Flamethrowers And Autopilot – Potentially Very Dangerous, But That’s A Good Thing
Elon Musk’s latest venture is an exercise in freedomby Jonathan Lopez, on
Those of us living here in the U.S. like to think we enjoy a good amount of leeway when it comes to self-determination and the way in which we live our lives. That includes the freedom to enjoy potentially dangerous activities, like driving a race car, or shooting a gun, or skydiving. And thanks to Elon Musk’s various ventures, we can add the convenience of the Tesla Autopilot feature and the fun of firing off a $500 flamethrower to the list. Unfortunately, there are still some individuals out there who demand hand-holding.
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My bet is the majority of the people who bought one didn't even know it was possible to buy a flamethrower, and given it was through a Musk company, they probably thought to themselves, “oh I'm sure it's safe, why not?”
First off, let’s get to the latest news coming from Planet Musk. According to updates posted to his Twitter account, The Boring Company has sold upwards of 7,000 pre-orders of its new flamethrower, which, at $500 a pop, netted the company a cool $3.5 million. Not too shabby, if you ask us.
It just goes to show you – Elon Musk is a helluva sales man. He’s charming, charismatic, goofy, and smart. Not that I’m trying to turn this article into a Musk love letter, but the fact 7,000 people plunked down $500 for a Boring Company flamethrower should say a lot. My bet is the majority of the people who bought one didn’t even know it was possible to buy a flamethrower, and given it was through a Musk company, they probably thought to themselves, “oh I’m sure it’s safe, why not?”
Why not, indeed. This isn’t the first time Musk has offered controversial, potentially dangerous products to the public. The Tesla Autopilot system is another great example, with a variety of high-profile crashes (including at least one that was fatal) prompting a chorus of critics to not only question the system’s safety, but outright demand it be banned altogether.
Which brings me to my point – it’s not the responsibility of Elon Musk, Telsa, or The Boring Company to make sure customers don’t act like idiots.
It's not the responsibility of Elon Musk, Telsa, or The Boring Company to make sure customers don't act like idiots.
Let’s look at Autopilot as an example. Tesla states time and again that this system is still in beta and requires the user to remain in full control of their vehicle at all times. Of course, that hasn’t stopped drivers from abusing the system, doing stuff like stuffing an orange into the steering wheel to trick it into driving itself. While it’s not unexpected that people will act like morons, some folks still act surprised when abuses like these end up in catastrophe.
If the system was sold as foolproof, I could understand the outrage. As is though, folks need to take responsibility for their own actions.
And that’s why I love that The Boring Company is selling flamethrowers. Flamethrowers are awesome, just like the semi-autonomous Autopilot system is awesome. If used responsibly, a flamethrower is a lot of fun, while responsible use of Autopilot makes driving more convenient. Used irresponsibly, these things could result in disaster.
So then – read the fine print, realize what you’re getting into, and don’t pin your screw ups on someone else. If you buy a cup of hot coffee and you spill it all over lap, that’s on you, not on the company that made the coffee hot. Who the hell wants tepid coffee, anyway?
So what’s next? Well, if we’re talking about Musk’s activities, it would appear to be space travel. And guess what – that’ll probably come with a pretty lengthy waiver as well.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Read more about The Boring Company.
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