It’s a warm and humid early morning on the SpaceX Mars colony. Of course, the sophisticated climate control systems that take regular temperature and humidity readings and pump fresh, clean air into the atmosphere do a very good job of ensuring that every morning is a warm and humid morning. Rubbing his eyes and checking the time on the smartwatch he keeps by his bedside, an eccentric billionaire begins his day. It’s the crack of dawn and Mars’s twin moons Deimos and Phobos still cast the sun’s reflection into his window, watching over our hero like a great business magnate in the sky presiding over his many galactic assets. He was up late last night, making great headway on his latest project – an environmentally friendly car suited to the dusty roads of the red planet. He looks at himself in a mirror, looking at the bags under his eyes, which have steadily accumulated mass throughout his project’s duration.
Five more minutes couldn’t hurt, he thinks to himself, as he dons his nightgown and lets his aching body meet his mattress once more, the distant sighs of rocket engines and the faint but constant hum of the Martian life support systems lulling him into a sleep as deep as the planet’s biggest crater.
Elon Musk snaps back to reality. The world is in chaos. We’ve done irreparable damage to our ecosystem. Nuclear war is very much on the table. This isn’t sleek. This isn’t sexy. This does not fit the image that Musk has for the world. Elon knows he could theoretically put his resources towards improving things in general, but he has no incentive to do so. Saving the world is neither sleek nor sexy. It’s no Tesla vehicle, no Hyperloop. The world, to Musk, is not worth saving. But escaping the mess we’ve made? That’s something Musk can sell.
Elon Musk lives in what can only be described as a science fiction novel. For Musk, the biggest existential threat to humanity is neither war, nor climate change nor natural disaster – it’s artificial intelligence. As a student who got a C+ in Software Engineering, I find it difficult to believe that I’ll be the one to build SkyNet any time soon. Of course, his skewed priorities are not kind enough to end there. Elon Musk firmly believes that we’re living in a simulation and, to top it off, that we are being visited by intelligent extraterrestrial beings. While the rest of us are active in our communities, working towards the betterment of our university and our society, Elon is out on his porch with a pair of binoculars, looking for UFOs and space aliens. I believe Musk may need a nice, long electric car ride back to reality.
The terrifying thing about living out in space, as I am reasonably confident Elon Musk does, is that one begins to overlook the affairs of earthlings. Earlier this year, Tesla factory workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Illegal surveillance, coercion and intimidation were used against Tesla’s workers. Did Elon know that a Tesla subcontractor was paying its eastern European workers far below minimum wage? Did he care to admit to his investors in 2008 that Tesla Motors had almost no money? Of course not, for these things are of no concern to space men.
I understand that a man whose paycheck is only matched in size by his ego and his cult of personality can be very attractive. What I struggle to see is why the community of engineers, scientists and other such people who purport to know what they’re talking about are so infatuated with someone with a complete lack of understanding of the world around him. As regrettable as it is, we have been thoroughly duped by a man-child playing a very expensive game of spaceship in his backyard.
Eli Udler is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.