On August 6, 2018, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down for a chat with comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, whose marathon-length interviews tend to veer off in unexpected directions. Musk and Rogan hit the ground running and touched on a lot of topics, ranging from whether or not humans are living in a computer simulation to how the CEO spends most of his time. Toward the end of the interview, Musk did something CEOs don't usually do in public: he smoked pot on camera.
Because of the blunt seen 'round the world, the interview immediately went viral, and along with it some of Musk’s most out there quotes. Out of context, some of what Musk said sounds odd, but most of the answers were thoughtful even when he was talking about alternate realities and flying cars.
Rogan shied away from asking Musk about his family or other personal issues. But even without diving into any of that drama, there’s still a lot of information to go through. These are the most interesting and far-out quotes from the interview, but the entire thing is well worth your time.
One of the first things Rogan asked Musk about was the flamethrowers sold by the Boring Company, which Musk described as his "hobby company."
"How does one in the middle of things you do... just decide to make a flamethrower?" Rogan asked.
Musk explained, "I'm a big fan of Spaceballs, the movie, and in Spaceballs Yogurt goes through the merchandising section and Yogurt has a flamethrower... And I was like, 'We should do a flamethrower.'"
Yet Musk admitted that "it's a terrible idea," and he even told people not to buy the flamethrowers. Still, the company sold out of them in four days.
It turns out that even a super wealthy business mogul can't get around Los Angeles traffic. After moving to Southern California, Musk grew frustrated with his commute and decided to do something about the congestion. At about five minutes into the interview, Musk explained that he and his SpaceX team are digging a tunnel under Los Angeles to see if they can funnel traffic in a more economical way.
Musk admitted he has no idea if the plan is going to work, and knows that it might just make traffic worse, but said you never know unless you try. When Rogan wanted to know how Musk got permission from the city to dig a huge hole, Musk said it was no big deal: "You just fill out a form."
If one thing is apparent from this interview, it's that Musk has a lot going on. He's trying to fix traffic; he's building a Tesla factory; there's the whole hyperloop thing - and that's just scratching the surface.
At 10 minutes into the podcast, Rogan said he doesn't understand how Musk manages his time. But according to Musk, time management isn't a big deal. He said, "You know, I do basically think people don't understand what I do with my time. They think I'm a business guy or something like that."
He noted that he's more of a business "magnet" than a "magnate" before explaining, "I do engineering and manufacturing and that kind of thing takes up 80% of my time." He then joked that he's either an alien or that he has some kind of mutation.
It's not news that Musk believes humanity is living in a simulation. He explained to Rogan that people have to realize they're more than likely in a simulation because technology is simply moving too quickly:
You assume any improvements at all over time - any improvement, one percent, .1 percent. Just extend the time frame, make it a thousand years, a million years - the universe is 13.8 billion years old. Civilization if you are very generous is maybe [7,000] or 8,000 years old if you count it from the first writing. This is nothing. So if you assume any rate of improvement at all, then [virtual reality video] games will be indistinguishable from reality. Or civilization will end. Either one of those two things will occur. Or we are most likely living in a simulation.