Best of 2020

Elon Musk Brainstorms More Ways to Help During the Pandemic

Subject: INTERNAL: dope thoughts on covid19?

Hey team,

After my work on the Flint water crisis and the Thai boys’ cave rescue, I think we can also really help in the fight against COVID-19.

I’ve already gotten started: New York hospitals needed ventilators, so I leveraged my enormous wealth and influence to give them a completely different kind of machine — one thousand of them! Total galaxy brain. But I want to do more. And despite my tenuous grasp on modern medicine, I think I’m the man for the job.

Every state says they urgently need medical supplies, but that’s only because they’re thinking too small. Let’s do a virtual whiteboarding sesh! How can we answer these incredibly straightforward requests for help with next-level solutions that are way cooler?

Off the dome, here are my thoughts:

1. Updated medical masks

It’s an outrage that healthcare providers don’t have access to critical medical supplies, like masks with Bluetooth capability. Docs are treating sick people every day, but what about sick beats? See if we can spin up a model that can RickRoll patients when things get too heavy. Tell any government entities or VC firms we’d need about $35 mil before we can start building out a prototype.

2. Reliable testing kits

Invent a test that immediately tells you if you’ve contracted influenza. That way, people don’t freak out thinking they have COVID-19. This has the potential to save a lot of people — from stressing out! Let’s lean into our legacy of giving people things they don’t need in order to really make a difference in this space.

3. Vaccine 

Let’s just invent a vaccine that destroys the coronavirus as well as malaria, male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction. Who can pull some strings to get this fast-tracked by the FDA?? I do not want to waste time on paperwork when people are out there dying to show their erect penises on Zoom.

4. Ventilators

Using our ability to invent, produce and iterate quickly, let’s build out some new ventilator models exclusively used for smoking weed out of. And guys…. we’re gonna need a lot of ganj to fully test this puppy. Follow up podcast with Joe Rogan?

5. Self-driving ambulances

Ambulances without any drivers or paramedics means that more doctors can continue working inside hospitals. Our ambulances should have the ability to drive into lakes and ponds like Duck Boats — for no other reason than I’ve always wanted to make a vehicle that can traverse both land and sea.

6. Robots for the ambulances

I just thought about it, and we can’t have sick patients loading themselves into ambulances. Let’s make some robots that can lift sick people up and put them into our autonomous vehicles, as gently as a first-generation hardware system can allow.

7. Gloves for the robots

Wait, the robots are going to need little specialty gloves for their clawlike hook-hands. The gloves should be strong enough not to tear when the robots rapidly clamp and unclamp onto patients. On the subject of robot clothing, maybe we dress them up like sea captains, in case the ambulance does set sail?

8. Helmets

Instead of wearing masks in public, people could wear cool glass helmets that don’t attach to any kind of suit or have any kind of antimicrobial properties. Great branding opportunity that will raise awareness for the spread of germs and SpaceX.

9. Machine learning for autonomous duck boat ambulances

Okay, one last thing about the ambulances —  there should be some kind of machine learning software that picks up cool facts about the route to the hospital. Can we get the robots to spew fun architectural info about the buildings they pass? Or they can burst into a sea shanty when they recognize the vehicle has driven into a body of water. Either way, let’s make the trip a wicked ride for the patient.

10. Hospital overflow relief

Design a series of hospital pods that can be blasted into outer space to free up room in overwhelmed facilities here on the ground. We’re not really there yet technologically, but all the Musk-heads are gonna jizz themselves when they see mockups of patients hovering above the stratosphere. They’ll probably need some kind of oxygen machine up there to help them breathe, so that’s something else to look into.

11. New Tesla models

The economy may be screeching to a halt, but people are still going to need to buy top-of-the-line luxury vehicles. Using infrared technology, we can program our new Teslas to do an immediate and violent 90-degree turn when they encounter anyone with a fever, making it the safest car out there. Social distancing has never looked so incredibly badass, and it’s certainly never cost $95,000.

12. Tweet a bunch

It’s not an invention, but I’d like us to tweet about things we’re thinking of doing, while not actually doing any of them. Have a meeting with someone? Tweet about it. With enough meetings and enough inaction, perhaps this whole corona thing will blow over before we even reopen any factories to produce N95 or whatever.

Oh, I am serious about the vaccine though. I’d really like to see that happen.

What ideas do you have that we can jump on or not jump on? If I see one I like, I’ll tweet about it. From there, people can request help through my DMs, which I don’t check.



by Adrienne Teeley

Adrienne Teeley

Adrienne is a comedian living in Chicago. Her writing has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Splitsider, and The Belladonna. Occasionally, she tweets @acteeley.