Once a week.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Human-like A.I. will emerge in 5 to 10 years, say experts
A survey conducted at the Joint Multi-Conference on Human-Level Artificial Intelligence shows that 37% of respondents believe human-like artificial intelligence will be achieved within five to 10 years.
- Human-like AI, or artificial general intelligence (AGI), would occur when a machine can perform any cognitive task that a human can.
- Although computers can outperform us in some narrow tasks, no one AI can outperform humans on a wide variety of general cognitive tasks.
- Not all experts believe we're close to AGI. But most agree the field has been making significant progress, especially in recent years.
Artificial intelligence is integral to daily life in the developed world. We use AI when we order an Uber, sift through our email account's spam folder, or browse our news feeds. Beyond the world of apps, we can see dazzling examples of AI beating Go and chess masters, composing music, and identifying diseases in patients where human doctors found none.
But these are examples of weak AI, not strong AI, which is also called artificial general intelligence (AGI). An AGI is a machine that can perform any cognitive task that a human can.
AGI has long been a primary goal of AI researchers. It's the subject of countless works of science fiction, such as HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ava in Ex Machina, and the development of an AGI would likely result in a computer that could finally pass the Turing test, in which a computer must prove its intelligence is equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, a human.
So, will we ever see AGI? If so, when?
A surprising survey
The answer is yes and within five to 10 years, according to 37% of respondents to a survey issued at the Joint Multi-Conference on Human-Level Artificial Intelligence (HLAI) held last month in Prague.
The survey, which was conducted by the AI startup SingularityNET and the AI research and development company GoodAI, found that 28% of respondents expected AGI to emerge within the next two decades while just 2% didn't believe humans will ever develop AGI.
The survey also asked respondents to rate the sectors in which they thought AI could have the greatest impact. The results broke down like this:
- Healthcare (46%)
- Logistics (41%)
- Customer service (38%)
- Banking and finance (34%)
- Agriculture; retail, software development; manufacturing (28%)
A 2016 survey of AI researchers who had been published in top peer-reviewed journals found slightly less exciting results. The survey asked respondents to rate how many years it would be before AI possessed "high-level machine intelligence," which they defined as being "achieved when unaided machines can accomplish every task better and more cheaply than human workers."
The respondents were asked about specific AI milestones, such as when AI would be outperform humans in complex tasks like surgery.
Timelines showing 50% probability intervals for achieving selected AI milestones based on survey respondent opinions. Specifically, intervals represent the date range from the 25% to 75% probability of the event occurring. Circles denote the 50%-probability year that AI will achieve or exceed human performance.
Grace et al., 2018.
The survey paper concludes with researchers suggesting that, though there are many reasons to be optimistic about developments in AI, researchers in the field are sometimes no better at predicting the future than crude statistical representations.
Some experts who attended the recent HLAI conference voiced similar caution.
"At the moment, there is absolutely no indication that we are anywhere near AGI," Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, told Futurism. "And no one can say with any kind of authority or conviction that this would happen within a certain time frame. Or even worse, no one can say this can even happen period. We may never have AGI, so we need to take that into account when we are discussing anything."
Still, there are a few trends helping to propel the development of AGI. These include, as AI venture capitalist Matt Turck detailed in a recent blog post, increased access to AI tools and education, an uptick in AI research in major internet companies like Google and Facebook, the ever-increasing amount of available data with which researchers can train AI, massive accelerations in computing power, and progress in quantum and optical computing. But, ultimately, only time will tell.
- How Close is the Turing Test to Being Beaten? - Big Think ›
- What animals is A.I. currently smarter than? ›
- Machines Will Outsmart Humans by 2075, Say 90% of Computer ... ›
- Machines won't take over the world. Here’s why. - Big Think ›
- The biggest problem in AI? Machines have no common sense. - Big Think ›
These alien-like creatures are virtually invisible in the deep sea.
- A team of marine biologists used nets to catch 16 species of deep-sea fish that have evolved the ability to be virtually invisible to prey and predators.
- "Ultra-black" skin seems to be an evolutionary adaptation that helps fish camouflage themselves in the deep sea, which is illuminated by bioluminescent organisms.
- There are likely more, and potentially much darker, ultra-black fish lurking deep in the ocean.
The Pacific blackdragon
Credit: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian<p>When researchers first saw the deep-sea species, it wasn't immediately obvious that their skin was ultra-black. Then, marine biologist Karen Osborn, a co-author on the new paper, noticed something strange about the photos she took of the fish.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I had tried to take pictures of deep-sea fish before and got nothing but these really horrible pictures, where you can't see any detail," Osborn told <em><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/meet-the-ultra-black-vantafish/" target="_blank">Wired</a></em>. "How is it that I can shine two strobe lights at them and all that light just disappears?"</p><p>After examining samples of fish skin under the microscope, the researchers discovered that the fish skin contains a layer of organelles called melanosomes, which contain melanin, the same pigment that gives color to human skin and hair. This layer of melanosomes absorbs most of the light that hits them.</p>
A crested bigscale
Credit: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"But what isn't absorbed side-scatters into the layer, and it's absorbed by the neighboring pigments that are all packed right up close to it," Osborn told <em>Wired</em>. "And so what they've done is create this super-efficient, very-little-material system where they can basically build a light trap with just the pigment particles and nothing else."</p><p>The result? Strange and terrifying deep-sea species, like the crested bigscale, fangtooth, and Pacific blackdragon, all of which appear in the deep sea as barely more than faint silhouettes.</p>
David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL<p>But interestingly, this unique disappearing trick wasn't passed on to these species by a common ancestor. Rather, they each developed it independently. As such, the different species use their ultra-blackness for different purposes. For example, the threadfin dragonfish only has ultra-black skin during its adolescent years, when it's rather defenseless, as <em>Wired</em> <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/meet-the-ultra-black-vantafish/" target="_blank">notes</a>.</p><p>Other fish—like the <a href="http://onebugaday.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-new-anglerfish-oneirodes-amaokai.html" target="_blank">oneirodes species</a>, which use bioluminescent lures to bait prey—probably evolved ultra-black skin to avoid reflecting the light their own bodies produce. Meanwhile, species like <em>C. acclinidens</em> only have ultra-black skin around their gut, possibly to hide light of bioluminescent fish they've eaten.</p><p>Given that these newly described species are just ones that this team found off the coast of California, there are likely many more, and possibly much darker, ultra-black fish swimming in the deep ocean. </p>
Using machine-learning technology, the genealogy company My Heritage enables users to animate static images of their relatives.
- Deep Nostalgia uses machine learning to animate static images.
- The AI can animate images by "looking" at a single facial image, and the animations include movements such as blinking, smiling and head tilting.
- As deepfake technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, some are concerned about how bad actors might abuse the technology to manipulate the pubic.
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But that's not to say the animations are perfect. As with most deep-fake technology, there's still an uncanny air to the images, with some of the facial movements appearing slightly unnatural. What's more, Deep Nostalgia is only able to create deepfakes of one person's face from the neck up, so you couldn't use it to animate group photos, or photos of people doing any sort of physical activity.</p>
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But for a free deep-fake service, Deep Nostalgia is pretty impressive, especially considering you can use it to create deepfakes of <em>any </em>face, human or not. </p>
How long should one wait until an idea like string theory, seductive as it may be, is deemed unrealistic?
- How far should we defend an idea in the face of contrarian evidence?
- Who decides when it's time to abandon an idea and deem it wrong?
- Science carries within it its seeds from ancient Greece, including certain prejudices of how reality should or shouldn't be.
Plato used the allegory of the cave to explain that what humans see and experience is not the true reality.
Credit: Gothika via Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0<p>When scientists and mathematicians use the term <em>Platonic worldview</em>, that's what they mean in general: The unbound capacity of reason to unlock the secrets of creation, one by one. Einstein, for one, was a believer, preaching the fundamental reasonableness of nature; no weird unexplainable stuff, like a god that plays dice—his tongue-in-cheek critique of the belief that the unpredictability of the quantum world was truly fundamental to nature and not just a shortcoming of our current understanding. Despite his strong belief in such underlying order, Einstein recognized the imperfection of human knowledge: "What I see of Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility." (Quoted by Dukas and Hoffmann in <em>Albert Einstein, The Human Side: Glimpses from His Archives</em> (1979), 39.)</p> <p>Einstein embodies the tension between these two clashing worldviews, a tension that is still very much with us today: On the one hand, the Platonic ideology that the fundamental stuff of reality is logical and understandable to the human mind, and, on the other, the acknowledgment that our reasoning has limitations, that our tools have limitations and thus that to reach some sort of final or complete understanding of the material world is nothing but an impossible, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K2JTGIA?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">semi-religious dream</a>.</p>