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A toking African

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (not the band) and SpaceX, has overtaken Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world with a net worth of $195 billion. Bezos had been at the top of the list since 2017.

But what is powering South-African-born Musk's rise to mega riches?  

This is due to the share price of his companies, especially Tesla, shooting through the roof due to (1) the rising popularity of electric cars, despite their many setbacks, and (2) a growing belief that driverless cars will be the next big thing. 

In a recent interview Musk commented on the growing social acceptance of his company's main product, electric cars with giant batteries made up of "rare earth" elements:

"It's now clear that people want electric cars. They want sustainable transport. They want clean energy. This really tends to be somewhat of an age-related attitude. The younger somebody is, the more they care about the environment. And so, as time goes by, they grow older, and then they become the decision-makers. That's the normal way of the world."

Regarding self-driving cars, he revealed that he is already using a self-driving car himself, adding that his company could have a safe model out within a year or so:

I drive the alpha build of the latest, fully self-driving software for Tesla, and many times I can go through a very complicated series of intersections and narrow roads, without ever touching any of the controls. All the way to work and back.

He also pointed to a future in which our increasingly dictatorial micro-managing leaders will force us to travel passively in self-driving cars because it is "safer":

I want to be clear. I'm definitely not trying to take anyone's steering wheel away from them. I'm just saying what will most likely occur, and I am certain about this, is that self-driving will become much safer than a human driver. Probably by a factor of 10. This means that the standard for allowing someone to drive their own car is probably going to become higher. Currently, getting a driver's license is relatively easy, because people need a car to get around. But often they crash their car, for various reasons, because they are drunk or distracted. Or there's a lot of texting while driving. So, the standard for being able to drive your own car in the future when autonomy is 10 times safer than human driving will become much more stringent. That's the most likely outcome.

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