Elon Musk took the stage about 30 minutes late at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas, and when he finally appeared, the soldout crowd cheered and jumped to their feet, smartphones glowing. His conversation at SXSW was a surprise, announced late the night before, and the talk itself was just as casual. Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan took prewritten questions from the audience and asked Musk for his thoughts on a vast array of topics, covering everything from colonizing Mars to the benefits of a carbon tax and the future of artificial intelligence.
Nolan's phrase of the day was, "And how do we solve that?"
About an hour into the presentation, a third chair was brought on stage and Kimbal Musk, Elon's brother and an entrepreneur in the food-access space, joined in -- wearing a cowboy hat and with a guitar in tow. With his help (and the appearance of a second cowboy hat for Elon), the entire conversation closed out with a sing-along. This is SXSW, after all.
Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.