Elon Musk’s Tesla Bot Raises Serious Concerns – But Probably Not the Ones You Think


Tesla aims to unveil a prototype humanoid robot early next year. Credit: Tesla

Elon Musk Announcing a humanoid robot It is designed to help those repetitive and tedious tasks that people hate to do. Musk suggested that it could run into a grocery store for you, but perhaps it would handle a number of jobs, including manual labor.

As expected, social media was full of references to a series of dystopian sci-fi movies about robots that all went terribly unsuccessful.

As nasty as movie robot futures like I robot, terminator, And others, it is the underlying technology of a real humanoid robot, and the intent behind it should be a source of concern.

Musk robots are being developed by Tesla. Until you think Tesla isn’t a typical car maker, this looks like a departure from the company’s car manufacturing business. So-called”Tess LabotIncorporates Tesla’s automotive artificial intelligence and auto-maneuvering technology to plan and track routes, navigate traffic (pedestrians in this case), and avoid obstacles, a sophisticated 125-pound human. Robot concept like.

Aside from dystopian science fiction, which is within Musk’s business strategy, the plan makes sense. The constructed environment is created by humans for humans. And, as Musk argued in Tesla Bot’s announcement, successful advanced technology needs to learn to navigate it the same way people do it.

Tess Labot

The original plan requires the Tesla Bot to be 5 feet, 8 inches, and weigh 125 pounds. Credit: Tesla

Still, Tesla’s cars and robots are just a visible product of a much broader plan aimed at creating a future in which advanced technology frees humans from their biological roots. Fusion of biology and technology..As a researcher Ethical and socially responsible development and use of emerging technologiesIt turns out that this plan raises concerns that transcend the horror of speculative science fiction in ultra-smart robots.

Man with a big plan

Self-driving car, Interplanetary rocket, When Brain machine interface Technology is a step towards the vision of the future musk, the savior of mankind. In this future Energy will be cheap, abundant and sustainablePeople work in harmony with intelligent machines, Even merging with themAnd humans Interplanetary species..

Judging by Musk’s efforts, the future is built on a set of underlying interconnected technologies, including sensors. ActuatorSignificant advances in energy and data infrastructure, system integration, and computer power. Together, they form a formidable toolbox for creating innovative technologies.

Musk finally imagines humans Transcend our evolutionary legacy Through technology that transcends humans or is “super” humans. But before technology can become superhuman, we must first be human. Or at least it must be designed to thrive in a human-designed world.

A more human approach to this technology for innovation underpins Tesla’s car technology, including the widespread use of optical cameras. These are intended to help vehicles navigate the road system autonomously when connected to the “brain” of AI.Designed for biological neural networks with optical imagers– In other words, people. In Musk’s story, it’s a small step from a human-inspired “robot on wheels” to a human-like robot on legs.

Easy to say

Tesla’s “fully autonomous driving” technology Suspicious name autopilotIs a starting point for TeslaBot developers. This technology is impressive, but not completely reliable.Collisions and deaths Associated with Tesla’s autopilot mode – Relationship with the latest algorithms Difficult to recognize parked emergency vehicles — I am questioning the wisdom of bringing technology to the world soon.

Tesla autopilot accident

A series of clashes related to Tesla’s autopilot technology prompted a federal investigation.Credit: South Jordan Police Station

This track record is not a good sign for robots like humans who rely on the same technology. But this isn’t just the case for technology to be right.Tesla’s Autopilot Glitch Worse by human behavior.. For example, some Tesla drivers treated the technology-enhanced car as if it were a fully autonomous vehicle and did not pay close attention to driving. Does the same thing happen with Tesla Bot?

Tess Labot’s “Risk of Orphans”

I’m particularly interested in my work on socially beneficial innovations Orphan risk – The risk of inevitably tripping innovators, despite being difficult to quantify and often overlooked.My colleagues and I work with entrepreneurs and others to tackle these types of challenges Risk Innovation Nexus, Arizona State University Initiative Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute When Global Futures Laboratory..

Tesla Bot comes with an entire portfolio of isolated risks. These include potential threats to privacy and autonomy when bots collect, share, and manipulate sensitive information. Issues related to how people think and are likely to respond to humanoid robots. Potential inconsistencies between ethical or idealistic perspectives-for example, cracking down on crime management or civil protests. more.These are challenges that are rarely covered by the training that engineers receive, but nonetheless. Overlooking them can cause disasters..

Tesla Bot may look benign, but – Or even a little joke – How their developers, investors, future consumers, etc. can threaten what is important to them, and these threats, in order for it to be beneficial and commercially successful. You need to ask tough questions about how to navigate.

These threats can be as specific as those who make rogue changes that improve the performance of robots. For example, it’s as common as technology that moves a robot faster than the designer intended, or is weaponized in new ways, without risk. It’s just as subtle as humanoid robots can threaten work safety and robots with advanced surveillance systems can compromise privacy.

Next, there is the issue of technical bias. I’ve been annoying AI for a whileEspecially when it leads to learning behavior that turns out to be very discriminatory.For example, the AI ​​algorithm Gender discrimination When Racist result.

MITJoy Buolamwini describes the threat of bias in AI.

Should I do that just because I can?

The Tesla Bot may seem like a small step towards Mask’s vision of superhuman technology. Arrogant showmanship.. But the bold plans that underpin it are serious — and they raise equally serious problems.

For example, how responsible is Musk’s vision? Who says he should be just because he can work to create the future of dreams? Is there a future in which musk is striving to bring the best or the best for humanity? And if things go wrong, who will suffer the consequences?

These are the deeper concerns TeslaBot raises for me. Studying and writing about the future and how our actions affect the future.. This is not to say that Tess Labot is not a good idea, or that Elon Musk should not be able to bend the muscles that build his future. When used in the right way, these are innovative ideas and technologies that can open a promised future to billions of people.

But when consumers, investors, and others are confused by the glitz of new technologies or deny hype and fail to get the big picture, society will give the future to wealthy innovators whose vision goes beyond understanding. There is a risk of passing. If their vision of the future does not match what most people want, or if there are catastrophic flaws, they run the risk of hindering the construction of a fair and equitable future.

Maybe this is a constant lesson from dystopian robots-a future sci-fi movie that people should take away as Teslabot moves from idea to reality-with more obvious concerns about creating a humanoid robot that runs amock. Not a much bigger challenge Decide who will participate in imagining the future and building it.

Written by Andrew Maynard of Associate Dean, Arizona State University Global Futures College.

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