Elon Musk took advantage of the inauguration of the new Tesla factory to put on a show and make promises about his funny robot Optimus, which still has everything to prove.
After unveiling its “Bot” in August 2021 during its AI Day, Tesla talked about its robot again on the occasion of its Cyber Rodeo, the grand inauguration of its new automobile assembly plant in Austin (Texas). This “all-purpose” humanoid robot is now called Optimus and, according to Elon Musk, production could begin as early as next year, in 2023. “We have a chance to be in production for version 1 of Optimus next year”enthused the boss on the stage where he made his entrance on the music of Dr Dre, wearing a cowboy hat.
Too bad the Optimus robot didn’t do the show itself, which from a technical point of view would have been more interesting. Indeed, to date, no one has seen what this machine will really be capable of, of which no functional prototype has made a public appearance. It is therefore impossible to project oneself in his company, even if we know that Tesla’s objective is for him to be able to carry out as many simple tasks as possible, and potentially “everything humans are capable of”according to Elon Musk, decidedly very enthusiastic.
He did not hesitate to raise the bullshitometer speaking of an innovation “capable of transforming the world as we know it” to reach “a new era”. “It may be hard for you to imagine”, he admitted all the same. It will be recalled that Elon Musk is firmly committed against lethal weapons endowed with artificial intelligence. He therefore wanted to clarify with regard to his robot: “As Optimus grows, everyone can make sure the technology is safe. No Terminator stuff or that sort of thing”.
Nobody took Elon Musk seriously when he mentioned this robot project as a priority for Tesla. Seeing it announce the start of its production for 2023 confirms that it is indeed something serious. And Elon Musk to bludgeon only eventually, “its potential is perhaps even greater than that of our cars”.
Nevertheless, specialists in robotics and artificial intelligence cannot help but be skeptical. Gary Marcus, one of them, was asked by CNBC about Optimus and was very clear: “With the current state of knowledge, materials and technology, no robot will be able to perform tasks like a human by the end of next year.“. “Tesla still hasn’t even managed, after years of trying, to do a task like driving 100% reliably. To say that a robot that no one has ever seen move will do the job of humans in next two years is grotesque”he adds.