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Tesla has debuted a model of its ultra-high-tech robot that will supposedly replace human labor — but does it actually work?

“Optimus” is expected to help boost sales.

Tesla ultra-high-tech robot, Tesla Bot

Photo Credit: Getty Images

If gazing at a statue of a humanoid robot made by Tesla is something that you would like to do, you now have that option. 

A display model of Tesla’s potentially human-labor-replacing robot, currently known as Optimus, is now at the Tesla retail location in New York City, Electrek has reported.

Also known as Tesla Bot, the display machine is not quite an actual working prototype, as Electrek noted, because it doesn’t do anything. However, it does give Tesla fans an opportunity for an in-person look at what a future Optimus that actually does do things could look like.

Among the things that Optimus is expected to do, per Electrek, is assemble cars — potentially bad news for people who need to work in order to earn a living, but good news for those who are generally fans of robots. Beyond replacing existing human labor, Tesla has been vague about what the purpose of the robot would be.

In addition, the current nonfunctional version of the Optimus is expected to help boost sales at the stores where it appears. Perhaps while you are at the Tesla retail location in Manhattan staring at the unmoving person-shaped shell of a robot, you will also be moved to buy a car, if everything goes according to plan for the EV-maker. 

As Electrek put it, “according to sources familiar with the matter … Tesla Bot is one of the initiatives put in place to help customer engagement in stores.”

This could be very good for the environment, too. Passenger cars produce around 3.3 billion tons of carbon emissions every year, so the more EVs made, sold, and are on the road, the better. 

It is still not clear if and when Optimus will become anything more than a stationary object, but Electrek’s commenters did not seem particularly optimistic about the project.

“If it moved, or worked, then it would be very cool. But this isn’t much of a step up from the mannequins you get in every clothes store. And actually, those have more of a purpose, because they actually show you what the product is like,” wrote one commenter.

“What a strange looking paperweight,” wrote another.

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