The richest man in the world predicts a future where working is optional and robots manage to occupy dangerous or “boring” jobs and vocations. Elon Musk, Tesla’s ceo and founder of SpaceX, said in a podcast interview that Tesla can deliver to the market a robot that can do the functions no one would want to have: the Tesla Bot. And he would arrive in 2022, according to the billionaire.
Elon Musk is known for his bold ideas. He defines himself as someone who likes to think about the future. For the president of Tesla and Space-X, many jobs going forward will become outdated because they are simply “not fun.”
“Extrapolating many years ahead, I think many jobs will become optional. There are jobs where if a person wasn’t paid, they just wouldn’t want to have that job,” Musk said in an interview with journalist Lex Friedman. The billionaire even used the example of washing dishes for 8 hours a day and added, “Would you like to do that? Probably not.”
That’s where Tesla’s artificial intelligence (AI) would come into action. In Musk’s utopia, robots will occupy jobs that no person would have voluntarily. Working on the factory floor, washing dishes —AI could do all that.
But Musk also thinks about employing robots for jobs that are dangerous to humans:
“And there’s also dangerous work, and basically if it’s bad, it’s boring or it has the potential to cause trauma, stress and injury, that sort of thing, so that’s when robots with human characteristics can be best tasted, initially. […] Obviously, we will have to combine this with the creation of a universal income in the future.”
When asked if Tesla will manufacture more robots than cars in the future — the automaker recently surpassed the 2 million-car mark produced — Musk says that’s a possibility.
The tesla owner gave the Tesla Bot a kind of satirical nickname —Musk is also seen as a meme sommelier, and often posts them on his Twitter. The robot is called “Optimus Subprime”, alluding to the popular Autobots’ leading character, Optimus Prime, from the Transformers franchise. The motive came out of the playful billionaire’s own mouth:
“Well, it’s because he’s not exactly a giant robot. He is more assigned to be a personal helper with various roles. Tesla basically has the most advanced artificial intelligence on the planet when it comes to interacting with the real world, which we’ve developed to make car autopilot work.”
Tesla’s AI technology is quite advanced because it requires a greater effort from the company to make a neural network connected to a single robot work.
Musk said that by the end of 2022, the Tesla Bot will be ready and available to the user. The CEO, however, forgets that other companies are also trying to develop their own robots and software in an attempt to revolutionize the field of artificial intelligence. Some of them have this as their primary purpose, such as Boston Dynamics. Others arrived later, but remain able to compete equally with Tesla: Samsung, Google, Amazon, among others.
But this scenario of humanoide robots capable of performing day-to-day tasks is still distant, according to inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil. He predicts that humanity must solve the problem of general artificial intelligence, being the ability of a robot to learn anything spoken or done by a human being between 2050 and 2080. Kurzweil is considered an optimist in the AI business.
Elon Musk’s predictions are no strangers to failure. In 2019, the billionaire told the world how Tesla was about to solve the latest challenge for the production of a fully autonomous car, and that more than one million autopilot taxis would be delivered in 2021.
We are a day and a half from 2022 and the number of 100% autonomous cars running with the Tesla logo is zero.