Society over the decades has watched technology advance to where science fiction eventually becomes science fact. While continued progress marches on, people are becoming more and more fascinated with what is known as artificial general intelligence (AGI). Although 2018 is roughly half over, a recent article suggests that people should keep an eye out for breakthroughs to occur in AGI before the year is finished.
Society has collectively philosophizing and begun exploring what the possible potentials are with AGI, such as seen in the television program Westworld and IBM’s Jeopardy-playing computer known as Watson. Naturally, a large portion of the discussions regarding AGI within the popular culture are not focused on how it is currently being used but on how artificial general intelligence will impact our future. Before looking at the current realities of AGI and the possible breakthroughs that could occur before the year’s end, it is important to understand what artificial general intelligence is.
What is Artificial General Intelligence?
When talking about artificial general intelligence, this refers to the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. Also, it is a main goal of some artificial intelligence research as well as a common topic in future studies and science fiction. AGI can also be referred to as full AI, strong AI or being the ability of a machine to perform general intelligent action while academic sources reserve strong AI to associate with machines that are capable of experiencing some form of consciousness.
Are We Close Yet to Achieving True Artificial General Intelligence?
Recently, Terence Mills posted an article on the Forbes website that discussed what breakthroughs to watch out for regarding AGI this year as well as other aspects of artificial general intelligence. Many believe that we are very close to achieving true artificial intelligence and cite proof of this by looking at software programs built into smartphones and other devices such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Yet, to truly assess this in a valuable and realistic way, there must be a consensus on what AGI means.
Terence admits that within every piece of technology has some form of artificial intelligence, however, most are only equipped to handle specific tasks. Using Siri as an example, it can listen to voice commands while performing limited tasks for an individual. Unfortunately, the voice assistant can perform only tasks limited to the area that Apple designs for Siri and can only acquire data from applications that are on your phone or tablet such as playing music, displaying weather information, browse the web, etc.
Though this is impressive, it does not represent true AGI since our definition states that artificial general intelligence would be the ability to perform any intellectual task that a human being can. Asking a robot that exhibits true AGI to hammer a nail into a board would not need to be programmed to perform the action. Instead, it would make the attempt and possibly fail but on its own while having the ability to learn from each attempt until the action was finally achieved.
Since a human generally does not need to be instructed on learning how to walk, it is accomplished usually through trial and error. Theoretically, a computer that exhibits artificial general intelligence should have the ability to learn in the same way. Therefore, it is safe to say that true AGI has yet to be accomplished.
The bottom line is that today’s computers still can only so what the user or programmer tells it to do; nothing more. Although it is unable to comprehend anything through common sense or learn from its mistakes, there is the strong possibility that may change soon.