PwC claims human fears impede self-driving progress - Mobile World Live

PwC claims human fears impede self-driving progress

08 NOV 2017

GSMA SMART CITY AND IOT ERA SUMMIT, HONG KONG: Humans seem threatened by the prospect of driverless cars and it’s regulations which are holding up deployments.

That was the warning from Scott Likens, new services and emerging technologies leader at PwC (pictured), who claimed self-driving cars are getting more advanced every day. “The reality is we are afraid of them. They are coming fast and it’s human nature to slow it down.”

The point is they don’t have to be perfect, he argued, they just have to be better than humans – which isn’t hard. The US alone can save an estimated $400 billion from the expected reduction in traffic accidents, Likens noted.

He sees autonomous vehicles as a proxy for the “future which is now”.

Baidu, for example, is spending $1.5 billion backing self-driving car start-ups – the brand the company is building is one of the most advanced in Asia, Likens noted.

On the subject of whether in the future we will need stop signs and traffic lights for autonomous cars, he stated: “We need those for humans, not for machines.”

AI starts to think
Likens believes the biggest development for AI is its ability to sense, which has enabled it to connect with humans and no longer be abstract.

AI is now in the next stage of starting to think and understand massive amounts of data. “This is where you start to have automated intelligence. The part that becomes quite frightening is the ‘act’, when you start to tie it to the physical world.”

But he said we’re still not sure what to do with all the data. IoT and smart cities could make this a lot harder since all that data has to be stored, processed and understood. “We have to move faster and understand the data and move to the ‘act’ part.”

Investment in AI is happening in a big way, with the market estimated at $153 billion in 2020 (see chart below), with 54 per cent expected to be on the robotics side.

As we start to see more than 30 per cent increases in productivity plus a sharp reduction in the cost of manufacturing, “what does that do to our workforce?”, he asked.

A PwC survey forecasts the GDP impact will be $15 trillion by 2030, with about half in China – about 50 per cent on the productivity side and the remainder on the consumption side.


Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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