Elon Musk’s surprise SXSW talk this morning was a heavy and grave affair, full of discussion around all the ways humanity may be doomed in the future: from carbon in the atmosphere, World War III, and above all, runaway artificial intelligence. We have, many times, listened to Musk warn the public about these threats. That’s why the SpaceX and Tesla CEO thinks there is such a strong need to colonize Mars and maybe the Moon — as a safety net for humanity.
But here at SXSW — a tech, culture, and marketing extravaganza where people are ostensibly excited about the future — Musk’s words provided a stark deviation from the overhyped prognostications about how tech will change the world for the better. In some ways, it also feels like Musk is only ratcheting up his rhetoric on these subjects.
“There’s likely to be another dark ages… particularly if there’s a third world war,” Musk stressed, arguing that a Mars colony would stay away from the battle on Earth and carry the torch of human culture forward. He believes that the best way to ensure these dark ages are “shortened” is by having humans on other planets come back and rebuild.
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