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Is Elon Musk the greatest visionary or the greatest snake oil salesman of our age?

DotCommunist

slowtime
The morally neutral, polymath billionaire saviour figure is a common trope in sci-fi. Musk's persona seems more suited to fiction than to real life, not unlike most of his miracle technologies.

Even his name is better suited to a character in one of those hamfisted Ben Elton satires than to a real person.
Stark. First Ben Elton book I ever read.

as for miracle tech, we're now landing re-usable rockets on floating sea platforms. Thats pretty good I recon. Even if I won't even get to go on the B ark
 

Idris2002

Taffy, you're a genius!
I wish I'd thought of that, phillm.

The flaw in Musk's vision of a Mars colony to save humanity is that we don't know if the human species can conceive and bear children in anything other than 1g, Earth gravity. My guess is no, the hairless apes can't conceive and bear children in zero g, or the one-sixth g you get on Mars.

As for the electric car, it's fine for what it is, but what someone really needs to do is bust the algae problem - it's proven that geneticaly engineered algae can produce hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel, but the (so far) insurmountable problem has been scaling it up from the laboratory desk to an industrial scale.
 

Crispy

The following psytrance is baṉned: All
I'm not sure this is true, from what I have read he is more than capable (even if articles about him are exaggerating) of keeping up with his engineers, he is meant to have an exceptional mind for scientific detail
Yep. His job description at SpaceX is "chief designer" and by all reports he is intimately involved with all levels of design, from the metallurgy of turbopump turbine blades to the manufacturing process for welding huge pieces of aluminium alloy. A very smart man.

Gwynne Shotwell actually runs the business. She's the one with the finance experience.

He works his staff to death, but I bet he'd be just as tough on his comrades under some other system.

(Although he practically worships the American Dream, so I guess he'd rather defect than show any solidarity with his fellow man)
 

butchersapron

blood on the walls
Tesla Workers File Charges With National Labor Board as Battle With Elon Musk Intensifies

Workers at Tesla’s Fremont, California electric car factory have filed a unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing the company of illegal surveillance, coercion, intimidation and prevention of worker communications. The employees, who have been attempting to organize the approximately 7,000 workers at the plant through the United Auto Workers, claim that Tesla violated multiple sections of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the right to unionize.

“I know my rights, and I know that we acted within them,” said Jonathan Galescu, a body repair technician. Galescu and his colleagues have previously cited low pay, hazardous work conditions and a culture of intimidation as motivations to unionize the plant.
 

Bahnhof Strasse

A-wob a-bob bob
Booked a flight for his ma from LA to London recently, was on BA in business class, not first, which is where billionaires' mums usually sit if not flying privately.

No opinion on Musk though other than them Teslas are well fucking expensive.
 

pocketscience

Well-Known Member
Yep. His job description at SpaceX is "chief designer" and by all reports he is intimately involved with all levels of design, from the metallurgy of turbopump turbine blades to the manufacturing process for welding huge pieces of aluminium alloy. A very smart man.

Gwynne Shotwell actually runs the business. She's the one with the finance experience.

He works his staff to death, but I bet he'd be just as tough on his comrades under some other system.

(Although he practically worships the American Dream, so I guess he'd rather defect than show any solidarity with his fellow man)
Are any of these reports online - specifically showing how he's "involved"?
As chief engineer I'd image he's completely decoupled from technical problem solving and ultimately driven by budget targets.
 

tim

EXPLODED TIM! (Help me!!!)
Yep. His job description at SpaceX is "chief designer" and by all reports he is intimately involved with all levels of design, from the metallurgy of turbopump turbine blades to the manufacturing process for welding huge pieces of aluminium alloy. A very smart man.

Gwynne Shotwell actually runs the business. She's the one with the finance experience.

He works his staff to death, but I bet he'd be just as tough on his comrades under some other system.

(Although he practically worships the American Dream, so I guess he'd rather defect than show any solidarity with his fellow man)
Classic deluded authoritan leader claims
 

coley

Well-Known Member
He is an exploiter of his fellow man and a nasty piece of work, same as the rest of them.
He wants to move us from dependence on FFs as major sources of energy, FMS, he could have retired as a multi millionaire 10 times over, but he keeps looking for ways to reduce our dependence on FFs!
But then again, mebbes you know something I ( and most stock exchanges have missed)?
 

coley

Well-Known Member
I like Musk more than I like that Amazon wanker - but it's probably all going to come crashing down for him at some point, I don't know how companies like Tesla - and Uber, Twitter, etc. - can go on for so long burning through other people's money and not making a profit.
Once the Gigafactory comes on line and his model 3 comes into production then those who invested should be seeing a handsome return on their investments.
However on past performance, he tends to plough potential profits into the 'next big idea'
His Mars ambitions and his subterranean highways may seem a bit far fetched:eek::D
But given his performance in moving the world in the direction of BEVs, a major transition away from the ideas of a centralised electricity grid system and all the other innovations he has 'forced' the major players to
accept?
I don't know where he's going, but his actions up to now have all proved immensely beneficial.
 

redsquirrel

This Machine Kills Progressives
I don't know where he's going, but his actions up to now have all proved immensely beneficial.
Yeah really beneficial.
Tesla Workers File Charges With National Labor Board as Battle With Elon Musk Intensifies

Workers at Tesla’s Fremont, California electric car factory have filed a unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing the company of illegal surveillance, coercion, intimidation and prevention of worker communications. The employees, who have been attempting to organize the approximately 7,000 workers at the plant through the United Auto Workers, claim that Tesla violated multiple sections of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the right to unionize.

“I know my rights, and I know that we acted within them,” said Jonathan Galescu, a body repair technician. Galescu and his colleagues have previously cited low pay, hazardous work conditions and a culture of intimidation as motivations to unionize the plant.
 

coley

Well-Known Member
I think Musk has mastered the appearance to be worthy to stand alongside all the innovators who have been before him, as someone who wants to inspire others and share his visions and also ensure his own place in history whilst making money.
Is he any different to Michael Faraday, James Watt or Brunel, in their time?
The attention and exposure in these days of instant information have probably given him the fame in a few years that took others decades to achieve and the world as it is now, revolves around financial incentives. His ability to bring his latest ideas seem to be perfectly timed. Perhaps he his riding a crest, it is the way he treats his workforce and people in general that will be the make or break of him, though his popularity seems to be growing.
I heard he has even managed to appear in a cameo on the Big Bang Theory.
I shall wait and see how this goes.[/QUOTE

He certainly seems a hard 'taskmaster' but if even some of the stories are true, he drives himself as hard if not harder than his workforce.
Man on a mission!? Like you I will watch and wait, I'm a hard boiled cynic and he seems to good to be true, for once I'm hoping to be proved totally wrong :D
 

Cid

嗯嗯
I wish I'd thought of that, phillm.

The flaw in Musk's vision of a Mars colony to save humanity is that we don't know if the human species can conceive and bear children in anything other than 1g, Earth gravity. My guess is no, the hairless apes can't conceive and bear children in zero g, or the one-sixth g you get on Mars.

As for the electric car, it's fine for what it is, but what someone really needs to do is bust the algae problem - it's proven that geneticaly engineered algae can produce hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel, but the (so far) insurmountable problem has been scaling it up from the laboratory desk to an industrial scale.
Mars has 38% of earths gravity... and anyway you can potentially solve the gravity problem with off world ring habitats (centrifugal force). Not that their aren't other problems of course.

On the electric car they need to solve the battery problem too. That one's tough.
 

coley

Well-Known Member
Yeah really beneficial.
Beneficial, as in moving the world away from a reliance on FFs, I've seen this article before,and IIRC it's a bit dubious, will have a scratch around, but IIRC it was more about the Koch bros and associates trying to put the boot into RE.
 

redsquirrel

This Machine Kills Progressives
Beneficial, as in moving the world away from a reliance on FFs, I've seen this article before,and IIRC it's a bit dubious, will have a scratch around, but IIRC it was more about the Koch bros and associates trying to put the boot into RE.
Yeah, totally dubious that silicon valley billionaire is a parasite that treats his workers like shit. And I bet all those Uber anti-union stories are just taxi firms putting the boot in.

He but where would we be without visionaries like him, these big man change history!
 
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coley

Well-Known Member
I'm ambivalent regarding Musk. Part of me wants to hate him simply for having a stupid name, but that would be churlish. Part of me admires what he's done & is seeking to do - yes, he's an exploitative, mega rich totem of a capitalist system, but then so is Philip Green, and I know which of the two I'd rather have tarred, feathered & dropped into a hornets nest.

People like Musk might be the future, they might drive society forward in a way that governments & aged monolithic corporate concerns are unable to do. But ultimately I think any such progress is driven more by their own personal desire for greatness & legacy. Is that a problem though? Maybe, maybe not, depends what the rest of society gets out of it.

My biggest problem with Musk is his extremely annoying tactic of periodic press releases that promise the unachievable. Creating the impression that hyper fast public transport or landing men on Mars is only a few years away. It's a bit like if a drug company puts out press releases saying they were on the verge of curing cancer, purely because they've done a bit of interesting research. I find it tiresome & transparently publicity driven, far more about currying favour with easily impressed investors than anything genuinely tangible.

Overall I think he's a knob, but one who might revolutionise areas of technology & advance society, or might just turn out to be an overambitious plutocrat who promises more than he ever delivers. Only time will tell.
He's already revolutionised the car industry and is well on his way to revolutionising near space technology, and he doesn't seem to crave publicity or massive wealth?
Fuck it, he must be a fraud, find some spare timber and a few nails and have done with it.
 

coley

Well-Known Member
Yeah, totally dubious that silicon valley billionaire is a parasite that treats his workers like shit. And I bet all those Uber anti-union stories are just taxi firms putting the boot in.

He but where would we be without visionaries like him, these big man change history!
Though I would normally agree with you on exploitation issues, Musk seems to have a different agenda,
He genuinely seems to want to move humanity from its destructive addiction to FFs, amassing personal wealth doesn't seem to be his driving force.
Now, I know this sounds a bit naive, but I've been following what he's been up to for a few years now, and he comes across as genuine ( if a bit obsessed) in moving us not the path of RE, if you can provide links to prove otherwise?
 

coley

Well-Known Member
Mars has 38% of earths gravity... and anyway you can potentially solve the gravity problem with off world ring habitats (centrifugal force). Not that their aren't other problems of course.

On the electric car they need to solve the battery problem too. That one's tough.
It's solved, have a look at recent developments, nookie in space? Humankind will have 'space porno' within 20 seconds of the first 'mixed sex' mission to mars:D:thumbs:
 

redsquirrel

This Machine Kills Progressives
Though I would normally agree with you on exploitation issues, Musk seems to have a different agenda,
He genuinely seems to want to move humanity from its destructive addiction to FFs, amassing personal wealth doesn't seem to be his driving force.
Yeah it's totally accidental that he's managed to become a billionaire, just happened like magic.

Now, I know this sounds a bit naive, but I've been following what he's been up to for a few years now, and he comes across as genuine ( if a bit obsessed) in moving us not the path of RE, if you can provide links to prove otherwise?
So that's makes his exploitation ok does it? Look at that nice mister Gates giving all that money to charity, isn't he great.
 

coley

Well-Known Member
Yeah it's totally accidental that he's managed to become a billionaire, just happened like magic.

So that's makes his exploitation ok does it? Look at that nice mister Gates giving all that money to charity, isn't he great.
Aye, Gates giving all that money to charity, what a total bastard.
 

redsquirrel

This Machine Kills Progressives
Yeah he's almost as wonderful as those great men Carneige and Rockefeller. Where would we be without these titans?
Carneige said:
Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.
Truely amongst the noblest of humans.

One, two many Rockefellers!
 
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SpookyFrank

Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.
Yep. His job description at SpaceX is "chief designer" and by all reports he is intimately involved with all levels of design, from the metallurgy of turbopump turbine blades to the manufacturing process for welding huge pieces of aluminium alloy. A very smart man.

Gwynne Shotwell actually runs the business. She's the one with the finance experience.

He works his staff to death, but I bet he'd be just as tough on his comrades under some other system.

(Although he practically worships the American Dream, so I guess he'd rather defect than show any solidarity with his fellow man)
Is he trained as an aerospace engineer? Because it's not the sort of thing you can bluff your way through as an enthusiastic amateur.
 

Idaho

blah blah blah
Booked a flight for his ma from LA to London recently, was on BA in business class, not first, which is where billionaires' mums usually sit if not flying privately.

No opinion on Musk though other than them Teslas are well fucking expensive.
That's good sense. BA first is not really any better than business but costs a few grand more.
 
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