Interdisciplinary Projects Bring Unexpected Benefits


Demand for AI developers is fierce. High-level interdisciplinary projects help companies attract talent in the race against other tech companies.

Innovative applications that make use of artificial intelligence often need an interdisciplinary team for success. In today’s marketplace, where companies struggle to fill key technology positions, an interdisciplinary approach can bring some unexpected benefits.

A prime example is Tesla’s work on a bipedal robot for 2022. This project underscores the interdisciplinary reach of some of the most established tech companies. Elon Musk announced earlier this year that work on Optimus would take a more significant part of the company’s focus moving forward.

The robot isn’t out of left field. Much of the work completed in the race to become the first provider of truly autonomous vehicles can also be applied to other autonomous machines. Musk was clear that if Tesla didn’t do it, someone else would.

The goal is to have a working prototype by the end of 2022. If successful, Tesla has suggested that the first deployments for the robot would be at its factories, helping reduce the risk of certain jobs on humans and improving overall efficiency.

See also: A Talent Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

Attracting interdisciplinary talent

The robot isn’t shaping up to be Tesla’s main project, not yet anyway. However, the work required to get from development to a working prototype could benefit Tesla in two distinct ways.

  • Attracting talent: The talent race for AI developers is fierce. Working on high-level projects such as this one could help Tesla remain competitive in the talent race against other tech companies.
  • Addressing labor shortages and disruption: Tesla reprioritized the robot to help bolster labor supply.

Musk believes the robot will contribute significantly to making Artificial General Intelligence –robots that learn concepts and tasks the way humans do – a reality. For Tesla to get there first would cement the company’s contributions to the AI race.

The project seems to be gaining greater importance within the company’s product and development, although recent events on the global stage may once again shift the company’s priorities. However, there’s enough buzz around Optimus that we could see an unveiling of Tesla’s work later this year. We’ll be keeping watch.

Elizabeth Wallace

About Elizabeth Wallace

Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do.

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