Elon Musk on Joe Rogan: Always an Experience

Elon Musk is a guaranteed trending topic. On two episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, he shows us why.
Written by Alex Reale
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 1, 2022
In a game of “name the most outrageous thing
Elon Musk
has done,” there’s something for everyone. 
Some people will cite his 2022 move to purchase Twitter outright. Others are still practicing their pronunciation of the name of his child X Æ A-12. And some just have really strong feelings about his meme usage.
Arguably one of his biggest moments was his appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018, which for various reasons caused uproar. 
Not to be deterred, the
Tesla
CEO returned in 2020 for another conversation. Here’s what we learned about Elon Musk when he sat down for two extended, wide-ranging interviews.

2018

Elon Musk’s first appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, in September of 2018, turned into quite a media event, with everyone from
Vox
to
The New York Times
devoting sections of their publications to it. 
This was partially because Musk usually isn’t a longform interview person. Instead, he prefers to work on his projects and send funny or enigmatic tweets. But the real reason was (spoiler) he and Rogan shared a joint near the end of the interview. 
People have speculated that this brief encounter with marijuana is part of the reason Tesla saw a temporary drop in its stock following the interview. To an audience in 2022, this may seem quaint, but in 2018, it caused quite a stir.
For two hours, Musk and Rogan sat across from each other at a cluttered table, wearing their big headphones while they went over some of Musk’s favorite topics: AI, tunnels, Tesla, and sustainable energy. 
Musk seemed to charm Rogan right away, saying that he wanted not to be a business magnate but a “magnet,” and this made its way into the description of the episode. He shared his thoughts on artificial intelligence, which are a bit abstruse but are fairly representative of his remark “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and didn’t quite say that we’re not living in a simulation. 
The conversation did, of course, turn to cars, and he confirmed that he owned two gas-powered cars, the 1967 Jaguar E-Type, and a Model T that a friend gifted to him. When they discuss Tesla, he says, very seriously, that he thinks “a Tesla is the most fun thing you could possibly buy ever.” 
Fun seems to define a lot of Musk’s worldview: he simply likes to build things. The interview ends on quite a tender note, with Musk reflecting that he likes “doing something useful for other people,” and urging us to consider that “people are nicer than you think.”

2020

During the very fraught season that was the spring of 2020, Elon Musk returned to Joe Rogan’s podcast. 
Musk’s youngest child X Æ A-12 had just been born, and he seemed much more relaxed and self-assured, even referring to children as “little lovebugs.” He and Rogan quickly embark on another long and winding conversation, this time covering topics like going to Mars, his (literally) mind-boggling venture Neuralink, and COVID. 
Musk expresses a wistfulness about the “overallocation of smart people into finance and law” in the U.S., and says that we need “more people building things here.” 
They veer off into a conversation about AI, and he covers essentially the same ground as he did in 2018: we should be working together with AI once it oustrips us, we’re already basically cyborgs in the way that we use our phones, and the way we share information with our devices is desperately slow. 
He explains that AI will help us communicate with each other without words, so that there’s no loss of information in the process of “compressing and decompressing” a complex idea in a traditional face-to-face conversation with someone.
They end on a light note, with Rogan gently ribbing Musk about the incident of the Cybertruck steel ball demo, during which some glass that was not supposed to break did break. Musk takes it in stride, sharing the background of the event without getting defensive—he just seems curious. Perhaps being the richest person on earth and also down to earth aren’t mutually exclusive.

What’s he up to now?

Watching Elon Musk give four hours of interview material to Joe Rogan can be a bizarre experience, so proceed with caution. Whatever you may think of the man, he’s certainly one of a kind. We’ll see if he actually does buy Twitter, but in the meantime, rest assured that more outrageous material is sure to surface from the land of Musk. Also, if you have a Model X, your car can do ballet. See
55:42
.
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