For the last few years, rumors have swirled around about Elon Musk being an alien. This is something we can’t rule out; the man does have otherworldly brilliance, after all. In 2017, Musk speculated that superintelligent aliens might be observing humanity without us even realizing it. For those keeping score at home, that belief isn’t exactly helping his “I’m not an alien” case…
In February 2017, our favorite tech mogul and probably-not alien sat down for an interview with H.E. Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs & The Future, UAE, and chairman of the WorldGovernment Summit (WGS) as part of that summit. While the interview kicks off with the question of Elon Musk’s motivation, it later gets into an alien discussion. Who better to discuss extraterrestrial intelligence than the man rumored to be an alien himself? (He addressed that rumor in the interview, by the way. His response? “Not true, not true.” Sure, very convincing.)
Al Gergawi began by asking, “Do you think we’ll make contact with aliens within the next 50 years?” After admitting it’s tough to say, Musk offered some off-the-cuff thoughts on the question of aliens, citing the likelihood that their existence is high.
“If there are superintelligent aliens out there, they’re probably already observing us,” Musk said. “That would seem quite likely. We just are not smart enough to realize it.” While that answer sounds a little harsh toward humanity, Neil deGrasse Tyson once made similar remarks.
Musk’s — and Tyson’s — thoughts on aliens offer a possible solution to the Fermi paradox, the contradiction between the mathematical support that aliens must exist and our lack of evidence that they do. But being too stupid to realize that aliens are watching us is only part of it. Musk also hints at a different established hypothesis that solves the Fermi paradox: the zoo hypothesis. This thought, pioneered by astronomer John A. Ball in 1973, maintains that alien civilizations may be advanced enough to know not to influence our primitive society, but are just observing and studying us from afar.
But what reason does Musk have to believe aliens can reach us in the first place? Well, for one, math. “I’ll give you some back-of-the-envelope calculations,” Musk continues in the WGS interview. “Any advanced alien civilization that was at all interested in populating the galaxy, even without exceeding the speed of light, if you’re only moving at about 10 or 20 percent the speed of light, you could populate the entire galaxy in, let’s say, 10 million years. Maybe 20 million, max. This is nothing in the grand scheme of things.” Pretty impressively quick computing from a non-alien, wouldn’t you say…?