Elon Musk's Boring Company granted permission to construct tunnels in California
Elon Musk's rather aptly named Boring Company has secured permission from the Californian City Council in Hawthorne - where Musk's company is based - to begin construction of a two-mile long test tunnel under public roads and utilities.
Currently, Musk has only been able to construct tunnels on property surrounding the SpaceX headquarters, which is where the Boring Company is based.
The 44-feet test track's main aim will simply be to ensure that all the basic components of the plans actually work - afterwards, the council can request that it be filled with concrete slurry or soil.
As to whether citizens will feel any disturbances cause by the drilling directly underneath their feet, senior director for construction for SpaceX Brett Horton said: "They won't even know we're there."
"Everything that we’re doing is underground - there will be no construction crews, trucks or excavators seen at street level."
Musk's idea to build a network of tunnels first appeared on his Twitter account in December 2016 as a way to get around the problem of traffic build-up.
"Traffic is driving me nuts," he tweeted. "Am just going to build a tunnel boring machine and start digging..."
One month later, Boring Company was officially launched and since then, Musk has been on a high-speed mission to make his dream become a reality - and he's made some astonishing progress.
In July, Musk announced that they had completed their first tunnel, running from the SpaceX headquarters to the car park across the street.
Later that same month, the Tesla founder tweeted that he had secured "verbal approval" from the US government to build its first long-distance tunnel running from New York to Washington, DC.
His announcement, however, may have been premature as local government officials declared that they were unaware of any plans and had had no contact with Musk or anyone from SpaceX or the Boring Company.
Whilst the White House's Office of American Innovation did comment that they had held "promising conversations" with Musk, it denied that it had granted approval for the project.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.