Like having a nanny that runs over the kids and bursts into flame


The Musk grift continues. The technology he just buys outright is OK, but he always promotes it with hype and lies about what it can do. Battery powered electric cars? Great. Boring tunnels to solve traffic congestion? Utterly bonkers, won’t work. Colonizing Mars? Nonsense. A death trap. Neuralink? Small animal torture that is so invasive it’s not going to be implemented in people.

The next bit of insanity is Optimus, his humanoid robot.

“Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly,” Musk wrote in an essay published in China Cyberspace magazine.

In 2021, Musk said the robot – codenamed “Optimus” – will use the same chips and sensors as Tesla’s so-called Autopilot software, which has come under intense scrutiny from politicians and federal regulators.

The bot will be able to carry 45 pounds (20.4kg) and lift 150 pounds (68kg), Musk said, adding that it will be able to run 5 miles (8km) per hour. He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.

He is promising a set of capabilities based around general artificial intelligence built on the foundation of his unapproved autodriving car technology. That’s absurd. I don’t believe it could even be implemented in my lifetime. I can’t imagine buying one of these to take care of my 80 year old mother, because I have zero interest in euthanizing her, which is all it would be good for.

Why wasn’t Musk laughed off the stage after this “demo” last year?

He keeps on lying and faking it, but his cult keeps swallowing it.

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    A few, off-the-cuff thoughts:

    1) “Optimus.” Really original name there, Elon. Definitely going after the aging Generation X demographic.. You probably would have called it “Leader One” if Go-Bots had been more popular than Transformers.

    2) While I’m all for automation as a means to relieve humanity of needless, backbreaking, and boring drudgery, wouldn’t it be better to get actual HUMAN workers to care for the elderly and infirmed? Maybe use those alleged superior “free market incentives” by offering real, live people good pay and descent benefits to help take care of the sick and aging? NAH! That’s boring, not something cool that Elon read in a sci-fi novel, and involves treating actual people like… you know… people. .

    3) This technology will never become popular until incel tech-bros can fuck them. It doesn’t have boobs, and I can’t see how you can install a Fleshlight into this thing.

  2. says

    @2: Humanoid form and movement really aren’t that great for a lot of specific tasks; so building a humanoid robot to do those tasks would simply be a ridiculous waste of time, effort and resources. It might be cheaper for a household to buy, or in some cases rent, specialized machines for specific tasks, such as lawnmowing or vacuuming; and just stick to having actual humans do whatever work requires much more complex actions, or is done in spaces built for humanoids; i.e., cooking, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, washing and putting away dishes, or pruning bushes and trees.

    Oh, and I’m asking the same question: why would anyone take Musk seriously on the subject of robots, after he’d had to find a human to pretend to be a robot pretending to move like a human?

  3. says

    2) While I’m all for automation as a means to relieve humanity of needless, backbreaking, and boring drudgery, wouldn’t it be better to get actual HUMAN workers to care for the elderly and infirmed?

    It would certainly make more sense to have automation in factory and other menial jobs, and redirect all that surplus labor-force into healthcare and assisted-living jobs.

  4. raven says

    At least Musk didn’t buy Twitter.
    He would have wrecked it.

    I find that Twitter actually serves a worthwhile purpose and is used worldwide to communicate necessary and useful information.

    This is in contrast to Facebook, which is a huge net negative for the world. A website designed by very smart people to amplify destructive memes and spread propaganda with no connection to reality.
    Facebook is a good idea, everyone gets their own website, that ended up as a disaster.

  5. consciousness razor says

    He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.

    How reassuring. What a great, yet cost-effective, “safety feature.” This way, their software can be buggy as hell, and it will be no big deal…. I mean, as long as you don’t expect your elderly grandmother in a wheelchair to run away from it or overpower it. Nonononono. No. That’s not the Elon Musk guarantee. But there are humans who could easily do that.* And besides they do have plans to send Kyle Reese back to 1984, just in case. So I’m sure that will all work itself out eventually.

    *Not that running away from it or overpowering it will be of any use, when it runs over your foot with the lawnmower, with no warning and for no reason at all. Just make sure that you, your loved ones, your pets, etc., keep your eyes peeled at all times, as instructed on page 687 of the indemnification clause, found within section L37h4 of your user manual/terms of service. Let’s just that you really don’t want to pay what they’ll be charging you, if something goes terribly wrong. Semper vigilans and sic semper tyrannis and all that stuff.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.

    Since Elon loves sci-fi so much, I’d point him to a recent episode of The Orville where it was revealed that the Kaylon sleep. Life, even one based on silicon rather than carbon, finds a way.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    EDIT (Good I’m clumsy this morning): …where it was revealed that the Kaylon (a race of sentient AIs that were out to eliminate all “biologicals”) murdered their abusive creators in their sleep.

  8. says

    Just wait until someone gives it a rifle, and the robot apocalypse is ON! Except they all cluster at the bottom of a stairwell and get jammed, and there is a big mass of stupid gun-waving robots indistinguishable from republicans.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 7

    At least Musk didn’t buy Twitter.
    He would have wrecked it.

    Considering that Twitter is already a flaming, digital hell-scape of stupidity and bigotry, I can’t imagine how Elon could make it worse. I’m sure he’d find one, though.

  10. robro says

    He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.

    What about people who can’t run? Or dance…badly? Oh well, a dancer isn’t a robot.

    Marcus Ranum @ #11 — “Just wait until someone gives it a rifle…” Someone has already done that. Boston Dynamics has been working on robots for thirty years primarily for transporting equipment over non-prepared terrain…rocky hills and no roads. I recently saw a video (here?) with a gun mounted and firing on one of their BigDog robots.

  11. christoph says

    Oooookay…. Am I belaboring the obvious by saying that’s most likely a person in leotards with a hood over their head?

  12. Dunc says

    Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly

    There’s something profoundly wrong with a society which regards “caring for the elderly” as boring drudge work in the same category as mowing the lawn.

  13. says

    “In Japan, the speed of an ageing society is faster than in other countries, [so] the government is promoting developing robots,” says Fuijimoto. “We want to help as an experimental facility.”

    In other words, libertarian lightweights and poseurs like Musk need not apply.

  14. says

    @15: Has anyone made a humanoid robot that can even climb stairs? If a robot could actually dance like that, it would be global headline news, and maybe a Nobel Prize in it to boot.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    The Japanese have a positive view of robots and AI, as can be seen in “The Mighty Atom” (renamed “Astro Boy” in USA).
    That being said, the Japanese have a genuine shortfall in labor, as they are to xenophobic to allow immigrant labor in large numbers.

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    Tech-parasites like Musk think that if you just throw enough money into R&D, then the laws of physics will somehow bend to your will. As if there were some hidden loopholes in science that we just haven’t found yet because of lack of funding.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    South Park already did it!
    Cartman dressed up as a robot and fooled a bunch of people as part of his evil, petty plans.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Goddammit. I just realised absurdist cartoons like South Park and Family Guy are the American version of “social realism”.
    Next up: gundam Barbara Streisand and gundam Donald Trump fight each other in Florida. Elon Musk hires officer Barbrady as chief of security.

  19. StevoR says

    @20. Raging Bee : “@15: Has anyone made a humanoid robot that can even climb stairs?”

    Yes – although not very quickly just yet.

    @ robro – 18 August 2022 at 9:58 am :

    I think I’ve seen a few with The Digital Cuttlefish having a great poem on this here with linked story:

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2021/10/15/theyre-putting-guns-on-robot-dogs/

    Colbert’s Cyborgasm featured them here too esp at the 3min 18 second mark which is chillingly reminiscent of the (not somuch) aliens featured in the (other contempary set) British TV version of War of the Worlds broadcast recentlyish. (I.e. last couple of years. See commenst ^ & 7 on the Digital Cuttlefish linked thread above. )

  20. StevoR says

    @3. Akira MacKenzie :

    3) This technology will never become popular until incel tech-bros can fuck them. It doesn’t have boobs, and I can’t see how you can install a Fleshlight into this thing.

    Yeah, I’m not gunna google that but pretty sure they are and have already been working on it.

    Think I even saw a doco on SBS on that topic – building a working sex bot – on SBS a while ago plus wasn’t that a feature / character goal or some old SF movie or three? Cherry 2000 or something? (wikichecks ;yup : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_2000 )

    Also a bit of an SF staple..

  21. consciousness razor says

    Dunc, #18:

    There’s something profoundly wrong with a society which regards “caring for the elderly” as boring drudge work in the same category as mowing the lawn.

    There’s something profoundly wrong with Musk, certainly. But the rest of society? Nah, you’re totally right. I’ve been to nursing homes and assisted living facilities…. They don’t charge people like they’re just mowing a lawn, though, that’s for sure.

  22. drew says

    And to think that for decades rube engineers have been designing industrial robots . . . that didn’t look like people!
    What were those “experts” thinking? /s

  23. astringer says

    Akira @ 3 “Optimus.” Really original name there, Elon.

    Too right, not the best choice. A brass camping stove that runs on paraffin is hardly inspiring for what is being sold as ultra-tech.

    Seriously though, I have been impressed that the Japanese culture has poured money into human-like (and likeable) robotics to help the elderly (lifting into – out of bed etc) rather than focusing on slaughterbots. Musk is just 15 years behind the ball.

  24. Rich Woods says

    @Akira #3:

    You probably would have called it “Leader One” if Go-Bots had been more popular than Transformers.

    I was expecting Cyberleader. There’d also be the advantage to Musk of not having to develop a functioning AI, just an emotion-suppressing chip for the harvested brain.

  25. Nemo says

    @raven #7:

    At least Musk didn’t buy Twitter.

    I don’t think we can say that yet. We’re currently in the lawsuit phase, where, perversely, Twitter is trying to force Musk to stick to his contract and purchase them. I’m told they have a good case.

  26. christoph says

    @ microraptor, # 17: “@15: What do you mean “most likely?” It’s obviously a guy in a suit.”
    Yeah, I know. But last time I pointed out an obviously fake video here I got trolled and flamed, so I thought I’d try to be diplomatic this time. : )

  27. birgerjohansson says

    Friendly robot: designed to mimic dog.
    Evil robot: designed to look like cat.
    Incompetent robot: Replica of Boris Johnson or Trump.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    Akira @ 3 Leader One

    Fuhrer Eins sounds only marginally better than Aggregat Vier or Vergeltungswaffe Zwei.

  29. robro says

    Nemo at #32 — Are they trying to force him to actually buy Twitter, or to pay the escape clause fee…such a little word for such a huge amount of money? As I recall, when he started trying to wiggle out of the deal it was for something about the number of spam accounts.

  30. unclefrogy says

    there is little I like about these types of Ideas about robot development that get the most press.
    Why do they seem to always emphasize humanoid form when one of the most successful animal forms have multiple “legs” for locomotion and stability. The most advanced and successful “robots” I know of have multiple wheels and multiple sensors and have operated very autonomously on another f’n planet
    I find it interesting that some of the proposed “jobs” advocated for robotic replacement have a large component of creativity involved and even art like gardening and cooking. Does anyone really prefer robot prepared food? or a automated machined park or garden? Who wants their loved ones taken care of like they are industrialized chicken or hogs?
    the whole idea seems anti human contact at its core even anti life in a way. living is sensual and emotional the primary motivation is not money it is the experience of living
    robotic industrialization especially in mining and extraction and mas manufacturing sounds like a good thing except for any negative environmental impact is probably going to happen, but it will be a sad day if we make our existence more impoverished by the use of machines.

  31. says

    Like having a nanny that runs over the kids and bursts into flame

    I suspect not even Adult Wednesday Addams would be cool with that. Charging into the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation HQ and lighting the whole place up, maybe…

    unclefroggy: I agree with you there. A lot of the automation we’re hearing about these days (whether or not they ever go through with it) is anti-human in its consequences and even its stated motives: get rid of humans because we don’t like them, don’t trust them, or don’t want to pay them what they’re worth and treat them as people. This is the main why I strongly suspect that when/if “strong AI” or “artificial general intelligence” comes along, it/they will NOT be friendly or helpful toward most humans.

  32. Jason Nishiyama says

    Every time Musk opens his mouth he sounds more and more like a Bond villain.

  33. birgerjohansson says

    “Like having a nanny that runs over the children and bursts into flames.”
    You have just described the Bojo premiership.

  34. Susan Montgomery says

    @4 Either you design something that can do a multitude of tasks with tools already made or you design over-specialized equipment which can only maintain or operate equally specialized equipment.

    So, you can have a humanoid robot who can make you a banana daiquiri with everyday household tools, and, while you’re enjoying your beverage, the bot’s busy with other chores (or fanning you with a palm frond). Or, you can have the Daiquiritron 3000 take up space in your kitchen, rarely used and requiring specialized maintenance as it breaks down right before your Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy marathon.

    In short, the world is designed for and around us bipedal meatbots and it’s more efficient to design robots to match.

  35. Ridana says

    I have been impressed that the Japanese culture has poured money into human-like (and likeable) robotics to help the elderly (lifting into – out of bed etc) rather than focusing on slaughterbots.

    Why not both? :)
    https://youtu.be/X5i0JU_NsZU?t=412
    (1991’s Roujin Z)

  36. silvrhalide says

    FFS, I’ve seen better dancers than that on the subway. Lowest bid cheesiness is just all over that video.
    @3 “This technology will never become popular until incel tech-bros can fuck them. It doesn’t have boobs, and I can’t see how you can install a Fleshlight into this thing.”
    I think that that is the direction the makers of Real Dolls are moving in. You know, the giant sex dolls that idiots buy and occasionally use in the HOV lane and invariably get caught?
    Also, maybe Elon’s robots will kill Elon first. So it might actually be a worthwhile project.
    ““Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks.”
    Sooo… Elon’s next wife?
    Better work on that Fleshlight option.

  37. unclefrogy says

    I thought that “the world” was not designed at least not for us hairless apes in mind. Our houses and cities and such were however. Much of the food we eat was “designed” by other animals including insects who are by far more numerous than most other things, green plant, fungus ,bacteria and viruses have also hand a hand in the “design” of the world as well.
    On the practical realistic level an autonomous robot which is truly versatile approaching something resembling ‘Data” or I Robot is just fantasy. To make something capable of doing “anything” you want it would be far easier to implement to forget about an autonomous robot and instead think of functional drones controlled by a central house computer where all of the programing and memory would reside leaving the drone free to have room for all the necessary power supply, drive hardware, sensors and communication processing equipment needed to function.
    i however will Just for go the house slave and try to keep my life simple and do things by hand when practical

  38. says

    Susan @41: The hardware is there, but we’d still need software for a humanoid robot to execute all of the specific moves necessary to perform each of the tasks it’s needed to perform. Is anyone anywhere near that point yet? The Japanese and Koreans are ahead of us (‘cuz they never bought into the unregulated-libertarian-individualist-savior-hero scam), but have they managed that level of robo-skill yet?

  39. Nemo says

    @robro #36:
    They really are trying to get him to buy it. (Even though few of the employees want that, but it’s not up to them. It’s all about shareholder value. Musk offered a much higher price per share than TWTR is currently trading at.) The escape clause only applies under certain conditions which supposedly have not been met.
    Here’s a pretty good summary: https://www.techdirt.com/2022/07/08/musks-attempt-to-get-out-of-the-twitter-deal-proceeding-exactly-as-predicted-what-happens-next/

  40. silvrhalide says

    @8 “He said the machine will be designed so that humans can easily run away from and overpower it.”
    How long do you think it will take for people to start sabotaging the robot? I can see people swapping out cleaning products for spray paint cans… really, the possibilities are just endless.

    “they do have plans to send Kyle Reese back to 1984, just in case” etc.
    Crying laughing here.

  41. silvrhalide says

    @41 The Daiquiritron 3000 would be in constant use this week, as I am now on day 4 of the IT Upgrade That F***ed Everything Up At Work. Where can I get one?

  42. says

    If the robots are working with old or incapacitated persons, and are required to occasionally lift such persons in and out of bed (which human caregivers really need help with), then no, the persons affected would not be able to fight or flee from them.

    Does Musk EVER actually think about what he’s saying?

  43. Dunc says

    unclefroggy:

    I find it interesting that some of the proposed “jobs” advocated for robotic replacement have a large component of creativity involved and even art like gardening and cooking. Does anyone really prefer robot prepared food? or a automated machined park or garden? Who wants their loved ones taken care of like they are industrialized chicken or hogs?

    Remember, this is coming from the same tech culture that brought us Soylent. (Which I’m pretty sure I once saw described as “an eating disorder as a service”, although I can’t find it again…) So yes, it’s attractive to the same sort of people, who view merely human activities like cooking and eating as unfortunately necessary chores to be dispensed with with the minimum of effort and invovlement so that they can get on with the important business of generating shareholder value.

  44. Susan Montgomery says

    @45 The software is an issue but it’s not insurmountable. There have been some great strides in teaching machines to do complex tasks.

    @48 The Daiquiritron 3000 is, alas, as yet beyond the ken of our most learned engineers.

  45. says

    @christoph #33

    ..last time I pointed out an obviously fake video here I got trolled and flamed…

    That is not what happened.

    Last time you have alleged without evidence that a video is fake, despite said video being wetted by reputable news sources as real and despite said video not containing anything that is physically or technologically impossible. I have checked whether that has changed, and five months later I could not find any retraction. And the oppression of dissenting voices in Russia got even worse since then.

    For those interested or in need to refresh their memory, the original discussion can be found here – click –

    I really wonder why you insist that said video was “obviously fake” when it is not obvious in the least. Either provide evidence of fakery, or shut up. You are advocating for an oppressive fascist regime violating basic human rights.

  46. lanir says

    @Nemo & robro: I suspect what they’re really trying to do is see how much more they can make him pay while still keeping the company. They can probably push for significantly more than the escape clause. The interesting question is how much more.

  47. lanir says

    When I think about companies automating driving or robotic behavior to perform generic tasks in a standard household I feel like there are some obvious issues. The target always seems to be getting up to the minimal human behavior necessary to be considered barely passable at these tasks. That’s a lousy goal.

    The goal should be outperforming humans in stressful situations. When we get startled, we hyper-focus quickly and when the situation warrants it, respond with adrenaline which increases our ability to do that. Machines don’t have anything like that capability. They also don’t seem to be as good as we are at pattern matching. Not even when granted hefty assistance by seeding their data with the efforts of millions of humans (go look up how Captcha technology works and what the company gets out of having you label things for them). I also do some degree of automation in my line of work. So I have some idea how easy it would be to make mistakes here. You need good devs to make things like this work but even more than that, you need a really solid quality assurance team. Very few software projects actually require the same degree of certainty you’d want from this type of software. It’s kind of telling that they’re not bragging about how good their QA team is. If they have the kind of QA team they actually need for this, they should be bragging about it!

  48. irene says

    Basically they want androids because what they really want is enslaved people. Right back to Karel Čapek, that’s been the implication. “Robot is drawn from an old Church Slavonic word, robota, for “servitude,” “forced labor” or “drudgery.” The word, which also has cognates in German, Russian, Polish and Czech, was a product of the central European system of serfdom by which a tenant’s rent was paid for in forced labor or service.” https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/the-origin-of-the-word-robot/

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