A retrospective: Elon Musk

Elon Reeve Musk, was born in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, in 1971. His father was an electromechanical engineer, and this encouraged Elon to study electronics, and he taught himself computer coding by the age of ten, and wrote a computer game which he sold on at just the age of twelve. His parents genuinely considered that he may have something wrong mentally, as he was always lost in his daydreams about inventing and discovery.

Everyone around him knew that he was special and that he would be a dominant force in the future of humanity. He knew that once he’d completed school that his future wasn’t in South Africa, and due to his mother being a Canadian National, he was able to relocate to Canada, gain a Canadian passport with a sole intention of getting inside the United States of America. Upon his arrival in Canada, he enrolled into Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. At the age of twenty he got a placement at the university of Pennsylvania where he acquired a degree in economics and a Batchelor of Arts degree in physics.

This got him a position at Stanford, but he realised that his future as an entrepreneur was inevitable and he left just days later. In 1995 Elon, and his brother Kimbal, launched their first company, Zip2 Corporation, which was an online city guide, which when he sold it just four years later to Compaq, he and Kimbal became overnight multimillionaires, as Zip2 was bought for $307,000,000. This led to the creation of PayPal, and in 2002, eBay acquired it for $1.5,000,000,000. The Musks were now a force to be reckoned with, but this was just the beginning

The same year he created his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or what’s more commonly known as SpaceX, located in Hawthorne, California, and this is where Elon’s dreams would become a reality. Elon is convinced that if humanity is to survive as species then we have to look to the stars and become interplanetary, as with us being located on one planet, just a single disaster could wipe us out in one swoop.

“An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us.” – Elon Musk

His first mission was to make space travel more affordable and cost effective which began with his range of Falcon rockets, and followed by the Dragon, which won him the contract to transport supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Elon was now in Space. His plan to save money was to create spacecraft which was reusable, and that meant that it had to have the capacity to return in full functionality. Elon was chief designer in the Falcon, Dragon and the Grasshopper which was the test and experimental craft.

SpaceX plans to visit the Moon, Mars and beyond, with a target of 2050 for a fully self-sufficient colonisation of Mars. The Starship transport, and the Super Heavy rocket will run using liquid hydrogen and methane, and they plan to position refuelling depots in various locations around the solar system to enable planet hopping. It’s due to go into operation as early as 2021, with the aim to head to Mars as early as 2022.

“I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s ambition is to make make humans an interplanetary species, and his aim is to build a city on Mars, and massively populate it. To create a self–sustaining city on Mars, Musk believes that it’ll take a thousand Starships carrying cargo, over a twenty year period.

“The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of the first Mars base, from which we can build a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.” – Elon Musk

I covered potential Mars mission in my article The Martians.

Read more at the .

Starlink is a project by SpaceX which intends to create a satellite constellation‘ which is set to launch massconstructed satellites into three different height locations in Earth’s atmosphere. There are already a number already up there, but the initial plan is to launch 12,000 by 2025 which is set to improve satellite internet, and some with be sold off to military and scientific research. Once again, just like the SpaceX transport, the aim is to cut costs so they can undercut any competition.

Read more at the Starlink website.

Neuralink Corporation, is a company created by Elon Musk, and others are involved in the running and development, who’s developing brain-computer interface (BCI), and it’s been researching for over three years in San Francisco. It’s hired the best neuroscientists in the business, that are developing a module that’s positioned behind the ear, that remotely connects to microscopic electrodes that are inserted into the brain.

“Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) hold promise for the restoration of sensory and motor function and the treatment of neurological disorders, but clinical BMIs have not yet been widely adopted, in part because modest channel counts have limited their potential. In this white paper, we describe Neuralink’s first steps toward a scalable high-bandwidth BMI system. We have built arrays of small and flexible electrode “threads”, with as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads. We have also built a neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads (192 electrodes) per minute. Each thread can be individually inserted into the brain with micron precision for avoidance of surface vasculature and targeting specific brain regions. The electrode array is packaged into a small implantable device that contains custom chips for low-power on-board amplification and digitization: the package for 3,072 channels occupies less than (23 × 18.5 × 2) mm3. A single USB-C cable provides full-bandwidth data streaming from the device, recording from all channels simultaneously. This system has achieved a spiking yield of up to 85.5 % in chronically implanted electrodes. Neuralink’s approach to BMI has unprecedented packaging density and scalability in a clinically relevant package.”

Read more at the Neuralink website.

OpenAI is also based in San Francisco, and is a research laboratory that is developing artificial intelligence. It was founded four years ago by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever and Greg Brockman, and so far has had $2,000,000,000 pledged into it, and $1,000,000,000 is from the Microsoft Corporation. Elon Musk has since left the board, as he was more focused on developing selfdriving cars with the company Tesla.

“OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. We will attempt to directly build safe and beneficial AGI, but will also consider our mission fulfilled if our work aids others to achieve this outcome.”

Read more at the OpenAI website.

SolarCity was created by brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive, as an idea for a solar company thought of by their cousin Elon Musk, who is the chairman and helped the brothers develop SolarCity. It’s since been acquired by Tesla for $2.6,000,000,000 so it can develop solar batteries.

Read more at the SolarCity website.

Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.), is a electric-automobile and energy company that’s located in Palo Alto in California. Tesla Motors, Inc. was founded in 2003 by two engineers Martin Eberhard, and Marc Tarpenning, and was joined by Elon Musk and several other key figures soon after. The company was a tribute to electrical engineer and scientist Nikola Tesla, who I wrote a retrospective about which can be read here. The company’s ambition was initially to create a competitive electric race car, and Elon contributed the main funding and became the chairman from 2004, and later went on to become the company’s CEO. The first car, the Roadster, which went on sale at over $100,000, meant it was a luxury and showed that they were a long way off from creating a car that the common-person could afford to purchase. Since then they’ve released multiple models and the prices have tumbled and become competitive, and from 2012 Tesla built Superchargers around the United States and Europe to quickly charge batteries free for Tesla owners. The future is looking very bright for electric-automotive vehicles, as Tesla’s plans become more and more ambitious.

Read more at the Tesla website.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk currently has a net worth of about $23.6 billion — down $768 million from what it was before a failed demonstration of Tesla’s new Cybertruck sent shares of the automaker down 6% Friday, Forbes reported.” – Business Insider

Elon Musk can only be described as an intellectual beast, with an IQ reported to be around 155. His motivation, ambition and work ethic is as high as anyone in history. He was clearly born to succeed and serve humanity. His technological advancements will certainly push us forward as a species, and he is an inspiration to anyone, and he proves that you can start from nothing and achieve success.

Many theists claim that no non-believer has ever achieved anything substantial. When Elon Musk is asked if there’s an intelligent designer his reply is ‘probably not‘. He strikes me as the kind of person that doesn’t have time for fairytales and speculation. He’s a man of action, and a doer, and deals with facts. If he’s wasted his time with religion he wouldn’t even be a shadow of the innovator he’s become.

“There have only been about a half dozen genuinely important events in the four-billion-year saga of life on Earth: single-celled life, multicelled life, differentiation into plants and animals, movement of animals from water to land, and the advent of mammals and consciousness.” – Elon Musk