Elon Musk: Tesla could play a role in Artificial General Intelligence, decentralize Tesla Bot to avoid Terminator scenario

Elon Musk announced that he is thinking about involving Tesla in the creation of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

He also added that he plans on decentralizing the control of Tesla Bot to avoid a Terminator-like scenario.

For a few years now, Musk has been pushing the idea that Tesla is the world’s leading company when it comes to real-world applications of artificial intelligence.

He describes Tesla’s fleet of vehicles equipped with sensors and computers for self-driving as “robots on wheels.”

Through this “real-world application,” the company has also been able to attract world-class AI talent, and Musk boasts that Tesla has the best AI team on the planet.

At Tesla’s AI day last year, the automaker unveiled its latest supercomputer, Dojo, to train its neural nets.

It also announced that it plans to build a ‘Tesla Bot,’ a humanoid robot meant to do general tasks and repetitive work.

Now Musk took to Twitter this morning to announce that Tesla might go a step further and get involved in Artificial General Intelligence (AGI):

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

Optimus, or Optimus Subprime, is the codename that Musk gave to the Tesla Bot project.

This is somewhat surprising considering the many warnings that Musk has issued about creating AGI and the risks to humanity that come with it.

Musk was a co-founder and the main benefactor of OpenAI, a non-profit AI research group focused on “ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”

In 2018, he ended up stepping down from his role at the group after citing potential conflicts of interest with Tesla’s own artificial intelligence effort.

Along with the announcement that Tesla might work on AGI, Musk also added on Twitter that Tesla will make sure to “decentralize” control of Tesla Bots:

“Will do our best. Decentralized control of the robots will be critical.”

The comment was made in response to someone mentioning “summoning the demon,” which is what Musk referred to as creating an AGI that would turn against humanity.

Decentralizing the control of Tesla Bots would avoid giving this “demon” access to an army – much like a Terminator-like scenario.

Musk previously said that he tentatively expects Tesla to have a working prototype of ‘Optimus’ by the end of 2022.

Electrek’s Take

This appears to be just the latest of many indications that Musk is slowly pivoting Tesla into an AI company.

Of course, no one is arguing that cars are not Tesla’s main business still, but the CEO is known for thinking long-term and he does appear to increasingly see Tesla as an AI and robotic company.

I think it is going to be a while before the wider public sees Tesla as a Skynet type of company, but as always, I wouldn’t bet against Musk on making it happen.

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Elon Musk: Tesla could play a role in Artificial General Intelligence, decentralize Tesla Bot to avoid Terminator scenario

Steve Liem

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