Harold Hutchison on October 29, 2022
A guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher” worried Friday night about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, saying the Tesla CEO was “unelected” and “becoming increasingly god-like.”
“He’s now officially a media baron,” Gillian Tett, chair of the Financial Times editorial board, said. “Personally, I have a lot of admiration for a lot of the innovation that Elon Musk has brought to the world. He’s done some incredible things. The problem with him is he’s becoming increasingly god-like in the way he looks at problems right now, and assumes he can solve them, and he is capricious, and he’s unelected.”
Musk completed the purchase of Twitter Thursday and fired top executives of the company, including CEO Parag Agrawal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety.
Tett praised Musk for providing Ukraine access to Starlink and described how it helped Ukraine maintain communications without requiring the use of cell towers that could be attacked by Russian forces.
“So in the early weeks of the Ukrainian war, the Russian invasion, he spreads Starlinks across the country,” Tett said. “He donated some, others were bought by Ukrainians, and it basically meant the soldiers and civilians had internet throughout the war, which is amazing, I mean incredible.”
— Real Time with Bill Maher (@RealTimers) October 29, 2022
Musk donated over 20,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, according to an Oct. 13 CNN report. The system uses hundreds of small satellites in a low orbit to provide broadband internet, the Wall Street Journal reported, noting that SpaceX indicated the total number of Starlink satellites could reach 42,000.
Tett claimed Musk began to switch some of the Starlink systems off in “important areas,” generating pushback from Maher.
Musk raised the issue of payment for the systems Oct. 14. SpaceX told the Pentagon in a Sept. 8 letter that the program would cost $400 million through the next year and requested the Department of Defense cover those costs and the costs of ongoing maintenance, according to documents CNN obtained.
“This article falsely claims that Starlink terminals & service were paid for, when only a small percentage have been,” Musk said in an Oct. 7 Twitter post responding to a Financial Times article about the reported outages, adding that SpaceX spent over $80 million to provide the terminals and service.
“Do we really want to piss off the genius?” Maher asked, citing the need for “technological” solutions to address climate change.
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