- Elon Musk mentioned wizards, flip phones, horses, and rust balls during Tesla’s investor day.
- The EV maker’s CEO weighed in on AI’s potential, scaling issues, and the power of the human mind.
- There’s essentially infinite demand for Tesla cars, but affordability is limiting sales, Musk said.
Elon Musk touched on everything from wizards and horses to flip phones and rust balls during Tesla’s investor day on Wednesday.
The electric-vehicle company’s CEO also cracked a joke about charging, and discussed the limits and dangers of artificial intelligence, the inner workings of the human brain, and the headaches of scaling car production.
Here are Musk’s 10 most colorful quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:
1. “There’s a very wide range of technical expertise out there, from people who are level 9 wizards in the subject to people who do not do engineering at all.”
2. “All cars will go to fully electric and autonomous. Riding in a non-autonomous gasoline car is going to be analogous to riding a horse and using a flip phone.”
3. “Trivia point — what is Earth made of? By mass, it is made of iron more than anything else. Second, oxygen and then everything else after that. So basically, Earth is a muddy rust ball.”
4. “I don’t think very many people are going to use bi-directional charging unless you have a Powerwall, because if you unplug your car, your house goes dark, and this is extremely inconvenient. If you have a Powerwall that can take the house load, then you know you’re not going to drive everyone crazy by unplugging your car and having the house go off — you’ve not diminished the convenience of the people in the house.”
5. “People have run out of things to do with conventional cars so they just end up reshuffling the deck. There are hundreds of variants of cars on the road, and mostly they’re variants for the sake of variants. Look at how things converged with the phone — there used to be hundreds of flip phones, now what do we have? It’ll be like that.” (Musk was discussing how many different Tesla models he plans to launch.)
6. “Demand for our vehicles in terms of desire to own them may as well be infinite — it’s indistinguishable from infinite at this point. The affordability is what matters. As you make the car more affordable, we will have demand go crazy.”
7. “The hard part is building the cars, and the entire supply chain that goes with the cars — this is a logistics challenge of extraordinary difficulty. All the things that have to go into the car have to scale with the car while everything is doing an exponential ramp. If you miss even one of those things, doesn’t matter why — earthquake, flood, fire, revolution — any part of that supply chain gets interrupted, then you have a seizure.”
8. “I don’t see AI helping us make cars anytime soon. No point any of us working at that point. We should all just chill out.”
9. “I’m a little worried about the AI stuff; it’s something we should be concerned about. We need some
kind of regulatory authority that’s overseeing AI development, and just making sure that it’s operating within the public interest. It’s quite a dangerous technology — I fear I may have done some things to accelerate it.” (Musk cofounded OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.)
10. “If you actually look at our neural-net architecture in the car, it’s kind of insane, frankly — nets upon nets upon nets upon nets. It’s hard to visualize. I guess something like that’s happening in our brains while we drive around, which is pretty wild.”