Uber taxi drivers may soon be competing with Artificial Intelligence. Elon Musk’s self-driving cars are currently in development under the Tesla Autopilot program, and now the Tesla Motors CEO is saying he will be personally searching for coders who will create the AI driving software to go behind the wheel. But some fans of Tesla’s CEO have already noted there are some lingering questions in regards to giving Artificial Intelligence the driver’s keys to our future.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk have all warned us about Artificial Intelligence being a danger in the long run. While the current self-driving cars are unlikely to go nuts like a Decepticon from Transformers, Google really did put a neural network AI on the internet in 2015. The funny part is that this artificial intelligence has a tendency to say it “loves” things.
The Tesla Motors CEO has his own set of loves, and, in this case, it’s innovation. Elon Musk’s self-driving cars will be receiving a personal touch based upon a series of tweets he sent out this week.
“Ramping up the Autopilot software team at Tesla to achieve generalized full autonomy. If interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org,” Musk wrote. “We are looking for hardcore software engineers. No prior experience with cars required. Please include code sample or link to your work. Should mention that I will be interviewing people personally and Autopilot reports directly to me. This is a super high priority.”
The call for applications had some on Twitter joking about Musk finding his Autopilot programmers over at Apple. This is only partially a joke since Musk has ridiculed Apple in the past for hiring the “rejects” from Tesla Motors.
“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk explained. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard’. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”
Still, the Tesla CEO did compliment Apple in other ways. If Elon Musk’s self-driving cars have competition, it’s likely to come from companies like Google or even Apple. We may even see a self-driving Apple car — perhaps an Apple iCar?
“For Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough,” Musk said.
Elon Musk’s Artificial Intelligence Stance A Contradiction?
Within hours, some of Musk’s Twitter followers noted the discrepancy between what Musk was saying about the Tesla Autopilot program and his past statements about Artificial Intelligence.
“You’ve spoken out against AI in the past, but won’t it be essential for self-driving cars?” asked Katie Collins.
The legal and ethical dilemmas related to responsibility and having AI software fully in control of a self-driving car was another issue raised.
“How should autopilot software be regulated given that mistakes can be lethal?” asked John.
When Elon Musk first announced the Tesla Autopilot software, he referred to any Tesla Model S owner as an “expert trainer.” This was not a slip of the tongue since the Artificial Intelligence driving the fleet of cars is apparently capable of learning when drivers put their electric vehicles on Autopilot. The neural network is also collecting mapping information on the fly. Experts may argue over whether or not a car AI could pass a Turing test, but in the end, it’s all down to machine learning.
According to Electrek, Tesla Model S owners using Autopilot found themselves needing to train the Artificial Intelligence to not take highway exits when it wasn’t supposed to.
“The first day when I was in the right lane, as I approached exit ramps, it would dive for the exit ramp. I quickly learned to apply torque to the wheel to hold the car on the interstate until I had passed the exit. Each day the system seems to have less tendency to follow the exit ramps as I pass… I find it remarkable that it is improving this rapidly.”
The Autopilot AI apparently also had issues with sharp curves on the roads.
“I noticed that on sharply curved ramp connecting I-80 west with CA-113 north in Davis, the first time it took the curve at full speed and wasn’t able to stay in lane resulting in a ‘take control immediately’ alert. After a few more times on this curve with firm pressure on the steering wheel it’s now learned to slow down and today had no issue taking the curve. Definitely learning.”
The good news is that Autopilot has slowly been correcting its own bad behaviors. If there have been any cases of Autopilot’s AI having road rage, then it hasn’t been reported.
Unfortunately, the Tesla Motors CEO did not respond to any of these questions about Artificial Intelligence, but it seems certain that Elon Musk’s self-driving cars are certain to have a machine learning curve. There are also many legal questions to be answered over time. But the question still remains if many riders would prefer a human Uber taxi driver over an autonomous Artificial Intelligence.