The multi-billionaire and the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla, Elon Musk has announced on Twitter that he will be opening his home to coders, programmers and engineers next month in an apparent bid to attract AI talent to help push forward Tesla’s autonomous driving ambitions.
Musk tweeted out by saying that “Tesla will hold a super fun AI party/hackathon at my house with the Tesla AI/autopilot team in about four weeks. Invitations going out soon.” Ahead of the hackathon announcement, Musk called for developers to join Tesla’s AI team which, he says, reports directly to him.
The tweet instantly went viral and heaps of replies were posted. Among those, one of the Twitter users queried if he needed a higher level of qualification like a Ph.D. in AI technology to attend the party.
Musk was swift enough to reply that there was no need to really have a Ph.D. to learn the intricacies of AI. He also went out to add that he doesn’t care if the user has even graduated high school.
“A Ph.D. is definitely not required,” Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet. “All that matters is a deep understanding of AI & ability to implement [neural networks] in a way that is actually useful (latter point is what’s truly hard). Don’t care if you even graduated high school.”
Musk is looking for those who know thoroughly insides of artificial intelligence and have skills in implementing it. “Educational background is irrelevant,” all candidates “must pass hardcore coding test,” Musk said.
Python is used “for rapid iteration” at Tesla to build neural networks before the code is converted into “C++/C/raw metal driver code” for the speed required for such critical tasks as piloting a vehicle.
Earlier, Musk had mentioned about AI to encourage more people to join and work for its Tesla Autopilot Test. The areas of applications are Hardware, Neural Networks, Autonomy Algorithm & Evaluation Infrastructure.
In another tweet, he told his followers that he had now hired the Artificial Intelligence technology, turning AI into a subordinate that “reports directly” to him daily.
Tagging Lex Fridman, a known host of the Artificial Intelligence podcast on YouTube, Musk tweeted: “At Tesla, using AI to solve self-driving isn’t just icing on the cake, it the cake” @lexfridman
Tesla needs AI talent to work on its self-driving vehicle ambitions. Tesla vehicles are built with the hardware necessary to offer autopilot features and “full self-driving capabilities” in the future, as per Tesla. The hardware will need to have various software upgrades to one day be able to operate as a self-driving vehicle.
According to a report, Tesla has increased its hiring effort for its AI and Autopilot, and it created a new landing page for Autopilot team recruitment. It includes some interesting comments and images about the program, including a new video of what Autopilot can see, a Cybertruck simulation, and more.
The team reports directly to Musk, and now he is getting personally involved in the recruitment process. Tesla has been known to have a presence at some AI conferences & throw parties to recruit people in the industry.
Currently, Tesla’s Autopilot feature allows the car to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane,”,” according to the company’s website, but still requires “active driver supervision.”
Talking up the opportunity, Musk highlighted that Tesla will soon have over a million connected vehicles across the globe. In the upcoming years, every Tesla is fitted with the sensors and computing power needed for full self-driving which “is orders of magnitude more than everyone else combined”.
As part of that need for speed, Tesla is also taking on the challenge of building its own AI chips. Musk says Tesla is seeking world-class chip designers to join the company’s teams based in Palo Alto and Austin.
Musk has been vocal about his fears of AI – calling it a potentially existential threat if left unchecked. However, he is also well aware of its opportunities (if that’s of any surprise given how it’s helping to inflate his and investors’ wallets).
It’s not clear from Musk’s tweets which of his multiple properties will play host to the party, or how many people can expect an invite. The hackathon appears to be part of a wider recruitment drive for Tesla’s autonomous driving program, as one hour earlier Musk tweeted a call for applicants to join the company’s autopilot division.
This is not the first time Elon Musk has said that you don’t need to be a graduate in order to work with him. Back in a 2014 interview with Auto Build, Elon Musk said that a college degree from a great college does not tantamount to having the necessary skills for working at a big tech firm.
In that conversation with Auto Bild, Musk had said that he looks for ‘evidence of exceptional abilities’ instead of a degree from a prestigious college while evaluating a potential employee.
“There’s no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school,” Musk said after being asked whether he considered which college a job applicant attended when evaluating a potential Tesla employee.”
“If somebody graduated from a great university, that may be an indication that they will be capable of great things, but it’s not necessarily the case. If you look at, say, people like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, these guys didn’t graduate from college, but if you had a chance to hire them, of course, that would be a good idea,” Musk said.
Instead, Musk said he looks for “evidence of exceptional ability. And if there is a track record of exceptional achievement, then it is likely that that will continue into the future,” he told Auto Bild.
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