Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles What a challenge! To talk to one of the most, in my opinion, in life, we've seen, within this part of the world, great people, like Al-Khawarizmi who invented algorithm. Globally, Newton. Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Albert Einstein and Elon Musk. See, you are in rush, You want to go to places that nobody has been. You are re-inventing a certain industry, from the rocket industry with SpaceX to the car industry with Tesla. What's your life mission? Why do you do whatever you do? Sure, first of all, thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here. And I'm having a really great time with my kids in Dubai. It's really been fantastic. I really encourage anyone who hasn't been to visit, what a great city! Thank you. And, in terms of the motivations, I used to like this sort of... kind of a long version of the explanation but... essentially, when I was a kid I was wondering, what's the meaning of life? Like, why are we here? What is it all about? And I came to the conclusion that what really matters is trying to understand the right questions to ask. And the more that we can increase the scope and scale of human consciousness, the better we're able to ask these questions. And... So, I think there are certain things that are necessary to ensure that the future is good. And... some of those things are in the long term having long term sustainable transport and sustainable energy generation. And to be a space exploring civilization. And for humanity to be out there among the stars. And be a multi-planetary species. I think that being a multi-planetary species and being out there among the stars is important for the long term survival of humanity. And, that's one reason, kind of like life insurance for life collectively. Life as we know it. But then the part that I find personally most motivating is that it creates a sense of adventure, and it makes people excited about the future. If you consider two futures, one where we are forever confined to Earth until eventually something terrible happens. Or another future where we are out there on many planets, maybe even going beyond the solar system. I think that space invasion is incredibly exciting and inspiring. And there need to be reasons to get up in the morning. You know, life can't just be about solving problems. Otherwise, what's the point? There's got to be things that people find inspiring, and make life worth living. So, what is life for you? I mean, you look at our life, and I heard you before speaking. Is it a dream? Is it real? Is it a million deal? What is life for Elon Musk? I find that as I get older I find that question to be maybe more and more confusing or troubling or uncertain. Particularly when you see the advancement of something like video games. You know, 40 years ago, you had video games, the most advanced video game would be like Pong, when you had two rectangles and a dot. And you're like batting it back and forth. - I played it. - Yeah, me too, exactly. - Us all. - It sort of dates you a little bit. Yeah, we both played the same game. And that was like a pretty fun game at the time. But now, you can see a video game that's photo-realistic, almost photo-realistic, and millions of people playing simultaneously. And, and you see where things are going with virtual reality. And augmented reality and... if you extrapolate that out into the future with any rate of progress at all, like keeping 0.1% of something like that a year, then eventually those games will be indistinguishable from reality. They'll be so realistic you won't be able to tell the difference between that game and reality as we know it. And then, it seems like, well, how do we know that that didn't happen in the past? And that we're not in one of those games ourselves? Interesting. Interesting. I mean, it could be. Everything is possible in life. I mean there's... Yeah, particularly like things tend to be accelerating to something. Isn't it? I mean, if we look at our life, it seems in the past 100 years life has been accelerating quite fast. - Yeah. - In the past 20 years. - It's getting faster and faster. - Is it more slow? So, my question is really, how will life be 20, 30, 50 years from now? Our education, our transport. How do you see it? Well, I think this is one of those things that are quite difficult to predict. When you think of, say, the first controlled power flight was in 1903 with the Wright Brothers. And then, 66 years later we put the first people on the moon. I mean, if you asked people, say, in 1900, what are the odds of landing on the moon they would've said that's ridiculous. If you try to talk to them about the internet they wouldn't know what the heck you're even... What are you talking about? Like, this sounds so crazy. But today, with a hundred-dollar device you can video-conference with anyone in the world. On the other side of the world, and if you have a Wi-Fi connection, it's basically free. You're free to have an instant visual communication with anyone, or even with millions of people. You know, with social media you can communicate to millions of people simultaneously. So, and you can google something and ask any question. It's like an oracle of wisdom, that you can ask almost any questions and get an instant response. It would be incredibly difficult to predict these things in the past. Even the relatively recent past. So, I think the one thing that we can be quite certain of is that any predictions we make today for what the future will be like in 50 years will be wrong That's for sure. I think directionally, I can tell you what I hope the future has, as opposed to maybe what it will be. This may just be wishful thinking. I mean I hope we are out there on Mars and maybe beyond Mars, Jupiter. I hope we're traveling frequently throughout the solar system, perhaps preparing for missions to nearby star systems. I think all of that is possible in 50 years. And I think it's going to be very exciting to do that. And, I think we'll see autonomy and artificial intelligence advance tremendously. Like that's actually quite near term. My guess is in probably 10 years, it will be very unusual for cars to be built that are not fully autonomous. - 10 years. - 10 years from now? Yeah. I think almost all cars built will be able of full autonomy in about 10 years. As it is, the Tesla cars that are made today, have the sensor system necessary for full autonomy. And we think probably enough compute power to be safer than a person. So, it's mostly just the question of developing the software and uploading the software. And if it turns out that more compute power is needed, we can easily upgrade the computer. And, so that's all Teslas built since October last year. And other manufacturers will follow and do the same thing. So, getting in a car will be like getting in an elevator. You just tell it where you want to go and it takes you there with extreme levels of safety. And that will be normal, that will just be normal. Like, for elevators, they used to be elevator operators. You get in, there will be a guy moving a lever. Now, you just get in, you press the button and that's taken for granted. So, autonomy will be wide-spread. I think one of the most troubling questions is artificial intelligence. And I don't mean narrow AI, like, vehicle autonomy I would put in the narrow AI class. It's narrowly trying to achieve a certain function. But deep artificial intelligence, or what is sometimes called artificial general intelligence, where you can have AI that is much smarter than the smartest human on Earth. This, I think, is a dangerous situation. Why is it dangerous? I mean, there are two views, one view is that artificial intelligence will help humanity, and there's another school of thought that artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity. - Why is that? - I think it's both. You know, it's like... one way to think of it is imagine we're going to be visited... imagine you're very confident that we're going to be visited by super intelligent aliens, in let's say 10 years or 20 years at the most. - Super intelligent. - So, you think within 20 years... - Yeah... - we'll have aliens on Earth? Well, digital super intelligence will be like an alien. - It will be like an alien. - Yeah. But my question is, do you think there is other intelligent life outside the Earth? It seems probable. I think this is one of the great questions in physics and philosophy, is, where are the aliens? Maybe they are among us, I don't know. Some people think I'm an alien. Not true. - Not true. - But maybe we are aliens. Maybe we aliens. I mean, if you look at this part of the world. Yeah. They believe that human beings are not from Earth, they came from somewhere else. Eve and Adam came from somewhere else to Earth. So, in a way, human beings are aliens to this land. Do you think we'll make contact with aliens within the next 50 years? Well, that's a really tough one to say. If there are super intelligent aliens out there, they're probably already observing us. That would seem quite likely and we're not smart enough to realize it. But I can do some back of the envelope calculations and... any advanced alien civilization that is at all interested in populating the galaxy, even without exceeding the speed of light, even if you're only moving at, say, 10 or 20 per cent of the speed of light, you could populate the entire galaxy in let's say 10 million years. Maybe 20 million years max. This is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Once you said you wanted to die on Mars. Why? To be clear, I don't want to die on Mars. It's like, if... we're all going to die someday, and if you're going to pick some place to die, then why not Mars? You know, if you're born on Earth, why not die on Mars? Seems like may be quite exciting. But, I think given the choice between dying on Earth and dying on Mars, I'd say, yeah, sure, I'll die on Mars. But it's not some kind of Mars death wish. And if I do die on Mars, I just don't want to go on impact. Let's come back to Earth, actually. You tweeted that you are building a tunnel under Washington D.C. Why? What is it? - It's a secret plot. - Okay. - Just between us. - Nobody helps you? Yeah, exactly, let's keep that a secret. I think this is going to sound a little... I mean, it seems like so much trivial or silly, but... I've been saying this for many years now but I think that the solution to urban congestion is a network of tunnels under cities. And when I say that I don't mean a 2-D plan of tunnels, I mean tunnels that go many levels deep. So, you can always go deeper than you can go up. Like, the deepest mines are deeper than the tallest buildings. So, you can have a network of tunnels that is 20, 30, 40, 50 levels, as many levels as you want, really. And so, given that, you can overcome the congestion situation in any city in the world. The challenge is how do you build tunnels quickly and at low cost and with high safety? So, if tunnel technology can be improved to the point where you can build tunnels fast, cheap and safe, then that would completely get rid of any traffic situations in the cities. And so, that's why I think it's an important technology. And, Washington D.C., L.A and most of the major American cities, most major cities in the world suffer from severe traffic issues. And it's mostly because you've got these buildings which are, these tall buildings that are 3-D and you have a road network that is one level. And then, people generally want to go in and out of these buildings at the exact same time. So, then, you get the traffic jam. Let's come back to... your year in Dubai. The first time I met you it was the 4th of June 2015, at your office in SpaceX. And, I asked you would you have a presence in UAE? And your answer was: I'm busy with China. Maybe not in the near future, and almost a year and a half later, we are here, seems time goes quite fast. Why now?