As reported by the Associated Press, the Justice Department recently made a request for information from Tesla regarding its use of artificial intelligence in its self-driving cars. The request comes as the department investigates the potential dangers of AI and its impact on society with a focus on the automaker’s “Full Self-Driving” features according to a regulatory filing. In a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said, “To our knowledge, no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred.”
The automaker also said that any enforcement action taken by the government could have a “material adverse impact on its business.” The use of AI in self-driving cars has been a hot topic in recent years, with many experts raising concerns about its potential risks. One of the main concerns is the possibility of AI causing accidents, as autonomous vehicles powered by AI algorithms could malfunction or make incorrect decisions on the road.
This comes as Tesla is facing multiple investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for problems related to Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving.” And according to Tesla’s official website, despite the names of the programs, Tesla automobiles are unable to drive themselves. According to the same AP report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made clear that those features didn’t mean a drive wasn’t needed, “We’re not saying it’s quite ready to have no one behind the wheel.”
The request from the Justice Department is seen as a sign of increased scrutiny of the use of AI in self-driving cars and other industries. As AI continues to advance and become more integrated into society, there is growing concern about its potential risks and the need for caution in its development. As ODSC reported last week, there has been some pushback against AI entering certain sectors, such as law. So it’s no surprise that regulators are scrambling to get on a strong footing as the technology continues to rapidly scale.
Last month, Massachusetts Congressmen Jake Auchincloss delivered a speech generated by the popular chatbot, ChatGPT in a bid to build awareness of the need for members of Congress to become familiar with the technology before it grows beyond current regulatory systems. The member pointed to the rapid growth of social media ten years ago and Congress’s inability to properly understand the technology and its impact on society.