"Self-driving cars just have to beat human drivers before they're good to go" is the kind of hyper-rational myopia that ignores basic human sensibilities. 40K/year die on US roads. Think we'll cheer for robot cars if they can just get that down to 38K? No. Need 10-100x better.
"Your son is dead because we shipped a bug in the AI code. We're really sorry about that! Here's a coupon for 2 years of free driving". No. Humans are not going to accept getting killed en masse by algorithms, even if strictly fewer die than by the hands of humans.
I can't imagine a worse job than working on self-driving AI algorithms. If you do the very best, you're simply fulfilling the expected prophesy of technology. If you make the slightest mistake, you've killed people.
It's entirely possible that self-driving cars is this decade's version of 1990s virtual reality. It's almost here! No really! Three decades later, we're sorta kinda getting there, yet still not really.
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