Elon Musk pitched renewable energy, brain implants and space exploration in an article published in a Chinese magazine of the country’s internet watchdog and censorship agency. according to a translation by Yang Liu, a reporter for the Chinese state news agency Xinhua. (through WSJ reporter Karen Hao).
Formed in 2013, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is responsible for creating and enforcing policies around online content, user data and digital security. The CAC later created a magazine that, according to China Media Project senior researcher, Stella Chen, typically includes regulatory announcements and Internet policy research. The magazine was originally called New media before it was renamed China Cyberspace earlier this year.
The July issue of China Cyberspace features articles by Eric Jing Xiandong, CEO of Musk and Ant Group, the company that runs the Chinese payment service Alipay. Liu provides an English translation of Musk’s article in: a post on his Substack newsletter, Beijing Channel. Musk says he was invited by the magazine to share his “thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity”, then goes on to describe and promote the technology used by the companies he owns – Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink – which he believes “can” help achieve a brighter future for humanity:”
Therefore, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worth our investment. Whether Tesla, Neuralink or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of improving the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible: Tesla to accelerate the world transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX for enabling interstellar connections.
He also cites some of his loftier goals as examples of the kind of technology his companies could (eventually) create, such as a “self-sufficient city on Mars,” a way for humans to “integrate with artificial intelligence,” and “fixed battery banks.” ” Musk also mentions the yet-to-be-seen humanoid Tesla Bot, suggesting that people may be able to buy a robot as a gift in “less than a decade.”
In a tweetLiu calls the article a “smart move” on Musk’s behalf, as it allows him to “seize the opportunity to showcase his companies’ technological prowess to Chinese officials and the public.”
“I hope more people will join us in our fight to accelerate the world’s transition to renewable energy,” Musk said. “I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for.”
Musk’s appearance in a CAC publication conflicts with his outspoken advocacy of free speech, the concept that inspired him to buy Twitter (which he’s now trying to backtrack on over a fight over bots). Over the years, the CAC has implemented a number of policies to censor and restrict online speech. The CAC’s Cyber Security Actfor example, demands that social platforms remove content that contains “prohibited information,” or else be punished by the CAC.
Last year, the CAC pushed for the removal of the Chinese ride-hailing app Didi from app stores and demanded that Apple remove a popular Quran app from the Chinese App Store. The CAC too launched a hotline for users to report “illegal” comments about the Chinese Communist Party, and recently proposed laws that require social platforms to rate every comment posted by users.