What’s the best way to market your innovations? Well, if you’re tech billionaire Elon Musk, one strategy is to wait until news drops about a successful test regarding one of your innovations and then derail the conversation by casually confirming that UFOs are real.
At least, that’s what happened earlier this week when Musk responded to a video from one of the Tesla FSD V10’s testers. The self-driving car’s new software was released to testers last week per electrek, and one tester, Gali, posted a video showing the car successfully navigating around the pillars of Seattle’s Monorail — something it hadn’t been able to do previously. Elon Musk was tagged in the post, and the entrepreneur inexplicably brought up the subject of UFOs.
Musk responded to the video post with the claim that “in principle” the Tesla would be able to avoid any threatening debris even in the unlikely event of a UFO crashing “on the road right in front” of the driver. He admitted, however, that the sensitivity needed some “tuning.” He followed the boast up with, “I’m not saying there are UFOs … but there are UFOs.”
The somewhat random statement about UFOs drew a lot more attention from Twitter than anything either Musk or the tester had to say about the Tesla’s new self driving software. Responses range from jokes, to those welcoming Musk to “the club” and at least one guy offering the billionaire what he calls an alien language.
Musk has been known to joke around about the question of existence of intelligent life in the stars, like last month when he joked about being an alien himself. So it’s always possible Musk’s brief mention of UFOs was likewise just a gag.
Presuming he’s serious about what he tweeted, however, it represents a shift in Musk’s stance on the subject of UFOs. In February on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (via Altpress), Musk said searching for aliens was a waste of time. He told Rogan that aliens were either being “very subtle” and “pretty shy,” or they simply didn’t exist.
Nor was Musk’s Joe Rogan Experience appearance the first time he’d cast doubt on intelligent alien life having anything to do with the phenomenon of UFOs. In 2019, while addressing SpaceX employees, Elon Musk said that sure, there could be other life out there, but that “we’ve seen no sign of it.”
So what happened between Musk’s podcast appearance earlier this year and now? It’s possible part of what the billionaire is referencing is the report released by the U.S. government about UFOs in June that didn’t quite give us as much info as say, Fox Mulder would be happy with, but still forced the admission that there was a lot going on in the skies that the government couldn’t explain.
It could also be that Musk is referring to UFOs in the same way US military intelligence operative Luis Elizondo referred to them when he spoke to 60 Minutes. UFOs, according to Elizondo, are absolutely real, which is not the same thing as saying extraterrestrial aliens are real. There are Unidentified Flying Objects in the sky, Elizondo claims. What we don’t know is what they are, who’s operating them, and what their operators’ intentions are.