There’s no question that Elon Musk is one of the most important visionaries of our times. His work will contribute heavily to shaping up the future, whether we’re talking about personal transportation, space travel, or artificial intelligence.
But the Not-A-Flamethrower flamethrower that Musk’s Boring company is now shipping is one of the most idiotic things he could have ever come up with. Well, okay, even if he didn’t personally invent the thing, it’s still his company that’s making it. For $500 you get a mostly-functional flamethrower that looks like a weapon, and may indeed act as one. And before artificial intelligence does take over the world, as Musk fears, he’s certainly making it easier for stupid human intelligence to do harm with this cool product.
The flamethrower is a brilliant marketing ploy to get the world talking about Boring, Musk’s company that’s supposed to drill mazes of tunnels below ground where high-speed trains will travel at impressive speeds between cities one day. And it totally works. I, like many others, are talking about Boring right now because of the flamethrower that’s shipping to buyers.
The company sold 20,000 units already, with the first 1,000 being distributed at an event at the Boring Company in Los Angeles.
Musk is thrilled about the product, posting a serious of tweets about the entire affair.
And he made several jokes about the product. Like this one:
Even better, we’ve got Dr. Seuss-style instructions for the Not-A-Flamethrower:
It’s all fun and games until someone somewhere will use these things either to do some harm intentionally or to harm themselves accidentally. I bet Musk and Boring will avoid taking any responsibility when that happens.
Soon, 20,000 people will get to play with a cool-looking, affordable, fire-spitting gun. Let’s hope nothing terrible happens involving Not-A-Flamethrowers.
Meanwhile, here’s a video preview of what the flamethrower can do — and yes, the part where iJustine says she expected more “quality” from a $500 device is also genuinely concerning.