The man needs no introduction — the co-founder of OpenAI and the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla — this man by the name Elon Musk is worth $43.2 billion, according to Forbes, and dreams of leaving Earth to colonise Mars. Musk is known for making funny and bizarre statements and is often found hogging the limelight. Although highly ambitious, Musk is renowned for making predictions and promises which usually do not pan out on time. Thus, Musk holds quite a record for over-promising and under-delivering.
In this article, we will look at some of the predictions and promises made by Elon Musk, which either failed horribly or did not meet the deadline as planned.
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To begin with, Musk in the year 2017 revealed to The Wall Street Journal about the launch of Neuralink, a company aimed to merge computers with human brains which will be capable of dealing with severe brain injuries. Musk promised that the technology would hit the markets by the year 2021. And, we are already in the third month of 2020, and yet to hear any significant developments from Neuralink due to which, it can be said that the deadline will be probably missed by Musk, again!
An optimistic aim but tough one to achieve is Musk’s dream to overtake Apple in terms of revenue. In the year 2019, Apple Inc. passed the threshold of $1.3 trillion. As per a 2015 report, Musk was found saying, “If you take this year’s revenue, around $6 billion or thereabout, and if we’re able to maintain a 50% growth rate for ten years and achieve 10% profitability number and have a 20 p/e [price-to-earnings-ratio], our market cap would be the same as Apple’s is today. Five years down the line, the dream and prediction of overtaking Apple in a decade seem to be impossible.
In the year 2016 at Code Conference, Musk was found to have said that the world we know is a sophisticated computer simulation and we are in base reality. Although it cannot be said that Musk is wrong because we are far away from discovering the truth simulated universe, the prediction created quite a stir and is amongst the most bizarre ones from the mouth of the billionaire.
This prediction is in the news for all the wrong reasons, and it has to do with the famous vision of Musk — the automated vehicles. In the year 2017, Musk claimed that by 2019, the world would have cars that can drive itself while the passenger sleeps. We have progressed to the year 2020, and have already witnessed two major car accidents with autopilot features developed by Tesla. Although, the NTSB did clear Tesla off saying that the drivers too were at fault and Tesla’s autopilot feature must be monitored by the driver at all times. However, that does not matter because we still cannot sleep while driving, can we?
In terms of business, Musk predicted Tesla would be generating profit in the first quarter of January 2019 and would be continuing the same in all the quarters. However, predictions failed as Tesla suffered heavy losses in February. Musk again predicted that profits would rise in the second quarter. However, the company’s CFO Zack Kirkhorn expressed that profits are likely to generate only in the third quarter.
Going back to 2014, Musk who co-founded OpenAI and recently resigned it ranted about AI killing humans within five years. According to a report, Musk said, “The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe.” Six years down the line, we are yet to meet Skynet or a T-800.
Mars and Musk have been going hand-in-hand as the billionaire entrepreneur aimed to colonise Mars. Like mentioned before, it is good to be ambitious, but when asked by Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show how humans can live on Mars? Musk answered by saying that the fastest way is to drop thermonuclear weapons on the poles.
Some of these statements by Musk are bound to make readers laugh but can further force us to think about topics such as life simulation and the future of AI. To end with, we have lined up some of the best quotes by Elon Musk to showcase another side of his personality.