Elon Musk gave an update on Tesla Bot, Tesla’s upcoming humanoid robot project, and said that he believes it can solve the labor shortage issue.

But the CEO is not committing to any timeline.

Earlier this year, Musk announced plans for Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence aimed at completing general repetitive tasks.

At first, it sounded like another one of Musk’s jokes, but as we previously reported, it is a real project, and Tesla already started hiring for it.

During a Wall Street Journal conference yesterday, Musk was asked to give an update on the Tesla Bot project.

He responded:

With the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, I think we are creating the most advanced practical AI for navigating the real-world and you can also think of Tesla as the world’s biggest robot company – or semi-sentient robot company. The car is like a robot on 4-wheels. We can probably take that same technology and put in a humanoid robot – and have that robot be useful.

Essentially, to have the humanoid part, we need to develop some custom actuators and sensors – and essentially use the Tesla Full Self-Driving and Autopilot or generally speaking real-world navigation AI in the humanoid robot.

Tesla’s CEO said that he believes this is an important project, but he doesn’t have a clear timeline for it:

I think this can be quite profound. I don’t know exactly when we can get this right but we will get it right.

Within the context of the current labor shortage, Musk said that Tesla Bot could be a solution.

It has the potential to be a general substitute for human labor over time. The foundation of the economy is labor. Capital equipment is essentially distilled labor. I asked a friend of mine what should we optimize for and he said “gross profit per employee” – fully considered so you got to include the supply chain in that.

The fundamental constraint is labor. There are not enough people. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are not enough people. I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low and rapidly declining birth rate.

He issued a dire warning:

If people don’t start to have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.

Here’s the interview:

At the Tesla AI Day event where the project was first unveiled, Musk said that the company is aiming to have a working prototype of the Tesla Bot next year, but he didn’t say when it would be available to buy.

Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.