How far can Elon Musk go?

How far can Elon Musk go?

Elon Musk is the richest man in the world with a fortune of 234 billion dollars and was named Personality of the Year 2021 by the prestigious time magazinewho believes that “few individuals have so much influence over life on Earth and potentially over life outside of Earth”.

This billionaire, born 51 years ago in South Africa, is indeed certain of the finitude of our planet, but refuses that of humanity, which he therefore simply counts move to the red planet.

Some see him as a visionary, others as evil abolished.

What are his accomplishments?

Elon Musk has distinguished himself in several areas. Regarding the achievements that the guests wish to highlight in his career, Olivier Lascar, journalist, evokes Space X, aeronautics and spaceflight companywhich he ridden to general contempt twenty years ago, and which has had great success.

For Cyril de Sousa Cardoso, entrepreneur, it isTesla companywho notably designs electric cars, whose achievements he admires, as he explains: “I think what he’s done with Tesla is remarkable, he advanced electric car technologies, but also batteries and solar technologies in a very important way. In this universe too, he was promised that he would not succeed, that he would not be able to build an affordable electric motor vehicle and that he would not be able to automate production lines. And yet, it produced just over a million vehicles this year.”

Asma Mhalla, teacher at Science-Po, talks about Elon Musk’s interest in Twitter : “He uses Twitter as a new way to disrupt institutions, to taunt them, to demonstrate democratic flaws. It’s a bit like a puppeteer who is agitating all that.” She adds later on the show the danger this could pose if Musk ran Twitter: “when we know that there is no institutional or democratic safeguard that would prevent him or allow him to have this or that policy of moderation, which led to the attack on Capitol Hill. You have a reign of arbitrariness which can have fundamental political and geopolitical consequences. Because today Twitter is a space of influence, power, information and misinformation.”

For Asma Mhalla, the technologies that Elon Musk uses are innovative, but the political ambition and purpose behind them are conventional. For others, these ambitions are even very dangerous.

Why Elon Musk is scary

For Johann Chapoutot, professor of contemporary history, Elon Musk is not a genius: “If we turn to history, we can convince ourselves that Elon Musk, who presents himself as an innovator, an inventor and a pioneer, is absolutely the opposite. Politically, he’s a libertarianthat is to say, he is someone who believes that the deregulation that was implemented in the late 1970s by Reagan, by Thatcher and by the whole neoliberal movement, must be continued until its end.”

The historian also recalls that Elon Musk supported Trump – even if they have quarreled since – that he is for the possession of weapons and is a climate denier.

Elon Musk regularly announces an upcoming apocalypse, and proclaims the need to go into space. For Johann Chapoutot, it is a prophecy that he implements himself: “it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because through its industrial activity and through its unbridled production of artifacts, it contributes to this destruction of the planet and the living by a frenzied productivism, by a mad exploitation of its executives, its workers…”

Elon Musk is gradually establishing his sovereignty. According to Olivier Lascar: “we are not talking about the real colonization that he is doing, which is the colonization of low Earth orbit since with the starlink mega constellation, he installed satellites in low orbit to create a kind of mesh all around our planet. To make that famous Wi-Fi network that falls from the sky and that will allow every nook and cranny of the planet to be powered by the Web. But that, he did it at a forced march, without asking anyone’s opinion.

Elon Musk is also extremely conservative on societal issues, and has often been accused of homophobia. Guests describe him as narcissistic, limitless, provocative…

To learn more about Elon Musk, listen to the show in its entirety…

  • Olivier Lascarjournalist at Sciences et Avenir, author of Investigation of Elon Musk, the man who defies science
  • Cyril de Sousa Cardosoentrepreneur, author of Innovate like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs (Odile Jacob) and Elon Musk – The secrets of an insolent success (to be published in September by Mardaga editions)
  • Asma Mhallaspecialist in digital political issues, teacher at Sciences Po Paris and Polytechnique
  • Johann Chapoutot, professor of contemporary history at Sorbonne University, author of The Great Story. Introduction to the history of our timePUF, 2021