Question: “Wait..Eric, aren’t u the guy who’ss selling the idea that our only way out is to leave the planet????” – @fredbristol2
Answer: Let’s be clear about this weird sounding issue.
@elonmusk is one of the only minds properly focused in public on the issue of the current danger to human consciousness from having all known intelligent life in the universe on a single terrestrial surface. His top idea: rockets.
I think that’s great. Where we differ is that I don’t think Earth, our Moon & Mars plus space stations connected by rockets give us much real diversity. It’s barely doable. But assume you could make it work. I would want to run 1000s of uncorrelated experiments as most will fail.
And if we are stuck in this solar system with the physics we know there is only one good surface and two marginal ones.
Faster than light spacetime travel is bullshit. But going beyond Einstein is not.
It’s unbelievably hard, but everything Elon does is hard. Like hope.
But yes, he believes. In fun. In hope. In ending the epidemic of learned helplessness that has infected everyone else. So I’m a pretty die hard Elon supporter. Not because I agree w/ everything. But he gets **the** big issue right. We need to end the single correlated experiment.
So on the main issue we agree. The second issue is where we differ. A
multi multi billionaire (12 digits!) as smart as Elon w a physics background could diversify & place a small 2nd bet on rendering General Relativity a mere effective theory by single handedly fixing physics.
Now he may have a reason. But I have never heard him address this so it just makes no sense to me. No one is taking the need to go beyond Einstein seriously so we are pretty much trapped here in this solar system with the physics we know. That means three terrestrial surfaces.
But because Elon is so smart, I don’t discount the idea that he isn’t interested in finding out if post-Einsteinian physics for some reason. I just doesn’t add up to me, but maybe he knows something I don’t. But north of $100B w/ his knowledge of physics, he could change it all.
I just want to know why no one asks this question. Lex could do it. Joe could do it. But he doesn’t seem to address it so I have no idea what is going on. It’s not some special insight of mine. Our best hope for his stated dream is new physics. And making physics rich is cheap.
Imagine you wanted to pay 2m salary to all the top 50 theorists in the world for 10 years to get them all to move to a couple of centers to free them from careerist temptations so they could at last swing for the fences. The salaries would be about 0.005 of current net worth.
Now that doesn’t strike me as a small ask. It’s a big bill. But it is also our best hope. Imagine COVID was radioactive fallout from a serious nuclear exchange and compute half lives. Or imagine a climate disaster.
Elon shouldn’t have to do this. But government can’t anymore.
And the two multi billionaires I believe have the best technical chops to do this are Jim Simons and Elon Musk. But no one wants to build institutions that can do this because our institutions haven’t worked well enough since the Apollo program. So, I’m hopeful he gets asked.
Either way I want to encourage him. But I want to know why rockets over physics. Why not both? Why is a physics guy w a HUGE risk appetite not trying to do for Einstein & his speed limit what Einstein did for Newton’s Gravity? If you know the answer, I’d love to know it as well.
There isn’t much left that works in this area. I’m still betting on Elon making sense. It’s one of our last really good hopes. And returning fun and mischief to public spirited scientific attempts to “preserve the light of human consciousness” is something I’m 100% behind.
Take a look around you. Much as I love it, this place is likely going to blow.
Elon is right: time to diversify. And we need to have fun if we are going to be saving ourselves. 🙏