Musk Twitter Deal Shaky; Hacker Can Unlock & Start Teslas; Microsoft-Significant Salary Increases; John Deere Snags Algorithm Startup for AI Tractors

Elon Musk’s feet must be about as cold as the North Pole at this point regarding his agreement to buy Twitter. Most investors do their due diligence about a company before making an offer, let alone the board accepting it and hammering out a deal. Reuters reports that Musk is raging about Twitter estimating in a filing earlier this month that fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily users, or mDAUs, were fake or spam accounts. Musk says it is more like 20%, and he is demanding that Twitter prove otherwise before moving forward. The problem is, that legally, it is up to Musk to prove or disprove that….NOT Twitter’s. His vaunted net worth…based mainly on Tesla stock, has dropped by about $44 billion since he announced the Twitter buy. It is looking more and more like he is heading for the exit…and will have to cough up the $1 billion break up fee to Twitter. 

Keyless entry is great, but a lot of us know that your key fob can be cloned if a hacker is nearby and can pick up the signal, and run it through his computer and equipment. Now, Tesla’s cool keyless entry system has reportedly been hacked. According to bloomberg.com, a hacker has demonstrated that he can unlock a Model 3 or Model Y, jump in the car and drive away. The technique is pretty much the same as with other cars which do use key fobs. By redirecting communications between a car owner’s mobile phone, or key fob, and the car, outsiders can fool the entry system into thinking the owner is located physically near the vehicle.

As is the case with other tech companies, Microsoft is starting to take proactive measures against competitors stealing top employees. Geekwire.com says Redmond plans to nearly double their global budget for merit-based salary increases for employees at the senior director level and below. The bumps in pay will be stock based, and will amount to at least 25% for those employees, which Microsoft refers to as ‘level 67’ and below. This means people who are not at the general manager, vp, or other higher ranking corporate levels, but folks under those lofty pay grades. Last year, Microsoft showed a $6.1 billion stock comp expense, which was about 10% of its annual profit. 

John Deere, which has already been plowing automated driving tech since before any car maker, and has showed off its automated tractors, has taken another step towards better AI for their equipment with the pickup of AI startup Light. Thenextweb.com reports that the state of the art software package from Light will not only accelerate development and deployment of Deere’s AI tech, but will literally help the machinery to move faster safely without human intervention. The tech uses a computer vision approach to self-driving that allows the AI to ‘see’ the area around the way people do. It even allows for depth perception like the human eye. This should give farm operators who get the latest Deere equipment to work the fields and harvest much more efficiently without needing to actually be out there driving the tractor.



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