Will Elon Musk's Humanism Last?19 Jul 2017 4 mins read (700 words)
Everyone probably heard of Elon Musk, right? He is the guy who makes Teslas, runs the SpaceX company which reuses $30 million Falcon 9 rockets which otherwise would be thrown out after each use. But Musk has even further ambitions which will alter condition of humanity in the future: implant brain chips into our brains to counteract the treat of AI, make space easily accessible by driving costs of rockets down, settle a Mars colony, etc.
While I’m a Musk fan—I don’t expect to be so all my life. Humanity is facing many problems today that will only become extrapolated in near future. I therefore think that in the future, there would be events and developments that would be outside Musk’s control (in fact, some already are by far) and some Musk fans would be very disappointed when he will turn his back at them–particularly the non-upper-mid-class.
See, it’s not like Musk is an Übermensch that our whole civilization has awaited to be saved by. His activities, are inherently cost-driven like any other utilitarian capitalist entity—although he is a good example of how free-market capitalism should work—contrary to the stagnant profit-based corporate models that we see today, which are perhaps an honest expression of our cancerous society. Musk has some things in common with Ford, which is driving the costs down for advanced technology, and make available to the mass—not just the upper-middle class & up.
But it is enough to look at what point Ford company is today itself, which has become a typical American profit-based corporate entity seeking to prologue it existence by whatever means possible. Musk expresses very philanthropic/humanitarian views towards humanity, which is good news for the poor part of the world, and lower class of developed countries. He takes risks and preaches that profit is behind his most important goal—to hinder existential threats that humanity is facing. But Musk’s companies have the same potential to end up just like Ford’s companies. Plus, technologic disparity will advance faster than Musk would be able to maintain a benevolent humanitarian outlook for everyone—because whatever activities he can do for the benefit of humanity—are inherently cost-driven. Lets not pretend that Musk is a Kantian, for that is incomprehnsible for an utlilitrian brain functioning on the basis of quantifiable chemico-biological properties—a view that he himslef manifests.
With all advancing technologies; biotechnology, AI, etc.—humans will encounter very unstable times. By that time, you would just want to pack up the upper-class on Musk’s ITS-BFR, give them most advanced technology for life longevity, biotechnology, genetic improvement, etc. and settle a backup colony on Mars as fast as possible. And it is not like everyone will go to mars — just a colony of 1 million people. In fact, a Mars colony of 1 million, will represent 0.01-0.015% of all the human population on Earth. In other words, the notorious 1% of the 1%, only this time, ouside the bounds of the Earth’s stratoshpere.
Also Elon Musk seems to not understand the implication behind how space technology will be accessible to the less fortunate layer of the population. Elon Musk frequently gives public talks, an in particular during the ISS R&D Conference held on July 19, 2017; Elon was asked precisely this question which he first did not understand and asked the questioner to repeat herself, and after that he gave an answer which demonstrated clearly that he missed the point of the question. Instead he gave various libertarian-utliterian utopia visions that completely disregard the faith of the lower strata of our civilization.
Musk will have to inevitably make compromises in his humanitarian outlooks, because he already seems to have his ideology set in that direction, but it is not like he is—or will want to become an evil capitalist—it will simply become an inevitable necessity rationalizable according to utilitrain pricnciples. And many Musk fans will be disappointed when they find out that they where the ones who Musk left out. But I hope I’m wrong, and hope that Musk would finally show that a free-market liberalism can finally demonstrate that it can fix social problems—but the laws of gravity are more likely to change rather than that.1
To be fair, Musk specifically wants to circumvent “existential treats to humanity”, which does not necessarily have to mean “fix social problems”. But if he can have both happen at the same time, good for everyone! It is just that there > 7 billion of us, so best wishes… ↩