According To Elon Musk, This Is What He’d Do Today If He Was 22 Years Old
Elon Musk, as you may have already known, is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Originally a co-founder of Paypal and creator of ZIP2, Elon Musk founded SpaceX to enable the colonization of Mars and make the whole process of launching rockets cost-efficient. In recent years, he co-founded other companies like The Boring Company, Neuralink, OpenAI, and SolarCity.
There’s no limit to what this man can do. He’s relentless. What most people love about him is he doesn’t build companies for the sake of just building them, he does it to find the best ways to create impact to the world, in terms of environment and space-travel. Many have compared him to Marvel’s Iron Man.
On a Y Combinator interview about How To Build The Future in 2017, Elon was asked what would he do today if he was 22 years old. Sam Altman, the former YC President, is the interviewer. Here’s his answer.
Sam: …If you were 22 today, what would the five problems that you would think about working on be?
Elon: Well, first of all, I think if somebody is doing something that is useful to the rest of society, I think that’s a good thing. Like, it doesn’t have to change the world. If you make something that has high value to people… And frankly, even if it’s something, if it’s like just a little game or some improvement in photo sharing or something, if it has a small amount of good for a large number of people, I think that’s fine. Stuff doesn’t need to change the world just to be good. But in terms of things that I think are most like to affect the future of humanity, I think AI is probably the single biggest item in the near-term that’s likely to affect humanity.
Artificial Intelligence is no doubt a field Elon Musk would very much like to be involved in. As a matter of fact, he co-founded the AI company, OpenAI, with the very same Sam Altman (the interviewer). In every interview he gets, he always takes time to talk about AI and how it will affect the future of humanity. He is often asked if AI will destroy humans or if one day, a possible Skynet scenario will happen. The goal of OpenAI, is to prevent exactly that scenario to happen in the future. Another topic Elon Musk often likes to speak about is Computer Simulation and this is so much tied to AI as well.
Then, he adds.
Elon: So, it’s very important that we have the advent of AI in a good way. It’s something that, if you could look into the crystal ball and to the future, you would like that outcome because it is something that could go wrong, as we’ve talked about many times. And so, we really need to make sure it goes right. So that’s AI, working on AI and making sure it’s great future. That’s the most important thing, I think, right now, the most pressing item.
Elon: Then, I would say anything to do with genetics. If you can actually solve genetic diseases, if you can prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s or something like that with genetic reprograming, that would be wonderful. So I think genetics might be the sort of second most important item. And then, I think, having a high-bandwidth interface to the brain. We’re currently bandwidth-limited. We have a digital tertiary self in the form of out email capabilities, our computers, phones, applications. We’re practically superhuman. But we’re extremely bandwidth-constrained in that interface between the cortex and that tertiary digital form of yourself. And helping solve that bandwidth constraint would be, I think, very important in the future as well. Yeah.
So, in summary, what areas would Elon Musk enter if he was born today?
Elon has mentioned in the interview that when he was in college, sustainable energy, space travel, and the internet was his picks. Let’s assume that someone else is working on these areas already, and Elon Musk started today with 20k. Which areas would he start?
Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Diseases.
Elon Musk is a serial entrepreneur that solves real-world science and engineering problems through incredible branding, marketing, and great hiring. Just take a look at Tesla for example, they spent over 700 million dollars on R&D last year. In fact, he made his initial nest egg with his own engineering and coding talent. Be the Elon Musk of today!
Video interview link: https://youtu.be/tnBQmEqBCY0?t=9s