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Formula Motorsports

AI & Automotive

By Michael Tashjian • February 13, 2024

Yes, another cameo.  I missed you too 😊  
Artificial Intelligence like many tech phenomena’s of yesteryear, has become a buzz word.  Used in most every marketing campaign and touted as the solution for just about everything from the real pandemic of resting bitchface syndrome at most any school function, to calculating the circumference of a bubble gum bubble by the average 10-year-old (actual 10-year-old via standard metrics, not identifying).  I can assure the reader that, yes, the applications are bountiful most notably the medical field, but the information, at least reliable information, being fed into the machine is the denominator that will make or break us as a species. 
Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane.  We’ve been promised autonomous driving since the Jetson’s, but here we are 50+ years later and even testing by GM has been halted on state roads in the most liberal of states, obviously California.  I won’t even toch upon the fact they should be flying as well.  The issues with autonomous driving are not as concentrated on the hardware we employ, camera’s, transistors, etc., but the very data the computer has been fed.   Contrary to popular belief Artificial Intelligence relies upon man (God help us), to provide information/data to learn from and make reasonable decisions based of it.  Given the thousands of variables in any one decision when it comes to autonomous driving, I am afraid we are still not there yet.  Explain in code how a human substantiates any particular decision requires billions if not trillions of data points.  According to Prof. Daniela Rus @ CSAIL-MIT it takes only 13 milliseconds for the human brain to identify and image and about another 100 milliseconds to make a choice.  In contrast cameras have many more variables to consider as well as the limitations of the lack of the chemical reactions which makes us so special.  Sunlight, other drivers’ habits that the pilot has already encountered on the BQE (yes, stereotyping) this includes distracted drivers, road conditions (ambient temperature, geographic location, previously noted road damages and the list goes on).  As a compilatory issue to this comes the obvious moral and ethical concerns of autonomous cars and the AI deployed for its operation.  Add this to the regulations the DOT will have to have in place.  Things such as who should be primarily protected, the driver, pedestrians, children?  No matter the decision it would infringe on the very laws of AI Robotics as we have already grown accustomed in a generic sense.  Not to be used as a pickup line, these laws are A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence if such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.  Suffice to say, autonomous driving and AI driven projects that must withstand human interaction, have a way to go before they are considered reliable and able to make 100% accurate unsupervised decisions.  I though believe this will happen in the relative short term, and am holding my previous position on EV’s, which seem to be playing out like a symphony.