The age of AI is upon us! with the help of years of sci-fi books and films of course. Everybody and anybody has envisioned a more automated future imagined from AI characters in movies. But what is Artificial Intelligence? What are the limits? and should we begin to prepare for an I-robot world?
When most people think of AI they think in a broad sense. A form of computer science that gives machines some sort of human intelligence.
But to further understand it , AI can be broken into 3 main stages:
- ANI: Artificial Narrow Intelligence
- AGI: Artificial General Intelligence
- ASI: Artificial Super Intelligence
AI stage 1 – ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence)
Often called Weak AI, this is the AI already embedded in our daily lives. A nice way to describe it is that ANI is super-human at specific singular tasks. Like teaching an AI machine to play chess! and it will master it beyond human potential with incredible consistency. Challenge it in draughts though? and you’ll get a much needed ego boost. This machine can only play chess. Without prior training and programming in draughts, it doesn’t stand a chance. Think of AI as hundreds of interns capable of highly specific tasks more efficiently than humans.
ANI has already transformed the way we live, but it has its limitations. A lot of you will already interact with ANI on a daily basis. Think of talking with Siri or Alexa on your smart devices, or facial recognition when opening your phone!
AI stage 2 – AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)
If we are to see a world like the movies with artificial intelligence, AGI will need to come into full fruition. AGI would mean a machine would be capable of understanding the world as well as any human. All while maintaining the same capacity to learn how to carry out a huge range of tasks. The reality? AGI is not yet among us. It is a hypothetical form of AI. The potential is there but some believe it to be decades away!
According to a study by Muller and Vincent C., the top-cited 100 AI researchers have a collective 90% confidence that AGI will be among us by 2070. To determine if a machine is truly AGI, it has to pass the tests:
- In this test, 2 humans and a machine look at something they haven’t seen and converse about it. The conversation is recorded and an evaluator determines which descriptor is the machine. The machine is only disqualified if the evaluator is positive it can identify it. (check out Touring Test on Wikipedia )
The Coffee Test (Wozniak)
- If AGI machines need to understand the world as well as humans do, they must know how to make a good coffee. In this test an ai robot is required to go into an average home and figure out how to make coffee. It involves finding the coffee machine and adding coffee, as well as sourcing a mug and correctly brewing the hot drink.
Robot College Student Test
- A literal test! the machine would take the same university classes as humans and complete the exam. Some may argue that the machine is cheating with its built-in search engines but who is going to argue with a robot…
- This is where we should begin to worry about an I-Robot world. This test determines whether a machine can perform at least as well as humans in the same jobs!
AI stage 3 – ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence)
Just when you think AI has reached its limit, we bring you the AI of all AI. Super-Intelligence is quite self-explanatory. Oxford Philosopher Nick Bostrom describes ASI as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest”. Again, this is a hypothetical agent and one which is decades away.
ASI has huge potential but it also has huge risk. Stephen Hawkings feared its development could be the worst event in the history of our civilisation. If we create superintelligent machines we may put our own existence at risk, but this is just the plot for another sci-fi film.
The reality is that AI is a tool for humans to better our existence. Advancements in artificial intelligence mean the sky’s the limit! The question is – will the limit bring more positives or negatives? We must tread carefully with AI whilst simultaneously embracing it.