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For Civilization’s Sake, Elon Musk Wants You to Have. More. Babies.

At The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit today, 50-year-old father and Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a laugh about corporate titles—like CEO—being a marketing experiment, and informed the audience he’s actually TechoKing, at least according to a formal SEC filing.

WSJ Tech Columnist Joanna Stern asked if the Tesla Bot was in the running for any of these titles.

A tangent or two later, and Elon Musk was once again sharing that the “lack of people is obviously a threat to civilization.”

Here’s how the conversation unfolded and why Elon Musk wants you—or someone, anyone—to have more babies.

Stern: About that Tesla Bot…

Speaking of the Tesla Bot. I know you’ve talked a bit about the importance of creating this bot for the future of A.I. Tell me a little bit about where you’re at with this project and what we can expect in the next coming months.”

Musk: Tesla as world’s biggest sentient robot co.

“Well with the Tesla autopilot or self driving, we are, I think, creating the most advanced practical AI for navigating the real-world. And you can almost think of Tesla as the world’s biggest robot company, or semi-sentient robot company.

“You know, so the car is sort of a robot on four wheels so we could probably take that same technology and put it in a humanoid robot that would be useful.

“So essentially to have the humanoid part, we need to develop some custom actuators and sensors and then essentially use the Tesla full self-driving or autopilot, generally speaking, real-world navigation in the humanoid robot.

“I think this could be quite profound. I don’t know when we will get it right, but we will.

Stern: Will it solve labor issues?

“And you’ve said that you think it will solve some labor issues. What are some of the things that you envision this bot doing?”

Musk: Tesla Bot as potential substitute for human labor.

“Well, it has the potential for being a generalized substitute for human labor over time. And the economy—the foundation of the economy is labor. I mean, capital equipment is essentially distilled labor. 

“So, you know I was talking to a friend of mine actually and I said, ‘What should we optimize for?’ And what he said, ‘Gross profit per employee’—fully considered, so you’ve got to include the supply chain in that.

Musk: Low birth rate is one of biggest risks to civilization.

“The fundamental constraint is labor.

“There are not enough people.

“I can’t emphasize this enough. There are not enough people.

“And I think that one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birth rate.

“And yet so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. And yet it is the opposite. Please look at the numbers.

“If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble.

“Mark my words.”

Stern: “Is this why you have so many children?

Musk: “I’m trying to set a good example. Yeah, you know I’ve gotta practice what I preach.”

(Audience laughter.)

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