|Nick Name:||Iron Man|
|Height:||180 cm (5' 11'')|
|Birth Day:||June 28, 1971|
|Birth Place:||Pretoria, South Africa|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|180 cm (5' 11'')||N/A||Light Ash Blonde||Moss Green||N/A||N/A|
He received economics and physics degrees from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. His mother is Maye Musk (née Haldeman), a model and dietitian born in Saskatchewan, Canada, but raised in South Africa. His father is Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant and property developer. He has a younger brother who was an early business partner of his, Kimbal (born 1972), and a younger sister, Tosca (born 1974), the CEO of the video streaming site Passionflix. His maternal grandfather, Dr. Joshua Haldeman, was an American-born Canadian. His paternal grandmother had both British and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry.
After his parents divorced in 1980, Musk lived mostly with his father in the suburbs of Pretoria, a choice he made two years after his parents separated but which he subsequently regretted. Musk has become estranged from his father, whom he has described as "a terrible human being... Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done." He also has a half-sister and a half-brother on his father's side.
Although Musk's father insisted that Elon go to college in Pretoria, Musk became determined to move to the United States, saying "I remember thinking and seeing that America is where great things are possible, more than any other country in the world." Musk knew it would be easier to get to the United States from Canada and moved there against his father's wishes in June 1989, just before his 18th birthday, after obtaining a Canadian passport through his Canadian-born mother.
While awaiting Canadian documentation, Musk attended the University of Pretoria for five months. Once in Canada, Musk entered Queen's University in 1989, avoiding mandatory service in the South African military. He left in 1992 to study economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania; he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences.
In 1994, Musk held two internships in Silicon Valley during the summer: at an energy storage start-up called Pinnacle Research Institute, which researched electrolytic ultracapacitors for energy storage, and at the Palo Alto-based start-up Rocket Science Games. Bruce Leak, the former lead engineer behind Apple's QuickTime who had hired Musk, noted: "He had boundless energy. Kids these days have no idea about hardware or how stuff works, but he had a PC hacker background and was not afraid to just go figure things out."
In 1995, Musk was accepted to a Ph.D. program in energy physics/materials science at Stanford University in California. In California, Musk attempted to get a job at Netscape, but never received a response to his job inquiries. He ended up dropping out of Stanford after two days, deciding instead to join the Internet boom and launch an internet startup instead.
In 1995, Musk and his brother Kimbal along with Greg Kouri started Zip2, a web software company, with money raised from a small group of angel investors. They housed the venture at a small rented office in Palo Alto. The company developed and marketed an internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, directions and yellow pages, with the vector graphics mapping and direction code being implemented by Musk in Java. Before the company became successful, Musk could not afford an apartment, instead sleeping on the office couch and showering at the YMCA. Furthermore, they could only afford one computer, and consequently, according to Musk, "The website was up during the day and I was coding it at night, seven days a week, all the time." Their efforts materialized when the Musk brothers obtained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans for a merger with CitySearch. Musk's attempts to become CEO were thwarted by the board. Compaq acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash in February 1999. Musk received US$22 million for his 7 percent share from the sale.
In March 1999, Musk co-founded X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company, with US$10 million from the sale of Zip2. One year later, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money-transfer service called PayPal. The merged company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in 2001. Musk was ousted in October 2000 from his role as CEO (although he remained on the board) due to disagreements with other company executives over his desire to move PayPal's Unix-based infrastructure to a Microsoft one. In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for US$1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received US$165 million. Before its sale, Musk, who was the company's largest shareholder, owned 11.7% of PayPal's shares.
Musk met his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson, while both were students at Ontario's Queen's University. They married in 2000 and separated in 2008. Their first son died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the age of 10 weeks. They later had five sons through in vitro fertilization—twins in 2004, followed by triplets in 2006. They share custody of all five sons.
In 2001, Musk conceived Mars Oasis, an idea to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars, containing food crops growing on Martian regolith, in an attempt to reawaken public interest in space exploration. In October 2001, Musk traveled to Moscow with Jim Cantrell (an aerospace supplies fixer), and Adeo Ressi (his best friend from college), to buy refurbished Dnepr Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could send the envisioned payloads into space. The group met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras; however, according to Cantrell, Musk was seen as a novice and was consequently spat on by one of the Russian chief designers. The group returned to the United States empty-handed. In February 2002, the group returned to Russia to look for three ICBMs, bringing along Mike Griffin. Griffin had worked for the CIA's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, as well as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was just leaving Orbital Sciences, a maker of satellites and spacecraft. The group had another meeting with Kosmotras and were offered one rocket for US$8 million. Musk considered the price too high, and stormed out of the meeting. On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realized that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed. Ultimately, Musk founded SpaceX with the long-term goal of creating a true spacefaring civilization.
With US$100 million of his early fortune, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp., traded as SpaceX, in May 2002. Musk is CEO and CTO of the Hawthorne, California-based company. By 2016, Musk's private trust held 54% of SpaceX stock, equivalent to 78% of voting shares.
Tesla, Inc. (originally Tesla Motors) was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who financed the company until the Series A round of funding. Both men played active roles in the company's early development prior to Elon Musk's involvement. Musk led the Series A round of investment in February 2004, joining Tesla's board of directors as its chairman. According to Musk, all three, along with J. B. Straubel, were inspired by the earlier AC Propulsion tzero electric roadster prototype. Musk took an active role within the company and oversaw Roadster product design at a detailed level, but was not deeply involved in day-to-day business operations. Following the financial crisis in 2008 and after a series of escalating conflicts in 2007, Eberhard was ousted from the firm. Musk assumed leadership of the company as CEO and product architect in 2008, positions he still holds today. As of 2019, Elon Musk is the longest tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Musk stated he was a "significant (though not top-tier) donor to Democrats," but that he also gives heavily to Republicans. Musk further stated that political contributions are a requirement in order to have a voice in the United States government. A 2012 report from the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks government spending, found that since 2002, SpaceX had spent more than US$4 million on lobbying the United States Congress and more than US$800,000 in political contributions to Democrats and Republicans. As for Musk specifically, the same report said that "SpaceX's campaign to win political support has been systematic and sophisticated," and that "unlike most tech-startups, SpaceX has maintained a significant lobbying presence in Washington almost since day 1." and that "Musk himself has donated roughly US$725,000 to various campaigns since 2002. In 2004, he contributed US$2,000 to President George W. Bush's reelection campaign, maxing out (over US$100,000) to Barack Obama's reelection campaign and donated US$5,000 to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who represents Florida, a state critical to the space industry. [...] All told, Musk and SpaceX gave out roughly US$250,000 in the 2012 election cycle."
In 2006, NASA announced that the company was one of two selected to provide crew and cargo resupply demonstration contracts to the International Space Station, followed by a US$1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services program contract on December 23, 2008, for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the Space Station, replacing the US Space Shuttle after it retired in 2011. On May 25, 2012, the SpaceX Dragon vehicle berthed with the ISS, making history as the first commercial company to launch and berth a vehicle to the International Space Station.
Tesla's "master plan", as iterated by Musk in 2006 was:
Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity, which was then co-founded in 2006 by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. By 2013, SolarCity was the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. In 2012, Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla would collaborate to use electric vehicle batteries to smooth the impact of rooftop solar on the power grid, with the program going live in 2013.
Tesla Motors first built an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, in 2008, with sales of about 2,500 vehicles to 31 countries, which was the first serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells. Tesla began delivery of its four-door Model S sedan on June 22, 2012. It unveiled its third product, the Model X, aimed at the SUV/minivan market, on February 9, 2012; however, the Model X launch was delayed until September 2015. In addition to its own cars, Tesla sold electric powertrain systems to Daimler for the Smart EV, Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive and Mercedes A Class, and to Toyota for the RAV4 EV. Musk was able to bring in both companies as long-term investors in Tesla.
In 2008, Musk began dating English actress Talulah Riley, and in 2010, the couple married. In January 2012, Musk announced that he had ended his four-year relationship with Riley, tweeting to Riley, "It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day." In July 2013, Musk and Riley remarried. In December 2014, Musk filed for a second divorce from Riley; however, the action was withdrawn. The media announced in March 2016 that divorce proceedings were again underway, this time with Riley filing for divorce from Musk. The divorce was finalized in late 2016.
Musk is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which states its purpose is to provide solar-power energy systems in disaster areas as well as other goals. In 2010, the Musk Foundation collaborated with SolarCity to donate a 25 kW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance's hurricane response center in Coden, Alabama. In July 2011, the Musk Foundation donated US$250,000 toward a solar power project in Sōma, Japan, a city that had been recently devastated by a tsunami. Musk is also a trustee of the X Prize Foundation and a signatory of The Giving Pledge.
Starting in 2011, SpaceX received funding under NASA's Commercial Crew Development program, to develop the Dragon 2 crew capsule. A contract to provide crew flights to the ISS was awarded in 2014.
Space X's goal is to reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 10. In a 2011 interview, he said he hopes to send humans to Mars' surface within 10–20 years. In Ashlee Vance's biography, Musk stated that he wants to establish a Mars colony by 2040, with a population of 80,000 humans. Musk stated that, since Mars' atmosphere lacks oxygen, all transportation would have to be electric (electric cars, electric trains, Hyperloop, electric aircraft). Musk stated in June 2016 that the first unmanned flight of the larger Interplanetary Spaceship was aimed for departure to the red planet in 2022, to be followed by the first manned ITS Mars flight departing in 2024. In September 2016, Musk revealed details of his architecture to explore and colonize Mars.
Musk had envisioned the system in approximately 2011, and assigned a dozen engineers from Tesla and SpaceX who worked part-time for nine months, establishing the conceptual foundations and creating the designs which resulted in the 2013 whitepaper.
On August 12, 2013, Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors. The alpha design for the system was published in a whitepaper posted to the Tesla and SpaceX blogs. The document scoped out the technology and outlined a notional route where such a transport system might be built: between the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area, at an estimated total cost of US$6 billion.
In 2014, Musk announced that Tesla would allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith in a bid to entice automobile manufacturers to speed up the development of electric cars. "The unfortunate reality is electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales," Musk said.
In June 2014, Musk committed to building a SolarCity advanced production facility in Buffalo, New York, that would triple the size of the largest solar plant in the United States. Musk stated the plant will be "one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world," and it will be followed by one or more even bigger facilities in subsequent years. The Tesla Gigafactory 2 is a photovoltaic (PV) cell factory, leased by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity in Buffalo, New York. Construction on the factory started in 2014 and was completed in 2017. Tesla accepted $750 million in public funds from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of the Buffalo Billion project—a plan to invest money to help the economy of the Buffalo, New York area—to build the factory and infrastructure. The factory was operated as a joint venture with Panasonic until early 2020.
Musk's opinions about artificial intelligence have brought him some controversy. He and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have clashed, with the latter calling his warnings "pretty irresponsible". Musk responded to Zuckerberg's censure by saying that following a discussion he had about AI with Zuckerberg he was of the opinion that Mark had only a "limited understanding" of the subject. In 2014, Slate's Adam Elkus argued that current AIs were as intelligent as a toddler, and only in certain fields, going on to say that Musk's "summoning the demon" analogy may be harmful because it could result in significant cuts to AI research budgets. In June 2016, when asked whether he thinks humans live in a computer simulation, perhaps controlled by a vast AI, he stated that "the odds that we're in 'base reality' is one in billions." Harvard physicist Lisa Randall disputes this and has argued the probability of us living in a simulation is "effectively zero".
In July 2014, Musk was asked by cartoonist Matthew Inman and William Terbo, the grandnephew of Nikola Tesla, to donate US$8 million toward the construction of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Ultimately, Musk agreed to donate US$1 million toward the project and additionally pledged to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum car park. In January 2015, Musk donated US$10 million to the Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping artificial intelligence beneficial to humanity.
Musk believed the key to making space travel affordable was to make rockets reusable, though space industry experts believed reusable rockets were impossible or infeasible. On December 22, 2015, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon rocket back at the launch pad, the first time this had been achieved by an orbital rocket. The first stage recovery was replicated several times in 2016 by landing on an autonomous spaceport drone ship, an ocean-based recovery platform, and by the end of 2017, SpaceX had landed and recovered the first stage on 16 consecutive missions where a landing and recovery were attempted, including all 14 attempts in 2017. Twenty out of 42 first stage Falcon 9 boosters have been recovered overall since the Falcon 9 maiden flight in 2010.
SpaceX began development of the Starlink constellation of low Earth orbit satellites in 2015 to provide satellite Internet access, with the first two prototype test-flight satellites launched in February 2018. A second set of test satellites and the first large deployment of a piece of the constellation occurred on May 24, 2019 UTC when the first 60 operational satellites were launched. The total cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be about US$10 billion.
In June 2015, Musk announced a design competition for students and others to build Hyperloop pods to operate on a SpaceX-sponsored mile-long track in a 2015–2017 Hyperloop pod competition. The track was used in January 2017, and Musk also started building a tunnel.
In December 2015, Musk announced the creation of OpenAI, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company. OpenAI aims to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity.
In 2015, Musk's statements were subject to further scrutiny when an Los Angeles Times article claimed that SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and buyers of their products had or were projected to receive together an estimated US$4.9 billion in government subsidies over twenty years. One example given is New York state, which is spending $750 million to build a solar panel factory in Buffalo which will be leased to SolarCity for $1 a year. The deal also includes no property taxes for a decade, an estimated $260 million valuation. Tesla's former vice president of business development and former U.S. State Department official, Diarmuid O’Connell, was the automaker's lead negotiator.
Despite this, Musk invested in DeepMind, an AI firm, and Vicarious, a company working to improve machine intelligence. In January 2015, he donated $10 million to the nonprofit Future of Life Institute, an organization focused on challenges posed by advanced technologies. He was previously the co-chairman of OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company.
In January 2015, Musk made a guest appearance playing himself on The Simpsons in an episode titled "The Musk Who Fell to Earth"; the episode poked fun at many of Musk's ideas. In November 2015, Musk appeared in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, as himself volunteering at a soup kitchen with Wolowitz. Musk also appeared as himself in a November 2017 of The Big Bang Theory spin-off prequel series Young Sheldon.
Musk was featured in the 2015 environmental documentary Racing Extinction, in which a custom Tesla Model S was designed to help project images of critically endangered species onto public buildings, including the Empire State Building and the Vatican. Musk also appeared in the Werner Herzog-directed documentary Lo and Behold (2016).
Musk favored building a more affordable Tesla model; this led to the Model 3 that was unveiled in 2016, with a planned base price of US$35,000. Initial deliveries began in 2017, with the US$35,000 base model becoming available in February 2019. As of March 2020, the Tesla Model 3 is the world's best-selling electric car in history, with more than 500,000 units delivered. Musk originally intended to name the model 3 as the model E but was blocked by Ford which held the trademark, with Musk concluding that "Ford was killing SEX".
In February 2016, Musk announced that he had acquired the Tesla.com domain name from Stu Grossman, who had owned it since 1992, and changed Tesla's homepage to that domain.
Anticipating that the global lithium-ion battery supply was insufficient for their planned electric car output, a lithium-ion battery factory that would more than double existing global output was planned. On July 29, 2016 the first phase of Gigafactory 1, a lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle subassembly factory, was officially opened near Reno, Nevada, by Tesla in partnership with Panasonic. As of May 2020, Gigafactory 1 produces 35 GWh/year of batteries.
In July 2016, Musk released Tesla's "master plan part 2":
In July 2016, Tesla began developing Autopilot, their advanced driver-assistance system, in-house after Mobileye ended its partnership with Tesla, citing safety concerns following a fatal crash in May 2016 where the driver of a Model S using Autopilot was killed.
Tesla acquired SolarCity for over $2 billion in 2016 and converted it into its solar division; the announcement of the deal resulted in a more than 10% drop in Tesla's stock price. At the time, SolarCity was facing liquidity issues; however, Tesla shareholders were not informed. Consequently, multiple shareholder groups have filed a lawsuit against Musk and Tesla's directors, claiming that the purchase of SolarCity was done solely to benefit Musk and came at the expense of Tesla and its shareholders. During a June 2019 court deposition, Musk acknowledged that the company reallocated every possible employee from the solar division to work on the Model 3, and, according to Musk, "as a result, solar suffered." This had not previously been disclosed to shareholders. Court documents unsealed in 2019 have confirmed that Musk was also aware of the company's liquidity issues. Tesla directors settled the lawsuit in January 2020, leaving Musk the sole remaining defendent.
In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology start-up company to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence. The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow more direct interfacing with computing devices.
On December 17, 2016, while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted "[I] am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging ..." The company was named 'The Boring Company' (TBC). On January 21, 2017, Musk tweeted "Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so." Discussions with regulatory bodies began in January 2017.
In 2016, Musk voiced himself in several episodes of South Park including the episode "Members Only". Later that year, Musk appeared as himself in the romantic comedy film Why Him? where he was briefly met by one of the main characters, Ned Flemming played by Bryan Cranston, in a bar at a party. In December 2016, Robby in New Girl refers to saving a life, and when asked who, responds "Do you know who Elon Musk is?" Also in 2016, Musk was referenced by Dr. Martin Stein on The CW time-travel TV show DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
In 2017, Musk purchased the domain X.com from PayPal for an undisclosed amount, explaining that it had sentimental value to him.
In 2017 SpaceX launched 18 successful missions, more than doubling their highest previous year of 8.
In late 2017, SpaceX unveiled the design for its next-generation launch vehicle and spacecraft system, Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), that would support all SpaceX launch service provider capabilities with a single set of very large vehicles: Earth-orbit, Lunar-orbit, interplanetary missions, and even intercontinental passenger transport on Earth, and totally replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon vehicles in the 2020s. Starship will have a 9-meter (30 ft) core diameter. Significant development on the vehicles began in 2017, with an initial prototype unveiled in September 2019, while the new rocket engine (Raptor) development began in 2012, with a first test flight performed in August 2019.
In September 2017, Musk arranged a contract with the government of South Australia for Tesla Energy to install what would then be the world's largest lithium ion battery pack, to help alleviate energy blackouts in the state. The terms included a guarantee that it would be installed in 100 days or would be free. This deadline was achieved and the resulting battery exceeded expected performance and returns, despite skepticism from Australian federal politicians.
Hyperloop One, a company unaffiliated with Musk, announced in July 2017 that it had its first successful test run on its DevLoop track in Nevada, which had lasted 5.3 seconds and reached a top speed of 70 mph.
In July 2017, Musk claimed that he had received "verbal government approval" to build a hyperloop from New York City to Washington, D.C., stopping in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
In February 2017, the company began digging a 30-foot (9.1 m) wide, 50-foot (15 m) long, and 15-foot (4.6 m) deep "test trench" on the premises of Space X's offices in Los Angeles, since the construction requires no permits. Musk had said in early 2017 that a 10-fold decrease in tunnel boring cost per mile is necessary for economic feasibility of the proposed tunnel network.
Before the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, Musk criticized candidate Trump by saying: "I feel a bit stronger that he is probably not the right guy. He doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States." Following Donald Trump's inauguration, Musk expressed approval of Trump's choice of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and accepted an invitation to participate in two councils advising President Trump. Regarding his cooperation with Trump, Musk has subsequently commented: "The more voices of reason that the President hears, the better." He subsequently resigned from both business advisory councils in June 2017, in protest at Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, stating: "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world". In May 2020, amidst Musk's restarting of Tesla assembly plant production during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump tweeted in support of Musk, which Musk welcomed and publicly thanked him for on Twitter.
At a Tesla event on the sidelines of the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems in December 2017, Musk stated that:
In October 2017, Musk was mentioned as being part of the shared Star Trek universe on the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery. In February 2019, Musk co-hosted YouTuber PewDiePie's show "Meme Review" with Justin Roiland at the request of PewDiePie's fans. In October of the same year, Musk voiced an alternate reality version of himself with tusks, known as "Elon Tusk", in the season four Rick and Morty episode "One Crew over the Crewcoo's Morty".
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy, the fourth-highest capacity rocket ever built (after Saturn V, Energia and N1). The inaugural mission carried a Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk as a dummy payload.
In September 2018, Musk was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a tweet claiming that funding had been secured for potentially taking Tesla private (at a price of $420 a share, an alleged reference to marijuana). The lawsuit claimed that verbal discussions Musk held with foreign investors in July 2018 did not confirm key deal terms and thus characterized the tweet as false, misleading, and damaging to investors, and sought to bar Musk from serving as CEO on publicly traded companies. Musk called the allegations unjustified and that he had never compromised his integrity. Two days later, Musk settled with the SEC, without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations. As a result, Musk and Tesla were fined $20 million each, and Musk was forced to step down temporarily as Tesla chairman while remaining Tesla's CEO.
As of January 29, 2016, Musk owned about 28.9 million Tesla shares, which equated to about 22% of the company. In January 2018, Musk was granted an option to buy up to 20.3 million shares if Tesla's market value were to rise to $650 billion. Majority shareholder approval for this package was approved in March 2018. The grant was also meant to end speculation about Musk's potential departure from Tesla to devote more time to his other business ventures. A report by advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. to its clients argued against granting the options. As of December 31, 2019, Musk owns 38,658,670 shares or 20.8% of all Tesla shares.
By making AI available to everyone, OpenAI wants to "counteract large corporations who may gain too much power by owning super-intelligence systems devoted to profits, as well as governments which may use AI to gain power and even oppress their citizenry." Musk has stated he wants to counteract the concentration of power. In 2018 Musk left the OpenAI board to avoid possible future conflicts with his role as CEO of Tesla as Tesla increasingly became involved in AI through Tesla Autopilot.
In an interview with Joe Rogan in September 2018, Musk expressed his concerns about the dangers of developing artificial intelligence indiscriminately. In January 2019, Mark Harris of The Guardian noted that the Musk foundation had "added a line to its website, stating its support for the "development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity".
As a merchandising and publicity stunt, Musk said TBC sold 2,000 "flamethrowers" in 2018, allegedly inspired by the Mel Brooks-directed film Spaceballs (1987).
In July 2018, Musk arranged for employees of his to build a small rescue pod to assist rescuers during the Tham Luang cave rescue. Musk, responding to requests for help from Twitter users, offered help and his The Boring Company contacted the Thai government. Richard Stanton, leader of the international rescue diving team, also urged Musk to continue construction of the mini-submarine as a back-up, in case flooding worsened.
Two days later, Musk issued an apology for his remarks. Then, on August 28, 2018, in response to criticism from a writer on Twitter, Musk tweeted "You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me?" The following day, a letter from L. Lin Wood, the rescuer's attorney, dated August 6, emerged, showing that he had been making preparations for a libel lawsuit.
On September 6, 2018, Musk appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and discussed various topics for over two hours. One of the highest profile and controversial aspects of the program was Musk's sampling a single puff from a cigar consisting, Rogan claimed, of tobacco laced with cannabis. To Rogan's inquiry on how often he smoked cannabis, Musk replied: "Almost never. I know a lot of people like weed and that's fine, but I don't find that is very good for productivity... not for me." The Washington Post observed that, "In the media's hands, it became a story about Musk's growing instability."
Politically, Musk has described himself as "half Democrat, half Republican" and "I'm somewhere in the middle, socially liberal and fiscally conservative." In 2018, he stated that he was "not a conservative. I'm registered independent [and] politically moderate." Prompted by the emergence of artificial intelligence, Musk has voiced support for a universal basic income; he additionally backs direct democracy and has stated he thinks the government on Mars will be a direct democracy. He has described himself as a "socialist", but "not the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm"—arguing instead, "true socialism seeks greatest good for all." He supports targeting an inclusive tax rate of 40%, prefers consumption taxes to income taxes, and supports the estate tax, as the "probability of progeny being equally excellent at capital allocation is not high."
In October 2018, in an effort to help solve the Flint water crisis, Musk and the Musk Foundation donated over $480,000 to install new water fountains with filtration systems for access to clean water at all Flint, Michigan schools. As of 2019, approximately 30,000 children in all 12 area schools have free, safe drinking water from the water filtration systems. Musk has been a top donor for the ACLU. In October 2019, Musk donated US$1 million to '#TeamTrees' a tree planting initiative to plant 20 million trees led by the YouTube community and in collaboration with Arbor Day Foundation.
On May 7, 2018, Musk and Canadian musician Grimes revealed that they had begun dating. On January 8, 2020, Grimes announced that she was pregnant with their first child. Grimes gave birth to a son on May 4, 2020. According to Musk and Grimes, his name was "X Æ A-12" (pronounced /ˈɛks.æʃˌeɪ.twɛlv/ EKS-ash-AY-twelv); however, the name was deemed illegal under California law, because it contained characters that are not in the modern English alphabet, and was then changed to "X Æ A-Xii". This drew more confusion, as Æ is not a letter in the modern English alphabet. The child was eventually named "X AE A-XII", with "X" as a first name and "AE A-XII" as a middle name.
In Iron Man 2 (2010), Musk met Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in a restaurant, and had a brief line regarding an "idea for an electric jet." In 2018, it was reported that Musk helped Robert Downey Jr. get into character for his role in Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Musk has stated in several interviews since that he does not regret sending the tweet that triggered the SEC investigation. According to Reuters, Musk said the tweet was "Worth It". According to ABC News, "As recently as Oct. 4, 2018, Musk issued a sarcastic tweet, describing the agency [SEC] as the 'Shortseller Enrichment Commission,' despite having agreed to settlement terms a week earlier that his company, Tesla, would monitor his tweets and other communications." In a December 2018 interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, Musk stated, "I want to be clear. I do not respect the SEC." On February 19, 2019, according to Forbes, Musk stated in a tweet that Tesla would build half a million cars in 2019. The SEC reacted to Musk's tweet by filing in court, initially asking the court to hold him in contempt for violating the terms of a settlement agreement with such a tweet, which was disputed by Musk. This was eventually settled by a joint agreement between Musk and the SEC clarifying the previous agreement details. The agreement included a list of topics that Musk would need preclearance before tweeting about.
In January 2019, Musk traveled to China for the groundbreaking of Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory, which is the company's first large-scale plant outside the U.S. As part of his visit to China, Musk also met the Chinese premier Li Keqiang. During their exchange, Musk expressed his admiration for China and wished he could visit China more often, to which the Chinese premier was quoted as saying "We can issue you a Chinese green card if that helps." The time from the initial ground-breaking to the production of first cars at the Shanghai Gigafactory was achieved in under one year.
In November 2019, Musk unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck, an all-electric battery-powered pickup truck. The reveal was in Los Angeles—the same time and location that the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner was set. Blade Runner was one of Musk's design inspirations for the Cybertruck. The Cybertruck is slated to start commercial production in late 2021.
Elon Musk was one of 113 foreigners recognized for the rescue by the King of Thailand in March 2019 with various awards, with Musk receiving an Order of the Direkgunabhorn.
In mid-September, Unsworth filed a defamation suit in Los Angeles federal court. In his defense, Musk argued that in slang usage "'pedo guy' was a common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up... synonymous with 'creepy old man' and is used to insult a person's appearance and demeanor." The defamation case began on December 4, 2019, in Los Angeles, with Unsworth seeking $190 million in damages. During the trial Musk apologized to Unsworth again for the initial tweet. On December 6 the jury found in favor of Musk and ruled he was not liable; Musk commented: "My faith in humanity is restored."
On March 30, 2019, Musk released a rap track, "RIP Harambe", on SoundCloud under the name "Emo G Records". The track was performed by Yung Jake, written by Yung Jake and Caroline Polachek, and produced by BloodPop. On January 30, 2020, Musk released an EDM track, "Don't Doubt Ur Vibe", featuring his own lyrics and vocals. Guardian critic Alexi Petridis described it as "indistinguishable... from umpteen competent but unthrilling bits of bedroom electronica posted elsewhere on Soundcloud" and TechCrunch said it was "not a bad representation of the genre".
In August 2019, Musk came out on Twitter in support of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, whose platform revolves around the ongoing problem of job displacement through technological automation and artificial intelligence. Musk said in a tweet that universal basic income, which Yang supports, is "obviously needed." Musk went on to voice support for Kanye West's independent run for president in July 2020.
On May 30, 2020, SpaceX launched its first manned flight called Demo-2 becoming the first private company to both place a person into orbit and to eventually dock a crewed space-craft with the ISS. Further, the launch was the first time since the end of the Shuttle Program that an American astronaut has been launched from American soil on an American rocket.
Since the incident, Musk has been a vocal critic of the SEC, stating emphatically in a 60 Minutes interview that he did "not respect the SEC" and on Twitter by referring to it as the "short-seller enrichment committee" multiple times. He has also commented on the price of Tesla stock, tweeting that it was "too high imo" on May 1, 2020 (when the stock price was around $700, which would be $140 after it split 5-1 on August 31, 2020).
At a live demonstration in August 2020, Musk described one of their early devices as "a Fitbit in your skull" which could soon cure paralysis, deafness, blindness, and other disabilities. Many neuroscientists and publications criticized these claims. For example, MIT Technology Review described them as "highly speculative" and "neuroscience theater".
In July 2020, Musk tweeted "Pronouns suck" to significant backlash on Twitter, including from Musk's partner Grimes, who responded that she "cannot support hate" in a since-deleted tweet. The tweet has been perceived as transphobic and an attack on non-binary identities.
In August 2020, Musk responded to a tweet linking to an article about the Make Billionaires Pay Act sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders with a meme that depicted an image of Sanders along with the text "OFFICIAL BERNIE SANDERS DRINKING GAME! Every time The Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else's beer!" Sanders's account responded to the meme in part with "Elon just l-o-v-e-s corporate socialism for himself, rugged capitalism for everyone else."
Musk has received criticism over his views on and actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, Musk likened some aspects of COVID-19 to the common cold and stated that "the coronavirus panic is dumb", and "danger of panic still far exceeds danger of corona imo. If we over-allocate medical resources to corona, it will come at expense of treating other illnesses". Musk has additionally been criticized for tweeting contentious claims on the disease, including that "Kids are essentially immune, but elderly with existing conditions are vulnerable", which he accompanied with a graphic showing that no children had died in Italy by March 15 and for saying "Based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April." In addition, he promoted articles which suggested that healthcare companies were inflating COVID-19 case numbers for financial reasons, promoted a paper on the benefits of chloroquine that was subsequently widely discredited and pulled down by Google, and retweeted a video calling for an immediate end to social distancing measures, adding "[d]ocs make good points".
Currently, Elon Musk is 51 years, 2 months and 28 days old. Elon Musk will celebrate 52nd birthday on a Wednesday 28th of June 2023.
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