Elon Musk Says Optimus Robot Will ‘Babysit Your Kids’ in Weirdest Prediction Yet

Elon Musk Says Optimus Robot Will ‘Babysit Your Kids’ in Weirdest Prediction Yet

Elon Musk was all smiles during the Tesla shareholder’s meeting in Austin, Texas on Thursday, a fact that was understandable given his victory in a $US45 billion pay package dispute. But the most interesting part of Musk’s presentation to shareholders came when the Tesla CEO started talking about his plans for the Optimus robot. Because, boy oh boy, it was quite a laundry list of promises.

“It’s, you know, your companion, it can be at your house, it can sort of babysit your kids, it could teach them… be a teacher. It, you know, it can do factory stuff,” Musk said while describing the robot on Thursday.

Musk went on to say Optimus would be like having your own personal robot from the Star Wars franchise.

“Like, who doesn’t want a C3PO, you know? You know, but a C3PO plus R2D2 plus, you know, plus plus. It would be pretty awesome. I think everyone in the world is going to want one. Like, literally everyone,” Musk continued.

Musk first announced Tesla’s Optimus robot back in 2021 when he brought out a person in a robot costume. And the robot appears to have made some real strides since that first unveiling. The robot can now walk on two legs, for instance, which is an achievement considering that it used to be an imaginary thing. But the footage that’s been made public shows that Optimus still lags behind major competitors in significant ways.

And we say “footage that’s been made public,” because that’s all we can judge the robot’s progress on and there wasn’t any revolutionary real-world demonstration at the meeting on Thursday. The big advancements were all in Musk’s head, and communicated as things that will be happening in the future—one year, two years, and who knows how many years down the line.

The shareholder meeting, which was livestreamed on YouTube and X, saw Musk insist his robots would be making some very important advancements soon. And, as you can see from the list of quotes from the billionaire CEO below, some of them are wildly optimistic.

  • “I think we’ve got kind of like one major hardware revision, which should be done by end of this year or early next, and then we’ll move into a limited production next year of Optimus. Limited production for use in our factories.”
  • “My prediction is next year we’ll have over a thousand, maybe a few thousand, Optimus robots working at Tesla.”

And those were the relatively modest predictions. Then Musk started to get more bold with it.

  • “The degree of autonomy will be radically better. You’ll just literally be able to talk to it and say ‘please do this task’ or ‘I’m gonna show you something. Now do that the thing that I’m showing you.’”
  • “[Optimus will] get to the point where it can watch a video of something like a person and then learn just by looking at that video and do that task.”
  • “I’m confident of the prediction that there will be more… like the ratio of humanoid robots to humans will be greater than one to one. So there’ll be, you know, more than 10 billion humanoid robots in the world. Probably 20 or more… and Tesla is gonna be by far the leader in that.”
  • “It will be able to play the piano. So it’s really like wow.”

There have been plenty of robots that play the piano, of course. The question is whether you can make a robot that plays the piano well. But then Musk made a prediction about the value of Tesla in the future.

  • “I agree with the ARK Invest analysis that autonomous transport is called sort of a $US5-7 trillion market cap situation. Optimus, I think, is a 25. Literally $US25 trillion market cap situation.”

You’ll notice that Musk didn’t give a precise date for when he expects Tesla will achieve a market cap of $US25 trillion. For context, Apple’s current market cap is $US3.29 trillion.

Will any of Musk’s predictions come true? As always, no one knows the future with any certainty. Lots of wild things can happen, and Musk’s automotive competitors, like BMW, are already testing humanoid robots in factories. So we know some of Musk’s goals are achievable, if only because other companies are already doing it.

However, we still have a long way to go before we see robots babysitting kids. At least a long way before such a thing can be done responsibly. And that’s more or less the crux of the problem when it comes to Musk and his consumer-facing products. The Tesla CEO has been promising autonomous vehicles for so many years now, and we kind of have them. They’re just not something that any responsible person would rely on heavily yet. Case in point, the Tesla driver in Orange County, California who slammed into a cop car on Thursday while allegedly using Full Self-Driving.

Maybe don’t leave your baby with Optimus just yet, even if Musk eventually figures out how to get these robots to market.

Image: Tesla

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