Elon Musk, both scientific genius and media con man – rts.ch

Elon Musk bought Twitter, he flew rockets, deployed thousands of satellites or promised autonomous cars with Tesla. A bit of a “crook”, the billionaire is above all a “brilliant technology accelerator”, deciphers Olivier Lasker at Medialog.

“Elon Musk has become a kind of person, that is, a person whose name everyone has heard of,” said Olivier Lasker, the magazine’s digital editor. Science and the Future – Research.

This notoriety dates back to 2013, when Elon Musk “unveiled a collection of technologies dedicated to the Hyperloop, the train project that can travel through a vacuum tunnel at the speed of an airplane,” according to Elon Musk, author of the book, The Man. Those who deny science”, guest medialogs on the show.

“Great Technology Accelerator”

Olivier Lasker’s book is subtitled “Elon Musk, Genius or Crook?”. However, “Today, I would say that he is 66% brilliant and 30% a scoundrel. But he is still brilliant, because he is a technology accelerator (…) and he is someone who, despite the controversy, makes you. Dream,” said the journalist.

At the time of Hyperloop’s presentation, international media frenzy claimed that Elon Musk was its inventor. But “this is completely false. It takes ideas that come especially from Swissmetro and the Americans also filed patents on this”.

>> Read about it: In Canada, the Hyperloop concept is gaining ground for new funding And A Hyperloop vacuum transport test track is being built at EPFL

He didn’t even originate Tesla. The brand is “closely associated with Elon Musk, when the company was founded in the early 2000s by two American engineers, Terpening and Eberhard.” ) it was still Elon Musk who introduced the concept”.

>> Read about it: Tesla has opened a mega-factory in Germany for its European production

“We associate him with many breakthroughs, even though he’s not at the origin of them. But we have to give back to Caesar what’s due to Caesar, he knows how to make mayonnaise and make things concrete”, continued. Olivier Lasker.

While Mars hides a swarm of satellites

Elon Musk also pursues the dream of conquering space with SpaceX, which has a contract with NASA, that is, with the American administration. But he aims for more than the moon and talks about colonizing Mars. In this case, he applies the two-shot gun method according to an expression by Olivier Lasker in his book. He focused on this still very distant space project, while he “almost quietly” built his network of Starlink satellites.

>> Read about it: Constellation of satellites to access internet everywhere And Smartphones look at satellites

Elon Musk is indeed pursuing his plans to go to Mars. But while the issue polarizes the debate, especially because of the resources needed when “we try to put in place the conditions that can save the Earth,” “one fine morning, astrophysicists take us by the sleeve and say: ‘But what? These things you see in the sky. The whole world. With the number of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide Internet service, you can no longer watch the sky quietly at night.

>> Read about it: Soon the satellite’s light will shadow the star

And anyway, Elon Musk is “establishing a completely vertical business, because he designs the rockets to launch his satellites, which themselves provide his Internet services. He’s establishing a monopoly for global access to the Web, and obviously that’s worrying.”

Currently, 2000 Starlink devices are in orbit out of 9000 existing satellites around the Earth. However, Elon Musk plans to launch 42,000 in all. A huge figure that is explained by the fact that these satellites are installed in low orbits. They will gradually lose a little height, slowly enter the Earth’s atmosphere and be destroyed there by friction. “Musk knows that in order to make his global network operational, there will be a fairly high renewal rate. And this number of 42,000 includes replacement satellites”, explains Olivier Lasker.

Implants in the brain

Elon Musk is investing in a project that is less known to the general public. With Neuralink, he wants to “equip the brain with electronic chips that will allow the playful use of a connection with a computer, that is, playing video games with thought”. It’s a lot to talk about, but it’s a “distant view (…), it’s science fiction, it’s Philip K. Dick”.

The company is also working on miniature implants that can be placed in the brains of people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. The product is still in development, but if it’s successful, Neuralink could “swallow a market” that potentially worries a lot of people, Olivier Lasker said.

Interview with Antoine Draux

Web Adaptation: Cab

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