The robot was not at all real. It was either very real or not, depending on your belief that realness closely correlates with physiology. The robot, which is to be precise, was actually cosplayed as a humanoid robotic being.
The robot shuffled on stage during Tesla’s AI Day yesterday afternoon, a three-hour demo of autonomous car features and slides titled “Multi-Scale Feature Pyramid Fusion.” The big news out of the event was a new custom AI chip for data centers, and a supercomputing system called Dojo. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and chief executive officers revealed later that Tesla is working on the robot. Because Musk was there, people tuned in. They laughed at the robot. They were not amused.
The robot began to dance after initially appearing stiff-armed, stiff and arthritis. This fanfic was quickly put to rest. It was impossible for a human to do the Charleston in such fluidity. As the robot danced, the fabric of his all-white jumpsuit with its accidently stylish boat neck creased. Human robot had fun. It was having too much fun. “Is the robot…Grimes?” I enquired to an editor. Musk shoved them from the stage.
Musk said to the AI Day crowd, “The robot is real,” in between his usual titters. It was transparently bad. Musk was teasing us. Musk was playing pranks on us. The robot-not-yet-a-robot stunt was intended to make people pay more attention to Tesla AI Day. The joke was subtle: Musk implied that the future robot was not yet real. Even though the person wearing the outfit is real. Once the robot becomes real it will be gone.
Musk stated, “This will prove to be very profound.” Musk said, “Because Is the Economy? At the Foundation, It’s Labor.”
The humanoid robot with its AI chip screen, 8 cameras, 40 electromechanical actuators and proportions to fit models will ever be shipped. We don’t know. Musk’s strange demo revealed the truth about many tech demos. They are just that: a lie, a storyboarded vision for the future held together with digital tape.
This is something that anyone who has been to the annual CES Las Vegas knows. The CES is a suspended reality. There are rolling displays, self-driving cars, robots that clean, smart exoskeletons and cleaning robots. They all work well, but they rarely sell. Magic Leap published a clip in 2016 of a virtual whale swimming through a gym floor to the cheers of the children standing nearby. This, too, was a ruse. Samsung has shown DSLR photos in faked demonstrations of its “smartphone cameras.” Apple’s more recent tech demos are more subtly artificial–suggesting a lifestyle that only a smallish percentage of the world’s population can maintain, promising seamless continuity between gadgets–but the very first iPhone demo Rel=”nofollow noopener” target=”_blank]> was a complete charade.
Tesla’s own electric Cybertruck, first unveiled in November of 2019, had a smashing first demo. Since then, it has been delayed to 2022.
Despite pandemics, global chips shortages, or other factors, certain of these products do actually ship. This is not what tech companies are trying to sell you in demos. However, it’s the same as a friend who tries to arrange a date with you by saying, “They’re so punctual.”
They are selling the amazing future and maybe the bridge to cross the uncanny valley. If you are open to what they have to say, you will be able to see the tech that will enrich your humanity. You would get the joke. Although the dancing robot demonstration wasn’t really real, it might be. Although the robot human is real, they might not be as realistic one day.
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Publited at Fri, 20 August 2021 22.04:05 +0000