Elon Musk made a very big announcement. This is how almost 31,000 people reacted

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It starts with people who spend a lot of time following people on Twitter sometimes forgetting that Twitter isn’t the reality. It might be a giant bubble, but it’s a bubble nonetheless.

Case in point: Ben Smith, who wrote a column on the media for the. writes New York Times, one of the most influential newspapers in the world. Yet, he explained it recently:

“I live on Twitter most of the time, which is where the old news was yesterday, and everyone assumes you know the context.

Maybe you’re like me because this concept of basically living on social media seems alien.

But imagine if you had hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, maybe millions, and adding many more every month. Also, imagine if you were so excited about Twitter that you tweet all the time despite doing a lot of other things, such as: B. as CEO of several companies at the same time.

In other words, imagine being someone like Musk: a man with 60 million followers and more than 15,000 tweets currently published – someone who can anchor crypto, move markets, and sometimes cause major headaches, all from his smartphone in 140 characters or less.

He can also count on quick, positive responses from tens of thousands of people to his most casual thoughts – all of which are publicly visible to the world.

This context caught my attention when two things happened recently:

  • First, Musk made a very big, very momentous product announcement.
  • Second, a research company called Piplsay then asked 30,600 Americans how they felt about him and offered a rare glimpse at how people who may not even have Twitter accounts felt about Musk and his big ideas.

Our story began on Tesla’s AI Day when Musk revealed that Tesla was working on a humanoid Tesla robot. At six feet tall and weighing maybe 125 pounds, these robots would be “semi-sensitive,” with screens for faces, Musk said.

Also: “naturally friendly” and designed to go to the supermarket on behalf of their owners, for example.

Musk seemed excited about the idea. He apparently envisions this as a natural result of Tesla’s self-driving ambitions. He also predicted that Tesla will have a prototype in about a year.

Now, while covering it at the same time, I was thinking about what it would really do to society to unleash 1.5-foot-8 semi-sentient, humanoid robots among us. I also wondered to what extent it had occurred to Musk that not everyone could see this as progress.

Given that Tesla’s leadership team is 83 percent male, for example, I wondered if a team like Musk’s wasn’t that Robots as big as MMA champion Connor McGregor would be significantly taller than the average American.

That’s why when I heard about this survey, I asked People behind to share crosstabs showing answers from men and women. Actually, Reactions indeed broke heavily between the gender lines.

  • First, many more men than women had heard of Musk’s robot plan: 58 percent of men said they knew it before the survey, compared with just 37 percent of women. (Noteworthy: a separate study says 62 percent of Twitter users are men.)
  • Next, women were significantly less reassured than men by Musk’s promise that the robots would be designed so that humans could overtake or “most likely” overpower them: 35 percent of women said they felt “comforted” by Musk’s words , compared with 48 percent of men.
  • Finally, in perhaps the most far-reaching answer, as more than half of the men (53 percent) believed Musk would actually be able to do it, as it covers not only the robot idea itself, but Musk’s reputation as a business leader by next year building a working prototype, compared to just 37 percent of women.

The only place where men and women are more or less the same? About 52 percent of women and 57 percent of men answered “Yes” to the question: “Do you think so? [Musk’s proposed robots] will bring the dreaded conflict between robots and humans closer? “

Well, I don’t know if Musk and Tesla will really have a prototype of this humanoid robot within a year. Even if they come up with something, I wouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t look like what Musk described that day in August.

I also suspect that if Tesla suddenly started unleashing these things on the world, cities, towns, states, and national governments would be working at breakneck speed to regulate them.

But I think the survey data is striking and suggests a great lesson here. It applies whether you’re following a billionaire entrepreneur like Musk or you’re writing in a place like this New York Times Wasting habits or running a business in almost any industry and asking the same people for advice and confirmation over and over again.

Beware of the danger. No matter how far your horizon seems, no matter how big your bubble, there is always a bigger world out there waiting to challenge your perceptions.

Don’t forget the free e-book: Elon Musk has very big plans.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.


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