The lines between science fiction and reality are blurring by the day, thanks to efforts by stalwarts like Elon Musk and his companies SpaceX and Tesla. Tesla has already brought us cars with autopilot (though it’s not without its fair share of problems) and this time, Musk is trying to take a bigger leap by unveiling humanoid robots on the company’s inaugural AI Day.
Yes, you read that right, the “Tesla Bot” prototype is coming sometime next year. Musk added that the Tesla Bot is designed to perform dangerous, repetitive, or boring tasks that people do not like to do. This is your chance to have a robot bring you your groceries, or have a robot butler at your beck and call. The bot is intended to be friendly and navigate through a world built for humans, according to Musk.
According to Musk, if a humanoid robot worked and performed repetitive tasks that only humans did, this could transform the world economy by reducing labor costs. Code-named “Optimus,” the Tesla Bot is based on the same chips and sensors that Tesla’s cars use for self-driving features. The bot will be five foot eight inches tall and will have a screen for a head, which will display useful information.
The bot’s head will also have Autopilot cameras. It will be able to carry 45 pounds, lift 150 pounds, and weighs 125 pounds. It can also run 5 miles per hour.
While it does sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, there are apprehensions that technology will be so advanced one day that it will view humanity as a threat (Terminator-style). For now, Tesla is limiting the chances of such a thing occurring. The bot will be built so that humans can run away from it and will be able to overpower it easily.
“We should be worried about AI,” Musk said during a Q&A session after the presentation. “What we’re trying to do here at Tesla is make useful AI that people love and is… unequivocally good.”