People have long dreamed of the idea of machines having the intelligence and capabilities of humans. From the early Greek myths of Hephaestus and his automatons to the Golem of Eastern European Jewish tradition to well over a hundred years of science fiction stories, novels and movies, our human imaginations have envisioned what it would be like to have sentient, intelligent, human-like machines co-exist with us. In 1920 Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) first coined the word “robot” and gave us a name to give to the creations of our imaginations. In many ways, the quest for the intelligent machine lead to the development of the modern computer. Ideas by Alan Turing not only formulated the basis of programmable machines, but also the core of the concepts of artificial intelligence, with the namesake Turing Test providing a means for evaluating intelligent machines.
Robots in the movies can think creatively, continue learning over time, and maybe even pass for conscious. Why don’t we have that yet?
“Star Wars,” “Her,” and “iRobot.” What do all these movies have in common? The artificial intelligence (AI) depicted in there is crazy-sophisticated. These robots can think creatively, continue learning over time, and maybe even pass for conscious.
Real-life artificial intelligence experts have a name for AI that can do this — it’s Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). For decades, scientists have tried all sorts of approaches to create AGI, using techniques such as reinforcement learning and machine learning. No approach has proven to be much better than any other, at least not yet.
Indeed, there’s a catch here: despite all the excitement, we have no idea how to build AGI.