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AI Progress Essay Contest AGI Horizons

Make a Prediction


Futurists have long speculated that upon the arrival of AGI, the first sperintelligence will quickly follow. From I. J. Good, writing in 1965,

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.

Nick Bostrom wrote in his book Superintelligence (2014),

Note that one could think that it will take quite a long time until machines reach the human baseline, or one might be agnostic about how long that will take, and yet have a strong view that once this happens, the further ascent into strong superintelligence will be very rapid.

and categorized takeoff durations into three types:

  • "A slow takeoff is one that occurs over some long temporal interval, such as decades or centuries."

  • "A fast takeoff occurs over some short temporal interval, such as minutes, hours, or days."

  • "A moderate takeoff is one that occurs over some intermediary temporal interval, such as months or years."

While it seems that most prominent thinkers are convinced that rapid technological and economic progress will follow the development of AGI (See Paul Christiano, Robin Hanson, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Ben Goertzel), most AI researchers surveyed are not convinced. In 2016, AI Impacts asked AI researchers,

Assume that HLMI will exist at some point. How likely do you then think it is that the rate of global technological improvement will dramatically increase (e.g. by a factor of ten) as a result of machine intelligence:

Within two years of that point? ___% chance

Within thirty years of that point? ___% chance

The median answer was 20% for the two year estimate and 80% for the thirty year estimate.