Elon Musk Says Production Of Tesla’s Robot Could Start Next Year
Tesla's Optimus project, a humanoid robot capable of doing general tasks, may begin production as early as next year, CEO Elon Musk said last Thursday. Musk first teased the robot, also known as the Tesla Bot, at its "AI Day" in Aug. 2021.
"We have a shot of being in production for version one of Optimus hopefully next year," Musk said at the opening of Tesla's new vehicle assembly plant in Austin, Texas, where he appeared on stage - in a cowboy hat and sunglasses - to Dr. Dre's "Still D.R.E."
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A working prototype of the robot has yet to be revealed, however, and it's unclear how sophisticated Optimus is at this point in development. Musk claimed that Optimus will eventually be able to do anything that humans don't want to do, claiming that it will bring about an "age of abundance."
For years, AI has been hailed as a potential threat to humanity, often depicted in media as the cause of some fictional dystopian futures. In 2018, Musk himself said that he thinks AI is more dangerous than nuclear weapons. "As you see Optimus develop, everyone's going to make sure it's safe," he said Thursday. "No Terminator stuff or that kind of thing."
When the CEO first revealed Tesla's robot, he shared that it will be based on the same chips and sensors that the company's cars use for self-driving features. According to Musk, it is five foot eight inches tall, and has a screen at head height for useful information.
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Gary Marcus, an AI researcher and entrepreneur, told CNBC he'd be willing to make a bet that no robot will be able to do all human tasks by the end of 2023.
"Tesla has not even (after years of effort) come close to reliably solving one relatively simple task (driving); to claim that a robot that has never been shown publicly will solve all of human tasks in the next year or two is preposterous," he said.