"Mars colonisation as extinction insurance."

Elon Musk's vision to safeguard humanity's existence


Wed, Oct 1st, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Aeon, Ross Anderson interviews Elon Musk, the man behind SpaceX and the electric car company Tesla, on his plans to colonise Mars. Sometime in the near future, Elon wants to put a million colonists on the red planet in order to safeguard the future of humanity. His point is interesting: over the course of its 13.8 billion years existence, the universe should be teeming with intelligent life flying around in spaceships — yet nothing has been found. Perhaps intelligent life is the exception to the rule, not the norm and we have a duty to "maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future."

Musk has a more sinister theory. ‘The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation,’ he told me. ‘Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish.’ Musk flipped through a few more possibilities, each packing a deeper existential chill than the last, until finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’



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