In an article by Tom Simonite way back on August 7, 2014 in MIT Technology Review, he reviewed a demo of the IBM TrueNorth chip where he “saw one recognize cars, people, and bicycles in a video of a road intersection. A nearby laptop that had been programmed to do the same task processed the footage 100 times slower than real time, and it consumed 100,000 times as much power as the IBM chip.” This certainly did not go unnoticed by those working on autonomous cars and their required sensors and computers.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, the IBM TrueNorth chip works more like the human brain than traditional computers. So, will autonomous cars be the first place we see brain-like AI thinking going on? In the year since the demo mentioned have companies like Google and Tesla been incorporating these chips into their systems? These chips require specialized programming that is apparently very tedious, but once programmed for such a specialized task I would think that their incorporation would be quick. Since IBM chose to use the cars, people, and bicycles in their demo, much of the programming work had apparently already been done by IBM.
As I have said earlier, I think that the first applications of true AI will be for playing the stock market. But we are unlikely to be aware of this until years after the fact and after the developers of such systems have gotten obscenely wealthy by a rigged game. So the first actual application of AI that we will see may very well be in autonomous cars. And it could very well be within a year or two given the very confident press companies are releasing regards the likelihood of autonomous cars coming soon.
Elon Musk said in a recent interview that Tesla is probably only a month away from having autonomous driving at least for highways and for relatively simple roads. He also said that by 2017, a Tesla will be able to go 620 miles on a single charge!