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Elon Musk says Tesla FSD beta can lull users into thinking their cars are driverless



Elon Musk says Tesla FSD beta can lull users into thinking their cars are driverless

Electric vehicle maker Tesla is poised to expand its controversial FSD Beta program with a long-awaited download button that would allow customers to get new, unfinished versions of the company’s driver assistance software to test on public roads even though that software hasn’t been debugged yet.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who called a previous version of FSD Beta software “not great,” cautioned Friday evening that FSD Beta now seems so good it can give drivers a false sense of security that they don’t need to pay attention to driving while FSD Beta is engaged, even though they do have to remain attentive and at the wheel.

Tesla and CEO Musk didn’t immediately respond to CNBC for comment.

Tesla markets its driver assistance systems in a standard package called Autopilot, and a premium package called FSD, short for Full Self-Driving in the U.S. Neither of these systems make Tesla’s cars autonomous, according to the company’s users’ manuals and website.

Musk has been promising his fans an FSD Beta button for at least six months. On March 9, 2021, he wrote: “Build 8.3 of FSD should be done QA testing by end of next week, so that’s roughly when download button should show up.”

The CEO also revealed Thursday that Tesla will require owners who use the forthcoming Beta button to prove they are good drivers first, before getting access to their FSD Beta download.

Musk wrote: “Beta button will request permission to assess driving behavior using Tesla insurance calculator. If driving behavior is good for 7 days, beta access will be granted.” (The company began selling insurance in its home state of California in August 2019.)

Tesla board member, Hiromichi Mizuno, shared Musk’s announcement and touted the company’s approach, writing on Friday: “You must be a good driver not to drive, which may become a new norm.”

Musk replied to Mizuno Friday night:

“Ironically, yes at this time. FSD beta system at times can seem so good that vigilance isn’t necessary, but it is. Also, any beta user who isn’t super careful will get booted.2000 beta users operating for almost a year with no accidents. Needs to stay that way.”

Musk’s tweet contradicts facts about the FSD Beta program conveyed in the California Department of Motor Vehicles Autonomous Vehicles Branch memo written in March 2021.

The DMV’s Autonomous Vehicles Branch Chief Miguel Acosta, who wrote the memo, spoke with Tesla employees on that date, including associate general counsel Eric Williams and Autopilot software director CJ Moore.

Acosta wrote that they informed him the FSD Beta program as of March 9, 2021, included 753 Tesla employees and 71 non-employees — less than half of the 2,000 FSD Beta users Musk alluded to in his tweet on Friday.

CNBC directly obtained the memo and other correspondence between Tesla and the California DMV, which were published earlier by Plainsite, a legal transparency website.

In their correspondence, Tesla characterized even their newest FSD Beta features as a Level 2 driver assistance system, rather than fully driverless technology.

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U.S. Senator Manchin slams Bernie Sanders in battle over Biden spending plan By Reuters



U.S. Senator Manchin slams Bernie Sanders in battle over Biden spending plan By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia slammed fellow lawmaker Bernie Sanders late Friday over his attempts to garner support for President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar spending package in the latest example of infighting among key lawmakers over the plan.

Manchin tweeted out his concern over the scope of the legislation in response to an editorial from Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, advocating for it.

On Friday, West Virginia paper the Charleston Gazette-Mail published an editorial from Sanders urging support for the Democratic plan to address wealth inequity, soaring pharmaceutical costs, an increasingly expensive healthcare system and costly childcare.

“Senator Sanders’ answer is to throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other Senators have grave concerns about this approach,” Manchin said in a statement posted on Friday on Twitter (NYSE:), slamming Sanders as an “out-of-stater.”

The bill is threatened by a lack of support among Senate Republicans and two Democratic moderates – Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. Sinema has told Democrats in the House of Representatives she will not vote for the package before Congress approves a separate, bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Sinema and Manchin have balked at the Biden plan’s initial $3.5 trillion price tag for a spending measure to fund social programs and fight climate change. As a result, the president faces a difficult balancing act in trying to bring down the cost but not alienate progressive Democrats who also are essential to passing the legislation.

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Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scenes Workers Reach Deal on New Contract



Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scenes Workers Reach Deal on New Contract

LOS ANGELES — You might say that the people behind the cameras have found their voices.

Late Saturday, a union representing Hollywood’s version of blue-collar workers — camera operators, makeup artists, prop makers, set dressers, lighting technicians, editors, script coordinators, hairstylists, cinematographers, writers’ assistants — reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract with film and television studios, according to officials from both sides.

The union, IATSE, which stands for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, had said that its members would go on strike beginning on Monday, a move that would have resulted in a production shutdown at a particularly inopportune time for the entertainment industry.

The studios, which include stalwarts like Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia and insurgents like Amazon, Apple and Netflix, have been scrambling to make up for lost production time during the coronavirus pandemic. Another shutdown would have left content cupboards dangerously bare — particularly at streaming services, a business that has become crucial to the standing of some of the companies on Wall Street.

IATSE negotiators agreed to a deal after winning concessions on several fronts.

Crews will now receive a minimum of 54 hours of rest on weekends — on par, for the first time, with actors. (Studios were previously not required to give crews weekend rest time, although they were required to pay overtime.) Crews will also receive a minimum rest of 10 hours between leaving a set and being required to return, which IATSE had deemed the rest time essential to personal health, especially since shoots can routinely run as long as 18 hours. The proposed contract also includes pay increases and a commitment by the companies to fund a $400 million deficit in the IATSE pension and health plan without imposing premiums or increasing the cost of health coverage.

Studios will also give crews an extra day off by finally recognizing Martin Luther King’s Birthday, which has been a federal holiday since 1983.

“We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world,” Matthew Loeb, IATSE’s president, said in a statement, calling the agreement “a Hollywood ending” for the union.

A spokesman for the studios, Jarryd Gonzales, confirmed the agreement but had no immediate comment.

IATSE has 150,000 members in the United States and Canada. The contract in contention, however, only covered about 60,000, with the majority in the Los Angeles area, followed by pockets of workers in production-hub states like Georgia and New Mexico. A large portion of the union’s remaining 90,000 members work in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. But they have a different contract that had not expired.

Still, solidarity within IATSE was remarkable, with members in New York making it clear on Twitter and Instagram that, should a partial strike be called, they would treat it as a full one. For their part, the 60,000 members with the expired contract voted two weeks ago — by a margin of 99 percent — to authorize a strike.

Crews have long felt underappreciated in Hollywood, where hierarchies are not subtle. Discontent became more palpable when crews returned to sets after the pandemic shutdown. As with workers in many professions, the down time had given crews a new perspective about work-life balance. Making the situation worse, studios and streaming services started to speed up content assembly lines to make up for lost time.

Anger turned to rage over the summer, when Ben Gottlieb, a young lighting technician in Brooklyn, started an Instagram page dedicated to work-related horror stories. More than 1,100 entertainment workers have since posted harrowing anecdotes on the page, which has 159,000 followers.

Throughout negotiations, which started in May, the Hollywood companies insisted that it was taking IATSE’s demands seriously and negotiating in good faith. An organization called the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers negotiates union contracts for the studios. The organization has been led by Carol Lombardini since 2009 and no entertainment-related union has gone on national strike under her tenure. She has worked for the group since its founding in 1982.

But many studio executives privately greeted IATSE’s aggressive negotiating stance with a shrug, noting that the union had never mounted a significant strike in its 128-year history. Crews represented by any union had not walked a picket line since World War II. Back then, IATSE was controlled by the Chicago Mafia, which studios bribed to thwart labor unrest. (The crews that went on strike in 1945 were part of the now-defunct Conference of Studio Unions.)

Heightening the studios’ confidence that IATSE would blink in the current negotiations: Crew workers had just endured the financial hardship of a pandemic-related production shutdown, and IATSE does not have a strike fund.

Alarm bells did not start ringing across Hollywood’s corporate ranks until Wednesday. That is when Mr. Loeb said in a statement that “the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency” and set Monday as a strike date. Ominous comments from IATSE followed on Thursday. “If the studios want a fight, they poked the wrong bear,” the union said on Twitter. Another union post quoted J.R.R. Tolkien: “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all.”

Studios pushed to minimize IATSE gains for several reasons. Production costs have already soared because of coronavirus safety measures, and longer rest periods and higher pay endanger profitability even more. Costs associated with Covid-19 safety protocols can expand a project’s budget by as much as 20 percent, producers say.

To lure subscribers, streaming services have been offering exorbitant paydays to A-list actors, directors and producers. That means looking for cost savings in other areas, including crews, or what is known in the entertainment industry as below-the-line labor.

And the companies were concerned about reverberations: Notable contractual gains by crews will inevitably embolden other unions. The Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, all have contract negotiations coming up, with streaming at their center.

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Even If They Win, Atlanta Braves Figure To Have Different 2022 Roster



Even If They Win, Atlanta Braves Figure To Have Different 2022 Roster

Even before the Atlanta Braves opened the 2021 National League Championship Series at Truist Park Saturday, many fans who filled the Cobb County ballpark wondered whether this series might be the last hurrah for the NL East champions.

The lineup figures to be considerably different next year – even if star first baseman Freddie Freeman signs a contract extension rich in dollars and years.

Freeman, the league’s defending Most Valuable Player, hit the most significant home run of Atlanta’s current post-season run – a two-out, eighth-inning blast against star Milwaukee closer Josh Hader Oct. 12 – but even he must have wondered if the curtain call he made might be his last in the Atlanta ballpark.

Although the Braves have re-signed two other significant veterans in starting pitcher Charlie Morton and catcher Travis d’Arnaud, Freeman could become a free agent five days after the World Series ends. He would immediately become the most attractive player on the market.

Both he and the Braves say they want to maintain the status quo but Freeman, at 32, allegedly wants more years than the team is willing to give. The answer could be a contract lesser in years but packed with both incentives and mutual options.

It would certainly be the largest in club history, certainly exceeding the five-year, $130 million the St. Louis Cardinals gave Paul Goldschmidt after acquiring him from Arizona before the 2020 season.

Because of his durability, there’s no heir apparent to Freeman in the Atlanta farm system. If he doesn’t sign, however, the team could pursue other free-agent first basemen, including long-time Cubs standout Anthony Rizzo, who finished this season with the Yankees.

In addition to figuring out the Freeman finances, the Braves must decide what to do about their excess of outfielders. They acquired four via trade during the 2021 season after injuries idled Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna and big-league pitching proved too tough for blue-chip defensive whiz Cristian Pache.

General manager Anthony Anthopoulos, refusing to throw in the towel when injuries kept his team under .500, added Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and ex-Brave Adam Duvall before the July 30 deadline and watched his team take off in the NL East race, passing both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies to win their fourth straight divisional title.

Although Acuna might miss a month or two at the start of 2022, Ozuna remains a giant question-mark because of a possible MLB suspension following his arrest in May for alleged domestic violence. Atlanta doesn’t want a repeat of last winter, when Duvall was non-tendered to avoid arbitration and signed instead with Miami.

After leading the National League in runs batted in, Duvall will almost certainly receive a multi-year contract offer if he declined the mutual option in his contract.

There’s also a $10 million club option in Joc Pederson’s pact but the Braves must decide whether he’s a platoon player and pinch-hitter or an anomaly who does his Babe Ruth imitation whenever the curtain rises on postseason play. He went 3-for-3, with two home runs, in his first three pinch-hitting appearances against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Division Series.

As the only regular left-handed hitter in Atlanta’s lineup beyond Freeman and switch-hitting second baseman Ozzie Albies, Eddie Rosario will almost certainly win a new contract offer from the Braves. So may Jorge Soler, a former American League home run king who thrived as Atlanta’s unlikely lead-off man down the stretch.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the hard-swinging Soler missed the last game of Atlanta’s NLDS when he tested positive for COVID-19 and may not be cleared in time to return before the current best-of-seven series ends. But he earned a new deal – from the Braves or someone else – with his performance while still active.

With Acuna making good progress in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in July, and with the defensively-gifted Pache virtually certain to get another shot in center field, it’s not likely that the Braves can – or should – keep all four of their mid-season acquisitions.

So the betting is on Duvall, who can play any of the three outfield spots, to be the best bet for a new contract, followed by Pederson because of his postseason pedigree, pinch-hitting prowess, left-handed bat, and relatively inexpensive option.

If the universal designated hitter returns next year, the Braves will need someone to fill that role – presumably Soler or Rosario unless Ozuna beats the odds and returns to the team. But both Soler and Rosario will be unrestricted free agents who might find greener grass – and more playing time – elsewhere.

There could be changes on the pitching staff too, especially since veteran left-hander Drew Smyly failed to deliver dividends on a one-year, $11 million contract. He was hardly used after Labor Day.

The jury is also out on Huascar Ynoa, who began 2021 as a breakout starter but then broke his pitching hand smashing the dugout bench in frustration after a bad game. Never the same after missing three months, he pitched poorly in the NLDS and was omitted from the NLCS roster.

Atlanta will need to settle on a backup catcher, with William Contreras the favorite, and infield subs, especially if versatile Ehire Adrianza offers his services elsewhere after playing the season on a one-year contract earned in spring training.

No matter how long the Braves survive in the playoffs, speculation over what’s next is sure to increase as the calendar inches toward Halloween.

Hovering over everything is the Basic Agreement between owners and players. Failure to hash out a new one by Dec. 1, when the old one expires, could result in the first work stoppage since the 232-day player strike of 1994-95.

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