On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unveiled a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot. It runs on the same AI used by Tesla’s fleet of autonomous vehicles. During the reveal, there is no appearance by a functioning robot, instead a performer dressed in the costume which mimic the Tesla Bot is in its stead and it performed a bizarre dance.
The revelation of Tesla Bot came as a surprise when Musk revealed it at the end of Tesla’s AI Day presentation. Musk proceeded to provide a few details about the robot beyond a few PowerPoint slides. The 5-foot-8-inch (172.72 cm) robot is expected to weigh in at 125 pounds (56.7 kg) and be built from “lightweight materials,” he said.
Its head will be kitted out with the autopilot cameras used by Tesla’s vehicles to sense the environment and will contain a screen to display information. Internally, it will be operating via Tesla’s Full Self-Driving computer. “It’s intended to be friendly,” Musk joked, “and navigate through a world built for humans”.
There are three slides dedicated to detailing the robot’s proposed specifications. Musk made sure to reiterate that you could both outrun the Tesla Bot and “overpower” it. He has, in the past, railed against the use of robots as weapons and warned of the risks AI might pose — once calling it the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”. “We should be worried about AI,” Musk said during a question-and-answer session after the presentation. “What we’re trying to do here at Tesla is make useful AI that people love and is … unequivocally good.”
One particular slide stated that the Tesla Bot would remove “dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks,” to which Musk provided an example, suggesting the robot could be told to “go to the store and get … the following groceries.” Not that such a task is particularly dangerous, but you might find it repetitive and boring.
“This, I think, will be quite profound,” he said. “Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you won’t need to do it,” Musk said on how he envisions Tesla Bot would change the future of work.