22nd August 2021 – Remember that weird Will Smith movie about robots?
Yeah, neither do we. But Elon Musk does. Tesla is developing a 5’8” Tesla Bot, with a prototype expected sometime next year. The news comes during Tesla’s inaugural AI Day, which was streamed on the company’s website Thursday night.
The bot is being proposed as a non-automotive robotic use case for the company’s work on neural networks and its Dojo advanced supercomputer.
“Basically, if you think about what we’re doing right now with cars, Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels,” Musk said. “With the Full Self-Driving computer, [ … ] which will keep evolving, and Dojo and all the neural nets recognizing the world, understanding how to navigate through the world, it kind of makes sense to put that on to a humanoid form.”
The bot is “intended to be friendly and navigate through a world built for humans,” he added. He also said they’re developing it so that humans can run away from it and overpower it easily. It’ll weigh 125 pounds and have a walking gait of 5 miles per hour, and its face will be a screen that displays important information.
Interestingly, Musk is imagining this as replacing much of the human drudge work that currently occupies so many people’s lives — not just labor but things like grocery shopping and other everyday tasks. He waxed about a future in which physical work would be a choice, with all the attendant implications that might mean for the economy.
“In the long term I do think there needs to be universal basic income,” Musk said. “But not right now because the robot doesn’t work.”
Musk finished off by inviting engineers to “join our team and help us build this.”
Just remember, Tesla is not the only automaker, or even company, to produce a humanoid robot. Honda’s Asimo robot has been around for decades and it’s incredibly advanced. Toyota and GM also have their own robots, so why are we so hyped about Tesla’s? Is it just because it’s Tesla? Or is it because of this potentially really powerful vision-based supercomputer that will be powering it?
Who knows if anything will ever come of this humanoid robot, but we shall remain entertained by Tesla updates until such time as we can buy one of these things in a store and take it home to buy our eggs for us. Now that’s an AI utopia.