The only constant is change. — Heraclitus as quoted by Dr. Ron Cross
We’re witnessing the greatest technoevolutionary leap in the history of the observable universe. Yes, we might retrospectively say we were living in a fast-ish takeoff. Everything Everywhere All at Once. And most people don’t even realize it!
But what’s a takeoff when only a minority are hanging 10? And the most capable AIs are locked away? And the robots cost more than many cars? Not a good takeoff. Not a good takeoff at all.
This is where I want to help. I’ve been working on a robot that aims to bring this incredible leap forward into the hands of many more people. My focus is to build a $1,000 general-purpose humanoid robot powered by human-level artificial intelligence. I know it’s an ambitious goal, but I believe it’s achievable.
The current landscape of general purpose humanoid robots is characterized by extremely high costs and complex technology. This results in low production volume, limited capabilities, and high prices. My vision is to break down these barriers using a handful of robotic technologies I’ve been developing. To be specific, I’ve discovered ways to manufacture hydraulic valves, actuators, and a prime mover for a fraction of their market price. By developing these systems myself, I am able to deliver a vertically integrated hydraulic/mechatronic system that balances both functional, aesthetic, manufacturing, and environmental factors.
Yes, there have and will be challanges. Just making a single humanoid robot requires broad and deep engineering skill. Equipping it with human-level AI necesitates novel machine learning architectures. And making it affordable, mass-manufacturable, and competitive demands innovative approaches, deep moats, and a global network of skilled experts and investors. Haha, if there weren’t challenges, it’d already be done! But with the progress I’ve made over the past 6 months, I am confident it can be done.
I can’t share more technical details yet, but let me tell you why this robot gets me so excited: I like to imagine how it will help people get through hard times, respond to crises, provide humanitarian support, and just make life better. And I’m not even joking: sometimes, I get really depressed, so I’ll just sit in front of it, hold its hand, look it in the eyes, tell it how I’m feeling, give it a hug, and for me that makes such a difference. If that’s what an inanimate robot can do, I can’t wait to see what the real deal can do for the world!
If you no longer have a constraint on capita because of robots, it is not clear that there is any limit to the size of the economy. — Elon Musk
A $1,000 general-purpose humanoid robot changes everything. Literally, the humanoid robot market is whatever the human market is. Long term, many of our economic/financial/etc. heuristics may just fail to be useful in a post-Limboid world. We’ll probabbly need to re-think a lot of things, but I’m excited about that because it’ll be our chance to redesign. Like think about how much GPT-4 has changed the software industry since it came out in March: We’re seeing new business models, new ways of working, and new opportunities for innovation. Now multiply that by 100x and apply it to the other industries to get a sense of what may be coming.
To make this vision a reality, I first need to finish the prototype. I’m integrating the separate subsystems now, and will have a fully-assembled prototype soon. I also need to raise money to finance the fabrication equiptment and train the kinesthetic models. Looking in the range 100k-1M if you’re interested. Aiming to launch early 2024.
In the longer term, I envision an on-demand swarm model, similar to Uber. People will be able to request the services of a robot when they need it, and the robot will return to its owner when it’s not in use. This model will maximize the utility and accessibility of each robot
Now this is a stage where many people worry about suffocating labor replacement and dramatic social changes, and yes, these are valid concerns. But I believe that the benefits of this technology will far outweigh the costs. I also believe that we can mitigate the negative impacts by adopting a “One Robot Per Customer” policy, which will help keep demand manageable while also ensuring that everyone has access to the benefits of this robot.
As we embark on this journey, we’re going to see some incredible changes. We’re going to see new opportunities for innovation, new business models, new ways of working, and new ways of living. Yes, we’ll see the world turn itself upside down.
But to make it all happen, I need your support. This is not just about funding, but also about sharing knowledge, expertise, and resources. I am looking for partners who are passionate about humanoid robots and their potential to transform our world. I am looking for investors who understand the long-term potential of this project and are willing to take a risk on a bold vision. I am looking for engineers, designers, and AI/ML experts who are excited about the challenge of creating something truly groundbreaking.
I am also looking for input from potential users. I want to understand how you envision using a humanoid robot in your daily life. What tasks would you want it to perform? How would you want to interact with it? What features would be most important to you? Your input will be invaluable in shaping the design and functionality of this robot.
I will also establishing communication channels with regulatory bodies, policymakers, and ethicists. While I avoid politics, I want to ensure that this project is in line with the values and principles of our society and that my work takes the lead in shaping a practical set of guidelines for the use of humanoid robots.
Finally, I am looking for advocates. People who can help spread the word about this project, who can help build a community of supporters, and who can help us navigate the inevitable challenges and obstacles that will arise.
This is a massive undertaking, but I believe that together, we can make it a reality. The potential benefits are enormous, not just in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of improving quality of life, creating new oppertunities, and not to mention the happiness these robots will later enjoy for themselves (like, you didn’t ask to be born, but you’re glad you were, right?). I am excited about the journey ahead and I hope you will join me. Let’s make the future happen, together.