I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I find concerning about Elon Musk, but I think it’s this: he plays life like a game.
The people I know in real life who play it like that are insufferable, but Musk has the money to force other people to play it too.
Life isn’t a game.
I used to be a fan of his; largely because of SpaceX, which I’m still partial to. But he plays SpaceX like a game: rather than seeking excellence or science, he seems to seek spectacle in space; something NASA and ULA don’t do as much.
I used to want a Tesla, but he’s been playing that company like a game, too; all the work from home shenanigans, all the insistence on things being done his way, his attempt to rewrite the history of the company to get his name listed as founder.
The Boring Company is a game. The Hyperloop is a vaporware game that really only exists in concept so he can sell more Teslas. OpenAI doesn’t have much to do with Musk anymore, but it’s still kind of run like a game.
His family is a game, his sexual assault accusations are a game, his political affiliation is a game, the Ukraine-Russia war is a game. He makes his moves, he chuckles and giggles, he makes a pun, he posts a meme, and he goes on to his next move in the game.
Now he’s bought Twitter as a game, and I’m expecting him to run it as a game. Could this be when he finally gets serious and actually treats something with the gravity it deserves? Sure. But I’m not holding my breath.
Having fun with things, being whimsical, nothing wrong with any of that. But there’s a difference between that and treating other people’s lives (and the big forces that move people’s lives) as if they have no stakes that matter.
Because they don’t, to him. He has enough money to make ludological decisions about the lives of other people, while remaining insulated from their consequences himself. Every rich person does. But he has taken the additional step of assuming there ARE no consequences.
It feels like the reign of a clown king, holding unchecked power and facing no repercussions for his actions.
It feels like there should be a resistance.
I don’t much care who runs Twitter. But what I do care about is that people are cared for, that the helpless are helped, and that the voiceless have voice. That people are treated with dignity and worth.
And I don’t think you can gamify that.