Elon Musk

From SI410
Revision as of 22:42, 20 April 2021 by Ghchan (Talk | contribs) (Scandals: Added section on 'pedo guy' tweets)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Elon musk.jpeg
Caption Here
Birthname Elon Reeve Musk
Date of Birth June 28, 1971
Birth Place Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Nationality American, South African, Canadian
Occupation Entrepreneur, Engineer
Biography Best known for founding Tesla, SpaceX, Paypal, and his eccentric personality.

Elon Musk (born June 28, 1971) is an entrepreneur, engineer, and philanthropist who has either founded or co-founded the following companies: SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, Neuralink, OpenAI and PayPal. Musk ranks 25th on Forbes list of “The World's Most Powerful People” and is one of four members on the list under the age of 50[1]. According to Forbes, Musk has a net worth of $34.6 Billion dollars.

Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk’s parents divorced when he was 10 years old [2]. Later that year, he developed an interest in computers and taught himself how to program. By the age of 12, Musk had created and sold his first piece of software, a game called Blastar.

Musk moved from South Africa to Canada to attend Queen’s University in 1989 at the age of 17. After two years at Queen’s, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned degrees in both business and physics. After his graduation, he went to Stanford to pursue a Ph.D. in energy physics but dropped out after two days to start a company with his brother.


Early Career

After dropping out of Stanford, Musk and his brother, Kimbal, started a company called the Zip2 Corporation. Zip2 was an online city guide that was eventually acquired by a division of Compaq Computer Corporation for $307 million. They then used this money to start a company called X.com, an online financial services company. X.com turned into what is now known as PayPal and was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.


After Paypal, Musk started SpaceX, a company designed to build space products and spacecraft for commercial use. SpaceX has been a work in progress ever since Musk founded it in 2002 and continues to grow each year. Musk continuously presents updated plans and designs for new space products and even received approval to launch satellites into space for internet service in 2018. Musk’s goal is for SpaceX to reach Mars and they plan to send a private passenger to the moon in 2023 [3].

Tesla Motors

In 2003, Musk founded Tesla Motors. His goal for this company was to provide affordable, battery-powered cars, as well as solar roofs. Musk is the CEO and product architect of this company and oversees all product development and engineering. Tesla has developed multiple cars including the Roadster, Model S, Model 3, and most recently a Tesla SUV [4].

Other Projects

In 2016, Musk launched two additional companies, Neuralink Corp. and The Boring Company. In July of 2016, Neuralink registered in California as a “medical research” company that aims to develop what Musk calls “neural lace” technology.[5] The company plans to develop cranial computers to treat intractable brain diseases, using microscopic brain electrodes to upload and download thoughts. Then, in December of 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company, “an infrastructure and tunnel construction that aims to dig tunnels efficiently to facilitate an underground transportation network.” [6]


Marijuana Incident

Musk was seen on The Joe Rogan Podcast smoking marijuana inside of tobacco according to show host Joe Rogan. The interview contained clips of Musk acknowledging extreme pressure and work hours, hence defending his actions of smoking marijuana. Tesla stock took a dip after videos surfaced on social media and on the news. Although marijuana is legal in California, Musk took some backlash online for his actions. [7]

Taking Tesla Private

In 2018, Musk sent out a tweet saying that he had secured funding in order to take Tesla private[8]. Tesla has been a publicly traded company since 2012, so the news to take Tesla private was a shock to many. However, his tweet ended up being false and Musk got into trouble with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, as there was suspected foul play. They are still investigating this incident, but Musk claims he had no false intentions with these tweets.

'Pedo Guy' Tweet

In a series of tweets that he has since deleted, Musk called Vern Unsworth—the man who played a key role in the rescue effort of 12 young boys and their coach who had found themselves trapped in the Tham Luang cave system of Thailand after heavy flooding—a ‘pedo guy’.[9] This came after Unsworth publicly dismissed the custom mini-submarine that Musk had specially built and delivered to the cave system—that was eventually never used—as a “P.R. stunt” in an interview with CNN, even telling Musk to “stick his submarine where it hurts”. When Unsworth then filed a $190 million defamation suit against Musk, Musk testified under oath during the trial that he never meant for his tweets to be taken literally and even apologized to Unsworth for his comments. Musk would eventually be cleared of wrongdoing after a federal court jury quickly dismissed the case. However, the trial did revive discussion of Musk’s “erratic” behavior on Twitter, having previously come to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay a fine of $20 million for a tweet about taking Tesla private.[10]

Ethical Implications

Factory Injuries

Tesla’s main production plant in Fremont, California is home to 15,000 full-time contract employees, making it the largest staffed auto plant in the United States. Musk and Tesla have openly faced criticism regarding safety violations and worker injuries [11]. The company has paid $236,730 in OSHA fines while the other main auto companies such as BMW or Ford, have only paid a combined $89,589 dollars in fines. In response to scrutiny regarding fines and excessive injuries, Musk sent out a company email asking that every factory injury be sent directly to him and he even met with every worker who had been injured in the factory [12].

Journalism Credibility Website

Facing criticism from American journalists, Musk threatened to create a platform where the public can rate the truth of any given article. Journalists would have a “credibility score” over time based on the truthfulness of their articles in the eyes of the public[13].

Neuralink's Brain Chip

Neuralink is a Bay Area-based Brain-Computer interface research company founded by Musk in 2016 [14]. In July of 2019, Musk spoke to an audience in London about Neuralink's new project: Bluetooth-enabled implants into your brain [15]. Musk hopes that Neuralink's Bluetooth chip will enable telepathy and help aid humans with injured motor functions. The microchip -- that is one-tenth of the size of a human hair strand -- would be surgically placed into one's head by a Neuralink robot and have the capability to connect to laptops or mobile phones. Trials for the chip could begin anytime now, but pushback and concern from the tech world have been swirling. Companies receiving a continuous flow of data directly from the human brain is the main concern of many. Who will have access to this sensitive data and what this data will be used for are the baseline of the many questions Musk faced when speaking in London.


  1. "The World's Most Powerful People" Forbes. [1] Forbes. 2018.
  2. "Elon Musk" Biography.com Authors. [2] Biography.com. Dec 12th, 2019.
  3. "SpaceX Homepage" Elon Musk. [3] "SpaceX". 2018
  4. "Facts About Tesla" Jeff Desjardins. [4]. "Business Insider". October 1st, 2017
  5. Winkler, R. (2017). Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers. WSJ. Retrieved 20 April 2021, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-launches-neuralink-to-connect-brains-with-computers-1490642652.
  6. The Boring Company. crunchbase. Retrieved 20 April 2021, from https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/the-boring-company.
  7. "Elon Musk Marijuana Controversy" Nathan Bomey[5]. "USA Today". Sep 7th, 2018.
  8. "Elon Musk Wants to Take Tesla Private" Tom Huddleston Jr.[6]. "CNBC". August 8th, 2018.
  9. British caver 'could sue' Elon Musk over Twitter attack. BBC News. (2018). Retrieved 20 April 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44846945.
  10. Parsons, R., & Groom, N. (2019). Tesla boss Elon Musk wins defamation trial over his 'pedo guy' tweet. U.S. Retrieved 20 April 2021, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-musk-lawsuit/tesla-boss-elon-musk-wins-defamation-trial-over-his-pedo-guy-tweet-idUSKBN1YA13U
  11. "Tesla Saftey Violations" Alan Oshman.[7]. "Forbes" March 1st, 2019
  12. "Elon Musks Ethical Leadership" Joesph Vesnesky[8]. "PSU Education". June 15th, 2018
  13. "Elon Musk May Actually be Making a Website to Rate Journalists Credibility" Robert Ferris [9]. "CNBC". May 25th, 2018
  14. "Neuralink Homepage" [10] "Neuralink".
  15. "Elon Musk Neuralink Brain Implant" Michael Scaturro [11] "CNN Business". July 18th, 2019.