Tesla, evidently having heard our concerns about terrifying robots that could easily overtake the human race, is working on a robot that is explicitly designed to be puny enough to lose in the forthcoming apocalyptic mass struggle between man and machine.
The bipedal humanoid automaton, called Tesla Bot or Optimus, is intended to eliminate the need for people to do “dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks” such as using a wrench, said Elon Musk at a Tesla “AI Day” presentation on Thursday, during which a human person dressed in a Tesla Bot suit performed a high-energy dance onstage. (Per the Washington Post, “Musk was quick to clarify that the dancing robot was not real.”)
Musk, who has previously voiced his own trepidation about artificial intelligence and the threat it poses to civilization itself, said the robot will be “friendly.” At a height of 5’8,” a weight of 125 pounds, and a speed of 5 miles per hour, the Tesla Bot is planned to be set at “a mechanical and physical level [so] you can run away from it and most likely overpower it,” said Musk.
But while the robot may not be able to defeat humans in combat, it will steal people’s jobs, if all things go according to plan. “Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice,” said Musk. He added, “This is why I think long term there will need to be a universal basic income.”