Elon Musk

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Elon Musk in 2015.
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The [SolarCity] trial’s most illuminating moments were the ones in which the central questions that have long haunted Musk’s career were made explicit. Is he a visionary or a huckster? A marketing genius or a narcissistic troll?
—Will Oremus[1]

Elon Reeve Musk (born 1971) is a high-profile businessman, best known for his SEXY S3XY electric vehicles and his plans to colonise Mars,[2][3][4] and is currently the wealthiest person in the world, beating out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at the beginning of 2021.[5] He is also the embodiment of the hi-tec messiah complex of the 21st century with a detailed history of terrible twitter shit-posting.[6] Musk is notable for massively promoting several firms that have pushed cutting edge innovation forward in the fields of green technology, cars in space, artificial intelligence, hyperloop, and space travel and several charities including the Tesla Museum. He is considered by some as one of the world's most influential people and a major player in alternative-energy technology and future spaceflight. Musk is, however, also notable for defending questionable labour practices[7] and anti-union practices[8] at his manufacturing companies and having a strange view of modern capitalism. In the last couple of years Musk has found endless controversy (and legal problems) with bizarre and even despicable tweets ranging from COVID-19 denial, market destabilizing comments and baselessly slandering a hero as a pedophile.[9]

Youth[edit]

Elon Musk was born wealthy, as are so many billionaires. His father owned an emerald mine in Zambia and Elon lived a lavish lifestyle in his youth because of this.[10][11]

Business ventures[edit]

Rendering of the SpaceX Dragon 2 reusable space capsule. The Dragon 2 comes in two variants, one for human spaceflight and the other for cargo.
  • Zip2: started in 1995, a company that produced city guides for newspapers.
  • PayPal: started in 2000 after Musk's X.com corporation merged with Confinity, the merged company developed an electronic payment service.
  • SpaceX: started in 2002, a company that researches, develops, and manufactures spacecraft and (reusable) launch rockets,[note 1] including to develop the most powerful launch vehicle currently in useWikipedia and test it by putting a car in solar orbit. Alongside Boeing, SpaceX enables NASA to send American astronauts into space on American rockets, from American soil, for the first time since the final Space Shuttle mission in 2011.[12] The latter matters to people because nationalism (and the embarrassing fact that everyone else still could send things into space).
  • Tesla Motors: founded in 2003 by Musk[13] Martin Eberhard (who was shoved out by Musk)[14] a company that designs and manufactures semi-automated electric cars.
  • SolarCity: started in 2006, a company that manufactures and installs rooftop solar panels.
  • Hyperloop, announced in 2013, an as-yet-unfeasible rapid transit method that is basically a maglev train inside a vacuum tube. Musk wants this to compete with conventional high-speed rail.
  • OpenAI: started in 2015, a nonprofit intended to generate a general artificial intelligence (and avoid Roko's Basilisk).
  • Neuralink: started in 2016, a company intended to produce software and devices that can interface with the human brain.
  • The Boring Company: started in 2016, a company intended to reduce the cost of boring tunnels. This could come in handy if the Hyperloop succeeds. In 2018, it was awarded a contract to provide an express train service from the O'Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, scheduled to open in 2021.[15][note 2] By September of the same year, however, nothing has been done, and the future of the project remains in doubt.[16][note 3]
  • Thud: started in 2018, a company intended to produce comedic/satirical articles similar to The Onion, which Musk had attempted to purchase after it wrote satirical articles about him.
  • pravduh.com: started in 2018, a website intended to let people vote on the reliability of media sources, created after Musk received much negative media coverage in the same year. Not to be confused with Pravda.ru.

Tesla Motors[edit]

Either the logo of the most valuable car manufacturer in history or the drawing of a uterus.

Tesla Motors is a car company figure-headed by Elon Musk. It is famous for being the only company with a commercially available car floating in space. It makes electric cars, which made the news for catching fire.[17][18] As it turns out though, while Teslas caught fire, they did so at a much lower rate than the cars relying on controlled explosions of flammable material.[19] It also makes cars that can drive themselves, but they often seem to crash while driving on their own.[20]

Coins for Cars[edit]

In late 2020, Tesla hinted that they would begin accepting Bitcoin for cars, which sent the already overpriced bitcoin even higher. In early 2021, Tesla bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin,[21] and then in March made the actual announcement they'd sell cars in Bitcoin. Bitcoin skyrocketed even further, making Tesla's Bitcoins even more valuable. Then Tesla began selling off their Bitcoins,[22] whereas Musk loudly insists didn't happen,[23] just before refusing to accept bitcoin for their cars in May 2021.[24][25]

But there's another explanation that doesn't involve insider trading or market manipulation. During those two months, numerous problems with bitcoin purchases became apparent, at least for the consumer. To purchase a Tesla, you have to place a deposit of $2500 or equivalent value in bitcoin. If you cancelled before the car was made you got a refund, but if the deposit was made in bitcoin, Tesla got to choose whether to pay you bitcoins or cash. I.e., if bitcoin went down, you got bitcoin, but if it went up, you got cash. The US also has "lemon laws" for defective cars, colloquially known as "lemons", where you can be compensated if the manufacturer gives you a lemon. But if you paid for your car in bitcoin, you guessed it, Tesla could compensate you in whichever currency was worth less.[26] Purchasing itself was a hassle; when given a quote, you had 30 minutes to complete the purchase or you would have to get a new quote.[27] This was needed because of Bitcoin's notoriously volatile price, as otherwise the purchaser could change their mind as bitcoin fluctuated. Most charitably, this whole debacle was such a miserable experience for everyone involved, and not the image that Musk wants for Tesla.

Elon and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Tweets[edit]

Elon Musk in 2012.[28] Hot.

Despite being a rock star of scientific progress and innovation, a busy professional with a million things to do and a good understanding of the essential importance of good communication, Elon still finds time to tweet stupid shit every now and then.

"Marx was a capitalist"[edit]

By the way, I am actually a socialist. Just not the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm. True socialism seeks greatest good for all.
—Elon Musk, bravely taking the controversial view that he likes good things, not his plate overflowing with things to manage and support bad things[29]

Taylor Harris: What would you proclaim yourself as? Anything specifically?[30]

Musk: A socialist[31]

Musk: Marx was a capitalist. He even wrote a book about it.[32]

Musk makes the common mistake of mixing up Marxist socialism with modern welfare social-democracy. While he may be somewhat right in his interpretation of Marxist socialism as "the greatest good for all", modern welfare social-democracy concerns itself with reducing poverty and misery and funding a large range of basic social services without abandoning capitalism. In either case he describes socialism in a way that makes no sense in neither Marxist socialism nor modern welfare social-democracy "the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm". This is a gross misrepresentation of Marxist socialism and doesn't remotely resemble modern welfare social-democracy.

Unions[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Trade union

Musk: If you must know, I am a utopian anarchist of the kind best described by Iain BanksWikipedia [a leftist writer][33]

Cory Doctorow: Iain Banks was an ardent trade unionist, @Elonmusk[34]

Musk: Iain certainly wasn’t pro-union in the Culture books. At all. And wouldn’t be in the case of Tesla. Banks was about freedom through & through. Maybe for a single buyer (monopsony) vs single seller (monopoly), I would be too, but that’s a special case.[35]

Doctorow: Banks consistently endorsed the freedom of workers to form collective bargaining units. The existence of a thought experiments in which this was obviated by eg FTL [faster-than light travel] is by no means an indication that a marginal improvement in EV tech would have turned him into a strikebreaker[36]

Musk: I endorse freedom to form a union too, as well as freedom not to do so if they feel Tesla is a good company. UAW has major conflicts of interest & failed our car plant already when they abandoned us in 2010. Tesla can only hire 5% of applicants, so must be doing something right.[37]

David Slack: Unions don’t exist only at “bad” companies, Mr. Musk. They exist to provide workers with a voice to negotiate with management, insuring that conditions do not become intolerable or unsafe, that good companies do not become bad ones. Good companies should welcome unions.[38]

Musk: You think all companies are bad and all unions good? That’s a very bigoted position.[39]

According to Musk an over-generalization that no one ever said about labor practices...is synonymous with offensive commentary on people such as African Americans or the LGBTQ+ community.

Weird[edit]

Wore Marquis de SadeWikipedia outfit for a party last night. Was v popular with women who'd read 50 Shades :)[28]

Musk is comparing a badly written "erotic" book about a woman under the pressure of a sexual manipulator (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Marquis de Sade, who wrote books that tried to normalize rape, pedophilia and incest. Maybe he's on to something there....

Boring boneheads[edit]

After his flagship company Tesla posted a massive loss it could be imagined that analysts would want to know why. Musk was busy telling everyone that things were fine when he said:

"Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next," ... "We're going to go to YouTube. Sorry, these questions are so dry. They're killing me."[40]

This briefly bummed out the investors and Tesla stock dropped 5% (about $3 billion).[41]

Covid-19 outbreak[edit]

Musk appears to be denying/reducing the impact that the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak is having on the world.

The coronavirus panic is dumb[42]

Posted in early March. A few weeks later, several states announced lockdowns related to the outbreak.

Based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in the US too by the end of April[43]

The United States reported 29515 new cases on April 30th, 2020[44]. Musk clearly didn't appear to understand how statistics work.

FREE AMERICA NOW[45]

Musk also posted directly after a series of tweets praising the state of Texas for reopening parts of its economy, as well as a series of tweets that encouraged and slammed other states for not doing the same.

In May 2020, Musk opened his Fremont, California Tesla factory in defiance of Alameda County health orders. As a result, he personally caused 450 COVID cases.[46]

Tesla[edit]

In 2019 Musk tweeted that the company may go private.

Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.[47]

For whatever reason he did this, who knows, he broke the law as it was of a speculative nature. While the company wasn't destined to go private, the market took the tweet seriously and some investors lost millions in the speculation game. Investors initiated a law-suit which is still in the courts.[48] Somehow Musk survived this colossally stupid move.

However clearly this wasn't enough. In 2020 while he was busy denying the serious nature of COVID-19, he also made a casual claim that his company was "over-valued".[49]

Tesla stock price is too high imo[50]

This led to a huge drop in market value with himself losing billions in value. It is unlikely any of this will stop Musk making stupid pointless destructive comments in the future about the value or future of the company.

Red-Pilled[edit]

On May 17th, 2020, Elon Musk tweeted an apparent call to "Take the Red pill", which is a common alt-right trope symbolizing admitting their point-of-view as the truth. [51]

Take the red pill 🌹[52]

Although the rose is a symbol of Social Democracy, Elon Musk is known to be strongly against this position.

Transphobia[edit]

Elon Musk, despite his brainchild Tesla being well-known for its inclusiveness of LGBTQ+ people, has also made quite a few attacks on the use of pronouns for non-binary transgenders. After facing much backlash after infamously tweeting "pronouns suck"[53], Musk went on to make the following even-more damning follow-up tweet a few months later:

I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic nightmare.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 14, 2020[54]

It also didn't help Musk's case that he additionally shared (also on Twitter) an image of a soldier rubbing his face with bloody hands, with the caption ""when you put he/him in ur bio"[54]- a very tired meme often made by antifeminists and conservatives when ranting about America's loss of so-called "manliness".

Donald Trump[edit]

Musk was very critical of Donald Trump until Trump became President. Musk then changed his mind and joined Trump initiatives including a council of business advisors and a project to promote manufacturing in the US.[55][note 4] Musk's attacks on the media's lies seemed in accord with Trump's complaints about fake news and were supported by the President's son Donald Trump Jr.[56] He also supported Trump's campaign to shift global tariffs on car imports and exports to be more favorable to American car exports.[57] He left Trump's Presidential council in June of 2017, citing Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.[58]

Losing his mind[edit]

A mixture of overwork, substance abuse, fame, gross insecurity has cracked his head. In recent months he has posted misguided, possibly illegal as well as frightening tweets. They include suggestions that Tesla would go private (without detailing sources of funds) and then backtracking the claim. Prosecutors have opened an investigation on possible financial fraud (as the shares in the company went up sharply after the announcement. His other tweets range from self aggrandizement to semi-misogynistic comments and worse. He admitted a reliance on stimulants and depressants to fulfill his work load and a few hours of shut eye. Two high level members of Tesla resigned after Elon openly smoked pot on a pod-cast with Joe Rogan. Musk suggested we live in a kind of real life Matrix, and his reasoning is humorously reminiscent of the logic used in Roko's basilisk:

"If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur," Musk said. "Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist." —Elon Musk [59]

Pedophilia accusations[edit]

Elon's most ghastly batshit-insanity is the accusation of a child-rescuing hero of being a pedophile. While several young soccer players were stuck in a cave, Musk flew to Thailand and tried to offer help however he could.[60] Regardless of whether or not the suggestion that his mission to help out was nothing but a PR stunt, it seemed his help was rather useless and was getting in the way.[61] A semi-professional spelunker, Vern Unsworth helped bring the trapped children to safety.[62] He was critical of some of Elon's efforts to help including criticism of the feasibility of Elon's proposed amazing-cave-submarine-child-rescue-awesome-mobile.[63] Unsworth risked his life to reach the boys, comfort the scared children and rescue them.[64] As thanks for this he was accused of being a pedophile by Musk.[65] Elon's petty hissy-fit in the form of a vague accusation of pedophilia didn't go away even after Elon deleted the tweet and gave a half-hearted retraction.[66] A week later Elon sprayed a full out pedophile on social media...twice.[67][68]

In September 2018, Unsworth filed suit for defamation, with Musk somehow winning,[69] despite none of his accusations having a shred of truth to them - the Private Investigator hired by Musk having scammed him.[70]

During the trial, he essentially defended his right to be a Twitter troll.[71]

Simulation theory[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Simulated reality

Musk believes in the theory that all of existence is a simulated reality, and has dedicated millions of dollars towards proving an unfalsifiable hypothesis true,[72] rather than using that money to do something beneficial. Presumably he believes in this theory because he believes it could absolve him of any accountability regarding his actions.

See also[edit]

  • Nikola Tesla — from whom the name came. Although ironically, Musk identifies more with Nikola Tesla's nemesis, Thomas Edison, than with Tesla himself – despite naming his company after him.[73]

Notes[edit]

  1. If you're into space exploration, the videos of the rocket stages landing are pure nerdgasm.
  2. At present, the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line connects O'Hare to downtown. Each train can carry upwards of 600 people and travel at a maximum speed of 50 mph. Musk's express service trains can only carry up to 16 passengers but can reach up to 150 mph. Furthermore, it takes around 45 minutes on the Blue but only 12 on the Express Line.
  3. There is, however, an alternative proposal that requires only mature technologies, namely the Chicago Crossrail.
  4. This is one of the few times when Trump is right. Promoting manufacturing in the U.S. instead of outsourcing American jobs puts America first.

References[edit]

  1. The two sides of Elon Musk: Liar or optimist? Troll or marketing genius? Icarus or Daedalus? A trial in Delaware highlighted the contradictions at the Tesla chief’s core. by Will Oremus (July 16, 2021) The Washington Post.
  2. Emperor Elon Musk? SpaceX founder clarifies if he’ll lead humans on Mars The South African 13 March 2018
  3. Elon Musk Reveals His Love Of Anime And The Desire To Build A Mecha Forbes 16 October 2018
  4. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 7 September 2018
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2021/01/07/elon-musk-is-now-the-richest-person-in-the-world-passing-jeff-bezos-.html
  6. Elon Musk drops first SoundCloud track, 'RIP Harambe.' Yes, you read that right Mashable UK 31 March 2019
  7. Tesla and Elon Musk's Tweet Violated Labor Laws Protecting Unions, Judge Rules Time 29 September 2019
  8. Tesla workers speak out: 'Anything pro-union is shut down really fast' The Guardian 10 September 2018
  9. Elon Musk calls British diver in Thai cave rescue 'pedo' in baseless attack The Guardian 16 July 2018
  10. Elon Musk's family once owned an emerald mine in Zambia
  11. A teenage Elon Musk once casually sold his father's emeralds to Tiffany & Co. in New York, while his dad was sleeping
  12. NASA Names Astronauts For First Commercial Flights BBC News 3 August 2018
  13. Does it matter if founders run tech companies? The San Francisco Chronicle 26 September 2018
  14. Tesla's Founder Sues Tesla's CEO Wired 11 June 2009
  15. The Latest: Musk Says O’Hare Express Line Could Open in 2021 Associated Press News 14 June 2018
  16. Rahm Emanuel wanted to expand O’Hare airport and partner with Elon Musk on high-speed rail. Now what? Chicago Tribune 4 September 2018
  17. https://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/tesla-under-fire-after-explosive-crash-n722541
  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44511200
  19. [insideevs.com/news/501729/number-tesla-vehicle-fires-2020/ Teslas catch fire at 1/10th the rate of regular cars]
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/14/tesla-crash-utah-driver-autopilot-mode-elon-musk
  21. Business Insider
  22. Tesla sells bitcoin in Q1, coindesk
  23. CNBC
  24. Tesla won't accept Bitcoin
  25. BBC
  26. You’re a Lemon if You Buy a Tesla With Bitcoin, Coindesk
  27. coindesk
  28. 28.0 28.1 Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 18 June 2012
  29. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 16 June 2018
  30. Taylor Harris on Twitter[a w] 15 June 2018
  31. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 15 June 2018
  32. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 15 June 2018
  33. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 16 June 2018
  34. Cory Doctorow on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  35. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  36. Cory Doctorow on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  37. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  38. David Slack on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  39. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 17 June 2018
  40. Elon Musk: No 'bonehead' analyst questions please BBC News 3 May 2018
  41. Elon Musk Rejects ‘Boring, Bonehead Questions,’ and Tesla’s Stock Slides The New York Times 3 May 2018
  42. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 6 March 2020
  43. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 19 March 2020
  44. Data obtained from John Hopkins University
  45. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 29 April 2020
  46. Hundreds of covid cases reported at Tesla plant following Musk’s defiant reopening, county data shows by Faiz Siddiqui (March 12, 2021 at 7:24 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
  47. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 7 August 2018
  48. A federal judge just ruled that Tesla must face a shareholder lawsuit over Elon Musk's tweet saying he was considering taking the company private Business Insider 15 April 2020
  49. Tesla Shares Tumble As Musk Says Stock Is Overvalued Barron's 1 May 2020
  50. Elon Musk on Twitter[a w] 1 May 2020
  51. Elon Musk completes his transition to the Dark Side with a salute to extremists The Next Web 18 May 2020
  52. Take the red pill 🌹 by Elon Musk (17 May 2020) Twitter (archived from May 17, 2020).
  53. Elon Musk's transphobia on Twitter is not a joke. Observer. 28 July 2020.
  54. 54.0 54.1 Elon Musk should apologize for 'insensitive' comments mocking gender pronouns, says a group that ranked Tesla as a top LGBTQ-friendly workplace. Business Insider. 18 December, 2020.
  55. Here's why Elon Musk is changing his tune on Trump Business Insider 29 January 2017
  56. Elon Musk melts down, blames scumbag tesla critics for electing trump Vanity Fair 23 May 2018
  57. Elon Musk's and Donald Trump's Twitter Tariff Tiff Wired 12 March 2018
  58. Elon Musk leaving Trump advisory councils following Paris agreement withdrawal TechCrunch 1 June 2017
  59. Elon Musk Thinks We're Living In The Matrix. If He's Right, It's a Good Thing Inc. 6 November 2017
  60. Elon Musk Thinks a Mini-Submarine Could Help in Thai Cave Rescue The New York Times 7 July 2018
  61. Elon Musk and the Thai cave rescue: a tale of good intentions and bad tweets Vox 18 July 2018
  62. HERO'S LAWSUIT Who is Vernon Unsworth? Thailand cave diver dubbed ‘paedo guy’ by Elon Musk The Sun 7 December 2019
  63. Elon Musk calls British diver in Thai cave rescue 'pedo' in baseless attack The Guardian 16 July 2018
  64. Exclusive interview with Thai cave rescue hero Vernon Unsworth: ‘If the Brits hadn’t been called in, it would have been too late’ The Times 15 July 2018
  65. Cave diver criticizes Musk’s kid-sub rescue plan. Musk suggests he’s a pedophile Los Angeles Times 15 July 2018
  66. Elon Musk Has Finally Apologized to the Thai Cave Diver He Called a ‘Pedo’ Fortune 18 July 2018
  67. Elon Musk calls British diver in Thai cave rescue 'pedo' in baseless attack The Guardian 16 July 2018
  68. Elon Musk attacks British cave diver for a third time, calling him a ‘child rapist’ by Ryan Browne (5 September 2018) CNBC.
  69. Elon Musk 'Set Out to Destroy Me,' Says Cave Diver After Losing 'Pedo Guy' Defamation Lawsuit Against Tesla Boss Newsweek 18 December 2019
  70. Elon Musk claims his investigator tricked him about diver he called a 'pedo' The Guardian 9 October 2019
  71. Elon Musk defends his right to be a Twitter troll at 'pedo guy' trial Billionaires gonna troll. by Rachel Kraus (December 4, 2019) Mashable.
  72. Elon Musk And Friends Are Spending Millions To Break Out Of The Matrix by Janet Burns (Oct 13, 2016,02:00pm EDT) Forbes.
  73. Elon Musk interview reveals whether he prefers Nikola Tesla to Thomas Edison Big Think 4 February 2019