- Elon Musk said there are two things stressing him out most: production delays with the Tesla Model 3 and the dangers of artificial intelligence.
- Speaking at South by Southwest, Musk told Tesla fans, “We’re making good progress. But it’s a huge amount of work.”
- Musk also warned of the dangers of AI as it outpaces human intelligence.
Speaking during a Q&A at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Musk briefly addressed the company’s trouble filling its more than 400,000 pre-orders for the electric sedan. Tesla slashed in half its Model 3 production target for the first quarter of 2018.
The electric carmaker originally said it would make 20,000 Model 3 vehicles per month by December 2017, but the company only delivered 1,550 in the entire fourth quarter of 2017.
Speaking to a packed theater in Austin, Texas, Musk told fans that “right now the things that are really stressing me out in a big way are AI, I would say, and working really hard on Tesla Model 3 production.”
“We’re making good progress,” Musk continued. “But it’s a huge amount of work.”
Tesla has seen impressive demand for the electric sedan since it was revealed in early 2016.
As the Silicon Valley carmaker ramps up production of its first mass-market offering, Musk is acutely aware of the production difficulties awaiting the company. The company in October blamed the delays on a “production bottleneck” at the Gigafactory, where the car’s battery cells are made. Problems with automation required Tesla to assemble battery packs by hand.
Moderator Jonathan Nolan, co-creator of HBO’s “Westworld” and a friend of Musk, asked the Tesla founder how he’s been sleeping at night in light of the Model 3 production delays.
“Jeez, do I look that bad?” Musk laughed.
Musk has even bigger worries on his mind: AI
During the Q&A, Musk also expressed his fear of artificial intelligence, or AI.
“I’m really quite close, very close to the cutting edge in AI. It scares the hell out of me,” Musk said. “It’s capable of vastly more than almost anyone on Earth, and the rate off improvement is exponential.”
Musk cited Google’s AlphaGo, a software powered by AI that can play the ancient Chinese board game Go, as evidence of the rise of the machine. In early 2017, AlphaGo clinched a decisive win over the number-one player of Go, the world’s most demanding strategy game.
Musk also predicted that advances in AI will let self-driving cars handle “all modes of driving” by the end of 2019. He said he thinks Tesla’s Autopilot 2.0 will be “at least 100 to 200%” safer than human drivers within two years. Musk imagines drivers can sleep at the wheel someday.
The rate of improvement excites and worries Musk. He expressed a need for regulating AI development to ensure the safety of humanity, but he didn’t say who should regulate it.
“I think the danger of AI is much bigger than the danger of nuclear warheads by a lot,” Musk said. “Nobody would suggest we allow the world to just build nuclear warheads if they want, that would be insane. And mark my words: AI is far more dangerous than nukes.”