Will A Sentient AI Happen In Self-Driving Cars First?
Wed, April 21, 2021

Will A Sentient AI Happen In Self-Driving Cars First?

We tend to think about the negative impacts of AI that we fail to see its benefits / Photo Credit: Lidiia (via Shutterstock)


People speculate that there will be an AI system that will suddenly gain consciousness, wrote Lance Eliot on business news platform Forbes. Truly, we often paint a gloomy, apocalyptic world run by machines as usually depicted in movies and science fiction books, but in reality, the “risks” are far outweighed by the beneficial impacts of AI.

When or in what AI system will a human-like consciousness emerge? In self-driving cars, when will they give rise to a sentient AI being just like in the popular 1980s TV series “Knight Rider?”

True self-driving cars are the ones that the AI drives by itself without any human assistance. These vehicles are considered Level 4 and Level 5, while a car that requires a driver to take over driving tasks is at Level 2 and Level 3 where vehicles are semi-autonomous and features various automated add-ons that are referred to as ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems). There is not yet a true self-driving car and we don’t know if it’s possible to achieve in the near future or if they will ever be rolled out. However, developing Level 4 vehicles are gaining traction by undergoing narrow and selective public roadway trials. Apparently, there is controversy over whether it is allowed or not. 

Will the AI driving a Level 4 or Level 5 vehicle be sentient or not? In Eliot’s perspective, it’s a no. In fact, the AI used in developing self-driving cars is so “far from distant” from gaining a human-like consciousness. We have to realize that AI is still in its “bits and bytes,” comprising of computational pattern machine and machine learning.  

In terms of AI’s capabilities, there are people who wonder if we can achieve Level 5 without additional breakthroughs in AI technologies, assuming that we successfully develop Level 4 vehicles. This breakthrough might just be algorithmic and lacks human consciousness.