Let me start by reminding us of where we are – we are in the 3rd industrial revolution, the age of digitization and high interconnectedness. However, in all the growth and development we have witnessed, we still haven’t seen anything yet compared to what the 4th Industrial Revolution(4IR) holds in stock. The 4IR is set to usher in technologies that will change the world forever. With its Breathtaking technological inventions, mind-blowing innovations, and dramatic diffusions of technology that will affect every sphere of existence, it will be a pity for any to be left out.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is the age of artificial intelligence(AI), Robotics, Virtual Reality(VR), Augmented Reality, IoT( Internet of Things) and so on. The need for tech companies and individuals involved in tech to keep abreast of this technological change is expedient. Little wonder Facebook changed to Meta, Twitter gradually adopted NFT, the rise of Kandola- a web3 tech company and now Elon Musk’s Humanoid Robots.
Elon Musk’s Humanoid Robots
Musk the world’s richest man in a bid to know the reaction of his followers to his intention to venture into robotics on the 29th of October 2020 tweeted a poll post asking “Tesla should make catgirl robots? 928,281 participated in the poll, 81.9% voted in favour while 18.1% voted against it.
Elon claims that one of the reasons he desires to explore the possibilities of robotics is to make robots do jobs that are boring, dangerous, repetitive, and tasks people detest doing. Optimus a humanoid robot by Tesla is predicted to see growth within the next two years(2023). Around 2025, Musk believes there will be timely growth year-over-year in the usefulness of Optimus.
Elon Musk referred to Optimus as more of a buddy robot with many useful applications and forms, including a catgirl.
Technological unemployment is caused by constant technological advancement resulting in less demand for manpower and displacement of human labour due to the use of machines and technology in carrying out several functions and duties previously handled by humans.
How Optimus Will Affect The Labour Market
Musk in an interview with Chris Anderson, Musk reiterated that Optimus will initially be made for dangerous, uninteresting jobs. However, as Tesla’s humanoid robot gains more advanced functionalities, it will affect the job market. Nonetheless, “I wouldn’t worry about putting people out of the job thing, I think we’re going to have a massive shortage of labour. So I think we will not have to people out of work, but will still be a short of labour even in the future. The human labour shortages could be attributed to declining birth rates across the globe. Musk briefly talked about declining birth rates Musk added”
Compared to a human employee, the price of a humanoid robot worker would be much lower yearly. Unlike a human worker would not be able to work the same long hours as a humanoid robot and would not want to go on vacations – Anderson argued.
How Much Will An Optimus Cost?
Cost is always a determining factor especially when it comes to emerging technologies like Robots. When asked what the price of an Optimus might be, Elon Musk had this to say “I think the cost is not going to be crazy high, like less than a car”
This is to say that an optimism most likely will be around $25,000 – Anderson suggested.
Implications Of Optimus
In years to come, we will be sharing our dear planet and its resources with machines who are smart and intelligent like us. How prepared are we to embrace the socio-economic and technological changes that will bring?
By humanoid we mean, a non-human entity with human form and characteristics. Having Optimus around will open us to learning and relating with technologies. Some of the likely implications of humanoid Optimus as well as other Robots are:
1. Improved productivity.
2. Technological unemployment.
3. Tendency of a dystopian society
4. Lack of unskilled persons to manage the new technology etc.