Neil deGrasse Tyson: Why Elon Musk is the most important tech giant of today

The famous astrophysicist argues why Elon Musk is more important than Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson shares why he places Elon Musk above other tech luminaries.
  • Musk is trying to transform the future of humanity, according to Tyson.
  • Musk's endeavors are much more than just creating a new app, argues the astrophysicist.

We love our tech heroes, the prophets of the latest and greatest machinery that transforms our lives faster and faster with each new invention. But who among the luminaries of our times that range from Apple's Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Microsoft's Bill Gates is the most important?

The renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson answered this loaded question in an interview with CNBC. His pick - Elon Musk, the quintessential tech entrepreneur of our times, who founded Tesla Motors, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink among other game-changing companies.

This breadth of Musk's endeavors is what Tyson appreciates over other tech influencers - Tyson says that Elon is "trying to invent a future" and not just "the next app".

"As important as Steve Jobs was, no doubt about it — [and] you have to add him to Bill Gates, because they birthed the personal computing revolution kind of together — here's the difference: Elon Musk is trying to invent a future, not by providing the next app," said Tyson.

What's significant, points out the astrophysicist, is that Musk is not "simply giving us the next app that will be awesome on our smartphone" but is "thinking about society, culture, how we interact, what forces need to be in play to take civilization into the next century."

Indeed, Musk's efforts have taken him to re-imagining human travel both in space and on Earth, as well as how humans interact with their machines overall.

The fact that Musk, as the CEO of the revolutionary SpaceX, centers much of his effort on space colonization is the biggest selling point for Tyson. He thinks that space will provide "unlimited resources" and reduce our reliance on war as a method of distributing them. "A whole category of war has the potential of evaporating entirely with the exploitation of space resources, which includes the unlimited access to energy as well," he predicts.

This focus on space has the biggest potential to affect society, according to Tyson, who says Musk ""will transform civilization as we know it."

Even though Elon Musk certainly has his detractors, Tyson believes they'll be won over eventually by the sheer extent of the pot-smoking billionaire's accomplishments. "W]e're on the frontier of the future of civilization, and no I don't think he gets his full due from all sectors of society," says deGrasse Tyson, "but ultimately he will when the sectors that he is pioneering transform the lives of those who currently have no clue that their life is about to change."


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