Elon Musk just revealed his biggest epiphany of the year
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed his “biggest epiphany of 2016:” what really matters in production are the machines building the machines.
In an interview with Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Musk said that creating the machines that are to build Tesla automobiles is at least two orders of magnitude harder than building the vehicles themselves.
He also admitted that the level of machine automation in Tesla’s current factory (producing Model X and S) is relatively low, and that the speed of the line is “incredibly slow.”
“It’s probably about, including both X and S, it’s maybe five centimeters per second,” Musk said. “I’m confident we can get to at least one meter per second, so a 20-fold increase. One meter, to put that into perspective, is a slow or medium speed walk.”
Tesla uses 580 giant robot arms to assemble the Tesla Model S and Model X cars. In an earnings call earlier this year, Musk said Tesla was “hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on earth.”
The company’s in-production Gigafactory 1 will help them get there. According to Musk, it will be more powerful than every lithium-ion production factory in the world combined. The Gigafactory is set to be at full production in 2020, but will help produce batteries for the roughly 400,000 pre-ordered Model 3 by early 2018.
Also in the interview, Musk said that AI was the single biggest item in the near term that would likely affect humanity.
“It is very important that we have the advent of AI in a good way,” Musk said. “If you could see the future you would like that outcome, because it is something that could go wrong. The best of the available alternatives that I can come up with is that we achieve democratization of AI technology, meaning that no one company or small set of individuals has control over advanced AI technology. That is very dangerous…it’s not that I think the AI would develop all on its own, right off the bat, its that the concern is that somebody uses it in a way that is bad.”
To combat these fears, Musk helped create OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company, with the goal to develop open source-friendly AI.