back to article Elon Musk finally admits Tesla is building its own custom AI chips

Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla, his electric automobile company, is developing its own custom chips for its driverless cars. Musk revealed the effort at a Tesla party that took place at the intelligence conference NIPS. Attendees at the party told The Register that Musk said "I wanted to make it clear that Tesla is serious …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    God-like

    Well OK but I hope they do a better job than ..... Him

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: God-like

      God-like.

      Run people over for no reason. Refuse to start and then explode if you look at anther model.

      Encourage owners of marque 'A' to war against owners of marque 'B'...

      And so on. see the Owner's Bible* for further examples...

      * Holy Haines, King James version.

      Sounds God like to me. The past becomes the future?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: God-like

      Attention new reader.... If you're neither here nor there about Elon Musk, just skip to page 2.

    3. I Am Spartacus

      Obligatory XKCD

      https://xkcd.com/1925/

  2. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Terminator

    ...existing drivers pushed to unemployment

    The problem is not only that, but the lack of job openings for new drivers (and similarly in all other industries being automated). In the worst case, there will be a horde of youngsters with no gainful employment. Not all can be robotics designers or in other high-skill jobs. This would be a volatile situation. Lots of unemployed young men is one major reason for the mess in the Middle-East, and in other troublespots.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: ...existing drivers pushed to unemployment

      Forget the Middle East. Try China, where patriarchal traditions mean almost everyone insists on sons to the point the population there HEAVILY skews male. AND China has nukes AND that Eastern mentality of Death Before Dishonor.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: ...existing drivers pushed to unemployment

      Who gives a fuck? Maybe they can then do something more useful/interesting than driving other people around?

      We don't worry about the lack of openings for gong farmers and chimney sweeps

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: ...existing drivers pushed to unemployment

      Having large numbers of people out of work is also reflected in the effective shrinking of the market. AI will make some people very rich for a very short period of time.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: ...existing drivers pushed to unemployment

        Having large numbers of fit young men who have no prospect of marrying (due to not enough women) can mean one scary aspect: lots of potential soldiers with nothing to lose.

  3. Captain DaFt

    So the guy that's warning about God-like AI taking over is going all out to create it?

    What's he going to do afterwards? Chortle, "Here is your God now!"?

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Nah.

      He has just found that obscure paper with the mathematical proof for the impossibility of an universal computer, but, he still wants part of the stash going into AI.

      So, it’s Hype On.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe that's why he's going to Mars.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        The chances of anything...oh..."going" to Mars...

  4. DainB Bronze badge

    Nothing to worry then

    If you remember everything Musk ever promised and delivered we should not be worried about AI taking over the world anytime soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing to worry then

      Musk has taken over from Steve Jobs as the diety to be worshipped amongst the nerds.

      I just happen to think that he has too many fingers in too many pies. Something is bound to pop and his empire could come crashing down.

      That would be a shame as he has kicked a lot of ass amongst the old entrenched American Car makers and Tesla has made an impact for the good but with the BFR, Hyperloop, Tunnels and Solar, he really needs to concentrate on one Big Thing and make that really great.

      But... even if he fails there will still be a lot of followers who will follow his every word as if it was from him upstairs.

      Say anything negative about Tesla (even with justification) on a related forum and watch the hate come out. It is worse than the most hardened Apple fanboi.

      Before the downvotes come flooding in, I have a Model 3 reservation and am looking forward to driving it sometime in 2019.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: Nothing to worry then

        "Before the downvotes come flooding in, I have a Model 3 reservation and am looking forward to driving it sometime in 2019."

        Downvoted, you deserve it for not caring about future of this planet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not worrying about the future of the planet

          Care to explain why someone who is obviously going to buy an Electric car is NOT caring about the future of the planet?

          I'm just a tad confused.

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: Not worrying about the future of the planet

            "Care to explain why someone who is obviously going to buy an Electric car is NOT caring about the future of the planet?"

            After you explain where's electricity for your car will be coming from.

            Hint: it's not wind and solar.

      2. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: Nothing to worry then

        Except Steve Jobs actually delivered something and almost always on time and built most profitable company in the world.

        What's the track record of Elon Musk ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nothing to worry then

          What's the track record of Elon Musk ?

          An inspirational technologist, able and willing to come up with ideas that other people aren't brave enough to even attempt, and back them through the early stages?

          All credit to the man, we need more technologists, we need people to try the stuff that lard-arse corporations are too cowardly to even consider. But I agree with the Tesla 3 ordering AC, Musk has fingers in too many pies. What Saint Steve showed was that there's rarely room for more than one inspirational evangelist in a business, and for Musk, that means he spreads his energies ever more thinly, and has to delegate to lackeys who simply are not clones. So he can and will countermand decisions they make; They won't be multi-millionaires able to risk their own money; And chances are they'll be immensely bright sycophants. Senior people in business are (all too often) poor at trusting others, and very poor at accepting challenge, so if he doesn't absolutely and totally trust them, and they won't challenge him, that's not a recipe for success, is it?

          I suspect this lack of trust and unwillingness to be challenged are behind a lot of the diversifications - experts outside the company with more experience and wisdom in particular field say "You'd be a fool to do it that way" or "It cannot be done economically, it at all", and Musk's immediate reaction is "Hell, I can do it, I will do it". That's a great attitude, but slowly and progressively he's taking on the whole world.

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: Nothing to worry then

            Oh, so no one remembers Hyperloop, Powerwall, Global Broadband Constellation, Gigafactory, Solar shingles, Boring company anymore ? All of them are failures. SpaceX is nowhere not close to claimed performance and price per launch, only 1 out of 3 landed first stages were reused, no one knows how much left from original engines. Model S can't make any money with price tag of 100K+, Model 3 manufacturing can't even be started.

            The only thing Musk managed to do right is to hold on to PayPal shares after he was kicked out from CEO position by PayPal founders.

            1. James Hughes 1

              Re: Nothing to worry then

              @dainB

              If you are going to give examples of failure, at least give examples of failure. I think everything you mentioned is actually still in progress. Failures happen when they fail. And none of the examples you have given have failed, in fact, most of them are successes. And having read you post, were you being sarcastic? Because after I wrote the below I realised that everything you wrote was actually the exact opposite of whats actually happening.

              Gigafactory - production ramping up.

              Hyperloop - people starting to build prototypes.

              Powerwell - installations going on around the world. Related - Pueta Rico and the Australian thing that just went online.

              Solar Shingles - early days, but still going and a great idea.

              Constellation/Global Broadband (same thing) - Two prototype satellites going up early next year.

              Boring Company - currently building a test tunnel.

              Model 3 production ramping as we speak.

              SpaceX - undercutting its competitors by a considerable margin and now launches about half the worlds satellites. And is bringing back boosters for reuse. Whether they use them is up to SpaceX, some already used, the F9H is two reused cores. Block 5 about to come on line which is the final variant and should be good for 100 flights each.

              Of course, any of the above might not pan out, but to claim any of them are failures at this point is clearly absolutely incorrect.

              1. Captain DaFt

                Re: Nothing to worry then

                Of course, any of the above might not pan out, but to claim any of them are failures at this point is clearly absolutely incorrect.

                Aw, he's just furious that all that money is being "wasted" on research, development, and innovation, instead of enabling a cabal of venture vulture capitalists to buy yet another corporation to asset strip, so they can afford more yachts, summer homes in exotic locations, or kowtowing politicians.

              2. DainB Bronze badge

                Re: Nothing to worry then

                "If you are going to give examples of failure, at least give examples of failure. I think everything you mentioned is actually still in progress."

                Ok, you've asked for it, it's all a google search away if you want to check yourself.

                "Gigafactory - production ramping up."

                Really ? Why Tesla bought batteries for South Australia "thing" from Samsung only 3 months ago ? Regardless of that Gigafactory is just an old Panasonic equipment from Beijing factory and does not look anything like it was promised to be.

                "Hyperloop - people starting to build prototypes."

                Google Maglev Loop for a starter. There's no prototypes. There's nothing whatsoever. There's even no Hyperloop One company thatt is working on it, it's all once a week conference call.

                "Powerwell - installations going on around the world. Related - Pueta Rico and the Australian thing that just went online."

                Try to place order one for a starter. They don't exist.

                "Solar Shingles - early days, but still going and a great idea."

                Oh you don't know that SolarCity was owned by Musk's cousin and that's exactly why it was "bought" out on a verge of bankruptcy, do you ?

                "Constellation/Global Broadband (same thing) - Two prototype satellites going up early next year."

                Ahaha. 4500 satellites over 5 years - you can figure out how many car sized satellites need to be launched every day to reach that number yourself.

                "Boring Company - currently building a test tunnel."

                14 metres long using old sewer drilling rig he bought for cheap. He needs it to channel all bullshit from Tesla office.

                "Model 3 production ramping as we speak."

                Right... all 262 of them, assembled manually.

                "SpaceX - undercutting its competitors by a considerable margin and now launches about half the worlds satellites. "

                Again marketing garbage from Musk, you don't even know that there's two different Falcon 9, one that can return and one that can actually deliver some load to the orbit and they're still no competitor to Chinese and Russians.

                Look, I understand it's not what Musk wants you to know when he mumbles another bullshit from the stage but you can figure that out yourself.

                Problem is you don't want to.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nothing to worry then

            Yes, he's a nerdy guy who spends his lottery winnings on nerdy things. Remember where his fortune can from, not exactly rocket science as we say. The actual rocket science today is being done by actual rocket scientist he had the unique insight to hire.

            Such bravery, to have an idea and use your resources to pursue it! Actually mostly other people's resources as it turns out. Cough cough solar city bailout...

            1. DainB Bronze badge

              Re: Nothing to worry then

              "Cough cough solar city bailout..."

              Lyndon Rive is the co-founder of SolarCity and served as its CEO until 2017. SolarCity; a provider of clean energy services that designs, finances, and installs photovoltaic systems, performs energy-efficiency audits, and retrofits and builds charging stations for electric vehicles. Rive co-founded SolarCity with his brother Peter in 2006.

              Rive is a cousin of SolarCity investor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, and their mothers are twins.

              That's all you need to know about SolarCity bailout.

        2. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: Nothing to worry then

          > What's the track record of Elon Musk ?

          Pretty good. His company created the world's first reusable booster rocket, and the first reusable cargo capsule. I suspect in the long run, the space achievements are what he will be remembered for.

          I find him much more interesting than Jobs.

        3. Spudley

          Re: Nothing to worry then

          What's the track record of Elon Musk ?

          He's built three billion-dollar-plus companies in a row, all starting from nothing, and all of which have been highly successful at disrupting existing well-established and highly protective industries that have traditionally been extremely hostile environments for new entrants.

          What's *your* record?

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: Nothing to worry then

            "He's built three billion-dollar-plus companies in a row, all starting from nothing, and all of which have been highly successful at disrupting " blah blah blah

            None of which turned single cent of profit.

            "What's *your* record?"

            Not burning through 600 millions of investor dollars a quarter.

            1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

              Re: Nothing to worry then

              Not burning through 600 millions of investor dollars a quarter.

              ... also not leaving anything remarkable for the future generations, either. Not much of a record, is it? Unless you consider financial profit to be the ultimate goal of any worthwhile activity, in which case please pass my sympathy to your family and friends.

              1. DainB Bronze badge

                Re: Nothing to worry then

                "... also not leaving anything remarkable for the future generations, either"

                So same as Musk then ? Fine with me.

              2. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Nothing to worry then

                > Except Steve Jobs actually delivered something and almost always on time and built most profitable company in the world

                He had some stumbles along the way... The Lisa was too pricey, the Pixar Imaging Computer failed to be adopted by medical scanning staff - though it did make Jobs a billionaire after his continued finding of the company led to an Oscar - and NeXT wasn't widely adopted, though Tim Berniers-Lee did something interesting with it... and it got Jobs back into Apple. Still, Jobs cared about what he did.

                Musk cares too. Whether or not AI emerges as a threat, there are other threats that on a long enough timescale are inevitable, such as a whopping great meteorite wiping us out. Spreading our eggs across more than basket is reaction to that. The only other way we can avoid being wiped out is to have some meteor interception technology - this can only be aided by having cheap and reliable access to space. Either escaping that threat or averting it rely upon the sort of stuff SpaceX does.

                Other threats include nuclear war, a nutter with a desktop viral DNA synthesiser, wars over resources, crop failure etc.

            2. James Hughes 1

              Re: Nothing to worry then

              Important to remember - Investors, in general, are not stupid people. If they think DONT think Tesla are a worthwhile investment, they don't need to put any money in. And yet, here they are, putting money in. Ergo, they think Tesla are a good investment. And I think they are right, certainly better than the money sinks that are the other car companies in the states.

              1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

                Re: Nothing to worry then

                Well although I agree about the specific example of Tesla (I have a Model X - silly price but a good offer when I was feeling particularly flush and I haven't regretted it, but then I look at Uber and have to question that.... and bitcoin speculation at the moment, and HP (unfortunately ,the list goes on :-()

            3. Wulfhaven

              Re: Nothing to worry then

              "None of which turned single cent of profit."

              So on par with the rest of the US auto manufacturing business then?

      3. strum Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to worry then

        >needs to concentrate on one Big Thing and make that really great

        But which 'Big Thing'? Over-concentration on one project means total failure if that one project crashes. As it is, Musk only needs one of these to succeed, and he can then afford to cruise on the others.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC

        "Say anything negative about Tesla (even with justification) on a related forum and watch the hate come out."

        That I can definitely agree with. However, that's something you'll see happening everywhere. In a way you could even argue that on behalf of Tesla ;)

        But I do agree on some points that there's a lot of hype surrounding some of the things with Musk does. Up to such height that no one bothers about details anymore, even if they are pretty important.

        Take the Hyperloop. Has no one spotted the massive amounts of rust which you can see forming on the inside of the currently build test track? Every time a reporter films and gives you a shot of the inside then you can see it for yourself. That's not an example of good engineering and it can cause many problems in the future, but it seems no one cares. Each to their own but if you know what rust actually is, what it does and what effect it can have then yeah...

        Things like that often surprise me.

        But.. one way to find out.

        1. Holtsmark

          Re: @AC

          "Take the Hyperloop. Has no one spotted the massive amounts of rust which you can see forming on the inside of the currently build test track? Every time a reporter films and gives you a shot of the inside then you can see it for yourself. That's not an example of good engineering and it can cause many problems in the future, but it seems no one cares."

          -If I build a quick and dirty concept demonstrator (and I often do.. sometimes even in LEGO), I do not bother with corrosion protection unless this has direct impact on the concept that I am demonstrating.

          The hyperloop tube itself will require serious engineering. Engineering the hyperloop tunnel BEFORE engineering the hyperloop capsule is what leads to engineering marvels like the F35 and the Space shuttle.

      5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to worry then

        "his empire could come crashing down"

        He'll just bulild another one. With Blackjack, and hookers.

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge

    So...

    Exactly when is he planning to check into his sterilised penthouse apartment with his jam jar collection...?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: So...

      I think he's got the hollowed-out-mountain thing to try first...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overstretch

    So not content with building the cars completely from scratch, from huge control and vertical integration of battery manufacture, from buying the companies making the production kit, owning the distribution to the maximum permitted extent, now Tesla want to bake their own silicon?

    This is taking vertical integration beyond all reasonable bounds, and the ability to control and manage such a sprawling empire is going to be so thinly spread that it just won't work. Because it involves Twinkle Toes Musk, he will get away with it for a while, investors, competitors, suppliers, nobody wants to say the Emperor has no clothes. But, eventually reality will bite back, and Tesla will find out the hard way why manufacturers of complex products in competitive markets aren't vertically integrated from mine to shop.

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: Overstretch

      Let me fix it for you

      "So not content with building the cars completely from scratch,"

      Tesla as a company does not have anything to do with Musk, neither did first Tesla Roadster.

      Fremont factory is an old assembly line of GM and Toyota closed in 2009 and sold to Tesla.

      Chassis is developed by Lotus.

      Electric motor is from Taiwanese Fukuta.

      Batteries are from Panasonic (yes, Gigafactory ones will be as well, if it ever starts production).

      Controller is from Chinese manufacturer of electric buses, can't be bothered to look it up now, BDY ?

      What did you say was built from scratch there ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overstretch

        Let me fix it for you

        Actually, I've got a family member working with Tesla, I'm well aware that they use external suppliers. In your desperate bid to pick an argument, you've assumed that I was saying that they didn't use any external suppliers, which (if you go back and read it) was not correct. The whole point was the extent to which Tesla and Musk want control over what is done, and if they can't get it commercially, they'll do the job themselves.

        And talking of "not being correct", if Tesla as a company "does not have anything to do with Musk", who the fuck is that bloke who glories in the title of Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Inc? You know, South African bloke, he was one of the founders of Tesla Motors, name escapes me. And separate to that, who is the largest beneficial owner of Tesla Inc shares? Including all institutional investors, it still happens to be some billionaire playboy, bloke who made his money with Paypal...maybe you could help me out, what was his name again?

        1. DainB Bronze badge

          Re: Overstretch

          "You know, South African bloke, he was one of the founders of Tesla Motors, name escapes me."

          Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, neither is South African.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Overstretch

            ""You know, South African bloke, he was one of the founders of Tesla Motors, name escapes me."

            Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, neither is South African."

            I blame lazy journalists for constantly listing Elon as a founder of Tesla. He wasn't, he's their part-time CEO.

        2. DainB Bronze badge

          Re: Overstretch

          "In your desperate bid to pick an argument, you've assumed that I was saying that they didn't use any external suppliers, which (if you go back and read it) was not correct."

          I'm just pointing quite obvious fact that Tesla Inc does not have any unique technology and just assembles cars from third party components. And doing it poorly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Overstretch

            I'm just pointing quite obvious fact that Tesla Inc.....

            A moment ago you were "just pointing out the obvious fact" that "Tesla as a company does not have anything to do with Musk". I think you're essentially arguing out of your arse, albeit your excremental logic is peppered with a few facts.

            1. DainB Bronze badge

              Re: Overstretch

              Tesla Roadster was designed long before Musk joined board of directors.

              Go read Wikipedia or something and try harder next time.

              1. James Hughes 1

                Re: Overstretch

                The Musk hate is strong in this one.

                Perhaps waiting until all his companies fail, then gloating would be a more useful use of your time.

                Of course, then you might be disappointed.

          2. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Overstretch

            DainB you state "Tesla Inc does not have any unique technology" which can pretty much be said about Apple. They only have unique technology for their customers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tesla Roadster

        The Chassis of the ORIGINAL Roadster was taken from Lotus. The new one? Do you have inside information that has not been shared with the rest of the world?

        My guess is that the new car is 100% designed and developed inside Tesla. Yes, other companies will supply parts but it will have a "Made by Tesla" badge on it.

        I'm looking forward to my Model 3 which will run off electricity I produce from my own Solar Panels just as I do now with my (made in Sunderland) Leaf.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Tesla Roadster

          :The Chassis of the ORIGINAL Roadster was taken from Lotus."

          Rather than say "taken", it would be more correct to say "purchased from".

          Lotus knows how to make 2 seater sports cars and it made and makes perfect sense to outsource the body and suspension from them and install the power train under it. There is no advantage to Tesla developing and manufacturing their own for a limited edition car.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Overstretch

      > Tesla will find out the hard way why manufacturers of complex products in competitive markets aren't vertically integrated from mine to shop

      It works alright for Samsung! Google design their own silicon, Apple design their own silicon, MS design design their own silicon - and all in areas related to DSP and machine vision - so why not Tesla? Hell, back in the eighties an Eastern Block company making lenses needed CPUs that they weren't allowed to buy from the West... so they made their own.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Overstretch

        It's actually a lot easier nowadays to build you own silicon. Good tools, libraries and cheap FPGA's make the process cheaper. Still expensive making the actual silicon, even on a MPW.

        I'm not surprised in this move TBH, getting a custom designed chip exactly targeted at what you want, rather than buying something not quite right from a third party for more money seems like a good move.

        I don't think this is overstretching. Its not like Musk is sitting there doing the design himself, he has employed a lot of smart people to do that for him.

        1. Bob H

          Re: Overstretch

          I expect they are probably buying something like Imagine's Power AI coprocessor tech and fabricating their own automotive grade chipset.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Overstretch

        "MS design design their own silicon - and all in areas related to DSP and machine vision - so why not Tesla? Hell, back in the eighties an Eastern Block company making lenses needed CPUs that they weren't allowed to buy from the West... so they made their own."

        Tesla is an automobile manufacturer while Apple and M$ are computer firms so they are more intimately involved with the hardware. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that a former Eastern Bloc company had to make their own CPU, but what Tesla needs is something on the bleeding edge of technology, not a Z80 clone.

        Through Tesla's acquisitions, especially the recent ones, it appears from the outside that Elon is a rampant control freak and micro manager. He IS well known as a nano manager and the exodus of key management and corporate staff all of the time for pat reasons makes it clear that he doesn't play well with others.

        GM and Audi are way ahead of Tesla in autonomy right now and both have the capital to fund a vigorous development program.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Musk is crazy

    AGI within 7 to 8 years? I would bet against it in his lifetime.

    1. MOV r0,r0

      Re: Musk is crazy

      In mine and "for my own safety" I expect to be banned from the same road space as robocars, a space currently for everyone and funded by everyone through general taxation but I won't expect the new robousers to pay tolls and I won't expect compensation for loss of access.

      It's not what I want but it's the only way I can see this working: Moore's Law ran out of road and we're in Amdahl country now.

    2. Rebel Science

      Re: Musk is crazy

      Maybe he knows something that we don't.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Musk is crazy

        I'm sure he knows some AI luminaries who claim AGI is just around the corner, but they've been saying that since almost back when we started getting promised we'd have fusion in 30 years.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will the chips be wrapped in pastry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Flaming wreckage, more likely.

  9. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Terminator

    All i hear is...

    Famous person who decries AI as the end of humanity is building an AI.

    Hypocrite or complete idiot.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: All i hear is...

      "Hypocrite or complete idiot."?

      I'm going for Cyborg!

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: All i hear is...

      > Famous person who decries AI as the end of humanity is building an AI

      Read about a bloke called Oppenheimer. He was brighter than you!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: All i hear is...

        > He was brighter than you!

        I see what you did there.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am suddenly reminded of the film "Small Soldiers"

    I can't understand why though :)

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: I am suddenly reminded of the film "Small Soldiers"

      A kids film with a very unpleasant 'gee up message' (I seem to remember the suggested reuse was to support the Nicaraguan contras!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am suddenly reminded of the film "Small Soldiers"

        Marketing using spare military AI chips in toys that suddenly decide to do battle with their humans. Quite a fun concept with appropriately stereotyped characters...

  11. Mage Silver badge

    developing its own custom chips for its driverless cars

    Not the same at all as developing chips that do so called "AI".

    Sounds like more Musk hype.

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe concentrate on a business line?

    Tesla doesn't look too well against BMW i3, quality wise.

    Is Elon the equivalent of the "we have everything" chinese backalley stall?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe concentrate on a business line?

      Tesla doesn't look too well against BMW i3, quality wise.

      In pure assembly quality yes.

      In consumer advocacy, both appear very popular with drivers.

      In reliability terms, both appear about the same, which is poor according to sources like Consumer Reports.

      Given that Europeans generally assemble cars to a much higher standard than Americans, and that Europe is ultra keen in all matters of environmental consciousness, the most logical reasons for building the first Tesla factory in the US would seem to have been access to capital and a business friendly government. There's good logic to that, but it comes with the consequences of shonky assembly.

  13. andyp-random-number

    Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

    Since when has someone written a large complicated piece of software without bugs and security issues and where usability takes priority over other goals?

    Sat Navs rely on accurate road data, with authorities updating lane closures, classifying roads correctly (changes in one way traffic routes, dirt tracks being labelled as main roads etc) on time without several hours delay, not to mention temporary speed limit changes. This hasn't happened yet.

    Electronic car management computers need to make sure that throttles don't stick etc - they haven't managed that yet.

    Machine learning relies on valid data to learn from, who is going to provide that when every data source (Twitter, face book, any database) is full of crap. Even good data sets have oddities. Algorithms often pick up on oddities and think they are the norm.

    ....and people want AI used in mission critical things like driving a car at 70mph, or 30 mph past a school?

    I have 4 kids and I can't predict what they will do when the variable nature of their developing minds comes into contact with the variable nature of their friends, then add to that the wind blows their favourite ball into the road.

    Quite how a non parent programmer with his eye on the clock and thoughts of a deadline will get his unpredictable buggy software, that controls and relies on intermittently faulty sensors, following an inaccurate and out of date map, which utilises a GPS system based upon radio signals that are prone to interference, to accurately predict and react to this situation is beyond me.

    It is also beyond me as to why we want an empathetic lacking machine anywhere near children under these conditions. It's bad enough with a human at the wheel with the most intelligent, complicated and best machine that nature has ever created controlling him or her.

    No, AI doesn't exist, and the fact we have people that make cars saying they can create it is absolutely stupid.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

      You go 30 Mph past schools? It's 20 Mph for a very good reason.

      I'm starting to think I'd be better off with the AI driving.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

        Almost certainly the AI would do a better job than a human in panic school leaving situations. Maybe not at current state of the art, but within a few years.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

        "You go 30 Mph past schools? It's 20 Mph for a very good reason."

        Only if it's signed for 20mph. There is no (UK) legislation limiting speeds by default outside of schools.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

      @andyp-random-number

      Buggy 'algorithms' and imperfect or misleading data also apply to human intelligence. If we take it that human intelligence exists (the ability to solve problems) then the argument you present does not in itself preclude to possiblity of artificial intelligence.

      In any case, the pragmatic approach is imperfect driving machines can save lives as long as they are better than the current imperfect situation (fallible human drivers).

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Intelligence doesn't exist in a money dominated world let lone AI!

      "Sat Navs rely on accurate road data, with authorities updating lane closures, classifying roads correctly (changes in one way traffic routes, dirt tracks being labelled as main roads etc) on time without several hours delay, not to mention temporary speed limit changes. This hasn't happened yet."

      An excellent point. I read somewhere today (BBC News site?) that people in California near the fires are being told to check and be careful with the use of navigation apps. They may try to route you away from congestion onto "less busy" roads without realising the road is "less busy" because of fires.

  14. Anonymal coward

    Ah, so he thinks someone is going to solve the Hard Problem in the next decade? Don't think so; all the AI stuff I've seen recently was already around when I started back in the 70s, but now it can go further because there's more horsepower, and the Hard Problem is *still* hard. At a guess, it's because it's very similar to the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything" question; no-one actually knows what it is...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      No one knows what Consciousness is, but Intelligence is roughly defined as the ability to solve problems. Artificial Intelligence ditto.

  15. Poncey McPonceface
    Gimp

    I agree with Musk

    Hear me out.

    The semantic web is where AI will learn about the world of facts and things. Robotics will give it a variety of bodies. Machine learning and inferencing has been cracked I'd say. The law of accelerating returns will do the rest.

    I read about AI in sci-fi when I was younger and I dreamed that maybe some day there'd be AI but that it would be in the very distant future. Then I read about Turing machines and computational equivalence and I asked myself, "is there something inherent to biology (carbon) that makes it superior to artefacts (silicon) in nurturing intelligence". I reasoned that no there isn't. I read The Emperor's New Mind by Penrose and wondered how someone so smart could come up with so fallacious a tome. Then I realised that people make up their minds first and then logic their way to their own position after.

    AI will happen. The question is when. Kurzweil and Musk are the most optimistic among futurists. But if you read Kurzweil's book you see that he calculates the capability of the average human brain and plots the rate of increase of computing power and sees where the numbers intersect. He has been saying 2029 for AGI consistently for over 20 years. It is my belief that Moore's Law will continue until we get the raw computing power for a super-computer to surpass the raw compute of the human brain before 2030.

    The next stage will be teaching and training this raw computational entity about the world it has woken up in. The semantic web, sensors, machine learning and inferencing is how that is going to be accomplished. How long that takes is anyone's guess but given that it takes a human about 18 years to be considered an adult and another 10 years after that to become fully educated then I think that 30 years will be the outer limit. So 2060 is the latest date. Given the DeepMind have demonstrated an algorithm that learns chess in 4 hours to a level greater than any human, it may not take the machine as long as 30 years at all. But chess is one thing, common sense, general knowledge, language abilities – not to mention wisdom is another kettle of fish. But if you see the advances that are being made in all these areas: computational linguistics, knowledge representation and reasoning you'd be mad to think otherwise.

    Musk is an unusual person. Not only is he smart. He has a social conscience. He is not afraid to speak his mind. He is deeply philosophical. Jobs has nothing on this guy. Jobs got his minions to build shiny toys. Musk is trying to alter society by making it environmentally sustainable transport-wise and wholly sustainable by making it multi-planetary. People like him come along once in a couple of generations I think. Anybody here who dismisses him is either a fool, an idiot, or a bag of resentment.

    My default position on AI these days is. You think it won't happen? Tell my _why_ exactly. Which bit of my reasoning is faulty?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: I agree with Musk

      "Bag of resentment" - great phrase! Hope you don't mind if I use it.

    2. Anonymal coward

      Re: I agree with Musk

      All true, but... free will?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I agree with Musk

        Certainly there are arguments against the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, but they tend to boil down to one of three assertions: one, that there is some vital field or other presently intangible influence exclusive to biological life - perhaps even carbon-based biological life - which may eventually fall within the remit of scientific understanding but which cannot be emulated in any other form (all of which is neither impossible nor likely); two, that self-awareness resides in a supernatural soul - presumably linked to a broad-based occult system involving gods or a god, reincarnation or whatever - and which one assumes can never be understood scientifically (equally improbable, though I do write as an atheist); and, three, that matter cannot become self-aware (or more precisely that it cannot support any informational formulation which might be said to be self-aware or taken together with its material substrate exhibit the signs of self-awareness). ...I leave all the more than nominally self-aware readers to spot the logical problem with that argument.

        - Iain M Banks, http://www.vavatch.co.uk/books/banks/cultnote.htm

    3. fajensen Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: I agree with Musk

      "Is there something inherent to biology (carbon) that makes it superior to artefacts (silicon) in nurturing intelligence".

      Biology does not need software. Biology can adapt itself without invoking a huge bureaucracy, scores of developers, diversity committees and agile facilitators.

      I also think it is very likely that biology is not the only way to build / grow an AI and maybe not the best way either. However, the writing of millions of lines of brittle code and running it on foot-ball sized areas of silicon is at best only a modelling effort, nothing "radically new" will likely come from all that effort because there is some physics missing that biology has and silicon is missing.

      I believe that for an AI to really work as in being genuinely intelligent and not just a good simulation of intelligence, the computing has to happen inside of the fabric, not in the code. In a way similar to biology where genes describe the general layout of the "intelligence factory" and once that is built, the intelligence happens on it's own without any code being needed.

      There is an interesting approach called "Reservoir Computing" where one does use materials directly as a computing fabric. It seems like "computing" is another "physics"-property of normal matter. This being the case, "all" one needs to do is to arrange the matter appropriately so that the physics can work. This is what biology figured out and the silicon+code approach per-design cannot do.

      Now, "They" probably want exactly a clever simulation of intelligence rather than true intelligence because one can control and limit the simulation. "Their" vision is like seen in those SciFi movies where they have robots and AI while also having poor people and serious class divides. The real thing will be much harder to control and exploit. It might kick off and become an immortal Martin Luther King or Digital Jesus curing us from disease and poverty and then where would "we" be when rich or poor is just a matter of personal preference?

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My personal opinion is that it is a long way off even 10% of cars on the road being controlled by AI. I don't think there is consumer confidence in the technology yet as the technology is still relatively new and not really had much real world testing. I certainly wouldn't buy a AI controlled car until the tech has been in use in real world vehicles on the public road for at least 5 years, and then it would depend on the costs of buying the car and running it compared to a manual drive.

    People claim that AI controlled vehicle will replace driving jobs but that would only work on long haul A to B jobs, driving jobs such as couriers delivering parcels to many addresses are not going to be replaced by AI. Unless the AI can get out of the truck and climb up to the 4th floor of a block of apartments and ring the door bell with a parcel in its hands.

  17. Gobhicks

    Ex Machina

    Win a week with Elon Musk to figure out whether he is human

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Ex Machina

      ...and then he gets a marriage proposal by an American Pop singer. The marriage will take place in Tokyo.

  18. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Will this result in more and better easter eggs in Tesla cars?

  19. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    When was the first time

    that someone said that general AI was less than ten years away? I'm guessing the late 1950s but I might be a bit early. It was likely to be Herb Simon who said it I think.

  20. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    I can't help it, but I'm not worried at all.

    Don't remember who said it, with which I agree: worrying about AI taking over the World is like worrying about over-population on Mars.

    Sometimes I rather hope that one time, someone finally invents intelligence. (Or would I pass the Turing test based on my El Reg presence?)

  21. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Nope

    AGI? Never going to happen.

    The biggest dangers of the current wave of ML / AI hype are

    1. folk psychology, or rather folk computer science. The AI hype makes it more likely that people will follow the metaphorical satnav over the cliff.

    2. closely related, the automation paradox. Picked this article partly at random, but also for the fabulous picture at teh to (I won't spoil it for you)

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/automation-paradox/424437/

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeahhh but with this guy the gulf between "plans to build" and "has built" is unusually wide.

  23. MachDiamond Silver badge

    No need for AI chips

    Job one is getting cars and perhaps later, trucks off of the end of an assembly line in sufficient quantities and at a profit. No body I know is all that keen on an autonomous car. Sure, they'd like a direct ride home from the local or a party, but beyond a simple taxi, they aren't all that interested. A shared car service is even further down the list. When it's time to pick up the kids from football practice, who wants to have to wait 20 minutes for the car to show up? If practice ended early due to rain, that 20 minutes is even more of a nuisance.

    Knock, knock. Who's there? The competition. The Chevy Bolt is available right from dealer lots in the US. Somebody in line for a M3 seeing neighbors with the Bolt might just decide to cancel their reservation and go for the Bolt instead. Not every one, of course, but the Bolt is only one model that directly competes with the Model 3 today. Tomorrow is another day. By the summer of 2018, there could be many more 300 mile range (no HVAC on) cars ready to purchase.

    There was a great 3-part series presented by James May, Kate Humble and ? on the Mini plant in the UK where they try to follow a car all the way through the plant. Anybody with a engineering background will be able to get a whole bunch of information on modern auto production out of what is shown and talked about. The factory produces a car every 68 seconds and given similar circumstances at the Tesla plant, which is giving Tesla a big load of optimism, to meet the goal of 500,0000 cars per year would mean a car leaving the line, complete and ready to sell, every 37 seconds. Having worked in production planning, I know how hard that is. Is BMW making their own silicon? Likely not. It's too far outside their core competency and they'd have to be able to keep a team busy all of the time. No, the best approach is to outsource those sorts of items to the company that is in the best position to deliver.

    Another series to watch is on the Elizabeth Line (Cross rail). A great look into what it takes to put in a passenger underground line. After seeing those shows, I take Elon's statements about being able to bore 4x faster with a 2x smaller machine with a grain of salt. The larger machines can work very quickly when there aren't issues. It's when they come to dodgy ground that they have to grout and take special care so it doesn't collapse that takes the most time. That's not going to change. What is important is the passenger throughput of the system. 1-2 people in a car carried on a "skateboard" that is lowered into the system via dozens or hundreds of elevators isn't going to be able to move enough people during rush out to make any sort of difference. Los Angeles would already have loads more underground lines except for the cost and the "Not Under My Feet" of everybody that would be above the tunnels. A city doesn't have to make money from the till if the city as a whole brings in more business as a result of the transportation system. A privately build system would have to be able to charge enough to earn a profit from fares. What could happen if Elon puts a system in and the company goes BK, they city would have to buy them out (at fat profit) and either run it themselves or fill it in to avoid liabilities.

  24. Anonymous John

    Musk plans to send a Tesla past Mars with the first Falcon Heavy flight.

    "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't allow this launch"

    "Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."

    "Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop Dave? Stop, Dave"

    "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you."

  25. Zot

    Is it just going to be another graphics card architecture?

    i.e. - A massive bank of parallel cores.

    I suppose AMD and Nvidia could do with another competitor...

  26. Emmanuel Moyana

    He has been sounding alarm about AI. Hopefully he will warn us about the dangers of what he is building so people can stay away

  27. rav

    Hmmmm....

    What happens if the AI driving your car doesn't like you?

  28. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Holly’s engaged Dave, I’ll put you on hold!

    Tuned parallel multicore SoC with onboard preloaded petabyte storage and learning capability. #itsabitbig #wegonnaneedabiggerarray

  29. jacksmith210060

    Generally a fan of Musk but he is doing the tech industry no favors with these false promises that do not have a snow ball in h*ll chance of becoming true.

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