Elon Musk made some wildly bold claims on the Lex Fridman podcast yesterday. While he’s certainly no stranger to sensationalism, it’s clear now that the line between trolling humanity and getting-high-off-his-own supply is blurrier than ever for the world’s richest man.
He’s now claiming that the Tesla Robot could be an “incredible buddy like C3PO or R2D2” and that it will be able to “develop a personality over time that is unique” because, according to Musk, “it’s not like all robots are the same.”
Musk told Fridman that Tesla would likely have a “decent prototype” by the end of next year (2022).
After introducing the “Tesla Robot” earlier this year by dressing up a dancer in spandex and trotting them out on stage to embarrass themselves, the audience, and the company, Musk claimed the machine would be available in 2022.
Never mind that companies such as Hanson Robotics and Boston Dynamics have been working in the space for decades or that Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and dozens of other big tech outlets have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in pushing the limits of human-robot interactions.
Elon Musk’s just going to… solve artificial general intelligence by the end of next year with a team he’s only just started hiring in the past few months.
To put that into perspective: optimists such as Ray Kurzweil put a timeline around 2050-2080 for solving AGI and the general consensus of the AI community is that it’s likely to take much longer than that.
We’ve heard Musk make ridiculous claims like this before. Just a few years back, in 2019, he told the entire world that Tesla was on the verge of solving self-driving and that the company would field no less than one million fully-autonomous robotaxis by the end of 2020.
It’s almost 2022 and the number of fully-autonomous vehicles in Tesla’s portfolio is exactly zero.
And even if Tesla could solve fully-autonomous driving before the end of 2022, which is doubtful, it would still only be a fraction of the way towards achieving AGI.
The bottom line is that Elon’s ambition goes far beyond the realm of technology. Even a super genius with unlimited funding and access to the most talented AI developers in the world can’t turn modern deep learning algorithms into magical machines capable of Star Wars-level Droid sentience.
No amount of money can brute force human-level AI. And Tesla’s no closer to making a general AI than any other company on the planet – which is to say we’re likely to see nuclear fusion, useful quantum computers, and brain implants for healthy consumers before Tesla manages to create a human-sized robot that’s anything other than a gimmick.
But, you can rest assured: if Tesla does manage to convince consumers they need a 55-kilogram bipedal machine connected to Tesla’s AI software rampaging around their homes in 2022, we’ll definitely be covering that here at Neural.