In its recent meeting dedicated to artificial intelligence, Tesla made a bombshell announcement at the very end: next year they will present the prototype of a humanoid robot capable of executing tasks that are today done by humans.
This announcement is the opening salvo of a new era of humanoid robots among us, and we must start a conversation in really understanding the implications
Tesla has demonstrated to be able to deliver surprising innovations that experts in the field are betting against, and to do it at scale, meaning that these are not research projects anymore, but they are products that consumers and businesses want to buy, and produce in the hundreds of thousands, or millions of units. The Tesla humanoid robot is going to be similar to the Tesla self driving cars because they’ll have sensors that collect data, which is analyzed by advanced artificial intelligence, which in turn allow actuators to plan and to achieve the desired goal.
How will these robots impact our economy and our society, when they are going to be available in large numbers? There are a myriad of situations where they will be incredibly beneficial, like for elderly people that are insufficiently cared for: they will be able to stay independent in their own homes. How many occupations are better suited to robots because they are dangerous, or boring, or those that humans are now forced to execute but they wouldn’t, if they had a choice? The labor market will need to adapt and our societies overall will need to adapt; there will be whole new questions arising.
And of course there are places where the robots are going to be uniquely useful, environments that are adversarial to humans: operating in space, on the Moon, and on Mars.