They would have access to all of this stuff, and then they would view and identify the objects. But over time, Tesla has started to automate the process. So they ended up closing down a lot of those sort of hubs where they were doing this. And despite that, there are other who still do work for Tesla specifically doing that labeling. But I wanna quote again from the Reuters piece. Two X employees said they weren't bothered by the sharing of images saying that customers had given their consent. There you go. Or, yeah.
That people long ago had given up any reasonable expectation of keeping personal data private. Three others said they were troubled by it. So one was saying, I don't care because we all know that nothing that's out there is private. And then there were some who said, well, they opted into having this information analyzed. Sure. They opted into having the image analyzed, the video analyzed, but analyzed does not include turning it into memes that you share amongst friends to have a laugh about. Yeah. That's no one, I, I feel reasonably expects that that's going to be part of analysis.
Ant Pruitt (00:54:16):
Yeah. So yeah, you can have it shared on your internal network amongst your colleagues and have a laugh about it, but there is going to be one, there's always one that's gonna put that thumb drive in. Let me have this for a copy for myself and put it on my social media. You know, you know, that's happening. Oh
Mikah Sargent (00:54:33):
Gosh. And that's, and I think that this is where the conversation surrounding sort of spirit of the law versus letter of the law comes into place a lot because any, any human being <laugh> is, even when they, you know, they consent to, again, having their data analyzed is not expecting that. This means that minute nude body that walks in front of a Tesla camera is going to be laughed at in a private group. You may learn that and go, oh, I probably should have expected that, but you don't, hearing those words analyzed and tagged for metadata, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, that's not the same thing as Right. You know, again, it made, made fun of. So I think that ultimately this is an opportunity. This Reuters report is an, is an opportunity for folks to once again, sort of recalibrate their expectations for how we should consider our online privacy, and in particular, consider the cameras we have around us, the sensing technology we have around us, all of what's involved with that.
Ant Pruitt (00:55:49):
Yep. Indeed. Now, Mr. Sam, ab Samit was going to join us momentarily to talk a little bit about some cars, but your story is quite fascinating. You think we can have him chime in regarding your story today?
Mikah Sargent (00:56:04):
Yeah. Sam, if you've got some thoughts that you wanna share about this, I'm curious to hear, firstly, if you are at all surprised that this is going on, and maybe you could tell us a little bit about how those cameras are meant to work in a Tesla and how maybe the use of it to spy on people's garages even in some cases show video of children being hit by cars is not what what folks signed up for.
Sam Abuelsamid (00:56:32):
Hey, Mikah, and at good to good to be with you again. Yeah. I, I, I joined in the joined the Zoom in the middle of the conversation and, and pulled up the story you're talking about. To be honest, I'm not, unfortunately, I'm not at all surprised that this is happening. Oh, <laugh> you know I mean, it, it's happened before you know, it happened I think with Ring a few years back ring employees somewhere in Eastern Europe that were doing similar thing. You know, they were, they were tasked with doing labeling and annotation of video data from Ring security cameras like mm-hmm <affirmative>, the the doorbell cameras. They were sharing some of the, the video content that was being captured by these cameras. So in this particular instance, you know, this well first to, to what you were saying at earlier about you know, whether customers agreed to this, I haven't read the full terms and conditions of the Tesla connectivity agreement mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, but in general I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that when you agree to have connectivity in your vehicle as part of that agreement, you are agreeing to share some of that data with the manufacturer. That, and they use it for mo I mean, most manufacturers use it primarily for product development to understand how Yeah,
Ant Pruitt (00:57:53):
That's what, I'm sorry. They're trying to make it better down the road. Right,
Sam Abuelsamid (00:57:56):
Exactly. And, you know, so it's, it's imperative on the manufacturers to have some controls in place to make sure that, that anybody that within the company or within their contractors that has access to this data isn't misusing it. Now to the specifics of this particular, you know, of, of what's going on with Tesla, Tesla's got kind of a, an unusual situation because in most cases for most manufacturers, you know, mo most, most new cars have at least some cameras mounted on them for their driver assist systems. Every, every new vehicle built since I think 2016, has a rear backup camera. Most vehicles have forward facing cameras. Many of them have surround view cameras that when you when you put it, put the car in reverse or you, you maneuver around at low speeds, you can get that bird's eye view so you can see what's around you.
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And that's, that's really hand, really handy features to have. In almost all cases, as soon as you turn off the car, all that, all those cameras turn off, the computers turn off, all, all that start stuff turns off, and so nothing can be recorded. It sounds like from reading the, the Reuters story about this, which I'm assuming is probably the one you're, you're referencing it, or maybe another one mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that you know, what was happening here is there, the employees are looking at data that was captured Tesla, Tesla's century mode. Tesla offers this additional mode called Century, which is basically a, a surround view security camera system, oh. For their vehicles an anti-theft or, you know, anti vandalism thing. So you, when you turn on Century mode, your cameras on the, the, the eight cameras that are around the car are on all the time and recording.
I, I think, you know, there's a buffer. So, you know, it's, it's like other security cameras. So they're not, they're not capturing all the data all the time because they, they don't have enough storage space, but they're looking for things that, you know, anything that might be a security issue, you know, somebody seems like they might be trying to break into the car or vandalizing the car, then, you know, it will record, you know, some amount of video, you know, from the ring buffer. And, you know, I'm guessing that the, the individual who was captured walking around naked probably had their, their century mode turned on in their Tesla and walked through the garage, hopefully walking through the garage.
Mikah Sargent (01:00:27):
Sam Abuelsamid (01:00:27):
You never know. I mean, depending where
Mikah Sargent (01:00:29):
They're exactly, if
Sam Abuelsamid (01:00:30):
You've got a fairly private, you know, property and driveway, who knows? You know, that's, that's up to individuals. But at any rate, they probably had their century mode turned on and it captured them in proximity of the vehicle and then uploaded that data to Tesla's servers. And then, you know, labelers were, you know, saw that, and then that's where the problem started with abusing the data. So yeah, Tesla you know, like other companies, you know, particularly for Tesla, they capture, you know, a lot of short snippets of video that they, you know, are nominally using to improve their autopilot and full self-driving software. You know, when they, when they find scenarios that the system is struggling with, you know, it, it's capturing, you know, a few seconds of data and uploading that. And then the labelers go through and, and as you mentioned, Mikah they've gone to more and more automation of that labeling process.
But even, even with automated labeling, there still has to be for at least a significant portion of it, somebody going through and doing quality assurance checks to make sure that the, the automated labeling is being done correctly. So some, and in many cases, even when it's automatically labeled, there's still gonna be humans looking at it. And eventually at some point in the chain there are going to be engineers that are going to be look, looking at that, that those video clips to decide, okay, is this something that is actually relevant for us to add to our test suite, to our simulation suite? And so there, even, even with automation, there's still humans that can see this stuff.
Mikah Sargent (01:02:14):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. thank you, first of all for your, your quick thoughts on that. And in fact, we may you know, go on with that after we do take a quick break because there's lots more from Sam Smid about all of the news surrounding <laugh> electric vehicles and Tesla and everything else. So I did wanna take a quick break to tell everybody about Club TWiT. If you haven't heard about Club TWiT, well, you should join the party at twit.tv/club twit. When you head there, you can become a member of the club starting at $7 a month, $84 a year. And when you do, you get some pretty great stuff. First, you get every single TWiT show add free. So it's all of the contents, none of the ads, because you in effect, become the sponsor of the program.
You also get access to the TWiT plus bonus feed that has extra content you won't find anywhere else behind the scenes before the show, after the show special Club TWiT events and access to the members only Discord server, a place where you can go to chat with your fellow Club TWiT members, and also those of us here at TWiT. Along with that, you get some really great Club TWiT exclusive shows. You get access to the Untitled Linux Show, which is, as you might imagine, a show all about Linux. You get access to the Hands-on Windows program from Paul Throt, which is a short format show where Paul Throt shares tips and tricks and guides for everything windows. You also can watch Hands on Mac, which is my program that has tips, tricks, and guides for the Mac, for the iPhone, for the iPad, and everything in between. And you can even watch the newly announced program from Scott Wilkinson well, newly returned program from Scott Wilkinson, home Theater Geeks. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> which is a great program, woo, woo woo all about making the most of your home theater experience. So please consider joining the club at twit.tv/club twit, and thank you to all our supporters out there for your help in keeping us keeping on. All right. Let us round things out with our final interview and take it away.
Ant Pruitt (01:04:29):
All right, so today we, again, as we already saw, we have Mr. Sam Aam joining us because there's been a couple headlines regarding the world of electronic vehicles. And you know what, I read these stories and wanted to know a little bit more about it and didn't really know who else to ask other than Mr. Sam aam, because he knows this stuff, man. So Sam, good to have you back on. I appreciate you joining us today. The first story that came up in my feed is VW in Redwood. According to TechCrunch, VW in Redwood want to turn your old laptops into EV batteries. And I saw that headline. I'm thinking when it's an old laptop, that thing is done. It, it's, it's, most people will, will run a laptop into the ground as fast as they try to run a car into the ground. Just use it up and it's, it's nothing left of it. But apparently that's not necessarily the case with the materials. Can you dive into this a little bit more? Is this really something feasible? Our laptops can really be useful for the world of EVs and EV batteries?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:05:35):
Oh, absolutely. And, and what they're, you know, in this particular instance what they're doing is they're, they're taking the batteries, the dead batteries from laptops and other consumer electronics devices as well. Redwood collects a lot of consumer electronics devices to recycle the batteries because a lot of the same materials are used in the batteries that are in our phones, in our laptops, our tablets all, all the other devices that we use on a daily basis. You know, when those, when those batteries get to the point when they won't hold a charge anymore mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you don't wanna throw those into a landfill. There's a lot of useful material in there that, and, you know, we're talking, you know, billions of devices that are in use there. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> obviously compared to a car. Those batteries are very small.
But, you know, if you collect enough of those, you can recover materials like lithium graphite cobalt, nickel aluminum, copper all of which go right back into new EV batteries. And Okay. You know, as, as we grow the, the, the continue to grow, the number of EVs that we sell every year, you know, we've gotta build a lot more batteries. And, you know, there's two places where you can get the raw materials, you can get it out of the ground mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, which is what they've mostly done up until now, or, or, and actually you can also recover the materials from the depleted batteries end of life batteries. And so that's that's what they're doing here. And as you know, EVs are still relatively new in, in volume. Most of the EVs that have ever been built and been built in the last five years mm-hmm.
<Affirmative>, so most of them are still on the road. But if we look 5, 10, 15 years out from now, there's gonna be an increasing number of EVs that are gonna be reaching end of life. And, you know, to your comment about, you know running, running laptops into the ground, fortunately, most of our vehicles last a lot longer than most of our consumer electronics devices. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> they do. And so it's, you know it's gonna take a while before we start to get a, a large volume of ev batteries to recycle. But even those, when, when those vehicles reach end of life those are going to go to recycle ener, recyclers like redwood materials and Lifecycle and Spears, new energy technologies. And there's a few others that are, that are starting to scale up recycling. And fortunately it turns out that with batteries, with lithium ion batteries, you can recover about 98% of the most valuable materials from those dead batteries. Wow. And reprocess it and put it right back into the, the production stream for new batteries.
Ant Pruitt (01:08:18):
Wow. That's, that's amazing. And with it being put back into place, I guess it's the same consideration when we recycle recycle plastics and paper. You know, you get a piece of plastic,
Sam Abuelsamid (01:08:31):
Even, even more so paper,
Ant Pruitt (01:08:32):
You, you don't even know that it's been recycled because it's still just the same quality. So we're not necessarily gonna see a degrade in battery quality because it's a recycled battery fores
Sam Abuelsamid (01:08:42):
In, in fact, it's actually more of the opposite. What they've found, you know, they've been doing recycling for a few years now. It turns out that the recycled materials actually tend to be of higher quality, cuz every time you go back and re refine it again oh, more of the impurities in there get taken out. And so you, they, they've actually found that the performance of batteries made from these recycled materials is often somewhat better in terms of the energy capacity and the power that can produce compared to virgin materials that have just come outta the ground and been processed.
Ant Pruitt (01:09:14):
Wow. That's awesome. Good stuff. Well, I appreciate you enlightening me on that. Now, my next headline, this one comes from the folks that didn't gadget, and this reminded me of a previous conversation that you and I had in Club TWiT cuz we did an AMA several weeks ago regarding EVs and, and so forth. But the headline reads, California will require half of heavy truck sales to be electric by 2035. Now, in our previous conversation, Mr. Sam the batteries was the problem when it came to these big, heavy, heavy rigs, big, big rig trucks out there is they got a number one, they're gonna be carrying a lot of cargo weight. That's the first thing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Next thing is the battery itself is going to be just ridiculously heavy with weight. It, where's the feasibility in this, for this mandate to be out here for 2035? Or is it just they're saying, you know what, by 2035, we'll we'll probably have the battery technology more on par to, to not be as heavy? Or what's the deal here?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:10:21):
I, I think, I think they're counting on a bit of both. You know, obviously they're, you know, they're assuming that between, you know, over the next or 20, 23 now, next 12 years it, the you know, the, the battery technology will improve significantly from where it is today. And it, it almost certainly will, you know, it's been improving on a steady basis for, for a long time now. And, and it will continue to improve. But I think, you know, one of the keys here is, you know, they're talking about half of the trucks being electrified. And when you actually look at the, the use case, and this is something that my company at Guide House that we, we've done, you look at the mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, the volumes of the, the, the, the unit volumes of the number of trucks and how they're used a lot, you know the, the long haul trucks, which I think we talked about during that m a you know, the trucks that are running, you know, from the port of Los Angeles, you know, across the country or into the middle of the country running, you know thousands of miles or, you know, at least many, many, many hundreds of miles a day.
And often, you know, up upwards of a thousand miles a day, those trucks are going to be more challenging to, to convert to electric mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, but they also account for only 14% of all the commercial vehicles on the road oh. That are sold annually. Okay. So they, they have the most miles, but they're, you know, relatively small in terms of unit volumes. Most of the vehicles that we're talking about here are vehicles that are operating in local and regional runs. You know, so all of those, those big up s and FedEx vans and mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, the, the, the day cabs that are you know, the, the class, you know, the semis that are not the long haul truckers, you know, they're running maybe a hundred, 200 miles a day, you know, that are delivering stuff from you know, Walmart distribution centers to stores, you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative> or, you know, a, you know, other, other things like that. And those that, you know, aren't, aren't having to do long haul. We're already starting to see those trucks coming to market from a number of manufacturers. You know, obviously, you know, Tesla is delivered a handful of their semis to PepsiCo and, you know, they're, they're, they're doing longer trips, but they're with lighter loads you know, carrying potato chips and stuff like that. But there's
Ant Pruitt (01:12:43):
Also, also, there's a balance for now, right?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:12:45):
Yeah. But there's also, you know, a, a lot of trucks from companies like Volvo and Daimler and, and other truck manufacturers that are already coming to market with Battery electric. And, you know, those are used for runs, you know, where they're driving a hundred to maybe 150 miles a day, and so they can get by with a much smaller battery. And so that's tho you know, they account for the major, the vast majority of all the trucks. And so I think it's probably not totally unreasonable that we could get to half of the trucks, you know, half of the commercial vehicles being electric by the mid 2030s.
Ant Pruitt (01:13:22):
Wow. Didn't think about that. Now we can combine that story with the previous story far as recycling the batteries. Maybe that's another way of getting closer to that, that, that mm-hmm. <Affirmative> goal of having half of the fleet, right?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:13:37):
Yeah, absolutely. That's, that's gonna be recycling, you know, longer term is going to be a key part of, of getting more domestic battery production you know, of feeding the raw materials into these plants. Right now there's over 20 new ev battery plants that are either in operation or under construction. I think our tracker right now we've got about we're got about 750 gigawatt hours of battery product, annual battery production, that should be online by about 2026. And we'll need about double that to, to go to a hundred percent electric for all the vehicles produced in North America. But, you know, we're, that's a really good start. And, but that's gonna take a lot of materials and recycling is gonna be a key part of that, whether it's for small vehicles that you and I drive every day, or mm-hmm. <Affirmative> or, you know delivery vehicles and, and heavier trucks.
Ant Pruitt (01:14:33):
Right. Now, this last headline, this one, this one also comes from the folks that in Gadget Tesla sets a new company record after delivering more than 422,000 EVs in Q1 of 2023. I saw that headline. I was like, really? How? Because based on everything I've ever heard about Tesla in the last two to three years or so people are really against Elon Musk, so that means they're really against Tesla and they're like, I'm getting rid of my Tesla, or Dang it, I hate, I just bought a Tesla and I'm going to sell it and blah, blah. You know, there's a lot of that kind of chatter out there, but I guess where it really matters is people just want something that's gonna be efficient and, and good for the environment, and Tesla seems to be leading the way. Is is, is that so,
Sam Abuelsamid (01:15:23):
Yeah. So it's important to keep in mind that these numbers, these are Tesla's global delivery numbers. Unlike, okay, most automakers, Tesla doesn't break out their sales for different regions, you know, here. Okay. You know, we get manufacturers, you know, that talk about how many vehicles they sold in the United States, how many sold in Canada and get similar numbers in Europe and other markets. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, Tesla doesn't do that, you know, so those of us in in, in the business have to kind of go through other means to figure out, okay, how many of these were sold in the us? How many were sold in China? Oh. And, and China is the biggest market for Tesla. Okay. Yeah. And they, so, you know, probably I would, I would guess, you know, of these 427,000 total deliveries that they had in q1 it's prob you know, probably at least half maybe 60% of those were in China. Okay. And and the rest were split primarily between Europe and North America.
Ant Pruitt (01:16:23):
Okay. So let's say it was roughly 150,000 or, or a hundred thousand in the, in North America. Is that a good standard? Is that a good mark for them?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:16:32):
Yeah, I mean, they are still the, the top seller of EVs globally and, or, or not, sorry, not globally, but the top seller of EVs in North America. They're actually not, they're in Europe. I think the last numbers I saw for Europe, they're about fifth in terms of EV sales and China, they're, they're about fourth or fifth overall. You know, and China's the biggest market, the biggest automotive market globally. And they sell, you know, they sell a lot more EVs there than we do here and Europe, who
Ant Pruitt (01:17:04):
You number one for EVs in China
Sam Abuelsamid (01:17:06):
B y d which is a, that doesn't sell vehicles here in North America yet. There's been some discussion about them coming into the US market, but they, they are biggest and there's a number of other Chinese brands that sell a lot of vehicles there. So they're, you know but you know, Tesla does well there, they sell a lot of vehicles there. And you know what, you know, what we're seeing with Tesla is, you know, as ev sales continue to grow, Tesla's sales are also continuing to grow right. But they're, they're getting a smaller market share smaller share of the overall EV market, because a lot of other companies are introducing new EVs. You know, here in North America in 20 in 2021 or 2020 Tesla's share of the EV market was I think about 82 or 83%. By the end of 2022, it was down to about 65%. Wow. Because they're getting a lot more competition, so they're still selling more, they're growing their sales, but they're getting a smaller slice of a bigger pie.
Ant Pruitt (01:18:16):
Right. That makes sense. That makes sense. So if you were to look into your crystal ball and say, here in North America, in the US in particular who's going to end up leading this race, you know, over the next couple of years? Is it gonna be Tesla or is it gonna be someone like Ford?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:18:36):
It will, it's gonna be interesting to watch. You know, as I said, Tesla is still number one here in, in North America and, and in the us. But you know, we've seen in recent months, they have slashed their prices pretty significantly as much as 20%. Yeah, because you know, while they, they don't like to talk about it there's clearly been some slowdown in demand. And in fact you know, one of the things I don't can't, I'm not sure if it's mentioned in this particular article, is you know, they, you know, every quarter Tesla gives a prediction, a forecast of how many vehicles they expect to build and sell that quarter or that year. And Tesla came up short on their projections. They did a little better than some of the, some of the analysts projected and in terms of sales, but they came up short of their own projections.
And that is, you know, probably one of the big reasons why they did cut their cut their prices so significantly in the first quarter of the year. They, you know, probably still sold somewhere in the neighborhood of about 150 to 160,000 vehicles in North America, but their sales growth is slowing down. It's not growing as fast as it used to. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And as you mentioned earlier, you know, a lot of, a lot of consumers have decided that, you know, they don't wanna do business with with Elon anymore. And there's a lot more options now. I think, you know, if we look out, you know, 3, 4, 5 years from now there's a good chance that Tesla won't be the top seller of EVs anymore. In, in North America, they, you know, they're, they're already not in Europe and in China, but they probably won't be number one in, in North America either. Who will it be? It's hard to say. You know, Ford is targeting sale sales of 2 million EVs a year in North America by the end of 2026. GM is on a similar pace so that's a lot more EVs than, than Tesla has ever sold in a year in North America. Mm-Hmm. So, we'll, we'll see. You know, and there's, you know, every manu, every major manufacturer is rapidly trying to convert plants and build new battery plants so they can sell more EVs.
Ant Pruitt (01:20:58):
Wow. Mr. Sam, this has been a great chat with you. I really do appreciate you coming on and, and, and breaking these stories down for someone like me and help me get a better understanding of it all. Where can we find more of your a musings and work and analytics, if you will, regarding the world of auto?
Sam Abuelsamid (01:21:18):
My day job is with guide host insights. So you can find, find the work that we do. There are reports that we publish our blogs that our analysts email@example.com. You can also find me on Forbes autos just look for my name on there. I write some stuff there. And of course you can find myself with Nicole Wakeland and Roberto Baldwin every week at On the Wheel Bearings firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ant Pruitt (01:21:47):
Oh, man, I love Roberto. He's hilarious. He's great. Yeah. <laugh>, it's,
Sam Abuelsamid (01:21:52):
That's a great, it's a great group to, to chat with about cars every week. We, we have a good time with it. And
Ant Pruitt (01:21:58):
Outstanding. Outstanding. Well, thank you again, Mr. Sam. We'll talk to you soon. My
Sam Abuelsamid (01:22:02):
Pl my pleasure. It's always a pleasure to talk to you and Mikah.
Ant Pruitt (01:22:05):
Mikah Sargent (01:22:06):
Right. Thanks so much.
Ant Pruitt (01:22:07):
All right, folks. Tech News, weekly publishers every Thursday, just go to twit tv slash tnw to find out more about the show. That's where you can subscribe and, and look at the, the, the video versions or just subscribe for the audio versions and check out all of the show notes and all of the stories that we talked about each and every week. And yeah, spread the word there.
Mikah Sargent (01:22:31):
If you would like to follow me online check out the work I'm doing. You can head to at Mica Sargent on many a social media network, or you can go to chihuahua.coffee, C hhi h Hua h hua.coffee, where I've got links to many of the places I'm most active online. Check out if you are a Club TWiT member, hands on Mac a little later today Sunday. You can watch, ask the Tech guys. I've got a special, another special host joining me this week. And on Tuesdays you can watch i o s today, which I record with Rosemary Orchard. And this coming Tuesday will be a very special episode. Jason Howell should be back next week. So he will be here with us at that point. And aunt, why don't you share your social medias and your show?
Ant Pruitt (01:23:22):
Sure, sure, sure. Give me a follow on social medias. I am ant underscore Pruit on pretty much all of them. Even our TWiT social Mastodon, just ant underscore pruit. And I'd love to connect with you all there and chit chat here and there. What about some interesting stories in tech, better yet, how about y'all Go check out my show Hands on Photography. It airs every Thursday roughly 3:00 PM Pacific, somewhere in that area, and that's twit.tv/hop for Hands on Photography, where I'm gonna help you get better at photography and post-processing regardless of your skillset.
Mikah Sargent (01:23:59):
Beautiful. Thank you so much to John Ashley there in the studio. Burke there in the studio for helping to make sure the guests sound great every time they are on the show. Thank you again to John who makes the show possible as the producer and make sure we sound and look good. And also to everybody else who happens to be working on this show. Sometimes it's Shawn Lana, sometimes it's Anthony. I mean, it just, it depends. But we thank you all for it that, and we will see you next time on Tech News Weekly. Bye-Bye.
Jason Howell (01:24:38):
If you love all things Android, well, I've got a show for you to check out. It's called All About Android, and I'll give you three guesses. What we talk about, we talk about Android, the latest news, hardware, apps, we answer feedback. It's me, Jason Howell, Ron Richards, win with Doo, and a whole cast of awesome characters talking about the operating system that we love. You can find all about Android at twit tv slash AAA.