Elon Musk was invited to speak at the 2021 World Internet Conference in Wuhzen, China. Elon was invited to share his thoughts on intelligent and connected vehicles. He spoke about autonomous driving using Tesla’s neural vision network, data safety, Tesla China’s data center, and Tesla’s investment in China. Note that Elon wasn’t able to join in person due to the pandemic. “JayInShanghai” shared the video on Twitter and YouTube.
How does the development of digital technologies bring opportunities in heading towards digital civilization?
“Many people believe AI is the ultimate application of digital technologies and it will push human society towards a digital civilization. It seems likely to me that AI will both serve and be served by humans in a symbiotic relationship that I hope will benefit both digital and biological intelligence.
“Moreover, with the widespread use of humanoid robots, physical work will become a choice. AI-powered robots will help people eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks. Most immediately, intelligent and connected vehicles are the next generation of internet devices that will transform our lives.”
What are the future trends of Tesla’s development in digital technologies, and how it would affect human and society development?
“Tesla is much more than an electric car company. We are developing full self-driving vehicles with practical, vision-based artificial intelligence, including chip development on the inference level and on the training level. I should emphasize that we believe autonomous driving can be achieved entirely by vision neural nets. After all, humans are running a biological vision neural net in order to drive. So it makes sense that […] computers will be able to drive by using a silicon camera neural net.
“Tesla is arguably the biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels. The economy is fundamentally built upon labor, so this will have profound implications as capital equipment enters the labor market.”
What are your perspectives on data security of intelligent and connected vehicles (ICV)?
“Data security is key to the success of intelligent and connected vehicles. It is not only closely linked to an individual’s interests but also matters to the whole society. At Tesla, we are glad to see a number of laws and regulations that have been released to strengthen data management.
“Tesla has set up a data center in China to localize all data generated from our business here, including production, sales, service, and charging. All personally identifiable information is securely stored in China without being transferred overseas. Only in very rare cases — for example, spare parts order provisions — is data approved for transfer internationally.
“I believe data protection is not only an issue of one single company, but it should be a mutual effort for all industry players. We are working with regulators on finding the best solution for data security.
“My frank observation is that China spends a lot of resources and efforts applying the latest digital technologies in different industries, including the automobile industry; making China a global leader in digitalization. Tesla will continue to expand investment in R&D efforts in China. Tesla hopes to contribute to build a digitized future of shared benefits, responsibilities, and governance.
“I believe the conference will provide great opportunities for exchanges among regulators, business leaders, and academics.”
I really think that the Biden administration is shooting itself in the foot here by not wanting to even acknowledge Tesla’s achievements. Why do I bring this up again? Because President Biden had this to say about EV production in China:
“We have a lot of catching up to do but we’re going to be in a position where we ought to own the future.
“We ought to be the single most significant suppliers of electric buses and vehicles in the world before it’s over. Right now, we’re running way behind China.”
The US only has one very successful EV manufacturer, and that is Tesla. Yes, we also have Ford, GM, Rivian, and Lucid is newly on the scene, but for now, Tesla is the leader of the market globally and yet has been ignored by the Biden administration.
Before Giga Shanghai was built, China welcomed Elon Musk and Tesla. Negotiations took place and Tesla was the first company to have its own foreign-owned factory in China. This is a big deal, especially since Tesla landed this during a trade war that was ignited by the previous administration.
If Biden wants to catch up to China, I think the administration needs Tesla’s support. Snubbing Tesla isn’t how you go about getting that, in my opinion. I was raised to have manners — you catch flies with honey and not vinegar.
I also have another, completely different thought. Tesla is morphing into a robotics company and is forcing the automotive industry to evolve. If Henry Ford was still alive, I think he would be thrilled to see the evolution that we are witnessing today.
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