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Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk under fire for saying human population not nearly big enough

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk under fire for saying human population not nearly big enough

The tech billionaires have separately made comments that have sparked some heated debate.

It's not uncommon for tech billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to hit the headlines for comments they've made.

Amazon founder Bezos, who ranks third on Forbes' real-time billionaires list with a net worth of $176 billion, has sparked a debate after talking about population growth.

The Blue Origin founder, 59, was a guest on the Lex Fridman podcast recently and made some comments referencing the size of the human population - and it's resulted in a very heated debate on a Reddit thread.

Lex Fridman interviewed Jeff Bezos on his podcast.
Lez Fridman/X

So, what did Bezos say?

Referring to people living in space, he told Fridman: "I would love to see a trillion humans living in the solar system."

He added: "If we had a trillion humans we would have at any given time a thousand Mozarts and 1000 Einsteins... our solar system would be full of life and intelligence and energy."

Now, according to online site Worldometer, who quote recent United Nations estimates, the current world population is around 8.1 billion.

But Bezos isn't alone in making comments about the human population - SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who currently ranks first on Forbes' real-time billionaires list with an estimated net worth of $257 billion, has been known to be pretty outspoken too.

In 2021, at a SpaceX event, Musk was widely quoted as saying: "We don’t want to be one of those single planet species, we want to be a multi-planet species."

According to news outlet CNBC, he also said: "It’s been now almost half a century since humans were last on the moon. That’s too long, we need to get back there and have a permanent base on the moon — again, like a big permanently occupied base on the moon. And then build a city on Mars to become a spacefaring civilization, a multi-planet species."

Elon Musk posted on X, formerly Twitter, in 2022.
X/Elon Musk

In 2022 he posted on X, formerly Twitter, saying: "Doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis. A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far."

A chain on Reddit has resulted in some rather heated opinions on it all.

One user wrote: "How bitter do you have to be to argue that these men are saying this because they want to become even richer. We will all be long dead before they ever see numbers like the ones they are wishing for. If people actually listened to the whole conversations that led to these quotes, the reaction to those words would (or should) be quite different."

But another pointed out: "There are barely enough resources for the current population, a trillion people would mean most of them would starve constantly."

The question of food for a trillion people being available was a hot topic of debate, with one person saying in a thread: "By the time there is a trillion people (thousands of years in the future) you can’t imagine advances in food technology, agriculture and medicine that could make feeding the world completely different than we think of it now?"

However, someone else countered this by posting: "I’m sorry but you should really learn more about the consequences and problems of modern mass farming. From the significant loss of top soil to the petroleum based inputs it really is not as easy as you seem to think it is. Even production of enough fertilizer is a serious bottle neck for expanding production. Not to mention all the biodiversity and ecosystem loss".

Featured Image Credit: Credit: ERIC BARADAT / Contributor / Antonio Masiello / Contributor / Getty