Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Today’s Claim That Tesla Is on the Verge of Producing a Humanoid Robot, as Viewed From the Year 2032

Sam Shead, writing for CNBC in April 2022:

Tesla may start production of a humanoid robot known as Optimus as early as next year, CEO Elon Musk said Thursday.

[…]

“We have a shot of being in production for version one of Optimus hopefully next year,” Musk said Thursday at the opening of Tesla’s new vehicle assembly plant in Austin, Texas, where he appeared on stage — in a cowboy hat and sunglasses — to Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.”

Musk was, at best, spitballing with little more than a hope and a prayer. But this statement was similar to many of his previous claims which hid truth behind sensationalism. This tactic worked as a public relations strategy, creating years of breathless press coverage for Musk’s scarcely developed ideas and musings, but it repeatedly landed him in hot water with regulators.

Tesla has yet to reveal a working prototype of the robot, however, and it’s unclear how sophisticated Optimus is at this stage.

Tesla later pushed prototyping this robot years into the future as it sorted out a backlog of other promised products, including a pickup truck, a semi truck, and a sports car. Current prototypes cannot carry a mug of coffee without spilling it and tear clothing to shreds while attempting to fold it, and some have even played anti-union audio recordings on loop without any apparent way of shutting it off.

Musk has once again said a version of this robot will be delivered to customers next year, but researchers and other experts are skeptical anything like the version first shown in 2021 is around the corner.

When Musk first announced Tesla’s robot, he said it will be based on the same chips and sensors that the company’s cars use for self-driving features. […]

At the same media event, Musk also said a work-in-progress “beta” version of what the company then branded “Full Self Driving” would expand to all customers the same year. At the time, it was marketed as a level two system. This was a regression from years of assurance that level five autonomy would be delivered soon, something which has not yet been achieved. Empty promises like these coupled with the expensive Full Self Driving option pack led to numerous lawsuits and, ultimately, shareholders’ loss of confidence in Musk’s ability to deliver.

When reached for comment, Musk, now living on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, said he was starting a new company to turn cattle’s markings into mobile solar panels.