As our society's technological progress marches forward, we've become ever more fascinated with the concept of artificial general intelligence (AGI). From IBM's Jeopardy-playing computer, Watson to television programs like Westworld, we've collectively begun exploring and philosophizing about the potential of AGI. Of course, most discussions about AGI in our popular culture are focused on the future, and not the current realities of the present when it comes to artificial general intelligence. Below, we'll discuss the current realities of AGI and what breakthroughs we're on the cusp of in 2018. How Close Are We To True Artificial General Intelligence?
Summary: Researchers in Synthetic Neuro Biology are proposing to solve the AGI problem by building a brain in the laboratory. This is not science fiction. They are virtually at the door of this capability. Increasingly these researchers are presenting at major AGI conferences. If you step outside of all the noise around AI and the hundreds or even thousands of startups trying to add AI to your car, house, city, toaster, or dog you can start trying to figure out where all this is going.
You could argue that artificial intelligence (AI) got started many years ago with a grand challenge. That, of course, was Alan Turing's "Imitation Game," which he presented in his seminal 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." Essentially, it involved building machines that can behave indistinguishably from the way a thinker behaves. In the example that Turing provides, that behavior is entirely focused on human (or humanlike) conversation. In many ways, that grand challenge is already history.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet with Ben Goertzel in his lab at Hong Kong Science Park to take a tour of Hanson Robotics and meet with the team working on his Artificial General Intelligence project, OpenCog. The lab itself was not that impressive, a fairly cramped space filled with synthetic disembodied faces attached to robot frames. But it was a humdrum of activity as all around people were fiddling with wires and adjusting faces and furiously typing away at their keyboards. And even though the space they are working out of may not be overwhelming awe inspiring, what they are attempting to do here is. To put it simply, they are trying to create humanoid robots that are as intelligent as we are.
"Artificial Intelligence has to be harnessed to find digital innovations for better customer interface and better service delivery. Artificial Intelligence is about creating trains with brains," said Goyal. "Artificial Intelligence can transform Indian Railways in terms of safety, passenger amenities, better revenues, growth and efficiency," he added. Speakers at the conference, organised by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), highlighted how the AI can help in enhancing customer experience as well as improve revenues. It was noted that use of AI can help in route optimisation, real-time train movement monitoring, crew fostering, improving the price advantage of rail freight, bettering logistics chain integration, among numerous other applications.