Elon Musk teases new Tesla production line powered by sea of robots
The Tesla Fremont factory recently shut down to add Production Line 2. The new line will be able to build both Model S and Model X automobiles — and it looks scarier than ever. Elon Musk’s recent Instagram photo of the new production line says there are a total of 542 robots installed along the line, with 15 working simultaneously at the central assembly point. Sharp eyed viewers insist there is a Model X chassis being worked on underneath all those robots.
Since the Model X crossover SUV will be built on much the same chassis as the Model S sedan, the ability to dynamically adjust the production line by model will provide a degree of flexibility unheard of in the industry. It will also help the company learn how to build the upcoming mass market Model 3 efficiently so the company can achieve its goal of making 500,00 cars a year by 2020.
Musk’s enthusiasm for his shiny new army of robots is in sharp contrast to his avowed aversion to the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. He told the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics department’s Centennial Symposium last October, “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. … Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.” Then he added: “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon.”
Before that meeting took place, he tweeted:
Hope we're not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014
Then in January of this year, he donated $10,000,000 to help find ways to control Artificial Intelligence, calling it “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”
“It’s best to try to prevent a negative circumstance from occurring than to wait for it to occur and then be reactive,” Musk said. “This is a case where the range of negative outcomes, some of them are quite severe. It’s not clear whether we’d be able to recover from some of these negative outcomes. In fact, you can construct scenarios where recovery of human civilization does not occur. When the risk is that severe, it seems like you should be proactive and not reactive.”
In July, Elon Musk joined with Stephen Hawking and 1,000 other noted scientist in petitioning the United Nations to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons. The letter was presented at the 2015 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Is there any danger that the robots on Tesla Production Line 2 will run amok and threaten the good citizens of Fremont with mayhem or subject them to involuntary servitude? Probably not. But they should be aware that, no matter how proud of them Elon Musk may be, he will always be keeping a watchful eye on them.