Elon Musk predicts that we will soon have 20 billion humanoid robots

The eccentric billionaire Elon Musk has become fully involved in the production of humanoid robots within his company Tesla and predicts that we will soon have about 20 billion humanoid robots.

Elon Musk foresees a future with more humanoid robots than people. Archive photo

In 2022, when he introduced the first humanoid robot, “Optimus”, to be built by Tesla, Elon Musk said that mass production would bring the company more money than car production and that in the future robots could be used in houses, prepare meals, mow lawns, care for the elderly, and even become human “friends” or even sexual partners.

Known for his fascination with artificial intelligence and robotics, he predicts that we will soon have 20 billion humanoid robots, which would mean a ratio of two robots for every human on Earth.

In fact, Tesla is involved in important projects regarding the improvement of its Optimus prototype and, according to Elon Musk, intends to produce one billion robots per year, hoping to have a 10% share of the entire market. The company’s CEO explained that it is currently focused on autonomous cars and robots and that Optimus will help Tesla become a $25 trillion company, according to SupercarBlondie.

“Let’s say the production rate is probably about a billion humanoid robots a year. If Tesla has a 10% share of that, it could be much more than 10%, we could produce about 100 million Optimus units a year,” he anticipated in a meeting with the shareholders.

Optimus was first introduced in 2021, but the first prototype rolled out of the factory in 2022. Its latest version in 2023, Gen 2, features improvements over the prototype, which made it capable of “many useful tasks” and two such robots already at the Tesla factory, with others to come.

In 2023, the media reported on a so-called attack by an Optimus robot on a Tesla engineer. Then two witnesses revealed to the media an older incident, in which an engineer who was performing software updates for two Kuka industrial robotic arms was immobilized by one of them. They said the robot dug its metal claw into the man’s back and arm, leaving a trail of blood, and that he escaped after another worker pressed the emergency stop button. The account of the two witnesses was published, however, along with a photo of the humanoid robot Optimus and the public took it as such.

Elon Musk’s predictions come in the context where, at the moment, Tesla is not the only company investing heavily in the development of humanoid robots. Nvidia and OpenAI-backed Figure are also working on humanoid robots, not to mention Chinese companies, which hope to turn the humanoid robot sector into a “major new engine of economic growth.”

China is currently the second largest holder of humanoid robot patents, with 1,699, after Japan, according to a November 2023 report by the People’s Daily Online Research Institute, and this spring announced plans to produce in mass humanoid robots by 2025.

It remains to be seen if Elon Musk’s predictions will come true and what it means soon…