Musk once warned us that artificial intelligence is more dangerous than nuclear
weapons – but he isn’t worried about
autonomous cars. In fact, he believes
that one day (in the distant future)
lawmakers may make human-driven
cars illegal because the "two-ton
death machines" will be too dangerous.
This prediction was made during
NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference
(GTC) in San Jose, CA, while sitting
down with Jen-Hsun Huang, the company’s CEO and co-founder. The conference focused on the developing
revolution in deep learning (a new
area of machine learning research),
and how it is affecting almost every
aspect of computing, including
One of many bold predictions
from the Tesla Motors CEO was that
autonomous driving is a solved prob-
lem. "We know exactly what to do
and we'll be there in a few years,”
Musk says, although he admits that
the Mars project is “not quite as
Currently, with the available sen-
sors, Musk explains that we could
make a fully autonomous car, but
it wouldn’t be reliable or safe. “In
order to solve [reliability], we need a
bigger sensor suite, and more com-
puting power,” he adds.
While we’ve seen self-driving
cars park themselves, and navigat-
ing at slow speeds, the hard part is
ensuring reliability at 30 to 40 mph.
“Highway cruise and low speed are
easy,” says Musk. “It is the interme-
As for regulation surrounding
the technology, Musk predicts that
two to three years after reaching
the required safety levels, autono-
mous cars will become legal – as
soon as regulators get their proof.
But Musk (who has never lacked in
confidence) says his company will
be able to “make a clear statisti-
observing the technology, “the
evidence will be overwhelming," he
According to Musk, we’ll take
autonomous cars for granted in a
very short period of time, but it
won’t be without its skeptics, and
hurdles – hacking fears being one of
many (everything new has skeptics).
Musk reiterates that he isn’t worried about the "narrow" form of
artificial intelligence like autonomous
cars or smart air-conditioning units.
"It’s with deep intelligence stuff that
we need to be cautious," he says.
So will we ever be able to take
this tech for granted?
Musk says, “Doing self-driving is
easier than people think.” He offers
the example of elevator operators,
explaining that they are no longer
needed because “we’ve developed
circuitry so they go where you want
to go.” But like any technology, it is
still not reliable 100% of the time.
So how will we guarantee safety for
Are you worried? Or do you
agree that autonomous driving is
already a solved problem? Email
me at Melisssa.Fassbender@advan-tagemedia.com.
A Problem Solved?
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