August 28th, 2013

A layperson’s question for all of you working in the tech industry: Is Elon Musk going to change the world? Or are these promises he makes, these ideas he floats out to the world, actually too good to be true?

I ask that now because I’m in love with the idea of the hyperloop that he’s proposed to run between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Half an hour to make the trip, he promises, and at a cost of only $20. Travel would be revolutionized. Pretty soon, I guess, we’d be going to New York for dinner, popping up to Seattle for coffee with an old friend. It’ll be just like in all the Phillip K Dick novels I’ve been binge reading lately. And he, Musk, talks about it like it’d be a pretty simple thing to get together. He’s got the design all in order, it’s just a matter of whether he can be bothered to take the time away from his other projects. We should all write to him, I thought, reading about it, beg, plead, send flowers and homemade pies. Please make us a hyperloop, we’d say, and soon enough he’d acquiesce and we’d get to live in the future.

But then I read a little further. He’s a very glamorous man, Mr. Musk, clearly brilliant and bold and visionary, but nothing has QUITE worked yet. Tesla has only made just a few cars. SpaceX launched one rocket. He himself seems to be really actively hoping it all goes well. He’s certainly giving us a vision of what could be, but is it unsafe to get emotionally involved in his vision of the future? Is it wiser to look at his two divorces and use that as an indicator of just how prescient he really is? What are you all thinking about this wild and wondrous man?

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