How Elon Musk sees the future: His bizarre sci-fi vision should concern us all 

Musk has given us some hints about what he wants. For example, he says he hopes to “preserve the light of consciousness by becoming a spacefaring civilization & extending life to other planets,” 

Musk further states in a recent TED interview that his “worldview or motivating philosophy” aims

to understand what questions to ask about the answer that is the universe, and to the degree that we expand the scope and scale of consciousness, biological and digital, we would be better able to ask these questions, to frame these questions, and to understand why we’re here, how we got here, what the heck is going on. And so, that is my driving philosophy, to expand the scope and scale of consciousness that we may better understand the nature of the universe.

Elon Musk’s futurological vision has also been crucially influenced, it seems, by an ideology called “longtermism,” as I argued last April in an article for Salon. Although “longtermism” can take many forms, the version that Elon Musk appears most enamored with comes from Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who runs the grandiosely named “Future of Humanity Institute,” which describes itself on its website as having a “multidisciplinary research team [that] includes several of the world’s most brilliant and famous minds working in this area.”

“. … . as Torres documents, major advocates of “long-termism” have even argued that starvation in the “developing” world doesn’t matter so much, as long as there remain incubators for the inventions that are purportedly going to save humanity in the future. Thus the influential young “longtermist” Nick Beckstead can assert, in his doctoral thesis: Richer countries have substantially more innovation, and their workers are much more economically productive. [It] now seems … plausible to me that saving a life in a rich country is substantially more important than saving a life in a poor country.

—Musk appears concerned about under-population: He’s worried there won’t be enough people to colonize Mars, and that wealthy people aren’t procreating enough — “If there aren’t enough people for Earth,” he writes, “then there definitely won’t be enough for Mars”

—he’s also apparently concerned that wealthy people aren’t procreating enough. As he wrote in a May 24 tweet: “Contrary to what many think, the richer someone is, the fewer kids they have.” Musk himself has eight children, and thus proudly declared, “I’m doing my part haha.”

—-yes, he believes we should worry about nuclear war and runaway climate change, but we should worry just as much about, to put it bluntly, less intelligent or less capable people outbreeding the smartest people. 

——Musk and the neo-eugenic idea known as “transhumanism,” (Bostrom is probably the most prominent transhumanist of the 21st century thus far). Given that Musk hopes to“jump-start the next stage of human evolution” by, for example, putting electrodes in our brains, one is justified in concluding that Musk, too, is a transhumanist. (See Neuralink!)

——Utilitarianism states that our sole moral obligation — the goal we should aim for whenever presented with a moral choice — is to maximize the total amount of value in the universe, where “value” is often identified as something like “pleasurable experiences.” . … utilitarianism points to the possibility that we could also increase the total number of people in the universe who have lives that, on the whole, create net-positive amounts of value. We should therefore create as many of these “happy people” as we possibly can. Right now these people don’t exist. Our ultimate moral task is to bring them into existence.