In an interview with Elon Musk by Mathias Dopfner, one of the richest people in the world talking about the “revolution” of autonomous vehicles and why he wants to be buried on Mars.
First, talk about Tesla. He sees significant moves towards electric power from other manufacturers such as VW but believes that the biggest competitor will be from China, as the country is making great progress in this area. On the issue of autonomous driving, he clarified that he does not want to take control of driving from anyone. Evolutionarily, however, autonomous driving will in a few years become safer than a human driver, perhaps 10 times safer. Thus, in the future, it will be preferred by more and more people. But there will be a dangerous transition point when autonomous driving is good but it will have problems because people will rest and not be careful on the road.
And then at 99.9% times, it will be good and 1 in 1,000 will not be. We need more nines, say 99.9999% to be reliable.
Musk is convinced that this year Tesla will achieve level 5 of autonomous driving. Licensing, of course, is a very different matter. He praised the immediacy of the Chinese but believes that the most difficult market to obtain licenses is by far the European one. It faces the same problems with the new Gigafactory Berlin, where the procedures for the permanent licensing of the plant have not yet been completed.
Asked about the batteries and the availability of the required minerals, he revealed that his biggest stress is nickel. He noted that it requires all Tesla suppliers to ethically extract the materials they need, without child labor or oppressive regimes. He is not worried about finding long-term materials for battery production, as he believes that the Earth’s crust is rich in them.
In the personal sector, he revealed that he is currently sleeping in the factory under construction in Berlin, in a meeting room. Although he is the second richest man on Earth, he is not interested in buying houses. He prefers to stay in hotels or rent houses where he is located.
In fact, I have almost no value for money other than my shares in companies. So if things are tense at work, I like to sleep in the factory or in the office. And obviously I need a place if my kids are there. So I will rent something. But most of the time I’m alone so I do not need anything big.
To the question of the journalist, “ so without a collection of works of art, without real estate, without other things that we usually associate with rich people, do you think that if you get rid of all this you are a free person? “, He replied:
Yes, in fact it is. Like the reason I am accumulating wealth, which are practically shares of Tesla and SpaceX. The only stock I have is Tesla. This is. If Tesla and SpaceX go bankrupt, I will go bankrupt. 100%. So why do I have them? Going back to what I said before, I think it is important for humanity to become a space culture and a multiplanetary species. And it will take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars. I want to be able to contribute to this as much as possible. And that means huge capital.
He considers the acquisition of children very important for the evolution of humanity and does not believe in overpopulation. His childhood in South Africa was full of violence, to the point that he almost died, yet he believes that man has the choice for the direction he will follow in life. He had the choice to become violent too to avenge the world, but he chose another direction and what helped him a lot in that was the books, especially the science fiction that he was constantly reading.
He warned once again about the dangers of artificial intelligence. We must be careful who uses it, who controls it, and whether it is used for the common good. Asked if AI would serve humans or vice versa, Musk talked about today.
Every time I see people looking at their phone I wonder who the boss is. People feel that their cell phone belongs to them, but they should probably wonder if they own the phone. Constantly respond to alerts. With each interaction, we practically train a digital team intelligence.
He describes himself as an engineer before anything else, while he considers that the language of communication was the most important invention of mankind. It likens direct digital communication to the nervous system of humanity since with the internet you can have direct access to all the knowledge of the world.
He believes that the greatest challenge of humanity is to be able to manage all this advanced technology without self-destruction. ” It’s like giving a toddler a shotgun .” It gave us 4 to 6 years to see the first humans on Mars. In two to three years he will travel in space himself. He wants to be buried on Mars simply ” not with a collision”He firmly believes that making man a planetary species is the only way to survive a planetary catastrophe that will come mathematically at some point. He hopes this window of hope stays open for a long time, but if it does.” something soon, we have to start preparing for it now. Even if a man does not disappear completely after such a catastrophe, our technological capabilities will decline significantly and “we may not leave abruptly with a bang but disappear into oblivion ” We must act now that we can.