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Elon Musk Unveils Underwhelming Robot Optimus at Tesla’s AI Day

Disney's Hall of Presidents called, they want their Chester A. Arthur back.

Elon Musk debuted Optimus, a robot at Tesla AI Day.

Elon Musk is one of the richest men in the world, and considered by many to be a vanguard genius with insight into the future. But recently, he’s shown himself to be less Tony Stark and more Tony Robbins: a creepy dude who talks a big game but fails to deliver. There’s his much publicized purchase of Twitter, which he is currently trying to squirrel his way out of. Then there’s that time he dangled a promise to solve world hunger and then folded. And who could forget when he pitched his fabled Hyperloop idea in an effort to stop California’s desperately needed high-speed rail? And that’s not to mention the sexist and deplorable working conditions at Tesla and the company’s highly flammable cars.

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Musk’s latest disappointing unveiling occurred at Tesla’s AI Day, where Musk debuted a humanoid robot prototype named Optimus. Billed as the future of Tesla, Musk bragged that Optimus would be a “fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.” Musk teased Optimus last year, but instead debuted a man dancing in a robot suit. Optimus fared slightly better, waving to the crowd, raising a knee, and … leaving the stage. It’s a far cry from Boston Dynamics’ own Atlas the robot, who can run, jump, and parkour all over the damn place.

“This is literally the first time the robot has operated without a tether,” Musk said to the audience. “The robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you. We just didn’t want it to fall on its face.” Musk claimed that the robot would be available around the end of the decade, for under $20,000 each. What a steal, for a robot that can basically do nothing! But Musk promised that the future Optimus could hold “quite natural” conversations and “can also be kind of like a friend and a buddy and hang out with you.” Optimus will also run on similar technology to Tesla’s autopilot software, a feature that has prompted a class action lawsuit over fraud and unsafe technology.

So basically, Musk is going to deliver a robot that can high five, make chit-chat, and spontaneously burst into flames for the price of a Kia Forte? Doesn’t sound like much of a deal. Musk also teased a bangeable version of the robot, via his signature middle school sense of humor.

Like all Musk promises, this one is vague, unimpressive, and riddled with issues. It’s also wildly unrealistic to imagine that this robot will be capable enough to replace the labor force as we know it? Call us when Optimus can do half the moves of this superstar:

(via CNN, featured image: screencap/CNET)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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