DENISA KELE // Will Ai surpass Human Intelligence?
Today, public interest in AI is at an all-time high. For decades, super intelligent artificial intelligence (AI) has been a staple of science fiction, embodied in books and movies about androids, robot uprisings, and a world taken over by computers. With the headlines in recent months about generative AI systems like ChatGPT, there is also a different phrase that has started to enter the broader dialog: artificial general intelligence, or AGI. But what exactly is AGI, and how close are today’s technologies to achieving it?
Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a branch of theoretical artificial intelligence (AI) research working to develop AI with a human level of cognitive function, including the ability to self-teach. Other terms for AGI include strong AI or general AI. These theoretical forms of AI stand in contrast to weak AI, or narrow AI, which are able to perform only specific or specialized tasks within a predefined set of parameters. AGI would be able to autonomously solve a variety of complex problems across different domains of knowledge.
The biggest question is “Will AGI be a threat or an opportunity”?
Whenever and in whatever form it arrives, AGI will be transformative, impacting everything from the labor market to how we understand concepts like intelligence and creativity. As with so many other technologies, it also has the potential of being harnessed in harmful ways. For instance, the need to address the potential biases in today’s AI systems is well recognized, and that concern will apply to future AGI systems as well. At the same time, it is also important to recognize that AGI will also offer enormous promise to amplify human innovation and creativity. In medicine, for example, new drugs that would have eluded human scientists working alone could be more easily identified by scientists working with AGI systems.
AGI can also help broaden access to services that previously were accessible only to the most economically privileged. For instance, in the context of education, AGI systems could put personalized, one-on-one tutoring within easy financial reach of everyone, resulting in improved global literacy rates. AGI could also help broaden the reach of medical care by bringing sophisticated, individualized diagnostic care to much broader populations.
But as AI improves rapidly , will it make us jobless ?
In the short term, AI will displace some people, but experts say AI ultimately will create more, though different, jobs and benefit everyone.
The World Economic Forum said in October 2020 that while AI would likely eliminate 85 million jobs globally by 2025, it would also generate 97 million new jobs in fields ranging from big data and machine learning to information security and digital marketing. The shift toward a more AI-dominated job economy will largely eliminate low-skill labor positions. Jobs that involve highly repetitive tasks are the most vulnerable to the shift. As such, most jobs created by the evolution and growth of AI will require the “upskilling” and “reskilling” of the workforce.
This factor makes it difficult for experts to envision exactly what the job market will look like in the future: there will likely be jobs in five years or ten years that don’t exist right now due to new needs or pain points emerging within an AI-dominated industry.
Jobs in IT, engineering, and software development will likely grow substantially, as these professionals will be key in developing, updating, and maintaining the AI technologies of the future.
On the one hand, automation and AI will undoubtedly eliminate jobs, as they have already begun to do. Although at the same time, AI stands to boost productivity, drive profits, and encourage business growth, giving employers new opportunities to create jobs.
New technologies have changed the game for industries and entire workforces in the past; there is no reason to expect that they won’t do so again.
In the realm of work, generative AI is neither inherently good nor bad. Its impacts will largely depend on how the technology is managed and regulated.
As we navigate this new technological landscape, the challenge lies not in resisting AI but in instead harnessing its potential responsibly.
When will singularity happen?
Artificial intelligence scares and intrigues us. Almost every week, there’s a new AI scare on the news like developers afraid of what they’ve created or shutting down bots because they got too intelligent. Most of these AI myths result from research misinterpreted by those outside the field. For the fundamentals of AI, feel free to read our comprehensive AI article.
The greatest fear about AI is singularity (also called Artificial General Intelligence), a system capable of human-level thinking. According to some experts, singularity also implies machine consciousness. Regardless of whether it is conscious or not, such a machine could continuously improve itself and reach far beyond our capabilities. Even before artificial intelligence was a computer science research topic, science fiction writers like Asimov were concerned about this and were devising mechanisms to ensure the benevolence of intelligent machines.
Will singularity ever happen? According to most AI experts, yes. When will the singularity happen? Before the end of the century. The consensus view was that it would take around 50 years in 2010s. After the advancements in Large Language Models (LLMs), a leading AI researcher, Hinton, updated his view and believes that it could take 20 years or less.