Elon Musk, scientific genius and media crook – rts.ch

Elon Musk bought Twitter, he flies rockets, deploys satellites by the thousands or promises the self-driving car with Tesla. A bit of a “con artist”, the billionaire is above all a “brilliant technology accelerator”, deciphers Olivier Lascar in Médialogues.

“Elon Musk has become a kind of person, which is to say, someone that everyone has heard of,” says Olivier Lascar, the magazine’s digital editor. Science and the Future – Research🇧🇷

This notoriety dates back to 2013, when Elon Musk unveiled “a technology compendium dedicated to the Hyperloop, this train project that would circulate in vacuum tunnels at the speed of an airplane”, says the author of the book “Elon Musk, the man who challenges science”, guest of the Médialogues program.

“Great tech accelerator”

Olivier Lascar’s book is subtitled “Elon Musk, genius or crook?”. However, “today, I would say that he is 66% brilliant and 30% crook. But he remains brilliant, because he is a technology accelerator (…) and he is someone who, despite the controversy, leaves you dreaming”, he said. the journalist.

During the Hyperloop presentation, the international media frenzy said that Elon Musk was the inventor. But “it is completely false. It takes up ideas that come from Swissmetro in particular and the Americans have also registered patents on the subject”.

>> Read about it: In Canada, the hyperloop concept is growing thanks to new funding and A Hyperloop vacuum transport test track is being built at the EPFL

He is also not the origin of Tesla. The brand is “closely linked to Elon Musk, when the company was founded by two American engineers, Tarpenning and Eberhardt”, in the early 2000s. “On the other hand, what happened to Tesla and this obsession with the autonomous car ( …) it was still Elon Musk who infused this idea“.

>> Read about it: Tesla opens a megafactory in Germany for its European production

“We associate him with many revolutionary innovations, even if he is not at the origin of them. But we have to give back to Caesar what is due to Caesar, he knows how to lift the mayonnaise and make things concrete”, continues Oliver Lascar.

When Mars hides a swarm of satellites

Elon Musk also pursues dreams of conquering space, with SpaceX, which has contracts with NASA, that is, with the American administration. But he looks beyond the Moon and talks about colonizing the planet Mars. In this case, he applies the two-shot method, as expressed by Olivier Lascar in his book. It focuses attention on this still very distant space project, while it develops its Starlink satellite network “almost silently”.

>> Read about it: Satellite constellations to access the internet anywhere and Smartphones look at satellites

Elon Musk is really pursuing the plan to go to Mars. But while this subject polarizes the debates, namely for the necessary resources while “we try to create the conditions that can save the Earth”, “one fine morning, astrophysicists pull us by the sleeve saying: ‘but what are these things you see in the sky? . You can no longer watch the night sky silently’ due to the number of Starlink satellites installed in low Earth orbit to provide Internet service to the entire globe.

>> Read about it: Soon satellite lights will shadow the stars

Incidentally, Elon Musk is setting up “a completely vertical business, because he designs the rockets to launch his satellites, which themselves provide his Internet service. He’s establishing a monopoly on global web access, and obviously it’s worrying. 🇧🇷

Currently, 2,000 Starlink devices are in orbit, out of the 9,000 existing satellites around the Earth. However, Elon Musk plans to release 42,000 in all. A huge number that is explained by the fact that these satellites are installed in low orbit. They will gradually lose some altitude, gradually enter the Earth’s atmosphere and be destroyed by friction. “Musk knows that for his global network to work, there will be a very high renewal rate. And that figure of 42,000 includes replacement satellites”, explains Olivier Lascar.

brain implants

Elon Musk is also investing in a project that is less known to the general public. With Neuralink, he wants to “equip brains with electronic chips that will allow the ludic use of a connection to computers, that is, playing video games by thinking”. It’s a lot to talk about, but it’s a “distant scenario (…), it’s science fiction, it’s Philip K. Dick”.

This company is also working on miniaturized implants that can be placed in the brains of people suffering from neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. The product is still in development, but if successful, Neuralink could “swallow a market” that potentially worries a lot of people, says Olivier Lascar.

Interview by Antoine Droux

Web adaptation: taxi

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