It’s been about a month since Tesla unveiled their version of a humanoid robot at their press event, Tesla AI Day.
Elon Musk displayed the image of the 5’8”, 125 pound prototype that is designed to “eliminate boring, repetitive and dangerous tasks” and it was something that was both interesting and unsettling to the millions of eyes that came across it. When looking at the conversation of artificial intelligence, it’s been something that has been produced by humans in many different forms to offer some type of ease on life, and it’s only going to continue to expand regardless of the setting.
The Tesla bot is only the latest of Elon Musk’s presented ideas and creations that show the direction that society is heading into for the future. Most people think of this topic when relating it to many of Hollywood’s twists on the topic of AI such as 2004’s I, Robot starring Will Smith, where he famously played the detective turned malfunctioned robot hunter. Yet this topic doesn’t just consist of walking machines like these types of movies and shows always make it seem like.
Overall the media tends to present the notion that even though certain human advancements are extraordinary, it doesn’t mean we always have a full understanding and control over them. In fact, in many instances already, it controls us.
The Oxford dictionary describes artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
“I never really thought about it but when looking at all these examples of AI, i’m not shocked to see that some elements on campus such as the residence halls’ entry scanners, that have to recognize your background off of your student ID as a way in, is a form of such technology,” junior psychology major, Malik Bailey, said.
“In every strong human advancement in technology, there has been a trend in the past couple of centuries, that whether it backfires or turns into something that seems like a must have in our lives, it all starts with a inventor’s mindset and need to make a certain area of life more convenient.”
This Cabrini example can be supported even more when looking at everyday examples we don’t even think about, that are machines designed to supply us with information or a possibility of more than one response on the spot, based on what we tell them at any given time. Digital maps and navigation, facial and password recognition, autocorrect when writing texts, search recommendation and social media algorithms, Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, and E-payments and automatic direct deposit all fall into this conversation.
When keeping this in mind, one can start to see that whether you’re a Tesla engineer or a college student, coming in contact with artificial intelligence isn’t entirely new. It just appears in different forms and will continue to grow and control new aspects of our human life in general.
People born at the dawn of the 21th century will start to see the rapid acceleration of this technology in their lifetime faster than anyone can comprehend it, and these innovations are likely to be covered by journalists and media outlets significantly more in the future.
As one thinks about how Musk describes Tesla as a robotics company and not a car company, it makes one really start to wonder what else he has in store after seeing this “friendly” robot that’s designed to only move at 5 mph, have a carry capacity of 45 pounds, can deadlift 150 pounds and lift 10 pounds when extending arms. That’s not necessarily a robot that can just do chores.
Another robotics company, Boston Dynamics, is also in the race to get their humanoid machines out in the world to make labor and lives easier for many individuals and cities. Earlier in the year, a viral video surfaced of their small robot prototype running through what looked like a parkour obstacle course, as the machine jumped and flipped around impressively.
“We’re setting it up on a mechanical level where you can run from it and most likely overpower it if you need to, but hopefully that doesn’t happen,” the Tesla CEO jokingly said. “You never know.” As much as everyone can appreciate his honesty about his uncertainty of the level of intelligence that this invention can reach, these weren’t exactly the most comforting words that a person was expecting to hear.
Whether people accept it or not, this is the future that is approaching and it’s not just on movie scripts anymore, and before you know it, someone will walk out of their Cabrini residence hall one day to see a maintenance man that’s not exactly… a man.