You know when you go a little overboard with the SciFi/dystopian movies for a few weeks and then you have these random dreams where all of a sudden the world is run by robots because since society can’t even treat each other half-decently they treat ai machines really poorly so said robots become highly-intelligent sentient humanoids and rebel and uprise against humanity? Has that ever crossed your mind? But then you think nah those types of robots don’t exist yet! That would neeeeever happen… Or would it? Thanks to Elon Musk new project, an ai humanoid robot, we might just be witnessing the beginning of the end guys.
Nah but in all seriousness now, dystopian manic ramblings aside, it seems like the latest AI Tesla venture is going forward. Tesla’s AI humanoid robot project was announced last year during Tesla’s annual AI day. Mind you the announcement was via a guy dressed in a robot costume dancing around. Needless to say, this raised concerns from investors, mostly because they do not see humanoid robots being as profitable as Tesla’s current major enterprise, the coveted electric car. Symbol of innovation, futurism, status, sustainability and – taking into account their cost – quite frankly, affluence.
AI Tesla: What is this Tesla bot about?
This Elon Musk new project consists of an AI robot, a humanoid if you will, that can take care of manufacturing and production processes. Mainly repetitive physical tasks. This AI humanoid, who Musk has called Optimus, is foreshadowed to replace workers in Tesla factories in the future. With this, Musk hopes for manufacturing to become Tesla’s major competitive advantage as well as circumvent any future labour shortages.
I think that, actually, the most important product development we’re doing this year is actually the Optimus humanoid robot. This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time. –Elon Musk
What began as a mere rumour is now true through and through. With job openings going live and everything.
What could Tesla’s AI humanoid robot mean for the economy?
There is no denying that there is a huge labour shortage going on worldwide right now. A result of many coalescing factors, from the global pandemic and inflation to working conditions, a lack of adequate skillsets, the list goes on and on.
As Musk pointed out during Tesla’s AI Day, currently, the foundation of the economy is labour. Given the impending doom resulting from the current labour shortage, Tesla believes the Tesla bot could be the knight in shining armour. And yet we can’t help but think, the knight in shining armour for whom?
After all, one of the main reasons behind the labour shortage is the fact that workers are increasingly prioritizing a decent salary, a healthy work-life balance, job security, and a healthy work environment. Simply put, people don’t want to work in shitty conditions anymore for a salary that will barely cover their living costs. Modern-day servitude. Why on earth it is so hard to understand that everyone deserves a decent salary and work-life balance without feeling like they’ve won the lottery is beyond us.
The introduction of free labour to the market would leave millions unprotected
Companies already make an effort to cut labour costs as much as possible, and workers have to scramble to achieve decent working conditions. At times their only leverage being that if they leave, the job doesn’t get done. So one can only imagine the negative impact on the already meagre working conditions of millions if they can be replaced by a machine that will not receive a salary, nor complain about being asked to work ungodly hours.
The current generation is one of the first to be worse off than their parents. With rising inflation and living costs, it is close to impossible to afford a lifestyle akin to that of their predecessors. The middle class dwindles, trickling into a growing lower class, while some manage to escape to the upper class, in turn distancing themselves further and further away from those economically lower.
It doesn’t really seem like AI Tesla is meant to better the economy for the general public, rather shove more coins into pockets that are already bursting at the seams.
Should we be weary of AI Tesla?
There is a sense of mild doubt and dread that permeates Musk’s motifs for most of what he does and the projects Tesla is involved in. It’s not entirely surprising, it’s hard to trust people who get insanely rich from the ventures they claim will better the world.
Let’s not forget that everything isn’t what it seems. Sure, Tesla might seem like an electric car company, but what it is at heart is a data company. The data they gather, and what they do with said data, is infinitely more valuable than the cars themselves. So what is it that Musk is truly after with this AI humanoid robot? What is Optimus’ ultimate mission?
Let’s get a little Black Mirror-y for a second here… Could Elon Musk be trying to conquer the world by infiltrating global manufacturing processes and slowly, sleekly, and surely gaining a monopoly over the world’s resources?
Okay okay, that might sound a tad bit conspiranoid on our part, but Black Mirror creator did literally retire because he said that Black Mirror stuff was happening in real life so his stories weren’t shocking anymore! Still, even if Mr Musk isn’t trying to conquer the world with his AI Tesla ventures, it’s nevertheless hard to believe that there isn’t a secondary benefit to what Tesla has planned for its Tesla bot besides replacing its factory workers.
Same old story: It’s not the tech, it’s us
Imagine, just imagine what it could mean for society, for the economy, for every breathing, living thing if technology was truly used as a vehicle of innovation rather than to fill the pockets of the greedy or to satisfy the fantasies of demagogues.
Let’s remember that technology and innovation are wonderful things, with the potential to, literally, change the world. But only if we use it to do so. So let’s just hope that we’re being cynical here and that Tesla and Mr Musk aren’t trying to screw the world over with their AI humanoid robot.