In the famous Shakespeare play, “Hamlet”, the play’s protagonist asks the question, “To be or not to be.” This line remains one of literature’s unanswered inquiries, forcing readers to come to their own conclusion about which side of the question to take a stance on.
In the AI world, two similar questions of this nature exist where Artificial General Intelligence is concerned:
- To be or not to be — will Artificial General Intelligence ever become a reality?
- To worry or not to worry — if Artificial General Intelligence ever becomes a reality, should we be scared?
As in Hamlet, we do not pretend to know the answers to these questions but we can offer you the knowledge required to understand Artificial General Intelligence and give you enough material to form an opinion on whether AGI will be mankind’s greatest hero or mankind’s worst villain.
What is Artificial General Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the capacity of a computer system to perform tasks that are typically associated with intelligent beings e.g. the ability to reason and learn from previous experiences.
The notion of AGI is derived from the division of Artificial Intelligence according to its stage of development. There are three distinct kinds:
- Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI): This is also called weak AI. It is the application of Artificial Intelligence to solve problems in fast and efficient ways. It refers to the domain-specific use of AI and is the kind of AI most commonly used for problem solving in the world today. For example, image recognition using Computer Vision or text-to-speech using Natural Language Processing.
- Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): This is also referred to as strong AI. It is the theoretical capacity of an intelligence system to understand or learn any intellectual task that can a human being can i.e. AGI is human-level AI. It is, in effect, general purpose AI.
- Superintelligence: This is defined by renowned philosopher, Nick Bostrom, as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest.” Theories exist that intelligent systems…