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Elon Musk WSJ interview: 12 quotes about Tesla’s AI ambitions, China-Taiwan, dogecoin, aliens



Elon Musk.
Carina Johansen/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk intends to take on Microsoft and Google in AI, he teases in a new interview.
  • The Tesla, Twitter, and SpaceX CEO expresses his love of dogecoin and slams corporate inertia.
  • Musk also discusses space travel, succession, and China-Taiwan risks. Here are the 12 best quotes.

Elon Musk discussed everything from dogecoin and aliens to artificial intelligence and China-Taiwan tensions during the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday.

The centibillionaire CEO of Tesla, Twitter, and SpaceX hinted that he plans to challenge Microsoft and Google in the AI sphere, and complained about inertia in companies. He also shared his hopes for the next US president, warned humanity is getting cocky, and noted his children won’t necessarily inherit stakes in his companies.

Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:

1. “Sanity and stability will be prime requirements for traveling to Mars. You don’t want someone going nuts and opening the airlock in the middle of the night.”

2. “I frequently get asked, ‘Have I seen any evidence of aliens?’ and I have not — apart from the fact that I did at one point have an alien registration card when I was getting my green card.”

3. “My preference, and what I think would be the preference of most Americans, is really to have someone fairly normal in office. I think we’d all be quite happy with that actually.”

4. “We generally operate with too much of an assumption that civilization is robust, and nothing could really take it down — a sentiment that has been common throughout history among empires shortly before they crumbled. There’s a little bit of late-stage empire vibes going on right now.”

5. “I’m not advising anyone to buy a crypto, or bet the farm on dogecoin, or anything like that. Maybe you should, but let me advise you that would be perhaps unwise. Dogecoin is my favorite cryptocurrency because it has the best humor and has dogs.”

6. “At any given company, there are people who help move things forward, and people who try to slam the brakes. Twitter was in a situation where you’d have a meeting of 10 people — one person with an accelerator and nine with a set of brakes. So you didn’t go very far.”

7. “We’ve got OpenAI and Microsoft, Google DeepMind, and probably there should be a third horse in the race.” (Musk teased there will be more on that front from Tesla soon.)

8. “It’s very much a double-edged sword. If you have a genie that can grant you anything, that can also do anything, that necessarily presents a danger. I expect the first government uses of AI to be weapons technology.” (Musk was discussing the consequences of developing artificial superintelligence.)

9. “There’s a non-zero chance of it going Terminator. It’s a small likelihood of of annihilating humanity. Or assuming control for the safety of all the humans, and taking over all the computing systems and weapon systems of Earth, and effectively being like some sort of uber nanny.”

10. “There’s a good chance push will come to shove. I dread to think what would happen, the results for the global economy would be absolutely catastrophic. China and Taiwan are like conjoined twins with the rest of the world from an economic standpoint. The separation is going to be dire indeed if it happens.”

11. “Succession is one of the toughest, age-old problems. It’s plagued countries, kings, prime ministers, presidents, and CEOs since the dawn of history. There is no obvious solution.”

12. “I’m definitely not of the school of automatically giving my kids some share of the companies, even if they have no interest or inclination or ability to manage the companies. I think that’s a mistake.”



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