Artificial General Intelligence is coming

“AGI or Artificial General Intelligence is coming. What does it mean?”

What is AGI? It’s a term used to describe an artificial intelligence that is capable of human intelligence and abilities in all fields. Something like this could possibly design better versions of itself, and in all aspects would change the world beyond anything we’ve seen. I’m not talking about the risks of a Skynet scenario, but the real potential power of super intelligence. It could be the dawn of a scientific revolution where discoveries and new technologies are developed at breakneck speeds unimaginable to us now.

Current AI that we’re familiar with as of 2024 are Large Language Models (LLMs) such as the GPTs developed by companies such as Open AI. These along with other forms of narrow AI which are focused on learning from large datasets of human-produced information and mastering certain fields of human endeavour, such as chess games, or producing art and even videos, seem to be highly specialised and not seemingly bound to result in general, human-like intelligence, but what Open AI is discovering is that the emergence of novel behaviours and solutions by their AI is pointing towards increasingly capable general intelligence. 

Sora AI

This was a huge step in the Text-to-Video Generation field, where AI was able to produce extremely high quality, realistic videos based on a simple text prompt, and made headlines in the first months of 2024. It wasn’t just realistic, it was mostly stable, being able to maintain the shapes and models without morphing which was the problem with most video generation AI’s in the past. What’s interesting about Sora is that it is able to generate a 3D world to achieve this stability and this leads to the potential for a robot that can navigate, interact with and understand physical reality based on what it sees (like our real world). 

How soon is soon?

The models for technological development and scientific progress have always shown one thing; these are exponential growths leading to a singularity point. Some experts like Sam Altman of Open AI think it could be sooner than we expected. Prediction dates for AI milestones such as realistic video generation were overestimated by several years, and the projected date for a general AI is always being adjusted closer and closer. At the time of this article, the projection for weak AGI is in just 2 years while a strong AGI in just 5. And the problem with exponential growths is this timeline is bound to be wrong. Maybe we’ll have it by next year. 

AGI across Industries

Healthcare

One of the most striking aspects of AGI is its potential to revolutionise industries across the board. Take healthcare, for instance. Imagine an AI system with the cognitive capabilities to analyse vast amounts of medical data, identify patterns, and propose personalised treatment plans tailored to individual patients. Researchers at Stanford University are already exploring the use of AI to predict patient outcomes and assist physicians in making more accurate diagnoses. With AGI, such applications could become even more sophisticated, leading to faster, more effective healthcare delivery and ultimately saving lives.

Education

Education is another field ripe for disruption by AGI. Companies like Carnegie Learning K-12 Education Solutions Provider | Carnegie Learning are leveraging AI to develop personalised learning experiences for students, adapting to their unique strengths and weaknesses in real-time. With AGI, these systems could evolve beyond mere adaptation to truly understand and engage with students on a human level, fostering deeper learning and critical thinking skills.

Science

In the realm of scientific research, AGI holds immense promise for accelerating the pace of discovery. For example, researchers at DeepMind have utilised AI algorithms to predict the 3D structure of proteins—a monumental task in the field of biology—with unprecedented accuracy. As AGI continues to evolve, it could revolutionise fields ranging from drug discovery to materials science, unlocking new frontiers of knowledge and innovation.

Marketing

The advent of AGI holds profound implications for advertising, marketing, and commerce as a whole. With its unparalleled capacity for data analysis, pattern recognition, and predictive modelling, AGI has the potential to revolutionise how businesses engage with consumers and drive sales.

In advertising and marketing, AGI could enable hyper-personalised campaigns tailored to individual preferences and behaviours. Imagine AI systems capable of analysing vast amounts of consumer data—from browsing history to social media activity—to deliver targeted advertisements with unprecedented accuracy. Companies like Google and Facebook are already leveraging AI algorithms to optimise ad targeting and placement, but with AGI, these capabilities could reach new heights.

Moreover, AGI could transform the way products and services are developed, marketed, and distributed. From product design to supply chain management, AI-driven insights could streamline operations and drive innovation. For example, companies like Amazon are using AI to forecast demand, optimise inventory management, and even automate order fulfilment processes. With AGI, these capabilities could become even more sophisticated, paving the way for a new era of commerce.

The Future of Commerce?

However, the rise of AGI also raises questions about the future of work and income distribution. As AI systems become increasingly capable of performing tasks traditionally done by humans, concerns about job displacement and economic inequality have come to the forefront. Some experts argue that widespread adoption of AGI could lead to mass unemployment, while others believe that it could create new opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In response to these challenges, some countries are exploring the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a potential solution. UBI is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government, regardless of their employment status. Proponents argue that UBI could provide a financial safety net for workers displaced by automation and AI, allowing them to pursue education, retraining, or entrepreneurial ventures without the fear of financial insecurity.

Universal Basic Incomes & Ethics

Several countries have already begun experimenting with UBI on a small scale. Finland conducted a two-year UBI trial from 2017 to 2019, providing a group of unemployed individuals with a monthly stipend with no strings attached [2]. Similarly, cities like Stockton, California, have launched pilot programs to test the feasibility and impact of UBI in the United States [3].

However, with great power comes great responsibility. As we edge closer to the era of AGI, it’s imperative to address concerns surrounding ethics, bias, and accountability. Organisations like the Partnership on AI are working to establish guidelines and best practices for the ethical development and deployment of AI technologies. By prioritising transparency, fairness, and human oversight, we can mitigate the risks associated with AGI while maximising its potential benefits for society.

AGI represents a watershed moment in human history—one that promises to reshape our world in profound and unpredictable ways. Overall, the rise of AGI promises to change not only how we work, innovate, advertise, market, and conduct commerce but also how we organise and structure our societies. As we navigate this, it’s essential to consider the potential consequences and explore solutions to ensure that the benefits of AGI are shared among all members of society, lest we fail to learn the lessons from our favourite sci-fi scenarios.

[1] Amazon. “Amazon AI and machine learning.” Retrieved from https://aws.amazon.com/machine-learning/

[2] The Guardian. “Finland basic income trial left people ‘happier but jobless’.” Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/08/finland-basic-income-trial-left-people-happier-but-jobless

[3] Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED). Retrieved from https://www.stocktondemonstration.org/


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