Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t one to follow the rules, especially when he thinks they’re wrong.
The billionaire likes to imagine a world, or perhaps a much smaller society on Mars, where everyone can do whatever they want without a larger hierarchy of power.
“If there’s a utopia where people have access to whatever goods or services they want, there’s something for everyone,” Musk said. Recount Time magazine after being named Person of the Year today. “If we have a highly automated future with robots that can do everything, then any work you do will be because you want to do it, not because you have to.”
In sum, Musk – remember, he’s the richest person in the world talking – has characterized himself as Time as a “utopian anarchist“.
But such a society would not be completely devoid of rules either.
“I don’t mean to suggest chaos, but rather that you’re not under anyone’s thumb,” Musk explained in the interview.
It’s obviously a vision based on utopian ideals, but does it even make sense?
We have already seen that the process of transitioning to a more automated society can easily result in the consolidation of power – which is most often the result of building businesses on the backs of workers.
It kinda looks like Musk is trying to get his cake and eat it too. When it comes to government involvement, its political leanings tend to be quite libertarian. He often clashed with regulators and politicians when trying to get his many businesses off the ground and moving forward.
Fewer rules and lower barriers to entry can allow innovation to thrive, Musk has often suggested. And that will be more important than ever if humanity is to have a chance at going interplanetary — Musk’s well-documented greatest wish for the future of our species.
But will everyone be happy to do what they want within a highly technologically advanced anarcho-society? Getting machines to take over the dirty work will no doubt lead to some pretty significant changes in the fundamental structures of society – which will undoubtedly test any civilization.
Musk’s view is arguably a bit exaggerated. That everyone fends for themselves, while remaining satisfied with the riches offered to them, is certainly a utopian dream.
But it also happens that he speaks from a position of great power and personal wealth. He may like to think of himself as a visionary, but he also happens to be the richest man in the world.
Learn more about Elon: Elon Musk is Time magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year
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