Tesla is developing a bipedal robot that can replace human labour in places where the work is boring and/or dangerous. Amazon has a robot called Digit, but its not been in the news lately, it has strange legs that look alien. Boston Dynamics has developed several robots, more humanoid, but that one is probably waay to expensive. It carries a fossil generator on its back..
Walking robots are not easy, the double pendulum effect, or predicting what force you need to achieve what result when you have several degrees of freedom and inertia is hard, even for humans. It would be amazing if Tesla managed to make a reasonably agile robot in a year, but then again both actuator, sensor, analysis, energy storage, even part design and manufacturing is advancing at such a pace that its possible. It also helps that the teams no longer try to use math all the way, but more itterative methods to get the right plan for movements.
Bipedal robots can be way more efficient than drones, way more usefull in environments designed for humans
Optimus development should be going on in each first world nation, to push the boundaries of technology, but also because we need the help. We need bipedal robots. We need ‘Roadbots’ (autonomous mobile electric robotic platforms), because of climate change. Work that is dangerous is increasing, because working outside under the beating sun is becoming a problem. Such that you can now buy cool vests (ventilated vests) for people working in roadbuilding and construction.
If Tesla builds a lightweight bipedal mobile platform that can do real work (you could actually imagine a light weight system plugging itself into extra wall power if it has to use high torque for longer periods of time), that is already a game changer, it does not have to be able to keep a conversation going. I have seen videos online of a robot that can explain why its doing things, but its not clear if that is scripted or not. It will happen, I have written about it before, the hardest thing is to get the robot to have an idea of what a human is and how its behaviour could be a risk to humans. This is also hard even for humans. Humans love, and the fun fact about love is that it takes whatever comes in and makes a ‘thing to protect’ out of it. Its a messy way to do things, it will be very interesting how this pans out when done by an artificial neural net in a humanoid body.
A bipedal android that can be produced in large numbers for relatively little money will immediately be bought by mining companies, logistics, farming, chemical companies. The fun thing is that if they are as robust as Tesla cars, and the owner has its own renewable energy, they can work contiously for a fraction of the cost of a human. I described this consequence years ago because its part of my Roboeconomic vision (this is also a post on Roboeconomy.com).
The (slightly updated) question fundamental to the Roboeconomy is:
If we had a machine (system of robots) that could make everything we need that ran on renewable energy it could maintain, would we:
- Be out of a job and not earning money, so unable to buy anything?
- Be free to use whatever it produced without cost or based on a basic income ?
Of course everything would be free or we’d have a basic income, we’d have robots maintaining everything intcluding themselves. We’d have them set up factories, flatten the ground, make solar panels, install them, make more robots, build chip fabs, run them (also a very good place to use them). With AI and Robots and renewables a new kind of activity would come alive on Earth, we’d be pets or as Elon Musk once put it “We’re the bootloader for AI”
An important thing to note is that the Roboeconomy is not like our current fossil/nuclear/burning stuff economy. The burning does not occur. The energy is abundant, robots are expanding the capacity all the time. We won’t need to fight over it. Our current fossil habit is a serious risk because it generates objectives in people’s minds that are destructive, genocidal “If only those Ukrainians didn’t use all my gas an piss on me, if only I could eradicate them”. If those kind of ideas get hoisted onto an AI before we get to the abundant renewables phase we are in a lot of trouble. We are in a lot of trouble.
In the Roboeconomy nobody will own the energy first. Banks will not exist anymore, in fact the big bank we will have is being launched by Tesla (although not announced at the Q1 ER). Batteries will be the banks, energy will be traded for a currency the owners invent, the tax office will probably hand it out to the people on a monthly basis or something.
Not sure what happened to Digit. Its Bezos mindset that works against breakthroughs although he seems to have ideals. He does not think he should solve other people’s problems. Zuckerberg also really doesn’t care about suffering in the world. Many people do however, and my hope is those people will be the ones to bring about the Roboeconomy as an act of kindness.
An older version on this topic “Tesla, Optimus and the Roboeconomy”
Earliest post on the Roboeconomy (2011)