Optimus Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time

Optimus Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time

So, to start off another edition of the newsletter, let’s speak about our forthcoming robotics event. But, to be honest, this is a unique panel. It’s one I’d been considering even before I knew whether or not we’d be holding an in-person event this year. Over the years, both Daniela Rus and Matthew Johnson-Roberson have featured on TC stages and in our publication. Both are prominent robotics voices at world-class universities (MIT and CMU, respectively), bringing a wealth of knowledge to the field.

And there’s a lot to cover here, from the most cutting-edge research their individual schools are now conducting to the role colleges can and should play in assisting graduates in launching their own businesses. It’s going to be a fantastic year. I also started with that subject because, well, I’m delaying the inevitable. But, certainly, we must discuss Elon — but not that thing. I haven’t written much about Tesla Bot, or Optimus, or whatever we’re calling it this week on these pages because, honestly, I haven’t had a lot of solid reasons to do so, other from the traditional explanation that whatever the world’s richest person says is news.

When Rebecca wrote about Musk’s newest promise that the humanoid robot will come never year, I chatted with her about it. “I was amazed that people did not appreciate the significance of the Optimus robot program,” he said, which really hit me. In the following years, the significance of Optimus will become clear. Those with a keen eye or a keen ear will see that Optimus will eventually be worth more than the automobile industry, worth more than FSD.”

The point is, I don’t think anyone who pays attention to such things doubts how massive robotics will become in the future decades. That impact is already being seen, especially given how quickly the epidemic has accelerated adoption. I believe that consumers require more tangible proof of concept than a person dancing about in a spandex morphsuit. Anyone who follows the space program is aware of how tough this is. I was asked to appear at a media panel a few years ago. A hand shot up in the front row when the talk concluded.

A woman was really anxious to ask me a question regarding robotics, or rather, she wanted to tell me about her robot concept. It’s similar to a Roomba, except it’s a drone that can fly from surface to surface, cleaning every inch of your home, she stated. I answered, “Great,” and added, “I’d be pleased to buy it if someone develops it.” The point is that Roombas aren’t doing it because no one else has thought of it. Because the number of possible failure spots for such a product would make your head spin. Despite the amount of money and resources iRobot has invested in its robot vacuum over the years, it still gets stuck and sucks up something it shouldn’t, or otherwise fails. In the meanwhile, Boston Dynamics has been at Atlas for around 25 years.