SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is being honored in Berlin today where he will receive the 2020 Axel Springer Award. Musk is being interviewed at the event, and Space Explored is highlighting commentary from the event below.

What’s the Axel Springer Award? Here’s how the Axel Springer group describes the cashless prize:

The Award is given to outstanding personalities who are particularly innovative, and who generate and change markets, influence culture, and at the same time face up to their responsibility to society.

From today’s presentation:

This year’s Axel Springer award honors Elon Musk. Through his inventive and innovative spirit, Elon has revolutionized several industries, from electric vehicles and battery storage to space travel. Elon will accept the award on December 1, 2020, at the Axel Springer headquarters in Berlin. The theme of the evening is “An Evening for Elon Musk – Mission to Mars.”

And from Axel Springer SE CEO:

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE: “As one of the most creative entrepreneurs and most brilliant engineers of the digital age, Elon Musk inspires an entire generation. He combines great visions with the indomitable will to achieve them. With PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk has turned entire industries upside down, and his drive is irrepressible. He is motivated by the goal of making life better for humanity. And not in small steps, but by fundamentally turning the way we do things on their head. With incredible success.”     

Watch the event

Highlights from the interview

  • Musk believes humans can land on Mars in six years, four years from now if we’re lucky, and with an uncrewed vehicle in two years (more context on this below)
  • Musk also hopes to travel to Mars’ orbit in 2-3 years
  • Tesla is about taking care of the Earth, SpaceX is about taking care of beyond, Musk says
  • Tesla goal is on improving sustainability on Earth, SpaceX success depends on making interplanetary life possible
  • Musk on Tesla buying another car company: No hostile takeover, not ruling out another company merging into Tesla
  • Musk on carmakers’ friendliness prior to Tesla’s success: “They used a lot of adjectives.”
  • Autonomous driving: “I’m not against people driving,” Musk says, “but it’s not fun driving a car in gridlock traffic.”
  • In 10 years, all new cars produced will have self-driving and 70-80% will be electric, Musk predicts
  • Why Berlin for Tesla Gigafactory due for completion next July? “Berlin’s not that poor, but it’s definitely sexy,” says Musk in response to Mathias Döpfner’s question
  • Musk says he’s lodging in a conference room in the unfinished factory during his trip to Berlin
  • Musk on Nueralink: Digital super intelligence could be a public safety risk to be regulated, but “you should own your own data.”
  • “Digital super intelligence could be more dangerous than a nuclear bomb. […] We can’t have inmates running the asylum.”
  • Risk of AI: Tesla’s AI is very narrow, a car isn’t going to takeover the world, but AI could be one of humanities biggest risks
  • Population collapse and low birth rate are also risks to humanity, Musk says, while plugging Wait But Why for facts
  • Döpfner asks if Musk has any projects addressing these issues; he notes that he has six kids and tries to set a good example
  • More on Neuralink: Initially intended to service people with brain or spine injuries to control devices with their mind
  • Musk on meaning of life: Enjoy good things and appreciate the experience; “things that move your heart”

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