A troubling scientific dispute is revealed in Netflix's best retro sci-fi.

Consider the corniest sci-fi '80s TV you can imagine: cheesy one-liners, fast cars, a tough action hero.

As well as outdated technology that undoubtedly seemed fantastic at the time but now seems extremely obsolete.

What if I told you that same show projected a 21st-century technology that could transform the world?

That show is Knight Rider, a 1980s NBC TV show starring retired detective Michael Knight, who takes on bad guys with the help of a superpowered artificially intelligent car known as Knight 2000, or KITT.

KITT outperformed Elon Musk's Tesla and other self-driving cars by decades, even if just on the tiny screen. 

 But is the portrayal of KITT in Knight Rider anything more than Hollywood screenwriters' science fiction?

To put it another way, might true self-driving automobiles become sentient?

Inverse spoke with AI experts to explore the science behind this deliciously strange '80s action show.

"What does my automobile think?" When shown to his redesigned superintelligent automobile, KITT, Michael Knight is taken aback.