Essay on intelligence and knowledge

We do not have generally available evolutionary simulations which let us computationally evolve better and better systems, despite the early promise when we first tried it. And we have not figured out how to evolve systems that have even the rudimentary components of a complete general intelligence, even for very simple creatures. On the SAB side we can still not computationally simulate the behavior of the simplest creature that has been studied at length. I tell these particular stories not because they were uniquely special, but because they give an idea of how research in hard problems works, especially in academia.

There were many, many at least twenty or thirty other AI subgroups with equally specialized domains that split off. They sometimes flourished and sometimes died off. All those subgroups gave themselves unique names, but were significant in size, in numbers of researchers and in active sharing and publication of ideas. But all researchers in AI were, ultimately, interested in full scale general human intelligence. Often their particular results might seem narrow, and in application to real world problems were very narrow.

But general intelligence has always been the goal.

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I will finish this section with a story of a larger scale specialized research group, that of computer vision. That specialization has had real engineering impact. It has had four or more major conferences per year for thirty five plus years. It has half a dozen major journals.

Types of Intelligence and How to Find The One You Are Best In

Remember, that is just one of the half dozen major journals in the field. The computer vision community is what a real large push looks like. This has been a sustained community of thousands of researchers world wide for decades. I think the press, and those outside of the field have recently gotten confused by one particular spin off name, that calls itself AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence. And the really tricky part is that there a bunch of completely separate spin off groups that all call themselves AGI, but as far as I can see really have very little commonality of approach or measures of progress.

This has gotten the press and people outside of AI very confused, thinking there is just now some real push for human level Artificial Intelligence, that did not exist before. They then get confused that if people are newly working on this goal then surely we are about to see new astounding progress.

The bug in this line of thinking is that thousands of AI researchers have been working on this problem for 62 years. We are not at any sudden inflection point. There is a journal of AGI, which you can find here. Since there have been a total of 14 issues, many with only a single paper, and only 47 papers in total over that ten year period.

Some of the papers are predictions about AGI, but most are very theoretical, modest, papers about specific logical problems, or architectures for action selection. None talk about systems that have been built that display intelligence in any meaningful way. Again the papers range from risks of AGI to very theoretical specialized, and obscure, research topics. None of them are close to any sort of engineering. So while there is an AGI community it is very small and not at all working on any sort of engineering issues that would result in any actual Artificial General Intelligence in the sense that the press means when it talks about AGI.

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I dug a little deeper and looked at two groups that often get referenced by the press in talking about AGI. One group, perhaps the most referenced group by the press, styles themselves as an East San Francisco Bay Research Institute working on the mathematics of making AGI safe for humans. Making safe human level intelligence is exactly the goal of almost all AI researchers. But most of them are sanguine enough to understand that that goal is a long way off. This particular research group lists all their publications and conference presentations from through on their web site.

This is admirable, and is a practice followed by most research groups in academia. Since they have produced 10 archival journal papers but see below , made 29 presentations at conferences, written 9 book chapters, and have 45 additional internal reports, for a total output of 93 things—about what one would expect from a single middle of the pack professor, plus students, at a research university. All of them are very theoretical mathematical and logical arguments about representation and reasoning, with no practical algorithms, and no applications to the real world.

Nothing they have produced in 18 years has been taken up and used by any one else in any application of demonstration any where. And the 10 archival journal papers, the only ones that have a chance of being read by more than a handful of people? Every single one of them is about predicting when AGI will be achieved.

Aeon for Friends

This particular group gets cited by the press and by AGI alarmists again and again. But when you look there with any sort of critical eye, you find they are not a major source of progress towards AGI. Another group that often gets cited as a source for AGI, is a company in Eastern Europe that claims it will produce an Artificial General Intelligence within 10 years. It is only a company in the sense that one successful entrepreneur is plowing enough money into it to sustain it. In this case they have been calling for proposals and ideas from outsiders, and they have distilled that input into the following aspiration for what they will do:.

We plan to implement all these requirements into one universal algorithm that will be able to successfully learn all designed and derived abilities just by interacting with the environment and with a teacher. Yeah, well, that is just what Turing suggested in So this group has exactly the same aspiration that has been around for seventy years. And they admit it is their aspiration but so far they have no idea of how to actually do it.

Turing, in , at least had a few suggestions.

Intelligence Of Intelligence And Intelligence

If you, as a journalist, or a commentator on AI, think that the AGI movement is large and vibrant and about to burst onto the scene with any engineered systems, you are confused. You are really, really confused. Journalists, and general purpose prognosticators, please, please, do your homework. Look below the surface and get some real evaluation on whether groups that use the phrase AGI in their self descriptions are going to bring you human level Artificial Intelligence, or indeed whether they are making any measurable progress towards doing so.

Just because someone says they are working on AGI, Artificial General Intelligence, that does not mean they know how to build it, how long it might take, or necessarily be making any progress at all. These lacks have been the historical norm. But that does not mean they got close to their goal, even when they thought it was not so very far off.

Should we be afraid of AI?

The revolutionary new networks are the same in structure as 30 years ago but have as many as 12 layers. But not deep understanding. Why did I post this? I want to clear up some confusions about Artificial Intelligence, and the goals of people who do research in AI. There have certainly been a million person-years of AI research carried out since much more than the three thousand that Alan Turing thought it would take!

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We are way off the early aspirations of how far along we would be in Artificial Intelligence by now, or by the year or the year We are not close to figuring it out. In my next blog post, hopefully in May of I will outline all the things we do not understand yet about how to build a full scale artificially intelligent entity. We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.


My web address has been stable for almost a decade and a half already. Most of the versions that can be found on the Web are a later re-typesetting without references and with a figure deleted—and I have not fully checked them for errors that might have been introduced—I have noticed at least one place were has been substituted for. That is why I have tracked down the original version to share here. They too, used the past as prologue.

There was some controversy over whether at age 36 I was still considered young and so the rules were subsequently tightened up in a way that guarantees that I will forever be the oldest recipient of this award.

The proceedings of the conference had a six page, double column, limit on contributed papers. As a winner of the award I was invited to contribute a paper with a relaxed page limit. I took them at their word and produced a paper which spanned twenty seven pages and was over 25, words long!