Elon Musk has unveiled more details about his company’s futuristic artificial intelligence robots, painting a vivid picture of what life on Earth will look like for Tesla customers in the decades to come.
Standing at around 5 feet 8 inches, Musk’s Tesla Bot aims to gradually remove “boring” responsibilities from the hands of mere mortals who are gutsy enough to welcome a robot into the family.
The world’s richest man has previously declared humans must be prepared to merge with artificial intelligence, claiming our future will be a matter of accepting one simple fact: “If you can’t beat it, join it.”
His eerie Tesla Bot prototypes are slated to eliminate menial tasks and become a commonplace item in most households, taking care of everything from cooking, cleaning and general maintenance.
Musk is well known to make outlandish estimations on the actual release date of his technology – he has spent years pushing back the date for when Tesla’s self-driving cars will fully replace human drivers.
However, considering we were still sending faxes and typing on primitive Nokia number pads just 20 years ago, the announcement of fully autonomous butler-bots in 2022 is crystal clear proof humanity is accelerating at a pace beyond our control.
“Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly,” Musk wrote in an essay published in China Cyberspace magazine.
In 2021, Musk said the robot – codenamed “Optimus” – will use the same chips and sensors as Tesla’s so-called Autopilot software, which has come under intense scrutiny from politicians and federal regulators.
The bot will be able to carry 45 pounds (20.4kg) and lift 150 pounds (68kg), Musk said, adding that it will be able to run 5 miles (8km) per hour. He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.
“Achieving this goal requires that robots evolve to be smart enough and for us to have the ability to mass produce robots,” Musk continued.
“Our ‘four-wheeled robots’ – cars – have changed the way people travel and even live. One day when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (i.e., real-world artificial intelligence), we will be able to extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have a much broader application than cars.”
Musk said a key feature of artificial intelligence is that it will “learn” and adapt at alarming speeds. In the past, he has likened the eventual power of an all-encompassing AI as something similar to a “god”.
He said the Tesla Bot prototype should be ready by the end of the year providing his company can handle large-scale production.
“We plan to launch the first prototype of a humanoid robot this year and focus on improving the intelligence of that robot and solving the problem of large-scale production,” he said.
“Thereafter, humanoid robots’ usefulness will increase yearly as production scales up and costs fall. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Perhaps in less than a decade, people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday gift.
“It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only scarcity that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.”