Elon Musk has been making quite a splash at SXSW this year, crashing yesterday’s Westworld panel, dropping in on the Westworld theme park with his kids, and partying late night with Snoop Dogg.
The visionary billionaire has five companies, six sons, and just shot his Tesla Roadster into outer space. He’s got a lot to say and surprised fans by taking the stage this morning with his long time friend, Westworld’s Jonathan Nolan.
“We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and will be making short trips the first half of next year,” he announced. “The goal is a base on the moon and a city on Mars.”
He described creating a space colony that has essentials like a propellant power station and iron foundries, but also includes fun places to hangout like pizza joints and nightclubs. “We need great bars on Mars. Mars Bars!” Musk joked.
He cited his concern to extend life beyond this planet in case of nuclear obliteration and explained that he choose Mars as a location because it’s far enough not to be affected by the blast.
Few hands went up when Musk polled for colonists. “For some, the excitement of the frontier will outweigh the danger,” he called out.
The flight is expected to cost $5 to 6 million thanks to SpaceX’s dedication to rapid and complete reusability in which the only thing needed for relaunch is propellant. This keeps costs reasonable and allows for more frequent space travel.
In other news, Musk predicted that 18 months from now self-driving will encompass all modes and will be up to 200% safer than a person driving.
He also discussed his Boring Company which had a recent pivot to public transit loop for pedestrians and cyclists, raising $10 million in just 4 days with the sale of 20,000 of its wildly popular flamethrower.
“The Boring Company started as a joke but it’s making progress funding the company through merchandise sales.” said Musk clarifying he spends almost all his time on Tesla and SpaceX and none on Boring. ” I spend 2% of my time on it, 20% of my tweets, but tweets do not correlate to time spent.”
In closing, he warned that “AI is a fundamental species risk, far more dangerous than nukes” and expressed concern over the advent of digital super intelligence symbiotic with humanity. He urged everyone to pay close attention to Deep Mind’s AlphaGo Zero which is now completely self taught. “The rate of improvement is exponential. Government regulation is needed before it is too late.”
Elon Musk and his brother, Kimbal Musk, singing Three Amigos’ My Little Buttercup at SXSW