Musk Unveils Humanoid Tesla Bot Designed for ‘Boring, Repetitious and Dangerous’ Work

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Hannibal Hanschke/AP/Shutterstock (11088658e)SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, GermanyMusk, Berlin, Germany - 01 Dec 2020.
Hannibal Hanschke/AP/Shutterstock / Hannibal Hanschke/AP/Shutterstock

Leave it to Elon Musk to unveil a new humanoid robot by dressing a human in white who pretends to be robotic.

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That’s what happened Thursday, when the Tesla CEO revealed an invention that runs on the same artificial intelligence used by the company’s electric vehicles. As Bloomberg reported, the aptly named “Tesla Bot “was introduced at Tesla’s AI Day. The actual robot itself was not in attendance, however. Instead, a person dressed in a skintight white suit and black helmet did a “jerky robot dance” across the stage to give people an idea of what it might look like.

Musk told those in attendance that the 5-foot, 8-inch robot is expected to weigh in at 125 pounds and be built from lightweight materials, CNET reported. Its head will be outfitted with the same autopilot cameras used by Tesla’s vehicles to sense the environment. It will also feature a screen to display information. The bot will operate using Tesla’s full self-driving computer.

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“It’s intended to be friendly, and navigate through a world built for humans,” Musk said.

He went on to clarify that a humanoid robot prototype would probably launch next year, The Guardian reported, with the aim of doing “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work so humans don’t have to. This might include sending the bot out to the store to buy groceries.

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Attendees at the event were treated to three slides detailing the robot’s proposed specifications, while Musk himself stressed the safety of the machine by mentioning that humans can both outrun and overpower it. As CNET noted, these remarks were likely intended to calm the nerves of those who remember Musk once saying that AI is the “biggest risk we face as a civilization.”

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Last updated: August 20, 2021

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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