Five major career moves by Elon Musk, making mark as tech giant

Five major career moves by Elon Musk, making mark as tech giant

With recent Twitter buyout, Musk adds 'freedom of speech' to list of difficult-to-solve issues to tackle

News Service AA

Seen by many as one of the great entrepreneurial innovators of our time, Elon Musk has a lot in mind to enact his vision of a better world.

The co-founder of PayPal and Tesla, and the founder of SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, Musk has chosen to focus on particularly complicated issues facing humanity with a string of sensational initiatives.

Known for his eccentric way of doing things and his resounding successes, the multibillionaire is often associated with other trailblazers like Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates.

With a current estimated net worth of around $273 billion, Musk is the richest person in the world, according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes real-time billionaires list.

Here is a brief look at the initiatives that made headlines and blew up several industries:

1. Creating (PayPal) e-payments

By founding, an online payment firm, in 1999, Musk was eager to shape the future of banking.

He was interested in helping people make payments via email, so he merged with another firm, Confinity, to form PayPal, which was purchased by eBay in 2002 for a price tag of more than $1 billion.

2. SpaceX: Sending humans to Mars

In 2001, Musk became involved in the nonprofit Mars Society, inspired by plans to place a growth-chamber for plants on Mars, discussing the idea of funding the project himself.

He got one step closer to this goal when, in 2002, he established SpaceX to help reduce the cost of space transportation and enable what once seemed the crazy aim of colonizing the Red Planet.

In 2018, SpaceX made history by successfully launching its Falcon Heavy rocket with an electric car on board and bound for deep space. Marking an important milestone in spaceflight, this was the first time a rocket that powerful was sent into space by a private company, rather than a government space agency.

3. Hyperloop: Changing the future of transportation

Traffic congestion and mass transit in the world's densely populated cities are two other major issues Musk says he wants to tackle.

To do this, Musk hopes to build what has been dubbed the Hyperloop, a proposed high-speed transportation system for both people and goods, designed to employ three essential components: Tubes, pods, and terminals.

This system, begun in 2013 and still in the formative stages, aims to take people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour using pressurized tubes.

4. Neuralink and AI debate

In 2016, Musk co-founded neurotechnology startup Neuralink to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence (AI) by creating devices embedded in the brain to facilitate its merging with machines.

At a live demonstration in August 2020, Musk described one of their early devices as "a Fitbit in your skull," that could soon cure paralysis, deafness, blindness, and other disabilities. Fitbit is a US firm that produces smart watches and fitness trackers.

Many neuroscientists and publications criticized these claims, which the MIT Technology Review magazine called "highly speculative" and "neuroscience theater."

Actually, Musk is no fan of artificial intelligence, and warns of risks if it is allowed to develop unchecked.

"I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence," Musk once said. "If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful."

5. Buying Twitter: Free speech 'absolutist'?

Describing himself as a "free speech absolutist," Musk's most recent major exploit was a deal he struck to buy Twitter with the proclaimed aim of halting censorship on the platform.

Twitter announced on Monday that it had accepted his offer to purchase it for $44 billion.

While the sale led to an outcry from many Twitter users, Musk said the agreement would affect neither the company nor its policies. "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," he said.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans."

In recent years, Twitter has stepped up measures to combat misinformation and violent or provocative speech on its platform, even banning users who break its rules, such as former US President Donald Trump.

What will Musk's purchase of Twitter bring? It remains to be seen what he will do with the reins of the company that the enterprising 50-year-old is soon to take in hand.


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