Elon Musk, the hi-tech business man and inventor is popularly known for his different business inventions such as SpaceX and Tesla, he also plays an important part in PayPal as the co-founder of the company.
The South African-born businessman is well ahead of some of his rivals with his list of futuristic tech inventions such as SpaceX, Hyperloop, Tesla Motors and more. Along with this, Musk has made some bold predictions in the tech industry- some of which we are already seeing come to life.
This may explain Musk’s $16.1 billion net worth, which makes him the 80th richest person in the world. He was also listed as the 21st most powerful person in the world on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
Elon Musk has made a vast array of predictions regarding the future of technology, but CBR narrows it down with seven of Musk’s biggest predictions about future technology.
1. Artificial Intelligence a threat to the human race
As the future of technology moves towards a world of automation and robotics, many have shared their excitement while many more share their concerns.
The rise of AI and robotics has left many on edge, especially in industries such as healthcare, where the idea of robot doctors is widely discussed. Although, surprisingly there has been a noticeable balance between those that completely cancel out the idea and those that welcome it.
In an interview with Edge.org in 2014, Musk said: “The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year time frame, ten years at most.”
When talking about AI, Musk said: “AI is something that is risky at the civilisation level, not merely at the individual risk level, and that’s why it really demands a lot of safety research.”
In a recent survey from PwC entitled ‘What doctor? Why AI and robotics will define New Health’ more than a quarter of those surveyed would actually trust robots with heart surgery, rather than doctors.
There have been many warnings about the likelihood of robots doctors over the years, but Elon Musk did make us all aware that we were getting closer to robot uprising in 2014. The AI expert doesn’t seem to put all his trust into it as he expects it to cause a threat to the human race.
Therefore, Musk’s prediction that AI will cause threat to human race can be seen coming to reality already as the concern of robot doctors coming into the healthcare industry for instance, has been addressed amongst many. Although surveys, like the above, show some in favour of robot doctors the invention can also be regarded as a threat to human race as it may lead to putting humans out of jobs.
So he’s predicted Robo’Docs, what else could AI cause?
2. Humans will become Cyborgs
Again on the topic of AI, Elon Musk has made it clear that the necessary enhancements will need to be put in place for humans to keep up with robots and computers, or at least stay relevant.
Speaking at Code in 2016 Elon Musk shared that the only way for humans to even stay slightly relevant in the future was by embedding technologies into our brains and bodies.
During his time on stage, Musk said: “Under any rate of advancement in AI we will be left behind by a lot. The benign situation with ultra-intelligent AI is that we would be so far below in intelligence we’d be like a pet, or a house cat. I don’t love the idea of being a house cat.”
This is where Musk shared his view on neural lace, an electronic brain enhancement tool that is basically embedded in the human brain to give humans’ access to AI.
“Over time I think we will probably see a close merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said.
Musk demonstrated this with the launch of a new start-up company, named Neuralink to focus on the development of a neural lace to embed small electrodes into the brain.
How could Solar power change the world?
3. Renewable energy
Solar power, which could potentially change the way the world is powered, is believed to be a powerful form of energy that could change the future.
The SolarCity chairman, Elon Musk, definitely seems to be in favour of it as he stated in 2013 that Solar would become the plurality of power within 20 years.
“I’m confident that solar will beat everything hands-down, including natural gas. It must actually. If it doesn’t we’re in deep trouble,” said Musk.
In making this prediction, Musk gave an example of the $5.3 billion SolarCity business which is the largest solar panel factory and lithium ion battery factory in the US.
Musk said: “It amounts to a giant, distributed utility. This is the first time there’s been competition against this utility monopoly. I’m confident it will beat natural gas.”
Will the expected spaceship take off to Mars include humans as well?
4. Humans will travel to Mars in 2025
Anything is possible according to Elon Musk, with the SpaceX founder even hopeful that we could make it to Mars in the next 10 years.
During a talk on his SpaceX business last year on the National Geographic Channel ‘Mars’ show, Musk revealed plans to launch a spaceship to Mars which would be used to transport humans. He expects to launch the rocket in 2024, which is currently undergoing flight plans.
Musk said: “If things go according to plan, we should be able to launch people probably in 2024 with arrival in 2025.”
In other words, Musk believes that he can develop the first spaceship that will launch humans to Mars.
“The future of humanity is fundamentally going to bifurcate along one of two directions: Either we’re going to become a multiplanet species and a spacefaring civilisation, or we’re going to be stuck on one planet until some eventual extinction event.
“For me to be excited and inspired about the future, it’s got to be the first option. It’s got to be: We’re going to be a spacefaring civilisation,” Musk said in the interview with Ron Howard on the National Geographic Channel ‘Mars’ show.
Imagine if all cars were driverless, surely that would take centuries…
5. Fully autonomous cars in two years
As self-driving cars have become a major investment in the industry, ride-sharing companies such as Lyft, Uber, Baidu and more have set plans to develop self-driving car tech or even put driverless cars on roads. This is ahead of the 21 million self-driving cars expected to hit roads by 2035, according to IHS Automotive estimations made in a 2016 report.
It’s not just the start-ups and disruptors looking into the driverless space, but also traditional auto makers such as Toyota, BMW, Jaguar and more.
This also includes electric car marker Tesla, which set out bold plans to enter the scene even earlier than its rivals. According to Tesla’s CEO, he believes that all problems relating to self-driving cars have already been solved and we should expect them on roads before 2020.
Musk said: “I consider autonomous driving to be a basically solved problem. We’re less than two years away from complete autonomy. Regulators however will take at least another year; they’ll want to see billions of miles of data.”
The inventor doesn’t speak for his rivals, which predict 2020-25 before their autonomous cars hit the road but Musk claims that Tesla is on a fast track to completing a fully autonomous trip from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017.
Could it get any better than flying cars?
6. Underground tunnels will be better than flying cars
The Boring Company, founded by Elon Musk is an infrastructure and tunnelling company that the billionaire believes could pave the way for a more advanced form of transportation than flying cars.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Musk said: “Obviously, I like flying cars, but it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.” Instead, Musk believes The Boring Company will bring his vision for the future of transportation to life.
Musk makes it clear that The Boring Company will develop tunnel technology to create transportation that will appear a lot more realistic than Silicon Valley’s flying cars solution. Silicon Valley start-up, Kitty Hawk tested flying cars at the beginning of the year.
“We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to create the beginning of what will hopefully be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion,” said Musk on stage at the TED conference.
If Musk’s Tesla could overdo any company, which would it be?
7. Tesla will surpass Apple in 10 years
The increase of Tesla’s market revenue from under $5 billion to over $44 billion definitely made Elon Musk hopeful of rising to market leader position. Especially, as Musk believes that the company could grow to Apple’s $700 billion market cap by 2025.
In 2015, Musk said: “Tesla has the real potential to be one of the most valuable companies in the world.”
During the release of the company’s 2015 earnings, Musk told an analyst that the Tesla’s market capitalisation “would be basically the same as Apple’s is today by 2025.”
This shows Musk’s emphasis and belief that his company, Tesla could make a huge surge from its market cap in 2015 ($28.5bn) compared to Apple’s market cap $659.17bn in the same year.
Overall, Elon Musk has shared a range of predictions and hopes in order to boost the future of technology, and in doing so he aims to use his inventions and businesses as tools to bring forth these ideas and also bring them to reality.