Tesla's CEO finally ventures into the field of humanoid robots.
I was on the verge of dozing off watching Elon Musk and Tesla's 90-minute-long AI Day lecture late Thursday night when someone in a robot suit began gyrating on stage.
Even as someone who has covered the computer sector for four decades and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for almost two decades, I was trying to keep up.
Tesla executives were purportedly on hand to discuss how the firm is developing its own world-class, industry-leading vision system for the Tesla Fully Self-Driving System.
A neural network, eight cameras, a thorough dive into the system architecture, and actual formulae on the screen There was also a sophisticated computer for training the system, one that might have helped Tesla's FSD drive independently since it utilized simulations to comprehend complicated surroundings (I believe).
All of this is backed up by Tesla's in-house silicon and the Dojo Computer, dubbed the "Fastest AI Training Computer" by Musk and his team. The system uses Exaflops, which are 1,000 times faster than Petaflops.
I understood that Tesla's FSB would be orders of magnitude better, quicker, and perhaps smarter than anything that had come before it. At the same moment, my head felt like it was about to explode. So much technology for such a simple job as driving.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, was not finished.
The robot dancer shuffled, twisted, and tap-danced on the bare stage until Musk shooed it away (I wondered if it was Musk's girlfriend, Grimez, who is a skilled dancer) and introduced the "Tesla Bot" or, as one developer leaked, Codename "Optimus."
- He then showed a 5'8" tall duplicate a few moments later. Granted, it resembled a Macy's mannequin in its naked state. Its capabilities were presented on a slide:
- (We'd call that fit) It weighs 125 lbs.
- It has a 45-pound carrying capacity. (I'd always wanted a more powerful humanoid robot.)
- can deadlift up to 150 pounds. (That's a lot better.)
- 5 mph (about equivalent to running)
- With an extended arm, it can lift 10 lbs. (Give it a go.) That's a lot more amazing than you would believe.)
Why would you make a robot like this? The Tesla Bot, like the majority of people who attempt to create humanoid, commercial, or home appliance bots, is designed to perform the hazardous, repetitive, and tedious jobs we'd rather not do (Musk said he had no plans to put it in one of his factories, though).
This has long been an aim of roboticists. I reported on the newest Boston Dynamics Atlas robot and its path to acrobatic talent earlier this week. I recalled seeing Elon Musk at the 2015 DARPA Robotics challenge, which was intended to determine which robot could, basically, get in and out of a nuclear catastrophe zone, after I wrote it. I had interviewed Musk a few years before, so we were familiar with one another. As he met team members, he waved and said hi to me. Musk lingered in the bleachers, watching as some of the robots attempted to perform eight simple tasks. That's when I took this hazy picture.
Musk's whole company (both in space and on the ground) is based on robots and artificial intelligence (though he also has a somewhat fraught history with artificial intelligence). Still, to my knowledge, he's never suggested a humanoid robot.
After finishing the Atlas tale, I began to wonder what impact that incident had on Musk. Did he still wonder what robots could and couldn't do back then, what they were doing today, and whether he fit into that chronology of robot evolution? I shared that old picture with Musk and inquired whether he was working on a humanoid robot. Musk didn't directly respond to my question, but 15 hours later, he revealed his response to the public. Musk's ultra-deep dive into the minutiae of technology began to make sense with the launch of the Tesla Bot. This was about more than simply self-driving vehicles. This robot would be built using the same method and Dojo Computer training that they had described in the previous hours. It would use the same FSD computer used in Tesla vehicles.
Musk, who has speculated that we are living in a simulation and expressed grave worries about AI gone awry, attempted to reassure guests that the Tesla Bot would not have emotions or companion chips and that Tesla would avoid sci-fi movies apocalyptic clichés.
Despite the technology's incredible capability, Musk maintained during the Q & A that they're developing "narrow AI" and that "what we're doing here at Tesla is producing usable AI that is unambiguously good."
Despite the model standing quietly behind them, it seems that the robot Tesla is currently developing is more basic, with simple grabbers and the capacity to "work with tools, carry a bag, that sort of thing," as Musk described it.
Elon Musk is known for showing off crazy prototypes and making even more outrageous promises years before having anything practical to show (see Neural Lace), but the busy entrepreneur is also a doer. Both SpaceX and Tesla began as far-fetched, nearly impossible concepts, but today I can't turn a corner without seeing a Tesla, and SpaceX Dragon spacecraft are making practically monthly cargo and personnel flights to the International Space Station.
So, sure, Musk and Tesla's crazy humanoid robot concepts are acceptable. I've been waiting for this my whole life, and Elon Musk, like it or not, is the only guy who can make a personal C-3PO a reality.
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