Strong AI: Artificial General Intelligence


As artificial intelligence continues to grow more advanced, the threshold of what can be considered true intelligence continues to get more complicated to define.

Strong AI, also known as artificial general intelligence or AGI, is capable of behaving and performing actions in the same ways human beings can. AGI mimics human intelligence, and is able to solve problems and learn news skills in ways similar to our own.

“The more an AI system approaches the abilities of a human being, with all the intelligence, emotion, and broad applicability of knowledge, the more ‘strong’ the AI system is considered,” Kathleen Walch, a managing partner at Cognilytica’s Cognitive Project Management for AI certification and co-host of the AI Today podcast, said.

Strong AI can generalize knowledge and apply that knowledge from one task to another, plan ahead according to current knowledge and adapt to an environment as changes occur, she added. “Once a system is able to do all of this, it would be considered AGI.”

The Promise and Perils of Strong AI

The prospect of strong AI becoming so advanced that it surpasses human intelligence and capabilities breeds quite a bit of fear. Some of these fears include AGI taking over the world, or that all our data and privacy will be lost to AI.

Walch insists that many of the fears people have regarding AI are “emotional more than [they are] rational.” However, she added, there are some valid concerns about AI that need to be dealt with, including lack of transparency (especially regarding deep learning), people misusing AI for nefarious purposes, bias, lack of security, and governments’ general ignorance when it comes to dealing with this technology legislatively.

Going forward, if people continue to feel threatened by increasingly sophisticated AI systems, there will be “major resistance,” according to Walch.

Are We Close to Having Strong AI?

While AI that is fully capable of learning, thinking and behaving like a real person doesn’t exist, there are some remarkably sophisticated systems out there approaching the AGI benchmark.

One of them is GPT-4, a multimodal large language model designed by OpenAI that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. GPT-4 and is not intelligent, per se, but it has been used to perform some extraordinary feats, including passing the bar exam, understanding image-based jokes and coding playable video games in seconds.

Another is MuZero, a computer program created by Google DeepMind that has managed to master games it has not even been taught how to play, including chess and an entire suite of Atari games, through sheer brute force in re-playing games millions of times.

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Jubril Damilare Somade

Tech | Childhood Educator | Entrepreneur

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