Microsoft wants to build artificial general intelligence: an AI better than humans at everything

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A lot of startups in the San Francisco Bay Area claim that they're planning to transform the world. San-Francisco-based, Elon Musk-founded OpenAI has a stronger claim than most: It wants to build artificial general intelligence (AGI), an AI system that has, like humans, the capacity to reason across different domains and apply its skills to unfamiliar problems. Today, it announced a billion dollar partnership with Microsoft to fund its work -- the latest sign that AGI research is leaving the domain of science fiction and entering the realm of serious research. "We believe that the creation of beneficial AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity," Greg Brockman, chief technology officer of OpenAI, said in a press release today. Existing AI systems beat humans at lots of narrow tasks -- chess, Go, Starcraft, image generation -- and they're catching up to humans at others, like translation and news reporting.