For several years, executives of tech and automobile companies have been promising that fully autonomous vehicles will soon become a common sights in streets and roads. But we’re well into 2019, and self-driving cars are still making stupid mistakes.
In many ways, the short history of self-driving cars is reminiscent of the early decades of artificial intelligence research. Scientists constantly promised that human-level AI (or artificial general intelligence) was just around the corner. But as they dug deeper and deeper, they faced the hard truth that replicating the functions of the human mind is more challenging than we thought.
Seven decades of AI research have not been enough to create computers that have the commonsense and general problem-solving capabilities of humans. But the efforts and innovation have not gone to waste and have yielded advances in narrow AI, the type of artificial intelligence that focuses on solving specific problems. We still don’t know for sure what kinds of problem we will solve with AGI, but narrow AI has plenty of interesting and practical applications.