If there's one company we can rely on to provide an intriguing yet terrifying glimpse of the future, it's Tesla. From rockets to space-age trucks, Elon Musk's brand has promised all sorts of weird and wonderful inventions over the years, and this latest addition is certainly the weirdest. But the internet doesn't seem to think it's the most wonderful.
At Tesla's AI Day event this week, Musk announced that the company is working on a 'Tesla Bot' – a humanoid robot designed to do "boring, repetitive and dangerous work". Yep, it seems we could be inching closer to the likes of films such as I, Robot (or, heaven forbid, The Terminator) – complete with eerily human character design.
During the AI Day presentation (above), Musk claimed that the Tesla Bot will "probably" launch next year, and will stand about 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall and weigh 125 pounds (56kg). Musk claims the bot will be capable of tasks such as repairing cars, or even heading to the shop to pick up your groceries.
So far, so sci-fi – but it's important to remember that Tesla's grandiose announcements (such as the literally smashing CyberTruck launch) don't always translate to the real world. The CyberTruck, for example, has already been subject to multiple delays and redesigns.
And just like the Cybertruck, the internet has reacted to the Tesla Bot with something of a raised eyebrow. Many have pointed out that creating human-like robots has never ended well in fiction (and after the year we've all had, the last thing we need is Judgement Day). Others, meanwhile, have mocked specific design details, such as the unimposing height.
“Just announced, the new Tesla Bot”Oh bitch u mean the terminator? pic.twitter.com/0wNzLj2RZAAugust 20, 2021
Me seeing the first Tesla Bot in public #TeslaAIDay pic.twitter.com/OVUaUMKFfWAugust 20, 2021
With a height of 5’8”, the Tesla Bot is already bound for failure. Half the population won’t settle for less than 6’0”. pic.twitter.com/rl9B7BCiacAugust 20, 2021
As well as the obviously terrifying prospect of sentient robots traipsing around the grocery aisle, we're also a little dubious about Musk's ambition to launch the first prototype of the Tesla Bot in 2022. "I can safely say that it will be much longer than 10 years before a humanoid bot from any company on the planet can go to the store and get groceries for you," Raj Rajkumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told Reuters (opens in new tab) – and we're inclined to agree.
That said, this is by no means the first slightly terrifying glimpse of the future we've been given over the last few months. From new ads in old movies to Facebook's scary 'typography deepfakes', there's no shortage of ambition in the world of AI right now. Fancy getting creeped out? Check out these 14 deepfake examples that terrified and amused the internet.