- Colbert: You recently made all the patents for Tesla available for everybody, basically saying you’re not going to prosecute people if they use your patented technology. Why are you giving away the store like that?
Musk: I’m not sure of the right analogy exactly but I sort of view it like this: If we’re all in a ship together and there’s some holes in the ship, and we’re bailing water out and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing water out way better than everybody else we should probably still share the bucket design... because we’re all going to sink.
- When Musk announced in 2014 that Tesla would open-source all of its patents, analysts tried to decide whether this was a publicity stunt or if it hid an ulterior motive or a catch. But the decision was a straightforward one for Musk. He wants people to make and buy electric cars, Man's future, as he sees it, depends on this. If open-sourcing Tesla's patents means other companies can buid electric cars more easily, then that is good for mankind, and the ideas should be free. The cynic will scoff at this, and understandably so. Musk, however, has been programmed to behave this way and tends to be sincere when explaining his thinking - almost to a fault. (s 344-345)
- The Hyperloop is a conceptual high-speed transportation system originally put forward by Elon Musk, incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.
The outline of the original Hyperloop concept was made public by the release of a preliminary design document in August 2013, which included a notional route running from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area, paralleling the Interstate 5 corridor for most of its length. Preliminary analysis indicated that such a route might obtain an expected journey time of 35 minutes, meaning that passengers would traverse the 350-mile (560 km) route at an average speed of around 600 mph (970 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h). Preliminary cost estimates for the LA–SF notional route were included in the white paper - US$6 billion for a passenger-only version, and US$7.5 billion for a somewhat larger-diameter version transporting passengers and vehicles - although transportation analysts doubted that the system could be constructed on that budget.
- A planet-sized catastrophe of one sort or another (see Chapter 8) may wipe out humanity - unless some of us live in self-sustaining space colonies. This all seems to suggest that space colonization should be a research priority, but that conclusion may be overly hasty, missing the crucial point that great downside dilemmas are not the only possible reason to abstain from a given technology. Another reason might be that the technology is so costly that, compared to pursuing other
research directions, it would be money not well spent. The energy cost of lifting matter (such as ourselves, our machines, or raw materials) from the Earth or some other planet into space is large, possibly to the extent of making large scale space colonization prohibitively expensive until the day we master self-replicating probe technology as in the Armstrong-Sandberg scenario outlined in Section 9.3.