Musk takes the stage. Photo: Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW

Elon Musk says the first human colony on Mars won't be an "escape hatch for rich people," but will instead be a place where a small group of people "for whom the excitement of the frontier exceeds the risk and danger" plants the seeds for a democratic, entrepreneurial society.

  • In the beginning it will have "the most elementary infrastructure. Just a base to create propellant, a power station, blast domes in which to grow crops, all the sort of fundamentals without which you could not survive."
  • And then, "There will be an explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs."
  • Musk also said Mars will probably be a direct democracy, with votes on every major issue, per CNN's Dylan Byers.

As for the timeline, Musk noted that the first ship that could potentially travel to Mars is now in production, and said he hopes it will be able to do short "up and down" flights early next year.

Artificial Intelligence

Musk again sounded the alarm on AI, saying regulating it is "the most important thing we could possibly do."

“Mark my words: AI is far more dangerous than nukes … I’m very close to the cutting edge of AI and it scares the hell out of me.”

"I'm not normally advocate of regulation and oversight. This is a very serious danger to public therefore there needs to be public body that has insight and oversight," he said.

Self-driving vehicles

“By the end of next year, self-driving will encompass essentially all modes of driving and be at least 100-200% safer than a person. We're talking maybe 18 months from now"

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