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Billionaire Milner prefers talking to aliens than Trump

CNBC CNBC 17/11/2016 Ari Levy

© Provided by CNBC Billionaire technology investor Yuri Milner said he's more qualified to send messages to aliens than to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump

Unlike the rest of Silicon Valley — and much of the globe — Milner said he isn't thinking much about last week's election and is investing for the much longer term.

At an event Wednesday night in San Francisco co-sponsored by CNBC and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, Milner discussed his plan to discover intelligent life on other planets.

"To believe now we are the only intelligent civilization is becoming harder and harder," Milner, the Russian founder of DST Global, said in an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin. "I'm assuming it might be important not only to me but to all of us to understand whether we're alone."

Milner has become a major name in tech investing thanks to winning bets on companies including Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), WhatsApp and Snapchat.

And he's joining tech visionaries Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in charting a path to interstellar exploration and communication.

Milner, along with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and physicist Stephen Hawking, created Breakthrough Starshot to investigate the potential of interplanetary travel and fund relevant science and engineering projects.

To Milner, the thought of not exploring the universe is inconceivable. After all, scientists have discovered that there are 20 to 40 billion planets and 2 trillion galaxies, he said.

"It's reasonable to believe that something is going on," he said.

That's not to say that Milner isn't still concerned with what's happening on Earth.

He said driverless cars will populate the roads in a big way within 10 to 20 years and factories will also be fully automated.

Rather than worrying about what that means for human employment opportunities, Milner said the increased productivity should give us all more time to relax.

"Eventually, we as humans will have three days off," he said. "The weekend will be three (days), not two. Then four."

Just don't expect Milner to opine on Trumpism or offer advice to the incoming president.

"I'm extremely bad at short-term predictions," he said "But I think i can make really solid long-term predictions."


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