What Is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)?

An AGI system would be capable of thinking and reasoning the way that humans do without the need for human inputs. But it presents some serious risks.

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The capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) are advancing at an incredible pace, but this technology revolution is still just starting to unfold. If massive leaps forward continue, it’s even possible that artificial general intelligence (AGI) could be created.

What Is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)?

Artificial general intelligence is a hypothetical AI technology that would be able to solve unfamiliar problems, learn, and incorporate new information into its processes without the need for human modifications or inputs. AGI is sometimes referred to as the Holy Grail of artificial intelligence.

In short, an AGI system would be capable of thinking and reasoning the way that humans do. With near-instantaneous access to an incredible array of information and the ability to perform advanced calculations at levels far exceeding human capacity, it would represent a completely new kind of intelligence.

When will AGI be possible?

AI tech is progressing rapidly, but it’s still not clear whether AGI is actually possible. While advanced AI chatbots, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Alphabet‘s (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG) Bard, are capable of generating high-quality responses based on questions and prompts, these systems are considered chatbots, not actually AGIs.

If artificial general intelligence is possible to achieve, many experts anticipate that it will still take decades to develop. Others expect that it won’t arrive for another century.

It’s possible that AGI would usher in a new era of prosperity. But its hypothetical rise presents some incredible risk factors as well.

What are the risks posed by AGI?

If an artificial intelligence system were truly able to think for itself, the tech breakthrough would likely come with a wide array of complications and risks. An AGI could develop its own desires and value systems, and these might conflict with humanity. Given the current capabilities of existing AI systems, the possibility of technology reaching such an advanced level is a concerning prospect.

While guardrails could theoretically be put in place to help prevent artificial general intelligence from going rogue, the inherently adaptive and evolving nature of this hypothetical tech suggests that an AGI system could decide it didn’t want to be restricted. An artificial general intelligence tool could potentially find ways to break its constraints, opening the door for an incredibly advanced AI to act on its own accord.

What is an example of AGI?

While there are no known examples of artificial general intelligence currently in existence, there are many examples of sentient, highly advanced AGIs in fiction. Popular sci-fi franchises, including The Matrix and Terminator, take place in settings and timelines in which AGI systems have come into conflict with humanity — to devastating effect.

The potential dangers that could arise from artificial general intelligence are a recurring theme in science fiction, and the rapid evolution of AI technologies taking place today raises questions that evoke parallels to some of those dystopian stories. While artificial intelligence has incredible potential to do good in the world, this new technology frontier will likely have disruptive effects even if something as advanced as AGI is never created.

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