Elon Musk said what?

❝ In many ways, Tesla — Elon Musk’s lightning rod of a car company — is the perfect allegory for modern Silicon Valley. The ongoing psychodrama of personalities drowns out the amazing technical achievements that are happening all around us…

As usual, this has been a real “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of week for Tesla. It had a disastrous earnings report card, and Elon keeps creating all the wrong sorts of headlines. But in the middle of this maelstrom, the company announced a new chip that is going to eventually become the brain for their electric car. This chip is not just any chip — it will be able to make sense of a growing number of sensors that allow the car to become better and better at assisted (if not fully automated) driving…

❝ Tesla’s module is based on two AI chips — each one made of a CPU, a GPU, and deep learning accelerators. The module can deliver 144-trillion operations per second, making it capable of processing data from numerous sensors and other sources and running deep neural network algorithms. Ian Riches, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, told EE Times that this is “effectively the most powerful computer yet fitted to a production vehicle.” And Tesla is going to make a next-generation module that will be more powerful and will consume a lot less power.

As usual, Om Malik provides more depth, analysis and understanding than most of his peers. Please, RTFA, gather in another chunk of insight into Elon Musk’s apparently endless journey to reinvent the automobile along with any other software and hardware he bumps into in his young life.

Apple buys chipmaker Intrinsity

A month after the rumors first started flying, Apple finally confirmed that it has indeed purchased Intrinsity, a Texas-based chipmaker.

Apple confirmed the acquisition on Tuesday to The New York Times, though it did not disclose the purchase price or what Apple’s plans for Intrinsity are. One guess has the value at $121 million.

It’s the second chipmaker purchased by Apple in two years starting with P.A. Semi, which it bought for $278 million. It’s also the fourth acquisition Apple has made since last fall; it bought map API maker PlaceBase in October, social music site LaLa in December, and mobile ad company Quattro Wireless in January for $275 million.

Though it appears like Apple is on a bit of a shopping spree right now, the company has the funds to back it up. At the end of its second fiscal quarter of 2010, Apple reported it had accumulated $41.7 billion in cash. Though Steve Jobs told investors at the annual company meeting that he had no plans to use that to offer a dividend to shareholders, he did hint what he’d rather do instead.

You never know what opportunity is around the corner,” Jobs said at the February meeting. “We’re very fortunate that if we needed to acquire something we could write a check for it and not have to borrow money.”

American-owned company doing most of its manufacturing offshore – making a lot of money for Apple investors who are often liable to be Americans. Intrinsity provides tools, technology and design expertise to the chip industry. Based in Austin, Texas – which ain’t Republican Texas country.

Not the purest example of what can be achieved in the 21st Century economy; but, certainly more productive than the buggywhips preferred as central to a growing economy by politicians who still haven’t figured out Maynard Keynes or Franklin Roosevelt.