Time has named Elon Musk, creator of Tesla and SpaceX and one of the world’s richest people, as its 2021 Person of the Year.
The announcement was made Monday morning as Time published a 7,400-word profile of the 50-year-old entrepreneur.
The profile opens with this paragraph:
“The richest man in the world does not own a house and has recently been selling off his fortune. He tosses satellites into orbit and harnesses the sun; he drives a car he created that uses no gas and barely needs a driver. With a flick of his finger, the stock market soars or swoons. An army of devotees hangs on his every utterance. He dreams of Mars as he bestrides Earth, square-jawed and indomitable. Lately, Elon Musk also likes to live-tweet his poops.”
Musk, with a net worth of more than $250 billion, is the richest private citizen in history, Time reported. He lives near his SpaceX launch operation in southern Texas.
His broad range of interests includes robots, solar energy, cryptocurrency, climate, brain-computer implants to ward off the dangers of artificial intelligence, and underground tunnels to move people and freight at super speeds, Time reported.
In explaining its decision, Time noted that it selected Musk’s fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg in previous years before it was clear how sweeping their impact on commerce and communication would be.
“We don’t yet know how fully Tesla, SpaceX and the ventures Musk has yet to think up will change our lives,” Time wrote, concluding, “For creating solutions to an existential crisis, for embodying the possibilities and the perils of the age of tech titans, for driving society’s most daring and disruptive transformations, Elon Musk is TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year.”
Among the most recent past winners of the Time honor are President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg, journalists who have faced peril, women behind the #MeToo movement, former President Donald Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel. The honor first was bestowed in 1927, to pilot Charles Lindbergh.
For 2021, Time also named vaccine scientists as Heroes of the Year, gymnast Simone Biles as Athlete of the Year and actress-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo as Entertainer of the Year.