KEY POINTS

  • Tesla is looking to hire people for its AI department
  • Elon Musk wants his AI people to have a “deep understanding” of their job
  • “A PhD is definitely not required," Musk said

Tesla Inc. is eagerly in the hunt for people with a “deep understanding” of artificial intelligence (AI) as it speeds-up its stalled effort to get its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system to attain full Level 5 self-driving autonomy.

CEO Elon Musk on Sunday said while educational background is irrelevant to him, all candidates that want to work on Tesla AI “must pass (a) hardcore coding test."

"Join AI at Tesla! It reports directly to me and we meet/email/text almost every day. My actions, not just words, show how critically I view (benign) AI," tweeted Musk.

“A PhD is definitely not required," he said, adding he doesn't care "if you even graduated high school" as long as you're an AI genius.

Musk also told his would-be recruits Tesla "will soon have over a million connected vehicles worldwide with sensors & compute needed for full self-driving, which is orders of magnitude more than everyone else combined, giving you the best possible dataset to work with."

Musk wants his new AI recruits to work in the San Francisco Bay area, or in  Austin, Texas, but “potentially any Tesla Gigafactory” would be okay. He also tweeted he'll throw a “super fun” party at his house with the Tesla AI and autopilot teams. He said this party will take place about a month from now and invitations will go in the mail soon.

Tesla urgently needs AI experts to accelerate the introduction of the full self-driving vehicle capabilities it's long promised the riding public. Analysts said software that makes full self-driving possible will require a relentless series of upgrades as data begins to pour in and AI is essential in this regard.

A Level 5 vehicle is one without a steering wheel. Level 5 refers to a fully-autonomous system that expects the vehicle's performance to equal that of a human driver in every driving scenario. These scenarios include extreme environments like dirt roads.

Musk has always emphasized a deep understanding of their field and solid achievements are characteristics Tesla employees must ideally have.

Back in 2014, 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 said Tesla needs AI talent to work on its self-driving vehicle project.

Musk believes education does have its benefits but a degree can't be a key arbiter of employment.

“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,” said Musk.