Elon Musk: Tesla Autopilot | Artificial Intelligence (AI) Podcast

Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and a co-founder of several other companies. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. The series includes leading researchers in academia and industry, including CEO’s and CTO’s of automotive, robotics, AI, and technology companies. See the comments I make in the introduction to this video below in text form.

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Podcast transcript:

0:00 Introduction
2:35 Start of conversation: Autopilot motivation
4:01 Display the vehicle’s perception of the driving scene
7:11 Algorithms, data, and hardware development
10:23 Edge cases and common cases in driving
12:18 Navigate on Autopilot
13:57 Hardware and software path toward fully autonomy
17:08 Driver supervision of Autopilot
20:13 Human side of Tesla Autopilot (driver functional vigilance)
23:13 Driver monitoring
24:30 Operational design domain
26:57 Securing Autopilot against adversarial machine learning
28:29 Narrow AI and artificial general intelligence
30:10 Physics view of love
31:53 First question for an artificial general intelligence system

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Comments Made in Video Introduction:

This conversation is part of the artificial intelligence podcast. The series includes leading researchers in academia and industry, including CEO’s and CTO’s of automotive, robotics, AI, and technology companies.

This conversation happened after the release of the paper from our group at MIT on driver functional vigilance during use of Tesla’s Autopilot. The Tesla team reached out to me offering a podcast conversation with Mr Musk. I accepted, with full control of questions I could ask and choice of what is released publicly. I ended up editing out nothing of substance.

I’ve never spoken with Elon before this conversation, publicly or privately. Neither he nor his companies have any influence on my opinions nor on the rigor and integrity of the scientific method that I practice in my position at MIT. Tesla has never financially supported my research. I’ve never owned a Tesla vehicle. I’ve never owned Tesla stock.

This podcast is not a scientific paper, it is a conversation. I respect Elon as I do all other leaders and engineers I’ve spoken with. We agree on some things and disagree on others. My goal as always with these conversations is to understand the way the guest sees the world.

One particular point of disagreement in this conversation was the extent to which camera-based driver monitoring will improve outcomes and for how long it will remain relevant for AI-assisted driving. As someone who works on and is fascinated by human-centered AI, I believe that if implemented and integrated effectively, camera-based driver monitoring is likely to be of benefit in both the short-term and the long-term. In contrast, Elon and Tesla’s focus is on the improvement of Autopilot such that its statistical safety benefits override any concern of human behavior and psychology.

Elon and I may not agree on everything, but, I deeply respect the engineering and innovation behind the efforts that he leads. My goal here is to catalyze a rigorous, nuanced, and objective discussion in industry and academia on AI-assisted driving, one that ultimately makes for a safer and better world.