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Elon Musk unveils Tesla robot, baffling analysts and thrilling the Internet

August 20, 2021, 2:58 PM UTC

You gotta give Elon Musk one thing: The man knows how to get attention.

As part of Tesla’s A.I. Day, the entrepreneur announced plans to build a humanoid robot, called the Tesla Bot, which he envisions will “eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks.”

Rather than just announcing the robot or showing a prototype, though, he brought up an actor in a body suit modeled after the Tesla Bot, who then shifted from robotic moves to a dance that looked like it had been choreographed by Napoleon Dynamite. It was one of those jaw-dropping, head-scratching moments that Musk has become famous for—and is certain to be one of the Internet’s most popular memes for months to come.

See for yourself:

Analysts weren’t real impressed, with the dancing or the concept.

“Unfortunately, as we have seen with robotaxis and other future sci-fi projects for Musk, we view this Tesla Bot as an absolute head-scratcher that will further agitate investors at a time the Street is showing growing concern around rising EV competition and safety issues for Tesla,” said Daniel Ives of Wedbush. “The Street wants Musk to focus on driving near-term battery technology enhancements, capacity build-outs…and fending off rising EV competition from all angles globally—and not humanoid robots.”

Musk himself issued some warnings about the robot, which is code-named Optimus, saying it “probably won’t work” at first.

The 5-foot-8 robot will use the same chips and sensors used to power Tesla’s self-driving features. It will be able to carry 45 pounds, lift 150 pounds, and run five miles per hour. The head will be a screen, presenting useful information.

And perhaps anticipating the obvious Skynet references, Musk said Tesla is designing it so humans will be able to run away from it or overpower it.

But beat it at a dance-off? Not a chance.

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