Tesla is introducing a robot: ‘you can run away from it, overpower it’


What do you think Elon Musk thinks about as he whiles away the hours in his tiny house in Texas? I’ll tell you – he’s figuring out how to build a robot army to take over the world! Although, according to Musk, his robots will be nice robots who just do the stuff we don’t want to. Mm’hmm. At last week’s AI Day, Musk took the Tesla stage and personally unveiled the model for what he hopes will be the Telsa Bot, a humanoid robot about 5’ 8” tall that is designed to perform mundane or dangerous tasks if we’d like it to. Musk reassured his audience that his Tesla Bots are “intended to be friendly” and are programed to allow most humans to outrun them, I guess so we can escape the inevitable robot revolt.

Tesla just hosted an event called AI Day, during which chief executive and space-fancier Elon Musk announced that the company is aiming to launch a humanoid robot prototype, called the Tesla Bot, in 2022.

Musk said the robot is designed to do “boring, repetitive and dangerous” work, giving examples such as attaching bolts with a spanner or picking up your shopping, and said it will have “profound implications for the economy.”

“It’s intended to be friendly, of course, navigate through a world built for humans, and eliminate boring, repetitive, dangerous tasks.”

“We’re doing it so at a mechanical level, at a physical level, you can run away from it, and most likely overpower it,” Musk said, and even he couldn’t avoid laughing. “So hopefully that doesn’t ever happen but you never know.”

The robots will be 1.7m tall and weigh 125lb, with the ability to carry 45lbs, deadlift 150lbs, and arm extend lift 10lbs. You’ll be able to run away from it, if you’re in decent nick yourself, because it will move at a top speed of 5mph.

The most freaky element, though this wasn’t demonstrated, is that it has a face screen where a humanoid face will appear to impart “useful information.” Apparently a key aim is that it’s not “super expensive.” We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

[From PC Gamer via OMG]

I’m open to an argument for robots taking on dangerous tasks like bomb diffusing et al. I’m sure there are as many counter arguments about making decisions in high pressure situations and such. In Musk’s presentation, he hypothesizes that they will be able to program these bots to make those choices. I’ve read way too many Sci-Fi novels that told me how this ends up so my first reaction to this is, “No!” But the truth is, it’s just new and I can’t comprehend it. Musk laughed when he said these bots are “intended to be friendly” and we were supposed to be able to overpower them. Neither of my parents could. What if there’s only one package of tortillas left at the store and both my mom and the robot wanted them? Who is the bot “friendly” to, the old lady or the one who employs it? The point Musk keeps making is these bots will eliminate labor. We can choose to do it if we want, but we will no longer have to. What about those that rely on labor positions for income? I know a lot of people that picked up Door Dash and Instacart shifts during lockdown to make ends meet. With self-driven Teslas acting as Ubers and these Bots acting as personal shoppers, aren’t we just screwing the middle and lower class once again?

However, as outlets are pointing out, I don’t need to get too excited about any of this yet. Musk makes a lot of promises that take a while to get here. Like his Tesla truck. And us occupying Mars. And sending himself to space. So far, this bot is a statue and a drawing, they don’t even have a working prototype. When a Telsa Bot walks across the stage, I can re-ask all these questions but for now, I will continue to schedule my weekly shopping trip and not worry about drones taking over the Winn Dixie.

Here’s Musk’s Tesla Bot introduction. It’s one part cool and a couple parts creepy:

Photo credit: Avalon Red, CNET and Twitter

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19 Responses to “Tesla is introducing a robot: ‘you can run away from it, overpower it’”

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  1. Juls says:

    Just admit it’s a sex robot and move along, Elon. Sheesh!

  2. Gil says:

    I think Japan it’s gonna be the first in line ordering these robots. The lack of manpower here is really a big problem specially in nursing homes. We can argue all day about how they should let immigrants to come here to work but most Japanese people would rather being destroyed by skynet than letting foreign workers come in.

  3. pearlime says:

    His big company announcement are all about their stocks and to deflect from the problems they face with the cars. And his bitcoin shuffling is beyond sketchy. Can the hype around Musk die down already?

  4. SusanRagain says:

    If they can get these robots to do my never ending laundry, I am in. lol
    Elon Musk is an interesting dude, very entertaining, IMO.
    But, Dean Kamen the inventor of many, many items is an actual genius worthy of more respect, IMO. Kamen focuses on inventions that solve medical and survival issues. i.e. clean water, medical equipment including an electric wheelchair that can go up and down staircases, lift it’s person into a standing position. Dean Kamen is the real deal.
    Elon Musk is right up there, no doubt, but he is much more into being a celeb genius.

    And all these billionaires throwing cash into space projects….suck it!
    How about helping humanity in a large scale here on planet Earth? That would be nice.

  5. Enis says:

    I could see this being extremely useful for people who have mobility impairments and potentially give those people more freedom to actually have jobs or go places on their own.

  6. Kim says:

    Hey Elon. How about concentrating on making sure your cars don’t blow up, mmkay? Thaaaaanks.

  7. ElleV says:

    i hate this. space travel and robots are gross waste that exclusively benefits the rich and screws everyone else. fix climate change. that’s a real challenge and something that’s dangerous for everyone.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      I fully expect them to be used by the rich to replace the workers they don’t want to pay, and create more poverty so the rich have even greater control over the world. There will be a choice of agreeing to work for a low wage w/no protections or benefits (and doing the work of multiple people) or being replaced by a robot

  8. Valerie says:

    Can this robot zap my brain and make it so I don’t know who Elon Musk is?? That’d be great!! Will it look like Data?

  9. August Rain says:

    Is this guy a 10 year old stuck in the 1960’s? I mean robots and spacecraft 🙄 rather than prosthetics and environmental tools? To actual solve real problems?

  10. Meredith says:

    I’ve seen I, Robot. I know how this ends. Also, if you have to say the robot can be overpowered, it’s not something I want in my house.

  11. K says:

    If only we could do that with Elon.

  12. Doodle says:

    I took a screen grab of the title of this post and sent it to my techie husband. I let him know that I didn’t need to buy a robot to run away from something. Hubster has been following the “robot race” and there’s another company that’s further ahead but I have no idea what their robots are actually going to be useful for. And I thought there were already little droids that could be used for bomb diffusion, so that point is moot… what you got Elon?

  13. Julie says:

    I just want it to clean my house. If it will clean my house, I’m all for it!

    • ME says:

      Yeah if the robot can be a maid, chef, and handyman all in one, that would be great. Imagine a day when you look outside and see robots mowing the lawn. Kinda scary to think about really. These robots will be the end of us in the long run lol.

  14. Mary Mae says:

    There’s an episode on Season 2 of Love, Death, & Robots (Netflix) called Automated Customer Service that deals with this very subject. Nope. Nope. And nope.

    For those who have never seen it, its a dark series regarding tech, BUT (without getting into spoilers) this episode is not a hard watch for those who might be sensitive to certain things. Plus the animation through each and every episode is amazing.

    There’s also a second episode in this season featuring a CGI animated Michael B. Jordan that deals with a “helpful” robot in space. That one is not for the squeamish. But the CGI is excellent.

  15. AnneSurely says:

    Take all these rich men’s money away from them. They are idiots.

  16. Jules says:

    when people without ethics or morals get into AI and space travel, is not gonna be good.