Elon Musk showed off his latest project, a sleek white and shiny humanoid robot, slightly smaller in size than the average man, designed to perform “dangerous, repetitive and boring” tasks – in the future. Called the Tesla Bot, it will be ready for presentation in prototype form next year, Musk announced – but if it doesn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time that a promised innovation from Musk won’t be delivered.
The robots on stage with Musk at a Tesla corporate event were a statue-like model that did nothing but sit still. The other was a person in a costume and a mask who performed a crazy dance. “Obviously, that wasn’t real,” Musk explained after the dancer finished. “The Tesla Bot will be real”. Musk showed a slide with the robot’s specifications. According to the slide, it will be six feet tall and weigh 125 pounds, with a top speed of 5 mph (8 kilometers per hour). “It’s meant to be friendly, of course,” he said.
The reveal of the robot came at the end of a livestreamed event full of technical details about Tesla’s efforts in artificial intelligence. If Musk was joking about the robot, he didn’t allow it. He talked about the need to provide universal income to those who lose their jobs when robots take over. “In the future, physical work will be a choice,” he said.