Silicon Valley may have found another Steve Jobs—and this one comes with an even more impressive “reality distortion field.”
That evocative phrase, according to Walter Issacson’s biography, described Mr. Jobs’ unusual ability to determine the future, no matter how implausible it seemed in the present. It helped him deliver revolutionary changes to how we listen to music and use phones and computers.
Elon Musk’s ambitions soar even higher, as was on full display during an interview at the recent All Things D conference.
His electric-car company Tesla Motors aims to remake the way we drive, while the ultimate goal of his rocket company SpaceX, he said, is to travel to Mars and help build a self-sustaining base there.
Skepticism is the natural response. But each time Mr. Musk delivers a better, less-expensive electric car or launches another rocket successfully, he proves his doubters wrong.
Oh, and he co-founded a multibillion-dollar company called PayPal.
But there is more to Mr. Musk than cars and Mars. He also spends time thinking about warp-speed travel, which he says is “theoretically possible” because, while humans can’t travel faster than light, they could warp space itself “such that space is moving.” So there is that.
He also has an idea for faster terrestrial travel he calls the “hyperloop,” which could slash the commute from Los Angeles to San Francisco from six hours to fraction of that. He described the hyperloop as a combination of Concorde, a rail gun and an air-hockey table.
There is no shortage of big dreamers in tech land. Mr. Jobs stood out because he had accomplishments to match. For Mr. Musk, there is a lot more reality to distort before his more-fanciful visions get realized.
Still, there is no denying the gravitational pull of his visions.[via WSJ]