Breaking down Elon Musk’s surprise, sold-out talk at SXSW
An email sent in the dead of night on Saturday revealed Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, would appear at SXSW for a surprise Q&A session. By 8:30 the following morning, the Moody Theater was sold out; by noon, when Musk was scheduled to take the stage, the arena was packed.
Musk, prodded along by Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan, started by talking about his goals for SpaceX and the future of interstellar travel. Audience members submitted questions on a private network, and the first asked how everyday people could help get humans to Mars. Musk’s answer essentially boiled down to, “I appreciate your support, but I got this.”
Though Musk has his hand in myriad industries — transportation, energy, artificial intelligence and space, to name a few — interplanetary travel was the star of the conversation. Early on, the lights dimmed as Nolan introduced the Falcon Heavy & Starman video that hit YouTube over the weekend, highlighting the recent, successful Falcon Heavy launch that put a Tesla in space.
Musk and Nolan’s on-stage talk was casual and meandering, littered with tidbits about Musk’s work habits, his plans for the future and the more terrifying realities of artificial intelligence.
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