“If we had a trillion people, we would at any given time have a thousand Mozarts.”
We need more humans. That’s the message from two of the world’s richest billionaires, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
While the two compete in the space business — Bezos owns Blue Origin while Musk owns SpaceX — they agree on certain aspects of humanity’s future.
“I think we’re very like-minded on a lot of these endeavors,” Bezos said in an episode of the show. Lex Friedman Podcast Released this week. “I don’t really know Elon that well,” he added, but said he liked the idea of forming a friendship with him.
When asked what he hoped for the future of humanity in outer space hundreds or thousands of years from now, he answered:
“I would like to see, you know, a trillion humans living in the solar system. If we had a trillion humans, we would at any given time have a thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins… Our solar system would be full of life and intelligence and energy.
What companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are doing is creating space infrastructure on which future generations can build greater things, he said.
“When I started Amazon, I didn’t have to develop a payment system. It already existed. It was called a credit card,” he said. “I didn’t have to develop a transportation system to deliver packages. It already existed. It was called the Postal Service, Royal Mail and Deutsche Post. And so all this weightlifting infrastructure was already in place. “And I can stand on his shoulders.”
He said he wants to use his “profits from Amazon” to build heavy infrastructure that will be used by space entrepreneurs for generations to come.
“When you have a truly valuable space company starting in your bedroom, we know we’ve built enough infrastructure so that creativity and imagination can be unleashed,” he said. “I find that very exciting.”
He envisions people living in giant space stations, which have “a lot of advantages over planetary surfaces,” including the ability to rotate them to create natural gravity. Most people want to live close to the land and go there to vacation, “the same way you might go to Yellowstone National Park,” he said.
He argues that Earth’s environment is being preserved by the shift of heavy manufacturing into space, taking advantage of resources on the Moon and the asteroid belt.
As for Musk, he has long emphasized the need for humanity to become a multiplanetary species, and envisions SpaceX’s Starship rockets transporting people between Earth and Mars, where a permanent human presence would be established.
“We don’t want to be one of those single-planet species, we want to be a multi-planet species,” he said in 2021 after SpaceX sent astronauts into orbit on a repurposed rocket.
He also warned of a “depopulation crisis” here on Earth. In the summer of 2022, he said that the decline in birth rates seen in many countries represented “the greatest danger that civilization has ever faced.”
A few years ago he had to caution“The biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse.”
This weekend, he issued similar warnings while attending a political festival in Italy organized by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
“It is important to have children and create a new generation,” he told the audience. “As simple as it sounds, if people don’t have children, there won’t be a new generation.”
Earlier this year, after China released numbers showing a decline in the birth rate, Musk said: chirp: “Population collapse due to falling birth rates poses a far greater danger to civilization than global warming… Mark these words.”
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com