Tesla — the electric vehicle company led by Elon Musk — is developing humanoid “Tesla Bots.” On social media, Musk hinted that the company is taking steps to avoid a future robot revolt.
According to Tesla’s website, the Tesla Bot is a “general purpose, bi-pedal, humanoid robot capable of performing tasks that are unsafe, repetitive or boring.” The machines represent the “next generation of automation.”
On Wednesday, Musk tweeted: “Tesla AI might play a role in AGI, given that it trains against the outside world, especially with the advent of Optimus.”
Tesla AI might play a role in AGI, given that it trains against the outside world, especially with the advent of Optimus
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 19, 2022
As Electrek editor-in-chief Fred Lambert explained, “Optimus” is Musk’s codename for the Tesla Bot initiative — and the reference to artificial general intelligence (“AGI”) means that the machines may one day be able to complete any task that a human can do.
Lambert said that “this is somewhat surprising considering the many warnings that Musk has issued about creating AGI and the risks to humanity that come with it.” However, Lambert clarified that Tesla will take precautions to avoid a “Terminator scenario.”
Indeed, investor Steven Mark Ryan tweeted that he is “glad the foundational seeds of AGI are in the hands of a benevolent company, led by someone who is aware of — and extremely cautious about — AGI gone awry,” nevertheless warning Musk to “try not to summon the demon.”
“Will do our best,” Musk responded. “Decentralized control of the robots will be critical.”
Will do our best. Decentralized control of the robots will be critical.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 19, 2022
“Decentralizing the control of Tesla Bots would avoid giving this ‘demon’ access to an army — much like a Terminator-like scenario,” Lambert interpreted.
Beyond his dabbling in potentially lethal killer robots, Musk frequently raises concerns about the collapse of civilization due to declining birth rates.
“We should be much more worried about population collapse,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday. “UN projections are utter nonsense. Just multiply last year’s births by life expectancy. Given downward trend in birth rate, that is best case unless reversed.”
UN projections are utter nonsense. Just multiply last year’s births by life expectancy. Given downward trend in birth rate, that is best case unless reversed.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2022
“If there aren’t enough people for Earth, then there definitely won’t be enough for Mars,” added Musk, who has six children.
Musk pointed to a recent report on the American birth rate, which explained:
The number of babies born in the U.S. dropped by 4% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to a new federal report released Wednesday. The general fertility rate was 55.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, reaching yet another record low, according to the provisional data…
The U.S. total fertility rate, which estimates how many babies a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have during their life based on data from a given year, remains far “below replacement” — meaning there wouldn’t be enough babies born for a generation to exactly replace itself.
In an interview with The Babylon Bee, Musk said: “If you just simply look at the birth rate statistics, you can tell what the future is going to be like because you can see how many children were born last year.”
“And you could say, ‘Is the birth rate trending down or up?’ And it’s been trending down basically almost everywhere,” Musk continued. “[We’re] trending towards well below replacement rate. And a lot of countries have been well below replacement rate for a long time. … The earth is far from overpopulated. Far, far from overpopulated.”
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