Inflection Points, Driverless Cars and “Soft” AI

Earlier this week, Nissan announced that it would have several models of driver-less cars on the market by 2020. Now GM and Honda have made several similar announcements. This could be an inflection point, where the driver-less car becomes somewhat inevitable (barring legislative ramifications, or a particularly gruesome accident).

Inflection points are nothing new in technology. High profile tech announcements (or even better successful product launches) lead to competition, which spurs on new innovation.

We’ve seen several instances of this in the auto industry lately – manufacturers racing to produce electric cars to compete with Tesla, the introduction of interfaces to smart phones etc.

Another example I’ve been thinking about lately – Apple introduced Siri on its phones in 2010 (has it seriously been three years?). It didn’t take long for several competing products to hit the market. How long will it take until virtually all software includes “soft” AI of this type?