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Are criticisms of Elon Musk's submarine assistance fair?
Elon Musk, widely known to be the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, Tesla and ranked by Forbes as one of the world's most powerful people, is a technology figure that is well respected within the cryptocurrency communities and was recently known to voice out against the cryptocurrency scams happening in Twitter.
Recently he attracted criticisms calling a British spelunker by the name of Vernon Unsworth a “pedo”, after CNN reported an interview with the spelunker who had assisted in rescuing dozens of boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. In that interview, Vernon Unsworth called Elon Musk's submarine “a PR stunt” after Musk personally flew to Thailand and delivered the submarine to help in the rescue mission. “He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth said, “It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like.”
CNBC reported as well that a Turkish academic and writer, Zeynep Tufekci, called Musk's submarine idea "impractical," and chided Elon Musk for thinking his technology achievements gave him the expertise to dabble in other areas outside his remit, he wrote "The idea that being smart in one domain qualifies one to just dabble in another is dangerous. The flashy tech solution and the savior make good movies.”
Now it is easy to sit by a computer and write criticisms of others instead of actually making the sacrifice and efforts to come out an idea, and personally fly down on-site like Musk did to deliver the idea to Thailand and see if it could help in the rescue operation.
It is pointless as well for Vernon Unsworth to criticise Musk’s idea as a PR stunt after all the trapped victims were rescued, and what he said was probably not true considering after a week and a half into the operation, Elon Musk was not involved until one of his twitter followers suggested him to build an invention to help save the boys and their coach. No one on-site was confident enough to bring out all the boys safely at that time. Musk accepted the challenge and brought the miniature submarine to Thailand. The idea was eventually rejected by the commander on-site because the cave passage was too narrow for the submarine. To be fair to Elon Musk, only the divers knew exactly how narrow the cave passage was. Elon Musk left the submarine on-site and went home.
The boys and their coach were eventually rescued by the divers and Musk got upset days later about the “PR stunt” comments reported by CNN. He crossed the line calling the spelunker a “pedo” and for that he should apologize. But it is fair to leave out any criticism of Musk’s idea and intention, considering he at least tried to contribute.
Elon Musk is still welcomed to share his technology expertise and opinions in the cryptocurrency community and hopefully he will remain calm next time knowing there will always be trolls around regardless of how successful a person with good intention is.