Elon Musk: Humanity Is a Kind of 'Biological Boot Loader' for AI

EM: Well, I think the thing about Mars is that I think it's important for us to take the set of actions that are most likely to continue consciousness into the future. What increases the probability of consciousness, of continuing into the future. I think we should not take it for granted that consciousness will continue. Because we have not encountered any aliens, where are the aliens? This is the Fermi paradox. This is one of the most important questions. How come we have not found any aliens? There are people out there who think we've found aliens. Trust me, I would know. We have not.People ask me, “Have you been to Area 51?” Okay, please. SpaceX actually has Area 59, it’s even better, eight better than 51. So among the set of actions we can take, that are likely to increase the scope and scale of consciousness such that we are better able to understand the nature of the universe, one of those actions is to become a multi-planet species or ensure that life is multi-planetary, not because I think—it's not not from the standpoint of it just being an escape hatch, or because I think that Earth is doomed. But there is a certain probability that is irreducible, that something may happen to us, despite our best intentions, despite everything we try to do. There’s a probability at a certain point that some either external force or some internal unforced error causes civilization to be destroyed. Or sufficiently impaired such that it can no longer extend to another planet.
Let me put it another way. This is the first time in the 4 1/2 billion year history of Earth that it's been possible to extend life beyond Earth. Before this, it was not possible. How long will this window be open? It may be open for a long time, or it may be open for a short time. I think it would be wise to assume that it is open for a short time. And then let us secure the future, secure the future of consciousness, such that life of the lights of consciousness is not extinguished. And we should try to do this as quickly as possible. That's my view.

JM: Good. It's so difficult to secure the future of the earth, but we can secure the future of the next 100 years. I admire your courage for exploring Mars, but I admire a lot of people spending efforts on improving the Earth. It's great to send 1 million people to Mars but we have to care about the 7.4 billion people on the earth. How can we make the world more sustainable? And I'm not that fond of Mars because I think it's easy to go to Mars when you go on the top of the hills of the of the of the building, just one step you go to Mars, but you will never be able to come back.

EM: Yeah. That’s not how it works though.

JM: I think people spend more time on the earth. Think about it. Because no matter how long the civilization of the human beings will be, like 1 million or 2 million or half million years. But we only have 100 years. So we cannot solve all the problems of the future. But we have to be responsible for the future. But we should care more about how we can enjoy it better. My view is that by the artificial intelligence or AI, when human beings understand ourselves better, then we can improve the world better. The last 200 years, human beings tried to understand the other side better, understand the other people better. But I think what I feel excited about with AI is that AI is to understand people, the inside of the human beings. The earth, I heard you’re going to dig a tunnel deep in the earth, which is amazing. I think anyhow, every time I read the news about your interest in outer space, I look at you with great respect. We need heroes like you. But we need more heroes like us, working hard on the earth, improving things every day. That's what I want.

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EM: Sure, I mean, to be clear, I'm very pro Earth. When I say, you know, us becoming a multi planet species or extending life beyond Earth, expanding the scope and scale of consciousness, from a resource standpoint, I'm talking about less than 1 percent of Earth's resources should be dedicated to making life multi-planetary, or making consciousness multi-planetary. So, you know, I think it should be like, somewhere in between how much we spend on lipstick, and how much we spend on health care. You know, things like for the preservation of consciousness, we should spend maybe slightly more than we spend on cosmetics. And I'm pro cosmetics, I think they’re great. But, you know, there's probably worth spending, I don't know, like at least half a percent of the Earth’s GDP on extending life to be multi planetary, maybe 1 percent, I'd say seems like a good a good use of resources, a wise investment for the future. And obviously, I spend a lot of my time on sustainable energy with Tesla , with electric cars, and solar and batteries and that kind of thing. And I'm really excited to be here in Shanghai for the Shanghai Giga factory. I think the Tesla China team has done an amazing job, really mind blowing, like, I'm just astounded by how good the job is, and how much progress has been made. And I think it's a good story for the world. So, you know, I think it's like, I really think China is the future. It's very impressive. and there’s also some great progress on entrepreneurial rocket companies in China as well. I believe two have made orbit, and it’s very difficult, very hard to make orbit. If you make orbit, I have great respect. Because it’s very hard.