Elon Musk’s wildest predictions about the future, some of which have come true
World’s richest man Elon Musk isn’t shy when it comes to predicting the future.
While sometimes the Tesla and SpaceX founder is entirely off, there have been instances where he has been spot-on.
Here are some of his wildest predictions to date.
Summoning Teslas from across the country
One of his boldest, most popular predictions is that you would be able to summon your Tesla from anywhere in the country.
According to The Verge, in 2016, Musk said, “I think that within two years, you’ll be able to summon your car from across the country,” adding that someone in Los Angeles could summon their Tesla from New York City.
The dangers of Artificial Intelligence
Musk predicted in 2014 that AI could turn dangerous, warning the tech sector to be “very careful” about encouraging AI, and calling it “our biggest existential threat,” according to The Washington Post,
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” he added.
That same year, he took to Twitter to predict that AI could also be more dangerous than nukes.
He said that humanity had between 5 to 10 years until something dangerous happened.
“Please note that I am normally super pro-technology, and have never raised this issue until recent months. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand,” Musk said, according to CNBC.
Eight years after this prediction was made, humanity seems to be looking more favorably to artificial intelligence. However, with two years left and experts supporting the theory of an AI takeover, this prediction could still come true.
In 2016, a team of researchers from Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and Yale University polled hundreds of academics and industry leaders to find when AI would hit certain milestones. They found that “AI will be capable of performing any task as well or better than humans–otherwise known as high-level machine intelligence–by 2060 and will overtake all human jobs by 2136,” according to Inc.
Elon reinforced his position on Twitter and replied to this study by saying that the timeline was closer than expected.
We’re living in a simulation
While this is not an official prediction, in many instances, Musk has alluded to the idea that we’re living in a simulation and believes that we are characters in some advanced civilization’s video game, according to Vox.
A few decades ago, we were playing Pong, a simple game of two rectangles and a dot, Musk noted in 2016.
In the 21st century, we have very realistic 3D simulations, and millions of people can play the same games simultaneously. We are now close to augmented reality. Therefore, there was a possibility that we weren’t living in base reality.
To back his theory, he added, “given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.”
This theory hasn’t been confirmed yet.
We will be able to sleep while driving
Musk predicted that by 2019, self-driving cars would be reliable enough for people to sleep on the wheel.
When asked about the likelihood of taking a nap while arriving at your destination, Musk answered: “I think that’s about two years. The real trick of it is not to say ‘How do you make it work 99.9 percent of the time?’ according to The Independent.
Electric planes will fly
In 2017, Musk indicated that building an electric plane is not inconceivable.
“There are no plans right now to have an electric plane. We have a long way to go to handle terrestrial transport, and it’s not inconceivable I would do an electric plane,” he said at a TED conference.
Musk cautioned that more work needed to be done in the energy density of batteries for an electric plane to be feasible. This idea dates back to 2009 when he first brought it up, but electric vehicle production put the idea in the sidelines, according to Inverse.
With no advances on this front yet, a firm on the ground electric vehicle will have to suffice.
Brain chips to heal minds and store memories
In 2017, Musk said that his team could soon have something in the market to treat severe brain injuries and provide interfaces.
“We are aiming to bring something to market that helps with certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital) in about four years,” an Engadget article quotes Musk as saying.
Musk has made many claims about his Neuralink brain chip start-up, including that it could help paraplegics walk again, and “store” memories like photos. Many have been debunked by science.
While Musk has said that this could happen within 8 to 10 years, experts have doubts about the feasibility of the prediction as Musk has not released many details according to The MIT Technology Review.
A brain implant requires neurosurgery, so making such a device would take years of experiments.
EVs will be the most popular cars
In 2017, the billionaire predicted that in 10 years, the majority of vehicles in the country would be electric, according to Electrek.
However, projections from companies and research groups like Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, and OPEC predict that this shift will be achieved at some point between 2035 and 2040 which is between 8 and 13 years apart from Musk’s prediction.
Only time will tell whether he’s right.
Musk moves to Mars
Since he didn’t say when in his lifetime this move would happen, we can’t confirm nor deny this prediction.
Cryptocurrency is indestructible
Musk speculates that cryptocurrency is not going anywhere.
Last year at the 2021 Code Conference, Musk said “It’s impossible to destroy crypto,” but argued that governments could slow it down.
He also said that it appeared China didn’t love cryptocurrency. He speculated that part of it could be due to electricity shortages, but it could also be because it reduces the power of centralized governments.
Regardless of these conflicting views on cryptocurrency, his company’s relationship with China thrives. Musk said, “We do well with selling in the Chinese market as well as introducing cars for China and for export to Europe.”
With the rise in popularity of the currency, we can confirm that cryptocurrency is not going anywhere.
Tesla will be bigger than Apple
In a tweet last year, Musk predicted that Tesla would be bigger than Apple and replied to a Tweet that suggested this by saying, “I think there is a >0% chance Tesla could be the biggest company.”
While we haven’t seen this come true, dream on, Elon.
Space tourism will be normal
Musk believes that there is opportunity in space. Last year, at the 2021 Code Conference, he said, “My goal is not to send myself up. My goal is to open up space to humanity … and become a multiplanet species.”
In 2021, the Japanese billionaire opened an invitation to the public to fill out eight seats and accompany him on a trip around the moon.
Humans colonize Mars by 2029
Earlier this month, in response to a Tweet asking him when humans would reach mars, Musk predicted this move would occur by 2029.
This, however, is not the first time that Musk has looked favorably towards Mars.
Back in 2016, he revealed a plan to establish a human settlement on the planet. According to National Geographic, he thinks it’s possible to shuttle people between Earth and Mars and stated, “This is not about everyone moving to Mars, this is about becoming multi-planetary,” at the International Astronautical Congress.
By 2060, he suggests that a million humans could live on Mars.
He does have a point when he says that humanity is in danger, but only time will tell whether we will be able to colonize another planet in this century.
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