Musk, Bezos Agree: We Need More People

Jeff Bezos puts ideal human population at a trillion
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2023 5:30 PM CST
Musk: Cultures 'Will Disappear' Unless Birth Rates Increase
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stands on the sidelines before an NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers in September.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Carrying his young son onstage to illustrate his point, Elon Musk on Saturday urged the people of industrialized nations to have more children. Immigration alone can't counteract the population declines that Musk said threaten economics. Without demographic changes, he said, "the culture of Italy, Japan and France will disappear." The Tesla, SpaceX, and X boss made the comments at a political festival in Rome hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her right-wing party, Euronews reports. "My advice to all government leaders and people is: make sure you have children to create a new generation," Musk said.

Jeff Bezos seems to agree. In an interview Thursday, he said a population of 1 trillion would be about right. Such a number wouldn't fit on Earth, of course, so he proposes many of them live in giant, cylindrical space stations, per MarketWatch. "If we had a trillion humans, we would have, at any given time, 1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins," the Amazon founder told Lex Fridmen on his podcast. He didn't address the possibility that, presumably, we'd also have 1,000 John Wayne Gacys. Bezos did say that people in space colonies close to Earth would still be able to visit their planet of origin for vacations, the "same way that you might go to Yellowstone National Park."

The two billionaires differ on at least a few issues. Musk prefers to colonize Mars and has joined calls to suspend AI development until the technology's risks are better understood. Bezos conceded in his interview that artificial intelligence could be "incredibly destructive." Or the opposite, he said. "These powerful tools are much more likely to help us and save us, even, than they are to, on balance, hurt us and destroy us," Bezos said, per MarketWatch. (More Elon Musk stories.)

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