DUBAI: Business magnate Elon Musk on Wednesday warned a global meeting in the UAE of government representatives about the need to be cautious over being “too much of a world of a single civilization” due to the danger of the whole thing collapsing.
The chief executive officer of Twitter was addressing delegates attending the World Government Summit in Dubai.
He said: “I’m not suggesting war or something … we need to be a little bit wary of actually being cooperative too much.
“It sounds odd, but we just want to have an amount of civilizational diversity such as if something goes on wrong with some part of civilization, the whole thing doesn’t collapse. Humanity keeps moving forward.”
The investor used the example of the fall of the Roman Empire coinciding with the rise of Islam. As the caliphate was thriving, Rome was imploding but he noted that the situation resulted in a preservation of knowledge and many scientific advancements.
Speaking at a summit session moderated by the UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and WGS Chairman Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Musk added: “I know this is called the World Government Summit, but I think we should be a little bit concerned about actually becoming too much of a single world government.
“We want to avoid creating a civilizational risk by having, frankly this may sound a little odd, too much cooperation between governments.
“If you look at the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history, civilizations have risen and fallen, but it hasn’t meant the doom of humanity as a whole, because they have been given all these separate civilizations that were separated by great distances.”
When asked by Al-Gergawi why he bought Twitter instead of creating his own platform, Musk, who was addressing more than 150 government representatives via videoconferencing, revealed that he had considered creating something new.
He said: “I thought Twitter would perhaps accelerate progress versus creating something from scratch by three to five years. We are seeing a tremendous technology acceleration that three to five years is quite worth a lot.”
In terms of the effect of social media on the world and especially Twitter, Musk pointed out the need for a maximally trusted digital public platform where people within countries and internationally could communicate with the least amount of legal censorship varied by jurisdiction.
“Social media companies should adhere to the laws of countries and not try to put a thumb on the scale beyond the laws of countries.
“I think that the general idea is to reflect the values of the people as opposed to imposing the values of, essentially San Francisco and Berkley, which are somewhat of a niche ideology as compared to the rest of the world.
“Twitter was, I think, doing a little too much to impose a niche which is near to San Francisco and Berkley ideology,” he added.
Musk said he would be looking to correct that as it would be better for the future of civilization.
Asked by Al-Gergawi about his five-year vision for Twitter, Musk highlighted his long-term plan to develop an everything app called X.com, that could be used to make all payments, provide financial services and information flows, and many other functions.
“Really anything digital, and it provides secure communication and to be as useful as possible and as entertaining as possible,” he added.
He noted that he wanted the X app to be a “real source of truth” in terms of what was “really” going on around the world.
“Twitter is an actual accelerant to that sort of maximally useful everything app,” he said.
On hate issues and negativities over Twitter and his mission for humanity of getting people together, Musk added: “There is something that we are putting a lot of efforts on called Community Notes, which is currently in English, and we will be expanding it to languages.”
Through Community Notes, he said Twitter was trying to have as many organizations, people, and institutions as possible verified and get organizational affiliation legitimately verified.
“Twitter is a sort of an identity layer over the internet,” he added.
The WGS chairman questioned Musk on how governments could best utilize Twitter to serve their citizens.
Musk said: “I would really recommend communicating a lot on Twitter. I think it’s good for people to speak in their voice as opposed to how they think they should speak. Sometimes people think that, ‘I should speak in that way that is expected from me,’ but it ends up sounding like sometimes not understood and not real.”
The businessman urged company CEOs, legislators, and ministers to speak authentically, even when it was about criticism.
He said people should do their own tweets, and not have someone else, such as a manager, do it for them.