Tesla Optimus robot elon musk

Elon Musk Shows Off New Tesla Optimus Bot, Hopes for Mass Production

3 min read

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The new Tesla Optimus robot has been blowing people’s minds, as of yesterday, when Elon Musk threw this video out to his 166.2 million followers on X. 

What is Tesla Optimus? 

Tesla Optimus is a project that aims to create a general-purpose, bi-pedal, autonomous humanoid robot that can perform tasks that humans don’t want to do. (Or is that, tasks that companies don’t want to pay people to do?). 

Either way boring jobs are not fun and if the bots can do it so humans can do other more stimulating things then everyone wins, right? Right?

The emergence of Tesla Optimus is one of the most ambitious and futuristic endeavours of Tesla, the electric vehicle and clean energy company founded by Musk. 

Tesla is known for its innovative products, like the Model S sedan, the Model 3 compact car, the Cybertruck pickup truck, and the Powerwall home battery. But Tesla’s robot seems to be a sharp fork for the company, as it heads firmly into Sci-Fi territory. 

The plan for Tesla Optimus (or Optimus for short) was introduced in 2021, with Musk proclaiming that there would be a prototype in 2022. And now, at the end of 2023, he seems to have closed in on his plan to go into mass production. 

Musk was quoted saying Optimus “has the potential to be more significant than Tesla’s vehicle business over time”.

Tesla Optimus robot elon musk
Tesla Optimus: Please don’t turn on us.

What is Optimus designed to do?

Optimus has a list of jobs already: In manufacturing production lines, performing dangerous or repetitive work in mines, and exploring hazardous environments such as space or volcanoes. 

Optimus will use the same AI system that Tesla is developing for its advanced driver-assistance system and full self-driving software. This means that Optimus will be able to perceive its surroundings using cameras and sensors, plan its actions using neural networks and motion planning algorithms, and execute them using motors and grippers.

Optimus will also be able to learn from its own experience and improve itself over time. 

Is this the start of something exciting? Or are we in SkyNet territory?

Tesla is very serious about this product, it is not just for fun. The company has already hired hundreds of engineers from various fields to work on this project. 

Scary things

It would be naive to just power ahead in the mass production of these bots without thinking of all the consequences involved, including all of the dark scenarios that movies have already spelled out for us in advance.

Here’s the scary stuff.

-How will Tesla ensure the safety and reliability of Optimus? What if something goes wrong with its hardware or software? How will it handle errors or failures? What if it kills a human? Other robots have done that in the past.

-Will humans have relationships with these robots and stop having human relationships? Is this good or bad?

-How will Tesla protect the privacy and security of its customers’ data? What if someone hacks into Optimus’s system or uses it for malicious purposes? 

-If the robot is hacked, can it be used to spy on its owner, or even harm its owner? Or made to walk out of the home and into a thief’s home?

-How will Tesla deal with the social and legal implications of having millions of robots in society? Will robot lives matter?

These are some of the questions that need to be answered before Optimus can be mass produced. But hey, at least we can console ourselves with the idea that it can dance!

Tesla Optimus robot elon musk

Tesla Optimus: First Mars workers

Musk has made no secret of his dream to colonise Mars. 

So it would be easy to presume these bots will be the first workers on the Red Planet, building the houses and other infrastructure needed for humans to survive there.

Let’s ask the most important question of all: When can we start watching the reality show about the first families with these bots?