Yesterday was Tesla’s Artificial Intelligence Day. Founder Elon Musk was there to tout the glories of AI as well as pumping autonomous vehicles. That’s all great stuff. But he also got into the Tesla program of developing “humanoid robots.”
These Tesla robots will keep you from having to do repetitive tasks
On the surface, this is a futuristic fantasy we can all get behind, and we do. But think about it for a moment. What he’s saying is essentially that with humanoid robots we humans won’t need to be bothered with repetitive work and menial tasks. But isn’t assembling cars considered a repetitive task?
So, if you work at Tesla and you’re working on these humanoid robots, you’re working on your replacement. You’re helping to create what will someday take your job. Probably sooner rather than later.
Musk says that Tesla is already a robot manufacturer
Tesla is already a robot company according to Musk. “Tesla is arguably the biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels,” he says. Semi-Sentient is a pretty tall stretch.
Musk goes on to say that Tesla is soon to have a humanoid prototype soon because its AI hardware and sensors “make sense to put into humanoid form.” Do you think that GM or Volkswagen are thinking the same thing? I don’t know if we’re ready for car manufacturers to spring a Blade Runner-like reality on us. At least, not next year.
And with that Blade Runner thought bouncing in your head, here’s what else Musk said. The humanoid “is intended to be friendly, of course.” But Musk knows what we’re thinking when he adds, “but you can run away from it.”
The code name for the Tesla robot prototype is called “Optimus”
Look, it is on all of our minds. Should these futuristic robots become sentient, will they turn the earth into that apocalyptic neverland of human suffering and worse? Musk says it has a name: “Optimus.” Then he adds, “Optimus Prime.” Oh, great.
“Physical work will be a choice” in the future, according to Musk. How will we be able to afford one of these robots if we don’t make money? Will it be a choice in the future to eat? Or buy a new floaty for your pool?
Don’t forget, Musk has also got Neuralink, his idea for interfacing with the human brain. If you can imagine the convergence of robots and human brain interfacing, does that make you feel warm and fuzzy? Honestly, it gives me the creeps.
It is hard enough to get along with humanity, but now there could robots too
It is hard enough for humanity to get along with itself. What happens when you have to deal with robots, too? Does another layer of things that think for themselves seem like a better future?
We applaud Musk for not following the same playbook day after day and year after year. It livens things up. Look what is happening with the electrification of cars.
But now, that seems like really old news next to arguing with a robot over the last seat at a virtual Beatles concert. Our only saving grace is that it is taking years for Tesla to produce Cybertrucks. At the pace it is going, that means it might take decades before you can buy a robot maid for your New York highrise. You know, the one you get to enjoy because you have chosen not to work ever again.