Dueling Opinions: Elon Musk



The real life Tony Stark

I am not saying that Elon Musk is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I am saying that Elon Musk could probably revolutionize the way we sliced bread if he wanted to.

Musk, who is the founder of companies such as SpaceX, Tesla, Inc., The Boring Company, Neuralink and several others, is the closest thing to a real-life Tony Stark that the world will ever see.

His company Tesla, Inc. is leading the charge in the creation of purely electric cars, with most of the cars created having a near 300 mile range, as opposed to most other electric cars that barely have a range of 100 miles.

SpaceX, another of his noteworthy companies, was recently in the news for its launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world.

The launch was noteworthy for both the fact that SpaceX managed to guide the first stage rockets back to the launch pad with little difficulty, but also for the fact that Musk attached his personal Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat.

In contrast to these more disciplined approaches to progress, Musk has also been known to begin projects in a rather unorthodox manner.

In Dec. 2016, Elon Musk tweeted that “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”

He followed up this tweet with another saying “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company.’”

And so he created The Boring Company.

According to the company’s website, its purpose is “To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head. A large network of tunnels many levels deep would fix congestion in any city, no matter how large it grew (just keep adding levels). The key to making this work is increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more – this is the goal of The Boring Company.”

Where most people see a problem and complain, Musk does that, but he also dedicates a large portion of his wealth towards solving the problem.

Additionally, Musk is no stranger to having fun. On Jan. 27, Musk unveiled the “Not A Flamethrower,” a fully functional flamethrower being sold for $500 by The Boring Company.

What do flamethrowers have to do with digging tunnels?

Who knows? But Musk is having fun with it.

On the day that the Schrodinger’s flamethrowers were announced, Musk took to Twitter, saying “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower. Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!”

So not only is Musk a visionary intent on shepherding humanity into the next technological leap, but he has also got a great sense of humor.

Q Russell is a junior journalism major from Charlotte, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter at @Q_M_Russell

A Real Life Supervillain?

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, and Forbes’ 53rd richest person in the world, may not be the person he says he is. Since Musk follows almost all the criteria for a comic book supervillain, this tech mogul’s schemes for the future should be more closely monitored.

Although the real life Lex Luthor has made smashing accomplishments in launching humanity into an era of electric cars and private space travel, Musk is still just a businessman. No matter how progressive a businessman he is, he will always put profits first.

Musk frequently talks about becoming a “multi-planetary” species, but could there be ulterior motives behind this space exploration feat? According to Space.com, at the ISS Research and Development Conference Musk said that “another one of his ventures, The Boring Company, could aid in Mars colonization as well. The Boring Company’s main goal is to construct tunnel networks beneath, and eventually, between, traffic-choked cities such as Los Angeles, enabling speedier travel. But advanced tunneling technology will also be in high demand on Mars, Musk said, citing the probable need to mine large amounts of ice and other natural resources.”

If we as humans can take anything away from our time here on Earth, it is that extracting natural resources for fuel is not the brightest idea. The primary reason for leaving our planet right now would be because we have treated ours so poorly that it would become uninhabitable. The fact that Musk is already talking about repeating history on Mars makes his supervillain persona seem far more realistic.   

In September 2015, Musk appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss his Mars colonization project. With witty banter coming from both sides, Musk added that we could transform Mars into an Earth-like planet by simply warming it. Colbert jokingly asked, “What, like with a blanket?” The conversation took a serious turn when Musk said, “There’s a fast way and a slow way. The fast way would be to drop thermonuclear weapons on the poles.”

Though perhaps said in a jest, such a comment should not be taken so lightly. Changing the climate of a planet is not something as casual as Musk makes it out to be, especially in a way that involves nuclear weapons.

Space exploration is both a pivotal and exciting part of humanity’s past, present and future. However, this is no simple task and begs the question of whether space exploration should be left up to the public or not. This is a question that should be taken into careful consideration as we put tremendous amounts of faith into individuals to create what could be humanity’s future home planet.

Nate Fordyce is a freshman communications major from Chicago, Illinois.