First unveiled in a live broadcast on artificial intelligence, the Tesla Bot first drew amusement, as it is essentially just an actor dressed in a suit.
Designed according to the vision of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the Tesla Bot is a bipedal robot made to take the form of a human. Based on an adaptation of autonomous driving technologies developed over the last decade for Tesla cars, it will be able to perform various repetitive tasks in Tesla and customer factories that choose this product to “get rid” of inefficient employees. Thus, teams made up of Tesla Bot units will be able to work 24/7, with only occasional breaks for maintenance and without pay. But those who are scared by the idea of a sci-fi movie-like robot that could hurt people are assured by Musk that this will not be the case.
Now an early prototype but functional, the robot codenamed Optimus officially debuted on Friday, September 30, dancing and gesticulating in front of guests at the annual Tesla AI Day conference.
Elon Musk used the occasion to predict that as mechanical technologies and software improve, the Tesla Bot and its variations will have major implications for the evolution of human civilization. “The potential for Optimus is, I would say, appreciated by very few people,” Musk said.
He went on to say that the current economy is limited by humans and productivity, but that an AI bot like Tesla could change the calculus. If Tesla’s Optimus could handle manual labor, “an economy becomes quasi-infinite,” Musk predicted.
“This means a future of abundance. A future where there is no poverty, where you can have everything you want in terms of products and services. It’s really a fundamental transformation of civilisation as we know it,” he said.
Last year, when Musk unveiled plans for the bot, the Tesla chief said it would be designed to perform “boring, repetitive” tasks.
“Optimus is designed to be a very capable robot, and if it’s manufactured in very high volume, probably eventually millions of units, it’s expected to cost a lot less than a car,” Musk said, giving the benchmark of $20,000 for the base model.