Elon Musk’s 10 craziest predictions about the future
Elon Musk isn’t known for being modest. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX likes to dream big, and sometimes he makes some bold predictions about the future. If Elon Musk’s vision of the future proves to be correct, we’ll zipping around in driverless cars by 2018 and colonizing Mars not long thereafter.
Here are Elon Musk’s 10 craziest predictions about the future,
1. Video games will become indistinguishable from reality
Musk has heavily considered the possibility that we may very well be living in a simulation. His main argument to support this is the rapid advancement of the technology that powers video games, which he believes will one day become so realistic they will be impossible to distinguish from real life. “Forty years ago, we had pong,” he said. “Now forty years later, we have photorealistic, 3-D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year . . . If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality.”
2. “We’re already a cyborg.”
Musk has never shied away from arguing that artificial intelligence could pose a threat to humanity’s future, and he touched on the topic again on stage at the Code Conference. When answering a question about how to avoid a doomsday-like scenario, he offered another bold stance: humans are already cyborgs. Musk pointed to our social media personalities and reliance on computers to perform everyday tasks and communicate. “You have basically superpowers with your computer and your phone and the applications that are there,” he said. “You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago.”
3. Ground transportation will be fully electric
This is at least plausible. Musk believes the future of American ground transportation will be fully electric, and the fossil fuel era will remembered the way we think of the steam engine today. Efficient batteries – in his mind probably the batteries under development by Tesla – will turn all fuel obsolete, with the exception of rockets for space travel. It might even be possible, Musk added, to create an electric supersonic aircraft, allowing the technology to spread to the skies too.
4. People will go to Mars by 2025
“If things go according to plan, we should be able to launch people probably in 2024 with arrival in 2025,” said Musk. When asked about how he views establishing law and government on Mars, Musk said he believes a direct democracy would work most efficiently. “I think that’s better because the potential for corruption is substantially diminished in a direct versus representative democracy.”
5. Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
6. A Million Humans Could Live on Mars By the 2060s
Musk thinks it’s possible to begin shuttling thousands of people between Earth and our smaller, redder neighbor sometime within the next decade or so. And not too long after that—perhaps 40 or a hundred years later, Mars could be home to a self-sustaining colony of a million people.
7. Completely autonomous cars will arrive in fewer than two years
Companies like Google, Uber, and Ford are already experimenting with self-driving car technology. While many of these advancements are in their early stages, Musk believes automobiles will be completely autonomous in two years. “I consider autonomous driving to be a basically solved problem,” he said. “We’re less than two years away from complete autonomy. Regulators however will take at least another year; they’ll want to see billions of miles of data.”
8. An Apple Car is coming in 2020
Musk said he expects Apple’s much-rumored yet unconfirmed electric car to go into production by 2020. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Apple’s first vehicle could arrive in 2019. He also added that he believes Apple should have “embarked” on its car project sooner.
9. We’re probably living in a Matrix-like simulation
Musk’s argument hinged on the idea that modern computing is making strides that — even if it were to slow considerably — would lead to games and simulations that were indistinguishable from reality. What if we were beat to the punch and these games already existed? Therefore, by Musk’s assessment, the chances of us living in “base reality,” or real life, are essentially “one in billions.”
10. Tesla will be as valuable as Apple in 10 years
The electric car company’s lackluster earnings report wasn’t the only thing that put Musk in the news Thursday. On the company’s earnings call, he told analysts that Tesla’s market capitalization “would be basically the same as Apple’s is today” by 2025.