The Joe Rogan Experience – Elon Musk


The Boring Company

  • Elon has a “hobby company” called The Boring Company
    • It started as a joke, and then they decided to make it real, and dig a tunnel under LA as a traffic fix
      • Elon has lived in LA for 16 years and the traffic has always been horrible
      • So maybe the tunnel will help – “Maybe it will be successful, maybe it won’t”
      • They’ve dug about a mile so far
      • This tunnel will actually be very safe during an earthquake
        • Earthquakes are essentially a surface thing – like waves on an ocean
        • The tunnel is constructed with “interlocking segments with double seals – like a snake exoskeleton”
          • Even when the ground moves, the tunnel will shift with the ground, like an underground snake.
      • Elon plans to build multiple tunnel levels – “You can have 100 levels of tunnel, no problem”
        • “You can go further down with tunnels, than you can go up with buildings. You can go 10,000 feet down if you want.”
    • The Boring Company originally old sold hats
    • They then started selling flamethrowers 
      • They made 20,000 of them, and they sold out in 4 days – no more will be made
      • Each was $500
      • It’s actually just a roofing torch with an air rifle cover – so it’s technically not a real flamethrower
        • To solve shipping problems, they labeled shipping boxes as “Not a Flamethrower”
  • When Elon has a bold idea, like building a tunnel, who does he bring it to?
    • For the tunnel – he first told it to a long time Space X engineer, Steve Davis
      • They just got a permit to dig a pit in the ground (a pit in the Space X parking lot)
      • “We just started off with a pit in our parking lot, a big pit” – It eventually turned into the tunnel

How does Elon have time to do everything he does?

  • “I have a million ideas, there’s no shortage”
  • “People don’t totally understand what I do with my time”
    • Elon’s Wikipedia page says he’s a “business magnate”
    • Elon estimates that 80% of his time is spent dealing with engineering and manufacturing
  • Note form Podcast Notes – I wish they expanded more on this. The myth remains. HOW DOES ELON DO ALL THAT HE DOES???

“We’re all basically chimps”

  • “We’re one notch above a chimp” – Elon
  • “I might have some mutation or something like that”

Artificial Intelligence

  • “It’s less of a worry than it used to be, mainly due to taking more of a fatalistic attitude”
  • “It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just outside human control”
  • It will be very tempting to use AI as a weapon – and it will probably happen
  • “A company is essentially a cybernetic collective, of people and machines”
    • Google, plus all the humans that use it, are one giant cybernetic collective
    • We’re all effectively programming the AI – This is also true of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.
  • Materialism
    • Perhaps it’s built into us – to always have the latest and greatest, Joe thinks – just like ants and their drive to build an ant hill
    • “We’re a weird thing, and I’ve often wondered if our ultimate goal is to give birth to some new thing (like AI), and that’s why we’re so obsessed with technology” – Joe
  • “The percentage of intelligence that is not human, is increasing”
    • Eventually humans will represent a very small percentage of all intelligence
  • The success of these online systems is a function of how much limbic resonance they’re able to achieve with people
    • The more limbic resonance, the more engagement
    • The reason Instagram is more enticing than Twitter – more limbic resonance
  • Elon was once a big proponent of slowing down AI development and regulating it more heavily this is talked about in the book Life 3.0
    • But Elon says, his efforts were futile
    • A good point – the auto industry once fought regulation (like seat belts) for decades
      • The same thing will happen with AI – regulation will be slow to develop
      • It has to happen quicker with AI – if we wait to regulate it, it’ll be too late
        • Otherwise, it’s “a countdown until we’re out of control”
        • “It could be terrible, it could be great. It’s not clear. But one thing’s for sure, we won’t control it.”
  • Chimps and AI
    • Check out the documentary Chimpanzee – Elon recommends it
    • “We, in a way, to the AI, might be like chimps” – Joe
    • But Elon has a good point – we don’t think about chimps, AI probably won’t even care about us


  • The scenario in which we merge with AI, is the one it probably turns out best for us
    • “If you can’t beat it, join it”
  • This is the premise of Elon’s company Neuralink
  • Elons says Neuralink will have something to announce in a few months, that’s “better than anyone thinks is possible”
  • Neuralink essentially wants to add a brain-computer interface to humans
  • “It will enable anyone who wants to have super human cognition, to have it”
  • Note from Podcast Notes – Check out this excellent blog post on Neuralink. It’s long but very much worth the read.
  • Elon draws a comparison – think about how much smarter you yourself are with a phone
    • “Your phone is already an extension of you. You’re already a cyborg, and most people don’t realize it.”
    • The problem though – the communication rate between you and your phone/computer is very slow (compared to what it could be) – This is the problem Neuralink is setting out to solve

Social Media

  • “People look like they have a much better life than they really do” – Elon
    • You’re prone to think – “There’s all these happy beautiful people, and I’m not that good looking, and I’m not happy, so I must suck”
    • “Those people you think are super happy, are not that happy”
    • “Some of the happiest seeming people, actually are some of the saddest people in reality”
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

The Simulation and The Universe

  • The Universe is 13.8 billion years old
  • “If you assume any rate of improvement at all, gains will be indistinguishable from reality (or civilization will end), so we’re most likely in a simulation”
    • Elon thinks there are many simulations, like our own, running at the same time
    • He has an interesting analogy – think about the filming of an action movie, it takes forever
      • The actual action movie itself, is only 2-3 hours of entertainment
      • If we’re in a simulation, reality outside the simulation, is probably pretty boring – like the filming of the action movie
  • “Eventually the universe will end, it’s just a question of when, so it really is all about the journey”
    • “The universe as we know it will dissipate into a fine mist of cold nothingness eventually”


  • “Most people don’t know what it can do”
  • “I think a Tesla is the most fun thing you could possibly ever buy”
    • “It’s not a car, it’s a thing to maximize enjoyment”
  • Teslas are driving itself better everyday
    • If you currently fall asleep while it’s in self driving mode…
      • If no one touches the wheel after a while, the car will gradually slow down, the emergency lights will go on, and the car will honk to wake you up
  • Elon has a 1961 Series 1 E Type Jaguar and an old Ford Model T – which are his only 2 gasoline cars
  • In Ludicrous Mode, the Tesla (he doesn’t say which model) goes 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds
    • The new next generation Roadster will be able to go 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds

Flying Cars?

Electric Planes and the Energy Crisis

  • Elon has a design ready – “I’ve thought about this quite a lot”
  • It would have electric vertical take off and landing
  • Note from Podcast Notes – Elon goes on a long rant about force balance, air density, etc. which I don’t understand (neither does Joe)
  • “An electric plane isn’t necessary right now. An electric car is. Solar energy, and stationary storage of energy – these are important. More important than electric planes.”
    • “We’re really playing a crazy game with the atmosphere and the oceans”
    • e’re taking vast amounts of carbon, from deep underground, and putting it in the atmosphere – “This is crazy and dangerous, we should not do this”
    • The more carbon we take out of the ground, and add to the atmosphere, the more dangerous it is”
    • Elon thinks we’re okay right now, but the momentum toward sustainable energy is too slow
    • “The scientific consensus is overwhelming. I don’t know any serious scientist who doesn’t think we have a serious climate risk that we’re facing”
  • At one point, Elon wanted to put solar panels on Tesla cars to power them

More on Tesla and Electric Cars

  • The bottle neck for electric cars..
    • Distance, battery capacity, and production scale up
    • The new Tesla Roadster will be able to travel 600 miles 
    • The Model S, 100 kWh pack, has about a 330 mile range
  • The Tesla traction control system is very good
    • They do their testing on ice lakes in Sweeden, Norway, and New Zealand
  • Electric cars have really good traction control, because the reaction time is so fast (milliseconds)
    • For gasoline cars, there’s a lot of latency – it takes a while for the engine to react
  • The Model S, Model X, and Model 3 have the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the US government


  • Elon advised Joe to order a Tesla Model S P100D – This is the car Elon drives
    • The Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode is advertised with a 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 2.5 seconds and a range of 335 miles.
  • Joe is wearing a Casio Pro Trek solar powered watch
    • Elon – “I don’t wear a watch, my phone tells the time”
  • Elon doesn’t have a phone case
  • Future bottlenecks for Elon’s companies:
    • “I wish politicians were better at science, that would help a lot”
      • “They’re pretty good at science in China”
  • What keeps Elon up at night?
    • “It’s quite hard to run companies, particularly a car company”
      • There’s only 2 car companies in history that haven’t gone bankrupt – Ford and Tesla
  • The Transition
    • There will at one point be a mix of many electric and gasoline cars on the road at the same time
      • Just like when horses were on the road with cars for a period of time

Joe Sparks the Blunt

  • It’s tobacco mixed with marijuana
  • Elon hits the blunt
    • “I am not a regular smoker of weed”
  • Shortly after, Elon started getting texts from friends scolding him for this
  • “I don’t find weed is good for productivity”
    • “It’s like a cup of coffee in reverse”

Inside Elon’s Mind

  • “I don’t think you’d necessarily want to be me. I don’t think people would like it that much.”
  • Elon says the worst part about “being him” – “It’s very hard to turn it off”
    • Joe recommends Elon try a float tank
    • “I don’t know what would happen if I got in a sensory deprivation tank – it’s concerning, but I’ll try it”
  • He’s tried meditation before, something mantra based
    • “It stills the mind, but I don’t find myself drawn to it frequently”
  • Elon explains his mind as a “never ending explosion of ideas”
  • “Just think of the various things you’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time, and you’re constantly doing this. You’re a very weird person.” – Joe
    • “I agree” – Elon
  • “My goal is to do useful things, maximize the probability that the future is good, and make the future exciting”
    • With Tesla – “We’re just trying to make something people love”
    • Elon often asks himself – “What are the set of things that I can do to make the future better?”

Space Exploration

  • “There needs to be things that make you look forward to waking up in the morning. A future where we are a space bearing civilization, that is very exciting. That’s a future I want.”
  • Elon has his sites set on colonizing Mars, our moon, the moons of Jupiter, the asteroid belt, Saturn, and even Pluto
  • Note from Podcast Notes – They don’t get into SpaceX much at all besides this

Love is the Answer

“Give people the benefit of the doubt – Assume they’re good until proven otherwise. Most people are pretty good people.”

  • “This may sound corny, but love is the answer”
  • “It wouldn’t hurt to have more love in the world”
  • Spend more time with your friends and less time on social media
  • “Be nicer to each other. Give more credit to others. It’s easy to demonize people, but you’re usually wrong about it. People are nicer than you think.”