If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Tesla has released its quarterly "Tesla Vehicle Safety Report." One of the top reasons -- if not the #1 reason -- I bought a Tesla Model 3 last was because of its record-setting safety rating, so I'm always interested in seeing new stats on this topic. The second quarter of 2020 saw a slightly worse result for Tesla than the first quarter in terms of accidents per million miles driven with Tesla Autopilot engaged (see graph below), but keep in mind that the first quarter had a record result. Additionally, the difference was so small that it was probably not statistically significant. On the other hand, Tesla's Q2 figure was far better than the US average -- about 10 times better with Autopilot engaged.
Amazon's recent offer to acquire Zoox places them squarely in the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) space, competing with the likes of Waymo, Tesla and others for movement automation of people and goods. As a reminder, Zoox is the San Francisco, California based company with a breathtakingly bold vision – to develop purpose-made autonomous electric vehicles for ride-hailing, and deliver services to consumers through this platform. Executing this vision means competing on multiple fronts with big players- automotive OEMs (designing and building cars), tech companies like Google (who has spent a decade and a fortune to develop the Autonomous Vehicle Driving System or AVS), and ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft LYFT . To date, Zoox has raised $1B and hired close to 1000 people, but without any revenues, they probably need 10X the investment. A recent article covers the details of the Zoox acquisition, and posits that an important driver was Zoox's expertise in computer vision.
Amazon's recent offer to acquire Zoox places them squarely in the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) space, competing with the likes of Waymo, Tesla and others for movement automation of people and goods. As a reminder, Zoox is the San Francisco, California based company with a breathtakingly bold vision – to develop purpose-made autonomous electric vehicles for ride-hailing, and deliver services to consumers through this platform. Executing this vision means competing on multiple fronts with big players- automotive OEMs (designing and building cars), tech companies like Google (who has spent a decade and a fortune to develop the Autonomous Vehicle Driving System or AVS), and ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft LYFT. To date, Zoox has raised $1B and hired close to 1000 people, but without any revenues, they probably need 10X the investment. A recent article covers the details of the Zoox acquisition, and posits that an important driver was Zoox's expertise in computer vision.
Elon Musk thinks his company Tesla will have fully autonomous cars ready by the end of 2020. "There are no fundamental challenges remaining," he said recently. "There are many small problems. While the technology to enable a car to complete a journey without human input (what the industry calls "level 5 autonomy") might be advancing rapidly, producing a vehicle that can do so safely and legally is another matter. Read more: Are self-driving cars safe?
South Korea has launched a safety probe into Tesla, focusing on braking and steering systems including Autopilot, according to Reuters. The transport ministry is specifically looking at the the Model 3 in an investigation that could take from six months to a year, according to Reuters' sources. The news casts a bit of a shadow on Tesla's huge sales surge in the nation, spurred by the Model 3. Tesla has an excellent safety record overall, but the autopilot system has drawn criticism from the the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). More recently, Tesla's Autopilot marketing was decried as "misleading" by Korea's Fair Trade Commission. Tesla will cooperate with the investigation, according to a South Korean transport ministry official.
Elon Musk is sounding the alarm that there is a strong possibility that humans will be overtaken by artificial intelligence within the next five years. The billionaire engineer, who co-founded the artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI in 2015 and was an early investor in DeepMind, has often warned in recent years about the species-ending threat posed by advanced AI. "My assessment about why AI is overlooked by very smart people is that very smart people do not think a computer can ever be as smart as they are. And this is hubris and obviously false," Musk told The New York Times. Musk added that the invaluable experience of working with different types of AI at Tesla has given him the confidence to say "that we're headed toward a situation where AI is vastly smarter than humans, and I think that time frame is less than five years from now. But that doesn't mean that everything goes to hell in five years. It just means that things get unstable or weird."
This article is part of Demystifying AI, a series of posts that (try to) disambiguate the jargon and myths surrounding AI. "I'm extremely confident that level 5 [self-driving cars] or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think it will happen very quickly," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a video message to the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai earlier this month. "I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year." Musk's remarks triggered much discussion in the media about whether we are close to having full self-driving cars on our roads. Like many other software engineers, I don't think we'll be seeing driverless cars (I mean cars that don't have human drivers) any time soon, let alone the end of this year. I wrote a column about this on PCMag, and received a lot of feedback (both positive and negative). So I decided to write a more technical and detailed version of my views about the state of self-driving cars. I will explain why, in its current state, deep learning, the technology used in Tesla's Autopilot, won't be able to solve the challenges of level 5 autonomous driving.
But unlike Tesla's Autopilot with Full-Self Driving, which costs an extra $8,000, it'll come standard in every Lucid Air from the new electric carmaker. The advanced driving system in Lucid's four-door luxury all-electric sedan will help drivers on the highway, while parking, and in unsafe situations. For example, it'll detect drowsy or distracted driving and alert drivers. Eventually its eye-tracking software will let highway drivers let go of the wheel, something General Motor's Super Cruise system can already do. While Lucid and GM use eye-tracking, Tesla's system uses sensors on the steering wheel to make sure you're still paying attention to what's happening.
No less than two years ago, Tesla was facing what many considered to be a make-or-break moment. The verdict is in: Tesla made it. The electric vehicle maker turned a surprising profit in the third quarter of 2019, beginning a streak of four straight periods in the black and inspiring confidence in investors that the company's future is bright. Less than a year after Tesla's stock hit a low of $211 in August 2019, the company's shares have soared to stunning new heights, hitting a peak of $1,675 on July 20. Gone are the days of 2018 when Tesla was struggling to produce the Model 3 compact car, burning cash rapidly and prompting serious questions about its ability to survive.
Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a rapidly evolving, highly competitive technological field. It is often used erroneously and has come to define so many different approaches that even some experts are not able to define, in plain terms, exactly what artificial intelligence is. This makes the rapidly growing field of AI tricky to navigate and even more difficult to regulate properly. The point of regulation should be to protect people from physical, mental, environmental, social, or financial harm caused by the actions or negligence of others. For this article, let's stick to the general point described above).