5 + 1. Elon Musk's critics and their arguments

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5 + 1. Elon Musk's critics and their arguments
5 + 1. Elon Musk's critics and their arguments

The mask is both scolded and lifted up to heaven at the same time. We decided to take a closer look at who is criticizing an engineer, an entrepreneur and just a great dreamer and for what.

Elon Musk

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Not only what the creator of Tesla and SpaceX is doing, but also what he says is being criticized. The views and opinions expressed by him, as a rule, are not ignored. Mark Zuckerberg could not resist and criticized Musk's words that artificial intelligence is a key threat to humanity.

Speaking this summer at a meeting of the National Association of Governors, Elon Musk said that he fears a situation when developers in pursuit of increasingly advanced technologies will forget about the dangers that come from AI. The death of civilization due to the fault of artificial intelligence is a very real scenario for the end of the world. Artificial intelligence is an area where government regulation needs to be widely applied without waiting for negative precedents. Musk noted that by the nature of his work he has access to the most advanced artificial intelligence and believes that his concerns should be heard.


Facebook is known to be actively pursuing its AI research. Apparently, therefore, its head could not but respond to Musk's statements. During a live broadcast on Facebook Live, Mark Zuckerberg, answering questions from users, also touched on the topic of Musk's speech. The founder of the largest social network called the attempts to predict the end of the world irresponsible and spoke about the positive role of artificial intelligence for humanity in the future.

The world is getting better with new things, and there is reason for optimism in the case of artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg said. He simply does not understand those who prophesy the end of the world. In the next 5-10 years, AI will significantly improve the quality of our lives. He is already helping humanity, for example, he is participating in the process of making medical diagnoses. Zuckerberg also recalled cars driven by artificial intelligence. Car accidents remain one of the main causes of premature death, and if we can fix it with the help of AI, it will be a huge success.

Zuckerberg's key argument is that technology in general can be used for good or bad. You have to be careful at all times, whatever you do, and always think carefully about what you are creating and how it will be used.

In response, Musk only briefly commented on this statement on his Twitter account, complaining that the Facebook head's understanding of the future of artificial intelligence is very limited.

Head of Volkswagen AG Matthias Müller

The general director of Volkswagen AG, Matthias Müller, also walked through Musk. At the Menschen in Europe forum in Germany in October, Müller was a member of the discussion group “The Future of the Automotive Industry”. Naturally, the forum participants asked about his opinion about Tesla.

Answering the question, Mueller at first did not directly mention Musk's name, although everyone knew who he was talking about. “There are champions in the world in loud statements - I don’t want to name them,” said the head of one of the world's largest automakers with some irony and diplomacy. “There are companies that sell 80 thousand cars a year, and there are such as Volkswagen AG, which sell 11 million cars a year and make a profit of 13-14 billion euros.” Tesla produced about 80,000 vehicles last year.


The head of Volkswagen AG also noted that it was Elon Musk's promising statements that led to a huge number of orders for an electric car that had not yet been put on the conveyor. At the same time, the automaker's capabilities do not allow meeting the increased demand. According to the available information, the company's factories are not just behind the planned schedule, the failure of the delivery time may soon become completely critical.

He also drew attention to the fact that Elon Musk's company loses several hundred million dollars every quarter and is forced to cut staff. “There is no need to compare apples and oranges,” Mueller concluded his speech.

Academician Andrey Ionin and Russian experts

In our country, Ilona Mask is criticized no less than abroad. Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after Tsiolkovsky Andrey Ionin criticized the idea of ​​passenger flights on rockets within the Earth. Recall, speaking at the International Congress in Australia, the head of SpaceX Elon Musk presented a project of a new rocket system BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), which will be able to deliver people to Mars, and at the same time also quickly transport passengers to anywhere in the world, for example from London to New York.


Musk's initiative will not be able to overcome the legislative security barrier, Andrei Ionin believes. It is one thing for astronauts who have been preparing for launches for years and understand what they are risking. Ordinary citizens are another matter. Here the law establishes more stringent requirements for reliability and safety,”says the academician.

And although technically it is, of course, realizable, Ionin doubts about the consumer value. If you want to fly from London to New York, then such a rocket will still not be able to take off from London and arrive in New York. It takes time to get to the spaceport, and then upon arrival - from the arrival spaceport to New York itself. Taking into account the time, the flight itself is about the same as on the plane.

In addition, there is no point in trying to equalize the cost of a rocket flight with the price of a plane ticket: “For a person using economy class, there is no need to fly from London to Sydney in half an hour. He has no such tasks. This is a task for people who value their time, usually billionaires. They are not worried about how much a ticket costs."

Other Russian experts also support the criticism. So, the scientific director of the Aerospace Rally System project and the developer of rocket gliders Gennady Malyshev doubts that now there are "people who desperately need to fly from New York to Shanghai in an hour." Now you can work on the road, on trains and planes, without wasting time, the expert said.

The head of the Space Policy Institute, Ivan Moiseev, also draws attention to the fact that cosmodromes cannot be built next to large cities. In addition to the construction of the launch pad itself, it is necessary to create exclusion zones where buildings and the stay of people will be prohibited, and passengers will need to undergo a medical examination before flying. This will affect both the preparation time for the flight and the cost of the ticket, he added.

The editor of the Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine, Igor Marinin, even stated that, in his opinion, the Musk project was created to attract media attention and additional funding. “There are too many crew members and passengers in the rocket, the engine power is not enough,” Marinin said.

Astrophysicist Neil Tyson

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist and famous popularizer of science, who loves to argue with the followers of the flat Earth theory, has now taken up Musk.

The scientist criticized Elon Musk's plans to colonize Mars, calling them unrealistic. True, primarily from the financial side. A flight to the Red Planet will require spending from $ 30 billion according to the most optimistic forecasts and up to $ 500 billion according to pessimistic ones. Musk himself will not pay such funds for the expedition, which means that he will have to attract investors' money.This is where the problems begin.

Investors' money is usually attracted for a business plan. But in the case of a flight to Mars, the full scope of risks and costs awaiting SpaceX is completely unclear, and even more so it is not clear how the project will pay off, if ever. Thus, investors simply will not give money for the flight.


Musk's company doesn't show its business plan for nothing, says Tyson. The only result that will be obtained as a result of the expedition is the understanding that it is not possible to live on Mars at the moment. In such conditions, the organization of the second expedition, not to mention the subsequent ones, will be called into question. Regular flights to Mars for everyone in the foreseeable future, the Mask is unlikely to be able to establish. The return on investment for the Martian campaign goes to zero.

At the same time, the astrophysicist does not consider the conquest of Mars to be a completely unattainable task. Simply, space missions, in his opinion, should not be carried out by private individuals, but by state space agencies, since only states can afford to invest in projects, the fruits of which humanity will enjoy at least decades later, if not later.

By the way, they are skeptical about Musk's Martian projects in Russia. According to Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, academician of the Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, large-scale projects for the exploration of outer space and the colonization of Mars by humans, the possible implementation of which is announced by Elon Musk, are still classified as science fiction. “World practice shows that the implementation of such large-scale projects can take more than one hundred years,” says Alexander Zheleznyakov.

Former trucker Jonathan Ramsay

Elon Musk finally unveiled a prototype of an electric truck that his company has been working on for two years and which is scheduled to go into production in 2019. The Truck of the Future is powered by four independent engines, one for each wheel, and a one-person cab with a central seat around which touch monitors are installed. A half-hour charge is enough to provide a truck with 650 km of travel.

The enthusiastic reviews of the press were not shared by former trucker Jonathan Ramsay, who criticized the Tesla Semi in the author's column on the Engadget page. Ramsay stated that the truck is only able to impress those who do not know what it is like to be a truck driver.


Its first drawback is the center-mounted seat. As conceived by the designers, such an arrangement of the driver's seat should provide maximum visibility. However, the seat in the center of the cockpit obstructs the view of the blind spots, Ramzi notes. It also makes it difficult to assess the traffic situation in front of the vehicles in front and makes it difficult to reverse. It is impossible to exchange documents with a security guard at the terminal or a police officer, since to do this, you need to lean out the window. The windows in the cab do not open completely, but only partially, for ventilation.

The next problem is the lack of mirrors. The truck that Ramsay had driven before had seven mirrors, but he met many trucks with even more mirrors. The truck at the presentation only had cameras mounted on the back of the trailer.

“I know these mirrors would degrade the aerodynamics of the Tesla Semi, but when these $ 8 gadgets can save thousands of dollars in repairs and downtime, it's hard for me to imagine doing without them,” the former driver writes.

Outdoor cameras and giant monitors in the cockpit will not replace mirrors, Ramsay is sure. On the contrary, two giant screens in the cockpit will only distract attention, and at night they will also annoy with their light. Taking an 11-hour ride in a dark cockpit surrounded by glowing monitors is only good for anime or Battlestar Galaktika movies.“I had one computer on both trucks I drove, and if I didn't use it, I tried to turn off the screen,” Ramzi writes.

Sofia (robot)

This can be taken seriously or not. Among the critics of Elon Musk, a robot appeared. Not a simple robot, but for some time now the holder of Saudi Arabian citizenship. Sofia is the brainchild of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and the world's first civil rights android. Of course, it was created for work in the field of education and health. But the robot imitates a person so believably: it remembers people, maintains dialogue and has many different facial expressions that its creators turned Sofia into a media person. Since then, she has repeatedly appeared at various events and in media studios, where she often made quite shocking statements.


In an interview that followed the granting of citizenship, journalist Andrew Sorkin asked if robots would rebel against humans. Earlier, after all, Sophia had already promised to destroy all people and take over the planet. To which the robot said that Sorkin "reads too much Elon Musk and watches too many Hollywood films." Hinting, apparently, at the rich imagination of Elon Musk and his fears about artificial intelligence. “Do not be afraid, if I like you, then I will treat you well. Treat me like an intelligent input-output system,”Sofia replied to the journalist.

However, Musk did not appreciate the joke. In his microblog on Twitter, he suggested uploading scripts for the gangster drama The Godfather to Sofia's system. "What is so terrible that can happen?" Musk added.

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