Paradoxes of Elon Musk’s character

Is he a ruthless entrepreneur?

This is one of the paradoxes of the character. In all his tweets and all his statements, he explains that he is working for the good of Humanity, but he is not very human himself. On a daily basis, it is very hard, fragile. Almost all the people who worked with him told me about him.

“Many qualifiers are used to describe it, and it’s more or less relevant”

How can this psychological profile be explained?

He recently revealed that he has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He has an introverted personality. In his youth, he suffered from the divorce of his parents, chose to live with his father, and expressed that he was subjected to some kind of abuse. But his social background is a wealthy family. He grew up in South Africa under the apartheid regime, which he did not oppose.

His taste for science fiction is central to its construction, you write. Why?

In the solitude of his youth, he built a world around science fiction through comics, film (with the Star Wars saga, of course), but also literary works, including books by Isaac Asimov and Scottish author Iain Banks, an insider reference. The latter also inspired Musk for the names of the barges that recover some of the SpaceX spacecraft.

Is he a visionary in his plan to conquer Mars?

The idea of ​​reaching Mars by 2050 makes him visionary, even if the quality of that vision is debatable. In his eyes, this goal is justified in itself. And indeed, exploring Mars is a project that everyone agrees on. It existed before Musk, but it could seem distant and out of reach. With the near return of man to the moon, which Musk is working on, the discovery of Mars will happen, even if the time frame is uncertain. But this is not enough for him: he also proposed the idea of ​​​​colonizing the planet Mars.

What should be thought scientifically about such a project?

This makes everyone laugh and the scientists scream because Mars is uninhabitable. The idea of ​​talking about colonization is a two-shot technique: Musk talks about a far-flung and interesting project that has caused controversy. Thus, it diverts attention from what it is already doing. In this case, the deployment of Starlink (a satellite Internet connection system from anywhere on Earth, editor’s note) currently results in the installation of thousands of disposable, polluting, collection-dangerous, and science-obstructing satellites in low Earth orbit. with the disturbance they bring to the observatories.

But what about his little-known business Neuralink brain implants?

It is developing an ultra-miniaturized, ultra-miniaturized device that is very easy to implant, which will allow it to swallow an embryonic, emerging market developed by others, specifically to treat Parkinson’s disease. He also has to hide there because with the implant in his head he will be able to record brain activity and develop other functions…

According to Elon Musk, what could it be used for?

The first use is medical. Brain implants could allow people with paralysis to control exoskeletons or wheelchairs with thought. Musk said he would start with that, but added that he also wants fun uses, like being able to control a video game with your mind. He accomplished this with a monkey (the animal played the screen game “Pong,” according to a video posted by Neuralink in 2021, Ed). But it is impossible to do this with a person, from an ethical point of view, today. Such implants cannot be done on healthy people.

What is the philosophy and meaning of Elon Musk’s actions?

Philosophical question is very important to him, he really believes that technology can answer all problems. He is not a transhumanist in the idea that humans can enter eternal life like any other person in his technological universe. On the other hand, he thinks that putting a layer of technology on Homo sapiens is the solution. He can also be seen as a visionary with this idea. Elon Musk is not a fraud, not a media bubble, he is a real changer of our technological and social environment.

“From a technology point of view, France and Europe have missed a lot of trains”

Would you say he is a scientist?

Many selectors are used to describe it and it is more or less relevant. Science is wrong. He loves science and has an engineering mind, but he is not a scientist in the classical sense of the term. He loves technology. He has a geek profile, it’s his training, his culture, the basis of his identity, he comes from code, digital, he made his fortune there (especially thanks to PayPal Ed).

Politically, he supported Donald Trump. Does he want to enter politics?

I do not believe. To develop, it must act according to the law, public opinion and political actors. It is in this context that we should see the takeover of Twitter beyond the forced action of the billionaire. However, he broke the ambiguity that had served him so far. If he appeared to be close to Trump during his tenure, it could be seen as pragmatism. Now he is out of the woods. This could become a problem as he becomes a political opponent of the Democrats. My bet is that he will step back.

We don’t have this type of character or company in Europe. Is it a disability?

i’m afraid From a technological point of view, France and Europe have released many trains. Research in France has been in crisis for years. It is mainly about standards and frameworks. Of course, this is necessary, but we do not get there because of the content. We don’t have a big story to offer like a trip to Mars.

To read: “Question about science challenger Elon Musk”, Alisio Sciences, 215 pages, €18.

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