Elon’s Real World AI is the Real World Technological Singularity

Ray Kurzweil predicted Technological Singularity nearly 20 years ago. Elon Musk could enable a world of economic abundance with real-world AI. Robotaxi and Teslabot will transform the world more than car and the first industrial revolution.

The Technological Singularity is a predicted point when technological growth becomes radically faster.

Real World AI would be general artificial human level intelligence. Capabilities to provide broad levels of human jobs and tasks.

Teslabots able to perform loading and deliveries to massively boost the supply chain.
Teslabots able to perform manufacturing tasks in the factory.
Teslabots able to use machines built for humans.
Teslabots able to work in factories to make factories self replicating.
Teslabots able to perform mining.

These capabilities would make economic growth massively exponential.

They would be able to rapidly lower the cost of other Teslabots and increase production from millions to trillions of Teslabots.

The wealth and production capabilities would make it easier to devote more resources to improving artificial intelligence, robotics and manufacturing and all other research. Just as our current economy that is 100 times larger than the economy of the late 18th century has the resources to accelerate science and technological research and development.

Giant.ai is a far smaller company than Tesla and they are making progress with an upper torso humanoid factory bot.

Tesla sells Model Ys for about $60000, but it currently costs them about $30000-40000 to make them. A Teslabot is 1/30th of the mass of a Model Y. It would use 1/30th of the batteries. The software is an overall cost of development. If billions of bots are produced then the cost would trend toward the cost of the hardware plus Apple iPhone-like margins including the software (say 40% gross margin). At Model Y cost of $30k then the hardware cost for Teslabot will go to $1000. $2000 with margins and software. A bot can work for 8000 hours in a year. 8760 hours in a year. $2000 divided by 8000 hours is $0.25. If you add 10 cents per hour for electricity then it is $0.35 per hour. Going beyond that is bots can work in the factory and work cheaper than humans. Currently 15000 workers in Tesla China factory. Replace all of them with $0.35 per hour bots. Reduce labor cost component. If a lot of bots can increase production rates. by 2X then all costs spread over more units. Bot-produced solar and batteries can lower the cost of energy by vastly increasing the supply. Those trends could get us to $500-1000 per bot costs and lower energy costs.

In terms of the strict definition of super-intelligence, this would be a soft take off version of super-intelligence. It would be 100 years to get to a billion times total human level intelligence. Production of quadrillions of human level bots to colonize the solar system would reach a billion times ten billion in the 22nd century.

Adding in molecular nanotechnology, say in the 2030s would supercharge the Teslabot technological singularity to a semi-hard takeoff.

30 thoughts on “Elon’s Real World AI is the Real World Technological Singularity”

  1. What is this? Cost estimates for AI robots based on their mass? What in the world?

    None of this is reasonable or smart. The numbers are just made up. And in order to have AI robots, you need AI. You won’t get AI using conventional computer science approaches, so it’s not forthcoming, certainly not in a human-size robot.

    Humanity can’t flip into a gazillion AI robot world so quickly, and such a world isn’t possible anyway. Political ideology is also a huge corrosive force right now, and will constrain scientific progress – you’ll need new countries to do anything big. In any case, there’s so much more to human advancement than a bunch of AI robots making a bunch of stuff.

    • Amazon already uses 500,000 Kiva warehouse robots. There are 50 million vacuum bots.

      The Teslabot built by the billions would converge toward the cost of the batteries and electronics. A 120 pound electric robot will 3% of the batteries of a 6000 pound car.

  2. A fully automated factory needs to be created that can receive raw materials and energy, and output everything that is needed to build another such factory. It will also need to be able to produce almost anything else. This includes Teslabots or whatever, because it will need to produce what is necessary to fully automate resource gathering and energy production.

    The first such would cost billions, maybe trillions, and likely cover many, many acres. But it’s the only one that needs to be built from scratch. As tech and science improves, it can be become smaller. Once it gets to down to something that can fit on a truck it becomes difficult to see any limits.

    Musk is pretty neat in my book, he’s pretty much doing what I wanted to do back before I let myself get sidetracked, but I will remain skeptical of claims of bots at the same level as those seen in the movie version of I, Robot, until I see them.

    • 100% automated factory replication is hard. For example, very few places make leading edge computer chips. But if your factory can make 90% or 99%, that multiplies human labor by 10 or 100 times.

  3. This may seem like a ridiculous question, but it’s a serious one: what’s going to happen when the vast amounts of people who would normally be impoverished become stable and no longer live in poverty and become upper middle class? It seems [to me] that there will be a few groups of other people who will do whatever they can to make sure that doesn’t happen. Unless it wouldn’t be a problem for them.

    • Technological deflation will reduce total taxable income and make the US debt unserviceable. Inflation is the only way the US can pay off its debt. Deflation from robots is going to make ww3 very interesting. Corona was likely the first shot over the bow.

    • You are assuming the private equity funds in control would actually redistribute wealth/resources when it became available. While the UBI holy grail luxury gay space communism is nice to think about, the path to get there without massive upheaval and conflict is difficult to see.

      All those “entry level jobs” as the first rung in the economic ladder disappearing is going to be crippling. All those people unlikely to adjust are going to become destitute. Any attempt by government to tax their way to UBI as robofactories take over would cause capital/asset flight to tax havens. Any attempt to force minimum human employee targets will also face the same.

      Humans will be left to do high level management (rich people nepotism), knowledge work (that can’t yet be taken by AI), service industry jobs where there is a premium for human service (think servants), and dangerous work in edge case scenarios (where it’s cheaper to use a human than expend a robot). Not a healthy outlook for the serfs. Very much like the world outlook in the movie Elysium, where the singularity came, just very unevenly.

      The short fiction story Manna really lays out the suck scenario well. Welcome to the TerraFoam!


  4. All these projections lie on the assumption that Tesla bot will be as good as a human worker for manual tasks soon.

    That’s a big assumption. I give it to Musk that he puts his investments where his mouth says, but his delivery times are uneven, sometimes not quite achieving what he promised.

    Also, technology goes at its own pace, regardless of our desires. Investing in development is a way to make our wishes come true, indeed, but it’s not warranted to produce the desired outcome.

    My point is: seeing is believing. When the bots start doing the full spectrum of human worker tasks, then I’d believe we are on the verge of the self replication singularity.

    • It will start more like a telepresence robot. People will be able to do dangerous and stinking jobs at a distance. Over time it will get more and more refined and will be able to accomplish by itself increasingly difficult tasks. Charlie Chaplin won’t need to go crazy anymore turning bolts.

    • I’m with you. We have absolutely no guarantee that we can EVER generate “general artificial human level intelligence”. I want to believe – but intelligence is a very, very tricky thing to define, let alone program.

    • Technology has accelerated over time as there were more people and knowledge accumulated. The “Singularity” refers to the time of fastest progress, after which you approach the limits of what is possible. It is “singular” in the sense it happens once in history. It is also like the singularity in a black hole – beyond it our future will be so different that we can’t predict what it will be like.

  5. The only abundance it’ll create in a free market is profit for the people that own them, and only temporarily. More robots, fewer jobs, less money circulating for people to pay for goods and services, price comes down, back to square one.

  6. Before you’ll be able to make factories self-reproducing, you’ll need to gather together and make explicit a huge amount of knowledge that’s currently dispersed, and often exists only in human heads, being passed from person to person by apprenticeship or on the job learning.

    A lot of it is proprietary manufacturing techniques; Manufacturing techniques are much more often proprietary than design details of products, because they can be, being difficult to deduce from anything publicly available.

    I’m not saying that it’s impossible, just that having human laborer substitutes won’t do it.

    • You, as a manufacturing engineer, should understand without thinking that a factory
      that produces everything that there is in it, from the insulation of wires to the microcontrollers,
      is utterly impossible , if possible antieconomical, and completely unnecesssary. Our whole
      economy is a self replicating factory.

      • On the contrary, as a manufacturing engineer, I think that creating a fully self-reproducing factory will be a very, very challenging task, but entirely feasible, and incredibly valuable.

        Yes, our entire economy amounts to a self-reproducing factory, but so long as you require human labor, the production is inextricably linked the the population, leading to a serious limit to per capita gross product. More technology can change that ratio, but it remains a ratio.

        But if you can take the humans out of the production loop, production can grow exponentially without reference to human population, meaning the amount of production per human is also growing exponentially.

        Many of the things we want to do in space, such as O’Neill colonies, terraforming planets, interstellar manned flight, require absolutely huge ratios of infrastructure to population. I don’t believe they’re actually economically feasible without self-reproduction to drastically kick up the ratio of production to people.

        But with that limit broken, we could become a K-2 civilization within a century, and colonize the stars. Isn’t that worth a lot of trouble?

        • Ok, but let’s get rid of that 100k teslabots per person vision. That would mean on the order of
          10 teslabots per square meter of usable land. 10 workers with human intelligence are more than enough to give us all we need.

          • Unless you cut down the populace to a few thousand. Then you’d have Asimov’s Aurora
            society, as described in his novel “The Naked Sun”. Twenty thousand people, everyone with a
            castle and an estate big as Corsica, and two hundred million positronic robots serving them.
            Such a society can be obtained with five generations of strict one child policy. A lone child always inherits at least double than if he has siblings.

            • As I recall, that society wasn’t exactly psychologically healthy. And I don’t think that few people is actually enough to maintain all the necessary specialties for humanity to maintain a self-sustaining civilization. With that few people you’d be existentially dependent on knowledge only the machines had.

              100K Teslabots per person was more of a coarse metric, than a goal. The Telsabots stood in for a huge variety of equipment. But even on that scale, if you’re not limited to Earth’s surface, it’s not problematic anymore.

    • I wonder if AI self reproducing factories will been to pay more in kickbacks to human politicians to get their new site’s zoning approved than a human would.

      • With no need to be located near a human workforce your all-robot factory can be stuck out 500 km from the nearest city, in near-desert scrub country with heaps of solar power, on a rail spur, and no zoning problems at all.

  7. Not so fast…

    The AIs driving the singularity must first reach a point where they surpass human GI significantly enough to improve themselves faster than otherwise possible.
    There are physical limitations with current state of the art semiconductor tech and energy efficiency. A population of super intelligent general AI entities would consume more power than what is available with current tech.
    So, we probably need quantum computers an a couple of decades of Moores law before it takes off.

  8. Somebody gotta say it: we’re tired of this daily Elon bootlicking.

    It’s highly likely that AGI will come from some other initiatives, unrelated to J̶e̶s̶u̶s̶2̶ Musk’s companies. Same for self-driving or domestic robotics.

    I’ve been reading NBF for more than 10 years (commenting with another nickname) and, in all honesty, it seems that you put a perhaps excessive portion of your wealth in Tesla stocks and now you’re trying to do your part to prop the price up.
    All this propaganda won’t spare the share price from the upcoming macro mayhem, so I sincerely hope you didn’t put all your eggs in one basket. This is a moment in history when risk management is paramount.

    • Check back next year and in 2024 and we will see who is right. Also, you are a financial moron if you think some blog article with a few thousand views has any impact on the share price. Tesla share price will relatively track earnings and earnings growth.

      • Id like to see an article on technological deflation vs US policy-driven inflation and how the servicing of the US debt will play out over the next few decades. If technological deflation reduces the total tax base then the US debt which is already unsustainable will be impossible to service.

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