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January 30, 2014

Elon Musk on the innovations that will matter, multi-planet civilization, AI and demographics

Elon Musk thinks there are five innovations that will change our lives in the decades ahead.

* the Internet, an astonishing invention by which people can access knowledge from anywhere.
* the transition to the sustainable production and consumption of energy.
* the extension of human life to other planets, depending on how rapidly we progress in developing space transport and how we live - if we manage to survive -- by then.
* Reading and writing genetic code
* AI - artificial intelligence.





Multiplanet Civiliation

Elon Musk is more optimistic about our civilization. And I do stress "multi-planetary." It's not like "let's find another planet, but somewhere else." I hesitate to use the word "utopian." But if you imagine the future we want and say, "that would be a good one," for me you'd want to have a future where there is a space-spanning civilization where our species is out there exploring the stars. That would be great.

My motivation comes from the standpoint that such a civilization would be the best adventure and something really inspiring that would make life more fun.




A Superorganism

I think we have effectively created a kind of super-organism. It is like when uni-cellular creatures existed without nervous systems, they communicated by osmosis.

Before the Internet and advanced telecommunications, communication was incredibly slow. You would have to literally go from one person to another to communicate; at best one person could carry a note to another. It was literally person to person. So unless one person bumps into another one, you are not going to communicate.

With the telegraph, the telephone and now, especially, the internet, suddenly all the world's knowledge is instantly available to any person. That is like one cell in your body having access to all the information about the rest of our body.



Demographics, Robotics, AI

Elon Musk believes demographics is a real issue. People are not having enough kids in many countries. This is supposed to be solved by immigration. But immigration from where? If Europe, or China for that matter, only produce 50 per cent of the people needed to maintain their populations, how will they survive? Where are we supposed to find the 600 million people to replace the ones that were never born? We would need three Indonesias to move there.

People are going to have to revive the idea of having children as a kind of social duty. If you can, and are so inclined, you should. Otherwise civilization will just die.




Elon on the Future of Energy and Transport



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