Elon Musk boasts Tesla’s ‘Optimus’ robots will have full artificial intelligence

Robots that look and act human are one of those things – like flying cars and the “new Concorde” – that scientists keep promising are coming any day now.

But according to Tesla boss Elon Musk, his humanoid robot, Optimus, is coming soon – and it might also contain the first true Artificial Intelligence.

“Tesla AI might play a role in AGI,” the multi-billionaire tweeted, “given that it trains against the outside world, especially with the advent of Optimus.”

He appears to be saying there that because Tesla’s intelligence algorithm “learns” in the same way as current AI systems, but will be walking around the real world inside the 5’8” humanoid frame of Optimus it stands a good chance of becoming an Artificial General Intelligence – operating independently an improvising solutions in the same way humans do.

When one fan responded that a humanoid Artificial General Intelligence could give rise to Terminator-type artificial lifeforms that might one day wage war on humanity Musk responded that Tesla will do its “best” to keep the system in check.

Musk has already warned that AI will replace human workers and suggested that there’s a danger that a future AI could decide that the Earth no longer needs humans at all.

“We should be concerned about where AI is going,” he told Business Insider. “The people I see being the most wrong about AI are the ones who are very smart, because they can’t imagine that a computer could be way smarter than them. That’s the flaw in their logic. They’re just way dumber than they think they are.”

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He says that a robot-dominated workforce is inevitable, as shown by the jaw-dropping videos from Boston Dynamics videos, and says: “I will not be able to ensure that robots made by other companies are safe, but I can try my best to do so at Tesla”

Mo Gawdat, formerly the Chief Business Officer for Google’s moonshot programme, agrees that we are coming to a dangerous point in history, telling The Times this week that an all-powerful true AI could doom humanity to irrelevance.

He predicts that the sort of independent AI like Skynet from the Terminator films is inevitable. And just like Skynet it could prove to be fatal for humanity.

“The reality is,” Gawdat says, “we’re creating God.”

But it's a dangerous God.

Gawdat points out that so far, the four top uses for the current generation of AIs we use every day have been "selling, gambling, spying and killing – and those aren't necessarily the best lessons to teach a bering that could one day be many times stronger and more powerful than we are.

So far, the only glimpse of Optimus that most of us have seen is a slightly silly video of a dancer in a robot costume dancing alongside Musk at Tesla’s AI Day last year.

But it would be risky not to take a prediction seriously when it comes from the man who has revolutionised space exploration and made self-driving cars an every-day sight.

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