Although scientists haven’t figured out immortality yet, there's a project underway to at least help humans preserve their memories and personality, according to Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.
The South African-born billionaire has unveiled Optimus – a Tesla bot he claims will one day be able to store the memories and personality of humans, and possibly make living forever a reality.
“We could download the things that we believe make ourselves so unique," he says. "Of course, if you're not in that body anymore, that's definitely going to be a difference, but as far as preserving our memories, our personality, I think we could do that.”
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The 1,72cm humanoid robot was unveiled in August last year and uses a type of artificial intelligence (AI) similar to Tesla’s self-driving vehicles. The robot is initially intended to relieve humans of “repetitive and boring” tasks such as buying groceries or serving meals, Musk says.
“Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you won't need to."
Though concerns about the role and limitations of AI remain high, the tech billionaire emphasises that his work isn't a threat to humans.
“With respect to AI and robotics, of course, I see things with some trepidation. Because I certainly don't want to have anything that could potentially be harmful to humanity,” he says.
The bot weighs 56kg. It's built from lightweight material and was made to look like a human with features such as arms and legs.
“Humanity has designed the world to interact with a bipedal humanoid [human-like being with two feet] with two arms and 10 fingers. So if you want to have a robot fit in and be able to do things that humans can do, it must be approximately the same size and shape and capability,” Musk says.
A prototype version of the bot will be available this year, he adds. “I think we'll have something pretty good at the prototype level this year, and it might be ready for at least a moderate volume production towards the end of next year."