ANTISECHE – Elon Musk has just bought the social network Twitter. Genius for some, troublemaker for others: who is this entrepreneur? Every day, the JDD’s cheat sheet answers a not-so-stupid question, to better understand the news.
Elon Musk, the new owner of the social network Twitter, is the head of several successful companies (Tesla electric cars and SpaceX rockets), the richest man in the world and a complex character, with sometimes confusing behavior.
He was born almost 51 years ago in Pretoria, South Africa. He now has three nationalities since he is South African, he became Canadian in 1988 and American in 2002. He is the son of a very rich South African engineer who became co-owner of an emerald mine. His brother assures us that very early on he started reading two books a day. A year ago, he said he had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.
Elon Musk founded and then co-directed the online payment company Paypal, whose sale in 2002 brought him nearly $200 million. The same year, he bet almost all of his fortune by founding SpaceX, to compete with NASA. The ambition seems disproportionate, but ten years later the company supplies the International Space Station and then becomes one of the transporters of cosmonauts to the same structure. Thanks to certain revolutionary principles (his rockets are partly reusable), he thinks he can become the leader of the sector and wants to… send men to Mars.
Tesla leader and future pioneer of human-machine interfaces?
He also leads Tesla, an electric-only carmaker that has successfully democratized the concept and plans to revolutionize the battery industry as well.
Elon Musk doesn’t just start and run companies, he also seeks to “inspire” other tech adventures. Like Hyperloop, a concept for transporting cars at just below the speed of sound through underground tunnels. This arouses the circumspection of certain specialists.
He is also the founder of Neuralink, a company that seeks to create interfaces between the human brain and artificial intelligences using brain chips. This raises many concerns in this case among specialists.
The personality, some of his ideas, his influence on certain economic sectors and the behavior of Elon Musk can also be disconcerting. He appeared on a famous talk show drinking with little restraint and agreeing to use cannabis on the air. A simple tweet from him can have significant consequences on the price of cryptocurrencies. He named his youngest daughter (whom he had with Canadian singer Grimes) X Æ A-12, before changing his mind to X Æ A-XII because Californian justice prohibits numbers in first names. He is the richest man on the planet, with an estimated fortune of $257 billion, thanks in part to the value of the shares he owns in his companies.
Find our podcast L’Antisèche du JDD: