Elon Musk, World Government Summit Dubai, Twitter CEO
Elon Musk speaks via a video call at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday | Photo courtesy: Twitter

After ‘introducing’ dog as Twitter CEO, Musk says he may get one by year-end

After introducing a Shiba Inu as the “new CEO of Twitter” via a series of tweets and apparently poking fun at former CEO Parag Agarwal, Elon Musk said later on Wednesday (February 15) that he hoped to find a CEO for the company towards the end of the year. Right now, he needs to stabilize the organization and make sure it’s in a financially healthy place, he said.

Earlier in the day, Musk tweeted a series of pictures of the Shiba Inu dog, saying he was the new “amazing” CEO of Twitter, who was “so much better than that other guy!” While it seemed like a clear dig at Agarwal, many suggested that Musk was poking fun at himself by comparing his controversy-ridden stint to that of the dog.

Musk also tweeted that the dog, reportedly named Floki, was “perfect for the job” and was “great with numbers”. His final tweet in the series said Floki “has style” too.

“I need to stabilize the organization”

Later in the day, the billionaire was speaking via a video call at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday when he said the most important thing for him right now is to make sure the platform can function without him.

“I think I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place,” Musk said when asked about when he would name a CEO. “I’m guessing probably toward the end of this year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company,” he added.

The 51-year-old Musk made his wealth initially on the finance website PayPal. Then he created the spacecraft company SpaceX and invested in the electric car company Tesla. In recent months, he has been attracting a lot of attention because of his $44-billion purchase of the microblogging site Twitter and the many changes that have happened since then.

Also read: Twitter to remove ‘legacy blue checks’; they are ‘truly corrupt’: Elon Musk

The Ukrainian military’s use of Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink as it defends itself against Russia’s ongoing invasion has put Musk off and on at the centre of the war.

“Twitter a startup in reverse”

Musk offered a wide-ranging 35-minute discussion that touched on his fears about artificial intelligence, the collapse of civilization, and the possibility of space aliens. But questions about Twitter kept coming back as Musk described both Tesla and SpaceX as able to function without his direct, day-to-day involvement.

“Twitter is still somewhat a startup in reverse,” he said. “There’s work required here to get Twitter to sort of a stable position and to really build the engine of software engineering.”

Musk also sought to portray his takeover of San Francisco-based Twitter as a cultural correction.

“I think that the general idea is just to reflect the values of the people as opposed to imposing the values of essentially San Francisco and Berkeley, which are so somewhat of a niche ideology as compared to the rest of the world,” he said. “And, you know, Twitter was, I think, doing a little too much to impose a niche.”

“Twitter a rollercoaster”

Musk’s takeover of Twitter has seen mass firings and other cost-cutting measures. Musk, who is on the hook for about $1 billion in yearly interest payments for his purchase, has been trying to find ways to maximize profits at the company.

Watch: Sacked from Twitter, ex-employees develop rival app SPILL

However, some of his decisions have conflicted with the reasons that journalists, governments, and others rely on Twitter as an information-sharing platform.

Musk on Wednesday described the need for users to rely on Twitter for trusted information from verified accounts. However, a confused rollout to a paid verified account system saw some impersonate famous companies, leading to a further withdrawal of needed advertising cash to the site.

Twitter has certainly been quite the rollercoaster, he acknowledged.

Musk’s fears about artificial intelligence

Forbes estimates Musk’s wealth at just under $200 billion. The Forbes analysis ranks Musk as the second-wealthiest person on Earth, just behind French luxury brand magnate Bernard Arnault.

Musk described his children as being programmed by Reddit and YouTube. He warned that artificial intelligence should be regulated very carefully, describing it as akin to the promise of nuclear power but the danger of atomic bombs. He also cautioned against having a single civilization or too much cooperation on Earth, saying it could collapse a society that’s like a tiny candle in a vast darkness.

Watch: Elon Musk to make ‘server architecture changes’ to Twitter

And asked about the existence of aliens, Musk had a firm response.

“The crazy thing is, I’ve seen no evidence of alien technology or alien life whatsoever. And I think I’d know because of SpaceX,” he said. I don’t think anybody knows more about space, you know, than me.

(With agency inputs)

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