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BY ANNA STUART
Maniototo Area School year 13
In an age flooded by media, influencers and public figures it is easy to idolise and hero-worship those people prominent in the public eye.
Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX and chief executive of Tesla, and current richest man in the world, has become a popular figure for these affections among "red-pilled" internet circles.
I, however, can’t stand the dude.
I believe there is something deeply wrong with the meme-savvy, billionaire space colonist.
I find him deeply unsettling, dipping into uncanny valley levels of eeriness and discomfort.
This feeling led to me questioning the very human existence of Elon Musk.
How does one even become so incomprehensibly wealthy? Why does he look so weird? Are the rich actually a different species completely? What is so interesting on Mars? What makes him so viscerally unsettling to me, but so incredibly likeable to many others?
Is Elon Musk actually an alien?
The theory isn’t actually far off the theories of conspiracy amongst lizard people that many of Musk’s loyal followers often believe.
Musk himself has promoted the theory that aliens built the Egyptian Pyramids.
Known to viciously attack those who criticise him, Musk’s fans see him as a hero to humanity, a visionary.
Musk has told his fans to "take the red pill" on twitter, an internet term referencing the film The Matrix, used to signify a right-wing political awakening popular among right-wing conspiracy theorists.
He has called stay-at-home orders in response to the Coronavirus outbreak "fascist", and his Reddit-based fanboys avidly agree with him.
He, however, has also described himself as a socialist, and supports universal minimum wage, and donates heavily to both the Democratic and Republican parties. Maybe the political system on whatever planet Musk came from is more complicated than the rather simple-to-grasp two party system of the United States.
Although he describes himself as a socialist, this does not seem to translate to his workplace values, where there have been workers fired for suspected attempts to unionise, and reported threats to fire employees for discussing work conditions.
Musk’s interest in pursuing a transhuman robot hybrid may come from his desire for workers who will not complain about violating basic labour laws.
Transhumanism is a philosophical movement that advocates for the advancement of humans by making technology available to augment and enhance the body and mind.
Elon Musk’s lesser known company Neuralink specialises in the development of brain computer interfaces that plans to potentially heal neurological diseases, and enhance healthy humans with new abilities.
Musk seeks to upgrade humanity, saying "to avoid becoming like monkeys, we must merge with machines."
If you ask me, it would be a lot easier to believe this materialistic and reductionist world view if I was worth $152.5billion.
Musk has frequently been vocal about his aversion to AI, Artificial Intelligence, describing the creation of AI as "summoning the demon".
He calls it "the most serious threat to the survival of the human race", and also invests in, and previously co-chaired AI firms such as OpenAI and Deepmind.
Tesla vehicles, being pioneers in the tech industry, contain not one, but two AI chips that focus on unsupervised machine learning.
These AI are trusted to automatically steer, accelerate, and brake the vehicle while the passengers relax and let the robots take over and humanity die out.
I, personally, will not be partaking in any neurological enhancements or development of my brain computer interface.
Previous experience has proven natural evolution works pretty well, and I’m reasonably happy with the results so far.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the old saying goes.
Musk and SpaceX’s mission to Mars is another area of distaste for me.
The man shoots stuff into space every chance he gets, and now he’s aiming for the dusty wasteland of Mars.
Musk has said he is confident the first crewed flights to Mars will have happened by 2026.
He has also said that many will die to achieve this mission of his. These people, of course, will not include him, but the less valuable lives of the fanatics of Musk who volunteer their lives to the cause.
A fan of Musk said in an interview with theringer.com "Sometimes I’ve even said ‘I don’t even care if I die on impact!"’ Musk has convinced these people that the next step in technological advancement is to die on the way to Mars for him.
The possibility of leaving Earth, and expansion of his already bulging funds, is motivation enough for Musk to launch possibly hundreds of people into space to see what sticks.
Lucky for the businessman, there are no labour laws on Mars.
The guy is strange, that’s for sure.
Musk seems to want to either leave Earth for a shiny new colony on planet Mars, or leave humanity all together for a shiny new robot race.
Something about his obsession with obtaining wealth to transform himself and his wealthy friends into billionaire post-human Martians makes my lower-middle class toes curl.
The disparity between our priorities for the human race are immense, and his own opinions often seem to inhabit two completely contradictory principles.