Photo: Mark Schiefelbein—AFP/Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined the China Development Forum 2021, where he spoke with Xue Qikun, a Chinese quantum physicist who heads the Southern University of Science and Technology. During the conversation, Musk talked about AI, autonomous vehicles, 3D tunnels, and also commented on recent press reports that Tesla cars are prohibited from parking on military premises in China.
China is important to every EV maker, and Tesla is the most valuable of them all, so Musk decided to respond to information recently leaked in the media. Musk said that Tesla does not use its cars for spying in China or anywhere else, because if that were the case, they would be shut down.
“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk explained, during a virtual discussion on Saturday. "If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down."
Several news outlets reported on Friday that the Chinese military had ordered Tesla owners not to park on their property in the future. The reason for this was the cameras built into its electric vehicles. That is why Musk left several comments on the forum about this. At the same time, the head of Tesla called for strengthening mutual trust between the two largest economies in the world. Musk stressed that his company will never share data collected by Tesla vehicles in China or other countries with the US government.
The head of Tesla also said that all technologies that can affect human safety must be properly regulated. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important challenge, because before AI, there was nothing smarter than humans. AI has no limited bandwidth, so it will be much more powerful than humans. For AI security, supervision is reasonable and necessary. Musk also said that the US' concerns about China spying via TikTok are unreasonable because most of the platform's videos simply show people dancing and singing.
Musk also talked about 3D tunnels and self-driving cars that soon reshape transportation. "When we think of technology, we come up with AI, synthetic RNA, and DNA. We're also seeing technologies being used for developing vaccines. Just like digital medicine, it's going to be a big revolution in medical treatment and vaccine development. Of course, self-driving cars, which are forthcoming soon, will change the face of transportation dramatically," he said.
Musk stressed that 3D tunnels are another important tool in reducing urban congestion, which is a common problem in big cities around the world. "We just displayed a 3D tunnel in Las Vegas and I think it will be very helpful as well," he said.
Tesla is one of the exemplary foreign companies in China, and its products are very popular there. In 2020, the company sold nearly 140,000 vehicles there.
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