Elon Musk appeared at the Code Conference on Wednesday and gave his views on a number of topics including:
• Colonizing the stars: "I believe is important to the future, ultimately be out there among the stars. It's not being a single planet species and moving planets, it's about being a multi-planet species and have life extend beyond the solar system and ultimately to other star systems. That's the future that's exciting. You need things like that to be glad to wake up in the morning. Life can't just be about solving problems, they have to be inspiring and make you glad to be alive."
• Google as a car company: "Google's done a good job of showing the potential of autonomous transport, but they're not a car company. We would compete with someone they'd license their tech to, but they're not a competitor."
• The rumored Apple car: "I would say that it's great that they're doing this and I, uh, hope it works out. I think they should have embarked on this project sooner, actually. But I don't know when—you know, they don't share with me their production plans. I don't think they'll be in volume production until 2020. It's just a missed opportunity. It's a couple years . . . they'll make a good car and be successful. The car industry is very big, it's not one company to the exclusion of others. The most any company has is 10% market share."
• Traditional car companies: "They'll all be competitors. I don't think any of the car companies thus far have made a really great electric car. They presumably will continue to improve on what they've done so far, but they haven't done that yet."
• Batteries made at the Gigafactory: "The energy density is increasing on the order of 5ish% a year, and it adds up over the years with compound interest and it adds up. A lot of people think we cobbled together some laptop batteries and made a car, but it's a lot harder than that."
• Artificial intelligence being evil: "I am concerned about certain directions AI could take that could be not good for the future. Not all AI futures are benign. Not all. If we create some digital superintelligence that exceeds us by a lot, it's important that it be benign."
• On the democratizing potential of AI: "The intent with OpenAI is to democratize AI power. The power of AI should not be concentrated in the hands of a few. It's called the singularity because it's difficult to predict. I don't know a lot of people who love the idea of living under a despot."
• On Donald Trump: "There's just a limit to how much good or bad a president could do. If a president could make the economy better by pressing a button, they'd be pressing that button at the speed of light. There's a limit to how much they could do." MG