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Elon Musk Tesla Bot
via Twitter @princesshu

Elon Musk is unleashing humanoid Tesla bots into the world

‘Buy one, and it can be your friend,’ said the billionaire

Last week, Elon Musk was offered millions to direct and star in his own porn film. Now – as if that wasn’t unsettling enough – the billionaire has revealed plans to unleash humanoid robots into the world.

Inspired by Tesla cars’ self-driving autopilot feature, the 125 pound, 5’8” AI Tesla Bots (which were designed to look eerily similar to retired music duo Daft Punk) are intended to automate repetitive human tasks – such as retrieving a bolt and attaching it to a car or going grocery shopping. The robots will feature the same eight-camera technology as on Tesla cars, screens on its head for “useful information”, and “human-level hands”. 

Musk revealed the new product on Thursday (August 19) at an AI Day event by bringing a person dressed like the bot on stage to perform a robotic dance sequence in front of an audience while he watched from the sidelines. 

“Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company, because our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels,” said Musk, during the live-streamed presentation which followed. “With the full self-driving computer, the inference engine on the car, which we’ll keep evolving obviously... neural nets, recognizing the world, understanding how to navigate through the world… it kinda makes sense to put that into a humanoid form.”

According to the billionaire, however, the products could have implications on workers, making universal basic income a necessity for those who may lose jobs as the robots grow in popularity. “I think this will be quite profound,” he said.

Addressing the apocalyptic “killer robot” scenarios we're surely all picturing, the SpaceX founder noted that the bots were slow enough to escape if something went wrong. “It’s intended to be friendly,” he said. “We’re setting it such that it is at a mechanical level (and) at a physical level where you can run away from it and most likely overpower it. (It goes) 5 mph, if you can run faster than that you’ll be fine.”

He added: “Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but you never know.” Very reassuring! 

Musk also noted his plans to make the robots talk and figure out what to do without explicit training. “It can be your buddy,” he said. “Buy one, and it can be your friend,” he said.

While he has not yet announced the AI bot’s price range, Musk noted that they won’t be “super expensive”. The first prototype will be released sometime next year. 

Watch Musk’s full Tesla Bot presentation below.