Mankind is on the brink of understanding and harnessing intelligence in machines
Our understanding of the current state of AI is what will define the scope for the future
Technology has been growing exponentially ever since human civilization came into existence. We’ve achieved significant advancements in the last 50 years. Some of these would have been impossible to envision 200 years ago. As technology advances, the speed of attaining further technological advancements increases accordingly. 30 years ago, the internet wasn’t even an existing technology. Yet somehow, today we’re within touching distance of a concept as beautifully terrifying as artificial superintelligence.
AI can broadly be categorized as the ability of a machine to display human intelligence. Although simple to define, few humans understand the concept of AI. Yet, most of us are already part of the AI ecosystem. Scientific calculators, smartphones, mobile drones and virtual assistants are all classic current examples. Considering the varying scales at which AI functions, it would be criminal of us to claim we have harnessed its total potential. It can be argued that 70% of AI remains unexplored; and that’s the beautifully terrifying bit.
The scope of AI is best understood when we break it down into more detailed stages of advancement
Simply branding AI as a single broad category would be unjust on our part. It’s clear to us that while we’ve achieved significant use of the technology, we have a long way to go. For this purpose, AI is commonly broken down into three subsets; ANI (artificial narrow intelligence), AGI (artificial general intelligence) and ASI (artificial superintelligence).
ANI is the phase of advancement on which we currently stand. As the name suggests, narrow intelligence talks about linear functionality. A scientific calculator can solve complex equations, but cannot predict the weather. A personal assistant application can remind you of tasks to do, yet it cannot engage in rational conversation. AI today is at the most advanced stage of narrow intelligence. Mankind has peaked in its understanding of the usage of AI to master a single function. This form of machine intelligence equals and even excels human intelligence in some instances, but only for specific functions.
This brings us to AGI. To put human intelligence in perspective, consider the many significant things we can do today with relative ease. Humans can assemble fully functioning computers, raise complex architectural structures and distinguish between species of creatures easily. This ability of ours can be branded as general intelligence. As opposed to linear, narrow intelligence, general intelligence refers to intelligence in multiple countless spheres. So far, we’re yet to come across a human creation that displays AGI. To envision a man-made object to think, function and react just like a human is itself a massive feat. The path from ANI to AGI is the one we’re trudging as a species. Top names in the tech world are constantly funneling resources to enable us to climb the next rung of the AI ladder. What waits beyond AGI is borderline incomprehensible.
Pondering over super intelligence and its far reaching implications.
Artificial superintelligence is the obvious progression beyond AGI. Sci-fi movies are often based on this phase of AI. Imagine a machine that is able to get smarter progressively without human intervention. Perhaps one that can perceive emotion as well? In a world where an IQ above 130 is an indicator of ingenuity, what do we label an IQ of over possibly 10,000 as? There are far reaching implications of ASI, which we cannot begin to fathom.
It’s apparent that AGI is the next big thing as far as advancement of AI goes. Getting there is a challenge in itself, let alone traversing beyond that point. The implications are something we need to examine in a lot more detail, in order to do it more justice. AI will literally change the way we live in the coming decades. The question is, by how much?