Let’s Double the Human Population

Sounds crazy, right? But doubling our population is the goal of one of the hottest new startups, Figure. The catch: half will be robots.

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Figure emerged from stealth yesterday, unveiling a humanoid robot. It plans to build one for every person on earth, doubling our productive capacity.

Figure is addressing a very real problem: slowing population growth. Worldwide human population is expected to peak in 2100.

Some countries are already shrinking, including China and much of Western Europe. For countries like Japan and Russia, deaths outnumber births by 2:1 or more.

But whether population is rising or falling, jobs must be done. For many countries, the solution may be robots.

Figure’s robot mimics a small human. It’s 5’6”, 132 pounds and walks about the same speed we do. Being shaped like a human lets it operate smoothly in an environment built for mankind.

Is this creepy?

Yeah kinda. But unless humans decide to have more babies, it’s hard to see an alternative.

In the near term, human workers (just the need to specify tells us something) are likely to view Figure as a threat. Indeed, Figure aims to drastically cut labor costs.

From the company’s website:

Today, manual labor compensation is the primary driver of goods and services prices, accounting for ~50% of global GDP (~$42 trillion/yr), but as these robots “join the workforce,” everywhere from factories to farmland, the cost of labor will decrease until it becomes equivalent to the price of renting a robot, facilitating a long-term, holistic reduction in costs.

This means much lower wages for manual laborers.

But I’m optimistic that humans will find safer, more creative and better paid work. After all, YouTubers and yoga instructors barely existed 10 years ago.

Regardless of desirability, making 8 billion of anything is incredibly hard.

Let’s take another big, complicated product: cars. Global automobile production is only about 80 million per year — just one percent of the number of robots Figure hopes to build.

Whether Figure succeeds or not, I’m certain about one thing. VC’s are going to eat this up. I can practically hear the armored cars pulling up in front of Figure HQ now, ready to dispense billions.

There’s no down market for stuff like this. It’s a giant opportunity and involves the current hot thing, AI.

I just wish I had a slice!

Do you think Figure’s robots are creepy, awesome, or creepy and awesome?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on tech:

Sequoia Dumps Citizen: Ruthless, or Reasonable?

From Design to Code in Seconds with AI

ChatGPT for Medicine

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