Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, Elon Musk is the closest thing we have to a real-life Tony Stark and he’s got a plan to save us all.
You see, Mr Musk isn’t content to just be one of the most influential, powerful or richest men on planet Earth, he wants to save humanity from what he sees as ‘looming extinction’.
So how’s Musk going to do it?
Well, he’s not going to hop into a red and gold suit and punch a purple space titan in the face. Instead, he’s going to tackle some of the biggest problems facing our society.
Namely global warming, humanity’s reliance on non-renewable fuels, and how to preserve the species in the result of a nuclear catastrophe.
Sounds easy enough, or at least it is for a genius like Musk – who’s got a plan for each and every one of these problems and is working on them even as you read this.
First though, a brief history of the man who wants to save the world. Born in Pretoria, South Africa Musk showed an interest in computers from an early age, learning to code at just 12-years-old.
As a young man, he travelled to America and received two degrees – one in economics and the other in physics. He even began a PHD course at Stanford University, but he abandoned it after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
Using his prodigious intellect and skills, as a businessman, Musk was able to set up numerous businesses, including PayPal, Tesla and Space X, which have made him one of the richest people on the planet.
Musk now uses his billions to set up businesses, working on technologies which will save humanity from itself, the first of which was Space X.
On paper, Space X is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company, with the goal of improving the costs and reliability of access to space.
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound super exciting but there’s far more to it than making it easier to send stuff into space, it’s actually the start of Elon Musk’s grand plan to save humanity.
Namely, he’s going to help the species get its ass to Mars.
Therefore, when the inevitable does happen, and someone starts a nuclear war, an asteroid hits or we run out of Haribo, some of humanity survives.
Musk’s advocacy of a human colony on Mars is long documented.
He said at SXSW, according to The Guardian:
It’s important to get a self-sustaining base on Mars because it’s far enough away from Earth that [in the event of a war] it’s more likely to survive than a moon base.
If there’s a third world war we want to make sure there’s enough of a seed of human civilisation somewhere else to bring it back and shorten the length of the dark ages.
So far, good folk over at Space X haven’t managed to get to Mars, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and they’ve achieved some incredible things, like putting a car in space!
They’re also currently working on a huge 100-metre spaceship – codenamed the BFR (Big Fucking Rocket) – that’ll take humans to Mars and begin the colonisation of the red planet in 2024.
Musk isn’t planning on abandoning Earth without reason though, and to prove it, he’s helping combat one of the biggest threats to the planet’s future.
Elon’s called climate change ‘the biggest threat that humanity faces’ and his company, Tesla, work to make cars run on fossil fuels obsolete and replace them with electric cars.
They intend on doing this by offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer while also investing in improving lithium-ion batteries and energy storage.
By improving battery life and the amount of energy that batteries can store Elon hopes society can move away from a reliance on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide when burned, which becomes trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and slowly heating up the planet.
By switching over to electric powered cars powered by renewable sources like wind, wave and solar power, Elon hopes we can reduce the number of fossil fuels burned, and slow down the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The unfortunate thing is, renewable energy technologies aren’t always the most reliable and are expensive compared to more traditional forms of generating electricity.
Thankfully, Elon’s got a plan to fix this, and it doesn’t involve building an arc reactor from a box of scraps thankfully.
In 2016, Musk purchased his cousin’s solar panel business, SolarCity Corporation, with the plan of speeding up the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
By improving the amount of energy a solar panel can hold, making the panels more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity and working to reduce costs, SolarCity hopes to bring cheap, reliable solar energy to the masses.
Elon’s three steps to saving humanity, unfortunately, have one slight problem though – all of these plans are going to take time, and Elon sees a big man-made problem on the horizon.
Musk has frequently spoken about the dangers of developing artificial intelligence, at one point going so far as to describe the creation of a true AI as ‘summoning the devil’.
With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.Marvel Studios
Thankfully, Elon’s working on a way to handle any potential real-life Ultrons that may arise – he’s investing in companies who he believes are building responsible artificial intelligence, built for the benefit of mankind.
So there we have it, Elon Musk’s grand scheme to save us all from ourselves.
Is he basically Tony Stark? No, he’s something better, a real hero dedicated to fixing some of the biggest problems facing our species.
If you have a story you want to tell, contact UNILAD at [email protected]
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.