Beware of do-gooders who want to save humanity, especially when they are powerful. Elon Musk has no shortage of futuristic ideas to transform our lives. And his power is colossal. At the head of a fortune estimated last year at 200 billion dollars, which earned him to be considered the richest man in the world in 2021, this techno-prophet not only revolutionized the automotive market by developing, with Tesla, electric cars that until now, they have essentially allowed the richest to buy the wheel in the face of global warming. He has also invested heavily, in particular thanks to NASA dollars, in conquering space with Space X – the Moon, then Mars, as Musk likes to quote the Russian Constantin Tsiolkovsky: “Earth is the cradle of humanity, but humanity cannot remain in its cradle forever. » The plan, before the climate becomes too severe on the blue planet, is to migrate a sizable sample of humans to the red planet. Why simplify? Meanwhile, as in this scenario the Earth is doomed, another of Musk’s companies, Starlink, invades its low orbit with a constellation of satellites that feed the internet with countless amounts of data.
From SpaceX to Twitter, what is Elon Musk’s real project?
Elon Musk’s cosmic dreams are no longer fun. Until now, this whimsical character was presented as a genius businessman, who so fascinated fans of sucess histories and science fiction fans. Today, your superpowers care. Not only does he set out to shape the global public conversation by buying the social network Twitter at the end of October, but he also intends to assess an already terribly chaotic geopolitics, as when he proposes “peace” plans for Ukraine or the creation of a “special administrative zone” around Taiwan. Here is a man who doesn’t need to be elected to play the role of head of state. The interest Emmanuel Macron took in him during his recent trip to Louisiana says a lot about his status.
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But who are these people who only authorize themselves and have, in the 21st centuryand century, a greater weight than some countries? Musk is even more concerned that he is not alone in his species. This is what our front page examines this week, dissecting from his case the solutionist, transhumanist and voracious ideology that guides the technology lords. The head of Starlink and Twitter might just be the most colorful representative of a “technofeudalism” that, thanks to the massive collection of our data and the development of ever more intrusive algorithms, is spreading at breakneck speed into our lives, ours. economies and our political structures. “Instead of seeking profit in productsexplains here the economist Cédric Durand, they seek, like the lords of the past, to control social activity in order to raise income. »
How to regulate these appetites? Under the guise of a sympathetic libertarian philosophy, the “technolords” threaten our freedoms on different levels. The apology from “free speech”, claimed by the new boss of Twitter when he reactivated the accounts of Donald Trump or certain conspirators, always ends up being more favorable to far-right theses than anything else; and it is in the so-called social networks that the attack that has just happened in Brasilia was organized. However, in the face of transnational digital powers, our democracies seem weak at the moment, with their borders and their cautious delays. In 2018, in the United States, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed the partial dismantling of Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft). In vain. Even if, in Europe, the Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, has just passed a Digital Services Act that should hold the biggest platforms accountable for what they publish, the game is far from being won. It becomes urgent to regain control if we are to preserve the humanity of these formidable benefactors and keep our feet on the ground.