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Why Autopilot Is Hard

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,438
1,748
Kansas City, MO
Be patient and careful with your autopilot, folks (be it Tesla or any other car company that tries to implement it). It's just software, and in the Tesla, I don't think it knows where you are going (yes, they could integrate it with the nav system assuming you have a destination set, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't do this at this time). It's still a baby and it stumbles on stairs and will probably try to put a spoon in an electrical outlet. It's also dependent on sensors that may have variations due manufacturing, vehicle assembly, and vehicle condition. It's also just a really difficult thing to do. I've tried to explain before that this is a really challenging thing to do, but I was reading the waitbutwhy blog on AI recently, and I think it explained it pretty well.

From the waitbutwhy blog post on AI:
What’s interesting is that the hard parts of trying to build AGI (a computer as smart as humans in general, not just at one narrow specialty) are not intuitively what you’d think they are. Build a computer that can multiply two ten-digit numbers in a split second—incredibly easy. Build one that can look at a dog and answer whether it’s a dog or a cat—spectacularly difficult. Make AI that can beat any human in chess? Done. Make one that can read a paragraph from a six-year-old’s picture book and not just recognize the words but understand the meaning of them? Google is currently spending billions of dollars trying to do it. Hard things—like calculus, financial market strategy, and language translation—are mind-numbingly easy for a computer, while easy things—like vision, motion, movement, and perception—are insanely hard for it. Or, as computer scientist Donald Knuth puts it, “AI has by now succeeded in doing essentially everything that requires ‘thinking’ but has failed to do most of what people and animals do ‘without thinking.'”



What you quickly realize when you think about this is that those things that seem easy to us are actually unbelievably complicated, and they only seem easy because those skills have been optimized in us (and most animals) by hundreds of million years of animal evolution. When you reach your hand up toward an object, the muscles, tendons, and bones in your shoulder, elbow, and wrist instantly perform a long series of physics operations, in conjunction with your eyes, to allow you to move your hand in a straight line through three dimensions. It seems effortless to you because you have perfected software in your brain for doing it. Same idea goes for why it’s not that malware is dumb for not being able to figure out the slanty word recognition test when you sign up for a new account on a site—it’s that your brain is super impressive for being able to.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
Agreed. Autopilot != Autonomous driving.

Though many people don't see a clear line between the two.
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,676
1,485
Huntington Beach, CA
When you reach your hand up toward an object, the muscles, tendons, and bones in your shoulder, elbow, and wrist instantly perform a long series of physics operations, in conjunction with your eyes, to allow you to move your hand in a straight line through three dimensions. It seems effortless to you because you have perfected software in your brain for doing it.

From the waitbutwhy blog post on AI:

The difficulty of this is further made apparent by the relative clumsiness of children during growth spurts when their brains must re-calibrate those compound motions to work with limbs that have changed dimensions.
 

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