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The Tesla Bot Could Develop a Personality to Become a Proper Companion, Elon Musk Says

The future is AI-centered and easier on the humans, from where Elon Musk is looking at it. On the Lex Friedman Podcast earlier this week, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tackled a variety of topics, including the Tesla Bot announced last August.
Elon Musk says the Tesla Bot could develop a personality and become a companion, if needed 6 photos
Tesla BotElon Musk announcing the Tesla BotTesla BotTesla BotTesla Bot
There is no concrete timeline for the Tesla Bot except that for the general plan that it “will get done,” as Musk has stated before. That said, he believes a “decent” prototype will be unveiled by the end of 2022, once certain challenges are overcome. As before, Musk says that the move from building almost-sentient cars to a sentient humanoid robot isn’t that great of a leap.

Back in August, Musk said that the Tesla Bot, which he now calls Optimus Subprime, would serve to take over from humans when it comes to risky, repetitive, or boring tasks. It would be slender and slow, so that any human could overtake or overrun it in case something went wrong, but at the same time, it would be strong enough to carry out the tasks it was built for.

Asked by Friedman whether the Tesla Bot would have any companion abilities, Musk admits that he hadn’t thought of it yet. But it could, if it was needed of it, he says. “It could develop a personality over time that is unique. It's not like all the robots are the same,” he says, admitting that it could become “an incredible buddy like R2D2 or C3PO.”

“That personality could evolve to match the owner, or whatever you want to call it,” he continues. “But our initial focus is just to make it useful.”

The implications of turning the Tesla Bot into a companion are many and serious, and not urgent right now to discuss in this interview. Musk is clearly aware of them, as he hesitates between calling the future owner of the Bot an “owner” and a “human companion.”

Musk also says that a first prototype of the Bot should be presented to the public by the end of next year, which leaves plenty of time to consider and possibly address all the implications of giving it a personality.

The Tesla Bot discussion starts at the 1:36:25 mark in the video below.


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