Friday/ here comes the Tesla Bot (or not)

‘It’s intended to be friendly, of course, and navigate a world built for humans. We’re setting it such that at a mechanical and physical level, you can run away from it and most likely overpower it’
– Elon Musk describing the Tesla Bot

Yesterday, Tesla hosted what was billed as ‘AI’ (Artificial Intelligence) Day, in the same vein as last year’s Battery Day. The intention was/ is to draw attention to Tesla’s prowess in developing the AI that will power self-driving cars. It’s good for marketing & promoting the Tesla brand, and for attracting  talented people from fields such as Machine Learning, to join Tesla.

After the presentation and just before questions, ‘one more thing’ was announced: the Tesla Bot, a ‘definitely real humanoid robot’. Tesla Bot will leverage some of the hardware and software used in Tesla’s cars, it was said. The robot will be able to do unsafe, repetitive and boring tasks, ‘essentially helping the company solve the problem of labor to some extent’.

Hmm. Is this thing for real? I think I go with the view of technology news website The Verge: ‘Don’t overthink it: Elon Musk’s Tesla Bot is a joke’.

The Tesla Bot is a skinny humanoid robot, not very fast, and not all that strong. A human dressed up as a Tesla Bot jumped around and made some moves on the stage, to demonstrate what the Tesla Bot would be able to do.
The Verge notes that ‘Boston Dynamics, a company which makes Atlas, the most advanced bipedal robot in the world (unveiled in 2013), has never described these machines as anything but R&D. Atlas, says Boston Dynamics, is simply a way to push the cutting edge of robotics: it’s not even close to commercial deployment’. 

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