Tesla founder Elon Musk has identified what he views as the three most significant existential threats facing humans – with falling global birthrates at the top of the list.
The billionaire, who has spoken extensively about his belief that humans aren’t having enough children, reiterated his concern when asked to reveal his “biggest fear.” Musk said humanity’s falling birth rate has been “troubling [him] for many years,” adding that he drives his friends “crazy” by bringing it up so often.
“I spent a lot of time talking about the birthrate thing,” Musk said in an interview with the Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner published over the weekend. “That might be the single biggest threat to the future of human civilization.”
Musk identified two other leading existential threats: his fears of “artificial intelligence going wrong” and the rise of what he called “religious extremism.”
Musk’s fear was reflected in recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US birth rate declined by 4% from 2019 to 2020, marking the sixth consecutive year of declines and the lowest number of births since 1979.
“Most people in the world are operating under the false impression that we’ve got too many people. This is not true. The birth rate has been dropping like crazy,” Musk added. “Unfortunately, we have these ridiculous population estimates from the UN that need to be updated because they just don’t make any sense.”
Last December, Musk warned that civilization will “crumble” if the birth rate doesn’t rebound.
Musk’s firm, Tesla, is taking steps to address the possibility of a future labor shortage. The company is developing a humanoid “Tesla bot” capable of performing basic tasks and labor – an initiative that Musk claims will eventually be bigger than its electric car business.
The SpaceX founder also reiterated his long-term goal of establishing a permanent human colony on Mars – arguing doing so would extend humanity’s lifespan.
“I would be happy if humanity has a self-sustaining city on Mars because then, probable lifespan of humanity is much greater,” Musk said. “I think we really just got this little candle of consciousness, like a small light in the void. And we do not want this small candle in the darkness to be put out.”
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