DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Billionaire Elon Musk said Wednesday he hopes to find a CEO for Twitter “probably by the end of this year.”
Speaking via a video call at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Musk said making sure the platform can function was the most important thing to him.
“I think I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place,” Musk said when asked when he would name a CEO. “I’m guessing maybe later this year would be a good time to find someone else to run the company.”
Musk, 51, initially made his wealth on finance website PayPal, then went on to form spacecraft company SpaceX and electric car company Tesla. In recent months, however, much attention has focused on the chaos surrounding its $44 billion purchase of microblogging site Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has used Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink as it defends itself against Russia’s ongoing invasion, putting Musk at the center of the battle.
Musk offered a wide-ranging 35-minute talk that touched on the billionaire’s fears about artificial intelligence, the collapse of civilization and the possibility of space aliens. But questions about Twitter continued to arise as Musk described both Tesla and SpaceX as being able to operate without his direct, day-to-day involvement.
“Twitter is still somewhat of a startup in reverse,” he said. “There’s work to be done here to get Twitter into a stable state and truly build the engine of software engineering.”
Musk also sought to portray his acquisition of San Francisco-based Twitter as a cultural reform.
“I think the general idea is to reflect the values of the people as opposed to just imposing the values of San Francisco and Berkeley, which is somewhat of a niche ideology compared to the rest of the world,” he said. “And, you know, I think Twitter was doing too much to carve out a niche.”
Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has seen mass firings and other cost-cutting measures. Musk, who is on the hook for nearly $1 billion in annual interest payments for his purchase, is trying to find a way to maximize profits at the company.
However, some of Musk’s decisions have drawn opposition due to the fact that journalists, governments and others rely on Twitter as an information-sharing platform.
Musk on Wednesday called for users to trust Twitter for reliable information from verified accounts. However, a confused rollout to a paid verified account system saw the impersonation of some well-known companies, leading to further withdrawal of much-needed advertising cash on the site.
“Twitter is definitely quite a rollercoaster,” he admitted.
Forbes estimates Musk’s wealth at just under $200 billion. Forbes analysis ranks Musk as the second wealthiest person on Earth, right behind French luxury brand magnate Bernard Arnault.
But Kasturi has also become a thought leader for some, even if he is an oracle who is trying to get six hours of sleep a night despite challenges on Twitter.
Musk described his children as being “programmed by Reddit and YouTube”. He warned that artificial intelligence should be regulated “very carefully”, describing it as similar to the promise of nuclear power but the danger of atomic bombs. He cautioned against a single civilization on Earth or “too much cooperation”, saying it could “collapse” a society that is like “a small candle in a vast darkness”.
And when asked about the existence of aliens, Musk gave a befitting reply.
“The crazy thing is I haven’t seen any evidence of alien technology or alien life. And I think I’ll know because of SpaceX,” he said. “I don’t think anybody knows more about space than me. knows.”