If anyone thinks they'd rather be in a different part of history, they're probably not a very good student of history. Life sucked in the old days. People knew very little, and you were likely to die at a young age of some horrible disease. You'd probably have no teeth by now. It would be particularly awful if you were a woman.
The lessons of history would suggest that civilisations move in cycles. You can track that back quite far - the Babylonians, the Sumerians, followed by the Egyptians, the Romans, China. We're obviously in a very upward cycle right now, and hopefully that remains the case. But it may not.
I really do encourage other manufacturers to bring electric cars to market. It's a good thing, and they need to bring it to market and keep iterating and improving and make better and better electric cars, and that's what going to result in humanity achieving a sustainable transport future. I wish it was growing faster than it is.
The reality is gas prices should be much more expensive then they are because we're not incorporating the true damage to the environment and the hidden costs of mining oil and transporting it to the U.S. Whenever you have an unpriced externality, you have a bit of a market failure, to the degree that eternality remains unpriced.
If we could do high-speed rail in California just half a notch above what they've done on the Shanghai line in China, and if we had a straight path from L.A. to San Francisco, as well as the milk run, at least that would be progress.
I think the high-tech industry is used to developing new things very quickly. It's the Silicon Valley way of doing business: You either move very quickly and you work hard to improve your product technology, or you get destroyed by some other company.
Yeah, well I think anyone who likes fast cars will love the Tesla. And it has fantastic handling by the way. I mean this car will crush a Porsche on the track, just crush it. So if you like fast cars, you'll love this car. And then oh, by the way, it happens to be electric and it's twice the efficiency of a Prius.
There have only been about a half dozen genuinely important events in the four-billion-year saga of life on Earth: single-celled life, multicelled life, differentiation into plants and animals, movement of animals from water to land, and the advent of mammals and consciousness.
I do think there is a lot of potential if you have a compelling product and people are willing to pay a premium for that. I think that is what Apple has shown. You can buy a much cheaper cell phone or laptop, but Apple's product is so much better than the alternative, and people are willing to pay that premium.
If you want to grow a giant redwood, you need to make sure the seeds are ok, nurture the sapling, and work out what might potentially stop it from growing all the way along. Anything that breaks it at any point stops that growth.
SpaceX is only 12 years old now. Between now and 2040, the company's lifespan will have tripled. If we have linear improvement in technology, as opposed to logarithmic, then we should have a significant base on Mars, perhaps with thousands or tens of thousands of people.
The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You're encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren't that smart, who aren't that creative.
Automotive franchise laws were put in place decades ago to prevent a manufacturer from unfairly opening stores in direct competition with an existing franchise dealer that had already invested time, money and effort to open and promote their business.
To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That's what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games - nothing like saving the world.
My background educationally is physics and economics, and I grew up in sort of an engineering environment - my father is an electromechanical engineer. And so there were lots of engineery things around me.
A battery by definition is a collection of cells. So the cell is a little can of chemicals. And the challenge is taking a very high-energy cell, and a large number of them, and combining them safely into a large battery.
It's important that we attempt to extend life beyond Earth now. It is the first time in the four billion-year history of Earth that it's been possible, and that window could be open for a long time - hopefully it is - or it could be open for a short time. We should err on the side of caution and do something now.
Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
I always invest my own money in the companies that I create. I don't believe in the whole thing of just using other people's money. I don't think that's right. I'm not going to ask other people to invest in something if I'm not prepared to do so myself.
What most people know but don't realize they know is that the world is almost entirely solar-powered already. If the sun wasn't there, we'd be a frozen ice ball at three degrees Kelvin, and the sun powers the entire system of precipitation. The whole ecosystem is solar-powered.
We could definitely make a flying car - but that's not the hard part. The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that's super safe and quiet? Because if it's a howler, you're going to make people very unhappy.
The future of humanity is going to bifurcate in two directions: Either it's going to become multiplanetary, or it's going to remain confined to one planet and eventually there's going to be an extinction event.
It would take six months to get to Mars if you go there slowly, with optimal energy cost. Then it would take eighteen months for the planets to realign. Then it would take six months to get back, though I can see getting the travel time down to three months pretty quickly if America has the will.
It is definitely true that the fundamental enabling technology for electric cars is lithium-ion as a cell chemistry technology. In the absence of that, I don't think it's possible to make an electric car that is competitive with a gasoline car.
An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us.
In the case of Apple, they did originally do production internally, but then along came unbelievably good outsourced manufacturing from companies like Foxconn. We don't have that in the rocket business. There's no Foxconn in the rocket business.
I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better. I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.
Trying to read our DNA is like trying to understand software code - with only 90% of the code riddled with errors. It's very difficult in that case to understand and predict what that software code is going to do.
It's obviously tricky to convert cellulose to a useful biofuel. I think actually the most efficient way to use cellulose is to burn it in a co-generation power plant. That will yield the most energy and that is something you can do today.
Boeing just took $20 billion and 10 years to improve the efficiency of their planes by 10 percent. That's pretty lame. I have a design in mind for a vertical liftoff supersonic jet that would be a really big improvement.
The space shuttle was often used as an example of why you shouldn't even attempt to make something reusable. But one failed experiment does not invalidate the greater goal. If that was the case, we'd never have had the light bulb.
I think there are more politicians in favor of electric cars than against. There are still some that are against, and I think the reasoning for that varies depending on the person, but in some cases, they just don't believe in climate change - they think oil will last forever.
Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.
With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it's like, yeah, he's sure he can control the demon. Didn't work out.
It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Target launch date for Falcon I maiden flight is Halloween(October 31) from our island launch complex in the Kwajalein Atoll. For potential customers out there, I should mention that Kwajalein has some of the worlds best scuba diving and snorkeling! It is literally a tropical paradise.
My vision is for a fully reusable rocket transport system between Earth and Mars that is able to re-fuel on Mars - this is very important - so you don't have to carry the return fuel when you go there.
I would like to fly in space. Absolutely. That would be cool. I used to just do personally risky things, but now I've got kids and responsibilities, so I can't be my own test pilot. That wouldn't be a good idea. But I definitely want to fly as soon as it's a sensible thing to do.
To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That's what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games. Nothing like saving the world.
You could power the entire United States with about 150 to 200 square kilometers of solar panels, the entire United States. Take a corner of Utah... there's not much going on there, I've been there. There's not even radio stations.
To our knowledge, life exists on only one planet, Earth. If something bad happens, it's gone. I think we should establish life on another planet-Mars in particular-but we 're not making very good progress. SpaceX is intended to make that happen.
I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful...With artificial intelligence we're summoning the demon.
The overarching goal of Tesla is to help reduce carbon emissions and that means low cost and high volume. We will also serve as an example to the auto industry, proving that the technology really works and customers want to buy electric vehicles.
Well, my motivation behind Tesla is really to do as much good as possible for the environment and the electric-vehicle revolution. I think there is still a lot of work to do and if we were to sell to a big company, I'm not sure it would progress at the same pace.
For all the supporters of Tesla over the years, and it's been several years now and there have been some very tough times, I'd just like to say thank you very much. I deeply appreciate the support, particularly through the darkest times.
I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based. However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.
One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree - make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic - being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.
There are really two things that have to occur in order for a new technology to be affordable to the mass market. One is you need economies of scale. The other is you need to iterate on the design. You need to go through a few versions.
It's not as though we can keep burning coal in our power plants. Coal is a finite resource, too. We must find alternatives, and it's a better idea to find alternatives sooner then wait until we run out of coal, and in the meantime, put God knows how many trillions of tons of CO2 that used to be buried underground into the atmosphere.
The revolutionary breakthrough will come with rockets that are fully and rapidly reusable. We will never conquer Mars unless we do that. It'll be too expensive. The American colonies would never have been pioneered if the ships that crossed the ocean hadn't been reusable.
Silicon Valley has evolved a critical mass of engineers and venture capitalists and all the support structure - the law firms, the real estate, all that - that are all actually geared toward being accepting of startups.
If you look at space companies, they've failed either because they've had a technical solution where success was not a possible outcome, they were unable to attract a critical mass of talent, or they just ran out of money. The finish line is usually a lot further away than you think.
With DNA, you have to be able to tell which genes are turned on or off. Current DNA sequencing cannot do that. The next generation of DNA sequencing needs to be able to do this. If somebody invents this, then we can start to very precisely identify cures for diseases.
From an evolutionary standpoint, human consciousness has not been around very long. A little light just went on after four and a half billion years. How often does that happen? Maybe it is quite rare.