Elon Musk just had an important interview – here’s what he said
Interview with Elon Musk
Elon Musk did an interview with Italian TechWeek, a technology conference that took place recently in Italy. Here is how it went. We have also included the full interview for those interested. I’m going to paraphrase to simplify Elon’s answers
Elon, what is the source of your inspiration?
The source of my inspiration is philosophical. It is to increase the reach and human scale and answer the questions of reality. We must work to ensure the long-term survival of humanity and expand humanity beyond Earth and into other star systems.
What comes after March?
It’s more than an inspiration. It is to extend the reach and scale of consciousness. The length of time that consciousness will exist is increased as we go beyond earth. We have to turn Mars into another planet with life and an autonomous civilization and it is the only other planet in the solar system that we can do that with.
By going to Mars, we will develop new technologies to allow us to go beyond Mars and to other star systems and find out what is going on. There may be other civilizations that have existed for hundreds of millions of years that we will find on other planets beyond our solar system. Our civilization is very new, barely beginning to evolve 5-6 thousand years ago.
Elon, you’ve started new businesses – what’s your recipe for that?
It is very difficult to start a new business and be successful. This is not recommended unless you really feel pressured to do so. It’s like eating a drink and looking into the abyss. Its pretty hard.
The basics of starting a business are having a compelling idea or something valuable to the world, finding talented people to do the new thing with you, and growing the business. A business goes through a life cycle such as cell building, transformation into a life form, the growth of arms and legs, from child to adult. It’s like a creature and you have to reconfigure the business with each lifecycle.
A lot of people wrote off Tesla in 2008, how did you turn that around?
It was a very difficult time. Tesla came close to bankruptcy about 6 times in his life. The most serious was in 2008/2009 because Tesla was a small company making a low volume sports car that was expensive and the only electric car at the time. It was very difficult to get clients and investors.
I had money from PayPal, but I was running out. I had to borrow money from friends to pay the rent. But we were able to raise funds on Christmas Eve 2008 and if we had not been able to do so we would have gone bankrupt.
2018-2019 was tough as we struggled to get the Model 3 into volume production. People don’t fully realize how difficult it is to go from prototype to mass production. Others have made electric cars, but Tesla has managed to produce electric cars by volume. Chrysler was the last to do this, about 100 years ago. 2017-2019 was 3 years of hardship and pain. There are over 10,000 parts involved in production and if even 1 has a problem you cannot build the car. Every moving part must work. And you have suppliers for some of those parts. I slept a lot at the factory.
How to produce enough energy to support growth?
In the long term, we will derive most of our energy from solar and wind, as well as geothermal and hydropower. We need to think positively about nuclear energy. Well-designed traditional nuclear power is quite safe. We should not be shutting down the nuclear power plants that we already have.
Solar energy is underestimated. Without the sun, the earth would be frozen and cold. The sun feeds all the plants on earth. The Earth is already powered by solar energy. We just need a little extra power to fuel human civilization. The Earth’s solar power is approximately 1 gW / square kilometer. You would only need a small piece of land to power all of Europe – 200 km by 200 km. You could feed the whole world with a little piece of land.
How can humans interact with machines?
The full story of Neuralink is complicated. Its mission is to mitigate the risk of control with AI. We need to improve the bandwidth between us and the machines.
Our bandwidth between us and our phones is low and slow just using our thumbs. Neuralink will improve human-machine symbiosis. We want to have a good coexistence with the machines.
Neuralink will seek to solve a number of neurological diseases. Over the next few years, we will hopefully be able to help a paraplegic person to walk again or a person with paralyzed arms to use a computer again. We hope to have our first human trials in the next 6 months or so.
Will these technologies also help us understand nature and animals?
The things animals want to communicate are quite simple. You can communicate with your dog, although I think I know what my dog ââwants, which are roughly 4 things – food, water, going out, being petted. There may be other things that we find they want that we are not aware of.
It is better to be optimistic and be wrong once in a while, than to be right and pessimistic. People are generally pessimistic about the future, but I want to assure people that as long as we are not complacent, we will solve the problems of the world today and we can work to make that optimistic future a reality.
Taking action to make the world a better place is the best way to ensure a bright future. It’s great to read books and talk to interesting people. You can always learn and be less crazy over time. We become dumb when we think we know everything. You can learn more from questions than answers, often.
There are a lot of opportunities in synthetic RNA. Medicine as software has the potential to revolutionize medicine.
There is also artificial intelligence. We need a lot of tunnels to handle traffic in cities. We are living in very exciting times for humanity. It is the greatest technological growth in history.
You see yourself as an engineer, how do you find the skills of interview candidates?
I tell people to tell me their career story and tell me the story of the problems they encountered and how they solved them. This will tell them if they were really responsible for fixing the problem or not. It is the best filter for those who know how to solve problems or not.
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Jeremy Johnson is an investor and supporter of Tesla. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. He has since grown into a Tesla Bull, covering everything he can find on Tesla, while also taking an interest in other EV companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay in touch and follow her Tesla news coverage on Torque News.