Demand and Production of 1 Billion Humanoid Bots Per Year

Tesla’s CEO @elonmusk agreed with a X post that having 1 billion humanoid robots doing tasks for us by the 2040s is possible.

Farzad made some observations which Elon Musk tweeted agreement.

The form factor of a humanoid robot will likely remain unchanged for a really long time. A human has a torso, two arms, two legs, feet, hands, fingers, etc. Every single physical job that exists around the world is optimized for this form factor. Construction, gardening, manufacturing, housekeeping, you name it.

That means that unlike a car (as an example), the addressable market for a product like the Tesla Bot will require little or no variations from a manufacturing standpoint. With a car, people need different types of vehicles to get their tasks done. SUVs, Pick Ups, compacts, etc. There’s a variation for every use case.

The manufacturing complexity of a humanoid bot will be much less than a car, and the units that one will be able to crank out over time through the same sized factory will only increase as efficiency gets better over time.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, ~60% of all civilian workers in the US have a job that requires standing or walking for a majority of their time. This means that ~60% of civilian workers have a job that is also optimized for a humanoid robot.

There are about 133 million full time employees in the US. Applying the 60%, we can assume there are about 80 million jobs that are optimized for the form factor of a human or humanoid robot. Knowing that the US has about 5% of the total global population, and we conservatively assume that the rest of the world has the same breakdown of manual vs non-manual labor, we get about 1.6 billion jobs that are optimized for a human or humanoid robot. The real number is likely to be significantly higher due to still developing nations.

Humanoid Bot Production Will Be Between Cellphones and Cars

Cell phone manufacturing peaks at around 1.5 billion per year globally, which took roughly 15 years to reach. That means that over the course of 5 years, you’d have made enough cell phones for every single human on earth. Car manufacturing peaks at around 100 million units per year.

These two products fall under what’s called ‘complex manufacturing’. They each have a bunch of parts that are associated with them, and a giant supply chain that feeds all the needed materials for manufacturing. However, the biggest differentiator quite obviously, is the size and style of manufacturing needed for both.

The amount of space and labor needed to manufacture a single car vs a single cell phone is orders of magnitude larger. If we use iPhone manufacturing out of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant as an example, the plant can produce a peak of 500,000 iPhones PER DAY in a facility that’s about 5.4 million square feet. At peak capacity, this is about 180 million iPhones per year, assuming no shutdowns and issues that can arise. Even if the number was half of this, you’ll quickly see that the difference is staggering.

If we use Tesla’s Fremont plant, which is one of the most efficient car factories in the world, it makes about 650k cars per year in the same exact footprint of 5.4 million square feet.

This means that Apple can make 280 times more iPhones in the same footprint as Tesla can make cars.

Nextbigfuture believes Humanoid Bot will take about 20 Times more space than an iPhone but 15 times less than a car.

Farzad assume a similarly sized factory that can make something on the order of 2,000,000 robots per year (only four times better than a car factory), you would need 500 factories to crank out 1 billion robots per year.

Nextbigfuture believes Humanoid bot will increase production of all factories by about two to ten times. There will increase production of all products and reduce the total number of factories.

Nextbigfuture believes a similarly sized factory that can make something on the order of 10,000,000 robots per year and you would need 100 factories would make 1 billion robots per year.

There are over 400 million tablets and PCs made each year. Those products are about 2 to 10 pounds each.

A 2U server weighs about 25-35 pounds. They cost a few thousands dollars each and there is demand for about 11 million units.

There are 40 million electric bikes made every year. There are 100 million bicycles made every year.
There are about 5-10 million electric standup scooters each year.

Electric bikes can be used for productive applications. Delivery and ride services use e-bikes and e-scooters.

Worldwide robot vacuums reached 15 million per year but global sales of human operated vacuums is about 150 million per year.

In 2018, global manufacturing employment was around 470 million, representing approximately 12.8% of the world’s total workforce. If there was a ten-15 year transition to humanoid robot for manufacturing then this would be about 50 million units per year.

1. If tesla can make 20M cars/year, they can make 100M bots/year. 50 kg product vs 1400 kg product.

2. Benefits are a large component of employee cost. A $15/hour wage costs employer at least $20/hour.

3. Humans bring personal issues to work. They harass each other. They sleep with another worker’s girlfriend. They get depressed or anxious. Bot reduces or eliminates these problems.

4. Bot doesn’t have to directly replace a specific worker. If you have 10 workers on a shift, bot might do a variety of simple tasks that allow you to run the shift with 9 workers

Targets for 50-80 Million by 2030 EVs Per Year Means 1 Billion EVs by 2038-2043

We can reach 1 billion EVs by 2038 to 2043 if EVs reach 80% of all global vehicle production.

The Teslabot and humanoid bots are thirty times lighter.

If Humanoid Bots match human manufacturing workers on a one for one basis then this would be a market for 400-500 million humanoid bot.

Factory owners would accept far higher monthly cost/benefit case were clear. IF the financial benefits far exceeded the total costs then adoption would be rapid and demand would be high.

There are 75 million domestic workers worldwide. There are about 3 million cleaning staff workers in the USA. There are over 6 million home service professionals in the USA.

A maid in Hong Kong costs about HKD5000 per month plus HK$1,236 per month food allowance or about US$850 per month.

A cleaner in USA makes about $40000 per year or $3,300 per month.

Households with domestic help in Asian countries is in the range of 10-20%.

IF the humanoid bot matched the utility of domestic help in Asia at the same cost then would adoption rates globally match or even exceed the levels seen in Asia? The costs for human domestic help in North America are four to eight times higher than in Asia.

IF humanoid bot costs were $3000 per month then the cleaning bot demand might be only 2-6 million toal in the USA. The higher purchase rate would be because of 3-4 shifts per week for the humanoid bot.

IF humanoid bot costs were $600 per month then the domestic bot demand might be 25 to 100 million in the USA out of 131 million households. The higher purchase rate would be because of 3-4 shifts per week for the humanoid bot.

There are entirely new use cases for humanoid bot. A Teslabot with a mini-Starlink dish on its back and a flat screen on its front would replace smartphones, tablets, PC, servers, drones, voice assistants and many other devices. The bot with high speed internet link and TV would respond and give voice communication. It would have cameras and provide a 2-4 kilowatt hour battery. It would have one hundred times the compute of a smartphone and twenty times the compute of a laptop. Smartphones replaced what were previously multiple devices. Smartphones replaced cellphones, cameras, flashlights, maps and many other devices. A humanoid bot can replace devices, connectivity and human services.

15 thoughts on “Demand and Production of 1 Billion Humanoid Bots Per Year”

  1. The people who think this is s good thing are both fools and sociopaths.

    Despite his achievements with Space X and Tesla, mass producing Teslabots may just make the man an enemy of the human race.

  2. The use of robots to take over manual or low skilled jobs will lead to several changes in government. First, we will need universal basic income, at least for those put out of work. We can encourage people to train for more skilled jobs but eventually those will fall to robots with AGI. From the beginning we need to have a law that taxes each robot hour some small amount like $3/hr. to pay for the UBI. As more upper income jobs are replaced the robot tax will need to be increased to pay for government.

    Immigration must be drastically reduced. All those migrants that we need for field jobs can be replaced by robots. Certain jobs can be reserved for humans. Robot repair, Mars colonization, Science may be open to humans. Of course, these will be augmented by super AI and some robots.

    This is probably the place in history where many civilizations fall. The need for kids and people’s knowledge will decrease. We will become dependent on Robots to do most things but will live in a near utopia until we fade away.

    • A loss of skills and knowledge will not be as terrible as loss of purpose. You won’t just need UBI. You need some circuses to go with that bread. Maybe we’ll need neural link VR MMORPGs to keep our more bored citizens from committing massive crime wave, not for money, but out of sheer boredom as they see their own existence as pointless.

      People need to do more with their lives than turning oxygen into carbon dioxide and indulging in frivolous hedonism.

      This also makes Elon Musk’s plan to open up space as the next great frontier all the more important as it would give all of those people who have been displaced by technology and who aren’t satisfied with zoning out in a computer fantasy world, a challenge in the real world that would give their lives meaning.

      • Our lives are pointless already. What difference would this make?

        People made the same arguments when “horseless carriages” began to displace regular horses. Guess what. We adapted just fine.

        • Cars replaced horses and carriages and the people in these industries but cars could only replace horse and buggy. They couldn’t replace human labor. These can. And one way to adapt is to open a new uninhabited frontier for humans to conquer and give them something to do beside killing time between now and grave with hedonism.

  3. I wonder how much electricity that amount of bots would consume. How many power plants would be needed and how much energy prices would increase. Where to get all the components and materials too, and how would the mass production of these bots affect the price of such things.

  4. iPhone, Tesla Roadster, and most other products start as high end goods for high value applications.

    Then scale production and reduce costs.

    You’d look at what are the 10% highest paying manual labor jobs, can robots address any of them? Then work your way down to more common lower value jobs.

    Military applications are probably the most attractive in terms of cost and numbers of jobs, followed by police, drug dealers…

    • If by military jobs you means working in a factory that makes shells they may get there in time. If you mean aiming a weapon while traversing an environment consisting of mud, sand, snow, rubble, electromagnetic jamming and every other challenge known, I suspect those will be the absolute last jobs to be using humanoid robots.

      People tend to look at jobs that are difficult to get enough people to do (soldiering, caring for the elderly, handling nuclear waste, etc.) and assume they would be great for robots since you can force robots to do them. But you can’t force the robots to do them well.

  5. Fascinating.

    And a little scary.

    The transition period will cause Blue Collar and Domestic Service workers a lot of anxiety, whether it is warranted or not. I predict political unrest during that period.

    Real and imagined victimhood makes people do crazy things…

    • Which is why UBI will become a necessity.
      It won’t matter for the next President, but the one who follows him…absolutely.

      • Everybody getting the same UBI is the same as everybody getting nothing. I don’t understand why y’all don’t understand that.

        • Because UBI is stimulative, as long as it’s small enough to be spent – consumption – not saved.
          In my book, “America is Not Broke!” I cited two studies on Social Security, which is similar enough to a UBI that it’s relevant here. Those studies showed that for every $1 spent, you get back $1.80 to $2.00 in economic value depending on the study. This is because the SS recipient, or UBI recipient, is actually just a conduit for stimulative spending. They decide what the SS/UBI is spent upon, so in that way, they efficiently control what the market produce, without top-down central planners getting it wrong.
          But the money – which can be produced by a sovereign government at a keystroke with almost zero seigniorage costs – is only limited by the natural and human capacity (labor) to produce things. Of course, if government goes beyond that capacity you’ll get inflation, but aside from the pandemic and policy-driven de-globalization/sanction driven shortages, we are far from natural and human, and soon, robot capacity to produce goods and services.
          The future – if we don’t sink into WWIII, plague, ecocide – is one of abundance.

          • Possibly, but the priority should not be more Spenders, but more Workers, working smarter, harder, and with personal ambitions to create, optimize, and expand their quality and productivity. There will never be a ‘successful’ world when we are freed from toil and work structure, because people will always want more and better things (and to some degree want more and better things than their neighbour) which is healthy, sustainable, stimulating (financially and socially) and appropriate. That new stuff/experince craving will necessarily come from productive creatives (which will hopefully dominate) who will have a competitive spirit (the most effective incentive) and a self-interest (the most important motivator and enabler of less desirable work) to continue. The most miserable and counter-productive people are the idle, work-shy, ‘i work to live rather than live to work’ people, ‘dreamers for more work-life balance’, and such. Work, especially when well remunerated to its value not scarcity, along with a certain level of autonomy, is the most timelessly fulfilling of all life’s experiences, even as much as human connection, and community belongedness. Of course, i acknowledge that the number of desirable jobs is seriously mis-matched with the number of people who would be good at them and happier than they are now. But a world of free-time is just a world of more conflict, doom-scrolling, self-hate, and unstructured existence — and a UBI would do nothing less than enable that.

            • What? come-on. Doesn’t everyone want to live as a purposeless uninspired bio-lump like on that space-going cruiseliner in Disney’s Wall-E? Isn’t that the desired end-goal of all Next Big Future objectives and its readership?

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