3 min read

The Humanoid Robots Are Coming: A Tale of Innovation, Skepticism, and Inevitability

The EV Analogy: Setting the Stage

Let's start with a trip down memory lane, back to 1997 when General Motors released the EV1, the first large-scale electric vehicle. At the time, the concept of an electric vehicle was so alien that it barely registered in the public consciousness. Fast forward to 2006, Tesla unveiled its first Roadster, and by 2016, electric vehicles were not just a concept but a reality. Tesla had made them accessible and desirable.

The journey of electric vehicles from 1997 to 2016 serves as an instructive analogy for the current state of humanoid robots. We're in the 1997 phase: the technology exists but is not yet mainstream. However, if the World Robot Conference in Beijing is any indication, the future is closer than we think.

World Robot Conference: A Glimpse into the Future

The World Robot Conference in Beijing showcased humanoid robots with human-like skin, facial reactions, and physical movements. These robots are designed for emotional support, a concept that might seem unsettling to many. But let's not forget that China has a labor shortage problem, and humanoid robots could be a solution. The question then becomes: Can these robots mimic our expressions, can they also mimic our work?

Apollo: The New Kid on the Block

Enter Apollo, a humanoid robot announced by Apptronik. Apollo can lift and transport up to 55 pounds, stack boxes perfectly, and run for hours with swappable batteries. It's not hard to imagine Apollo working in an Amazon warehouse, increasing efficiency and reducing errors. The technology for Apollo has been driven by innovations in related industries like autonomous driving and even the smartphone industry.

The Ethical Quandary and the Competitive Landscape

Of course, the rise of humanoid robots brings ethical questions to the forefront. What are the implications for human labor? What about emotional and psychological effects? Elon Musk's Tesla is also working on a humanoid robot called Optimus, adding another layer of competition and urgency to the development of this technology.

Tesla Optimus robot arrives in stores; you can see one in NYC
Tesla’s first Optimus robot displays have arrived in stores in North America. You can check the Tesla Bot in New…


As we move towards a future where cars drive themselves, the next big household purchase might not be a car but a humanoid robot. Imagine a future where neighborhoods share a humanoid robot that performs tasks like lawn maintenance and mail retrieval. Or, even further, a future where homes have multiple humanoid robots performing various tasks, from organizing the pantry to folding clothes.

One of the more sensitive applications could be in healthcare, particularly in nursing homes. Humanoid robots could provide emotional support and primary care to those without loved ones to check on them. It's a thought that might make us uncomfortable, but it's a possibility we must consider.

The future of humanoid robots is not a question of if, but when. The technology is advancing, and the use cases are expanding. As we ponder this future, the goal should not be to predict it but to understand it. And as we do, we should be prepared for a world where humanoid robots are as common as smartphones today.

Until then, keep an eye on the iRobot vacuum, and maybe, just maybe, keep a cautious distance from humanoid robots—for now.

For those interested in diving deeper into the future of technology and its implications, my WTF Journal serves as a repository of thoughts and questions that can guide your exploration. After all, the future is not something to predict; it's something to be understood.