Elon Musk is trying to sell Tesla China’s Optimus robot as an autonomous agent capable of caring for the elderly, tending to the home and working in factories

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, laid out his vision for how technology can secure the future of humanity in the July edition of China’s internet regulator’s official magazine. Musk took the opportunity to highlight Tesla’s future humanoid robot, Tesla Bot or Optimus. He said the robot was originally designed to replace people in repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks. But the vision is that it can serve millions of households, including cooking, mowing lawns and caring for the elderly. He also touted the work of Neuralink and SpaceX.

Created in 2013, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is China’s Internet regulator. The organization is responsible for creating and enforcing policies surrounding online content, user data and digital security. He went on to create a magazine which, according to China Media Project senior researcher Stella Chen, typically includes regulatory announcements and internet policy research. The magazine was originally called New Media before being renamed China Cyberspace earlier this year. The magazine’s July issue features an op-ed by Musk.

In the article, Musk updates on three of his companies – Tesla, Neuralink and SpaceX – and calls on “like-minded Chinese partners” to help him build a “future worth waiting for”. Whether it’s Tesla, Neuralink or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of improving the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible – Tesla for accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX to enable interstellar connections,” Musk said.

Even though Tesla is currently the subject of numerous investigations in the United States, Musk has presented the advantages of the company’s electric vehicles. On this point, he also praised China’s investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles and battery technology, calling Chinese companies “a force to be reckoned with in the cause of energy innovation.” “. Musk also presented the potential uses of Tesla’s future Optimus robot. He said the robot would one day “serve millions of homes”, performing tasks such as “caring for the elderly”.

Tesla robots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks. But the vision is that they can serve millions of homes, like cooking, mowing lawns and caring for the elderly. Optimus will be about the same height and build as an average adult and will be able to carry or pick up heavy objects, walk quickly with small steps; and the screen on his face is an interactive interface for communicating with people. We will believe it when we see it , wrote the American billionaire in his tribune.

Indeed, analysts say China’s population is aging rapidly due to declining birth rates, making care for the elderly a priority for Beijing as it strives to ease the country’s demographic crisis. “Maybe in less than a decade people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday present,” Musk predicted. About SpaceX, he took a longer-term view of space exploration. Musk has written that his “greatest hope” is to create a “self-contained city on Mars” and that his will is to turn humans into “multi-planetary creatures”.

According to him, this aims to ensure the future of human civilization, which he describes as “a small twinkling light in the void”. Musk is the first foreigner to write for China Cyberspace magazine. Previous issues featured articles from Chinese tech CEOs, such as Tencent’s Pony Ma and Alibaba’s Daniel Zhang. The CAC has yet to upload a version of Musk’s op-ed, but Xinhua reporter Yang Liu translated a physical copy of the article into English in his Beijing Channel newsletter. Musk’s words show that he is trying to get closer to China.

This is reminiscent of previous efforts by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, when these companies aspired to work with China. Musk is trying to walk the same tightrope as Zuckerberg and Pichai before him, but times are different. “Executives of tech companies trying to maintain healthy relations with China are increasingly finding that decision taken away from them by Chinese regulations, US users or the US government,” said Kendra Schaefer, head of research on China. technology policy at Trivium China.

If Musk isn’t sitting in front of a congressional committee in a year to be asked about his dealings with China, I’ll be flabbergasted,” Schaefer added. Musk has previously been criticized for his close ties to Beijing. That said, China is a key part of Tesla’s supply chain; one of the manufacturer’s five major factories is based in Shanghai. During the confinement, Tesla would have managed to keep the assembly lines of the Shanghai factory in operation thanks to a little-known system which forced workers to live on site. He would have benefited from the assistance of the Chinese government for that.

However, the plant could not escape the shortage of electronic equipment. Tesla’s operations in China appear to be back on track. On Monday, Musk tweeted that Tesla’s Shanghai gigafactory had made its millionth car out of a total of 3 million cars produced worldwide since the automaker was founded. The company also said last month that a prototype of the Tesla Bot is expected to launch in September 2022. But in China, in addition to electric vehicles, Tesla may also face local competition in the humanoid robot market.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi appears to have edged out Tesla in building a working humanoid robot. A few days ago, Xiaomi unveiled its first look at CyberOne, a humanoid robot, during a Beijing live event. The robot was able to walk across the stage and appeared to communicate with Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun. But CyberOne’s design looks suspiciously like Tesla’s Optimus.

However, unlike Tesla, Xiaomi doesn’t seem to have any intention of turning CyberOne into some sort of human butler. In its press release, the company states that “CyberOne will give rise to more application scenarios in other areas”, believing that the robot will act more as a marketing tool than a major product.

Source: Elon Musk’s column

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