Elon Musk has hinted that Tesla will introduce a K.I.T.T-like AI assistant into future Teslas. Musk was asked by a Twitter user, “will we get a K.I.T.T. like A.I. in Tesla cars any time soon?’ and Musk answered with a simple ‘yes’.
Yes— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2018
The news is not that surprising given Musk’s public fascination with AI. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX even stepped down from a leadership role on the Open AI board to avoid a conflict of interest between the research group and his own private AI endeavors. Tesla has also revealed that they are developing a new AI chip for use in their electric vehicles.
1980's sci-fi becomes reality
K.I.T.T, KITT or Knight Industries Two Thousand, references the 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am controlled by an artificial intelligence portrayed by William Daniels in the 1980s Knight Rider TV show. The AI talked to the driver and allowed it to access different functions inside the highly modified vehicle.
While today’s generation might think voice-controlled assistants like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa are pretty blase, it was a pretty cool idea back in the 80’s. Despite virtual assistants being pretty common inside households these days, no carmaker has yet to embrace this as an embedded technology.
Musk had previously ambitiously stated that future Tesla drivers will be “able to do pretty much anything via voice command”. It’s unclear what exactly a Tesla AI assistant might look like and whether it would have the ability to talk back to drivers and passengers or if it will be more of a passive technology that follows instructions.
Musk has grave concerns for misuse of AI
Musk has made no bones about his obsession with artificial intelligence and has shared both his excitement and fear for the future. Last year, Musk joined with more than 100 other AI leaders to sign an open letter addressed to the UN asking for them to place a ban on the development of killer robots.
In the letter, the signers said: "Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close."
Last week Musk again joined fellow experts to sign a pledge to never develop killer AI-augmented weapons. "We, the undersigned, call upon governments and government leaders to create a future with strong international norms, regulations and laws against lethal autonomous weapons. These currently being absent, we opt to hold ourselves to a high standard: we will neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons," reads the pledge.