Werner Herzog’s new documentary Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, is an ambitious undertaking that chronicles the impact of the internet, artificial intelligence — notably, how even benign versions could have a bad outcome — and digital connectivity. Interviewed in the 98-minute examination is SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has a memorable exchange with the septuagenarian German filmmaker, as he asks for, naturally, a one-way ticket to Mars.
“I mean right now, we cant even get one person to Mars,” Musk says of the cost to go to the Red Planet. Herzog spots an opening.
“I would come along, I wouldn’t have a problem … one-way ticket?” Herzog interjects.
“Sounds great,” Musk says as he nods quickly.
“I’d be your candidate,” Herzog pushes.
“OK, umm,” Musks says while looking at the floor, before getting back on track: “I do think we’ll want to offer round-trips because a lot more people would be willing to go if they think if they don’t like it, they can come back.”
Before that memorable exchange between the two idiosyncratic minds, Musk does touch on some typically mind-bending ideas and memorably brings up one he’s put out there before: humanity needs to figure out a way to get to Mars before we waste our current technological momentum.
“I think it’s important for us to take advantage of that window while it is open and to establish life on another planet in the solar system, just in case something goes wrong with Earth,” he tells Herzog in the interview set at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. “There could be either a natural or man-made disaster that knocks the technology level below where it is possible to travel to another planet.”
Musk also notes that “we know the possibility is open for us to extend life to another planet. To the best of our knowledge, life exists only on Earth. You know, there’s a good argument that it exists elsewhere but we’ve seen no sign of it.”
He continues to say that the key to successfully hosting life on another planet like Mars, is the ability for the people who wish to go to Mars to be able to actually afford the trip. We need to first get cost low enough “so that there’s an intersection of sets: the set of people that wish to move to Mars and the set of people that could afford to move to Mars, inclusive of government aid.”
Herzog, it turns out, is more than willing to escape this planet with a one-way ticket to the Red Planet. We don’t blame him.
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World opens Friday, August 19 in select theaters and is available on-demand. Get all the details at loandbeholdfilm.com.