When (if ever) will a Manhattan/Apollo project toward AGI be launched?

Your submission is now in Draft mode. Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

Question

It is widely agreed amongst experts that Artificial General Intelligence — an AI that can flexibly and effectively perform a very wide range of cognitive tasks at least as well as humans — would represent a dramatic advance in power and capability for their developer. This has led to both speculation and concern that, recognizing this, countries or companies might launch "Manhattan project" style efforts to develop it. While shortening the timeline, these could easily lead to a race condition that compromises safety or alignment, or leads to adversarial dynamics during development.

A 2020 paper analyzes this issue in some detail, focusing on the "lead up" to a Manhattan/Apollo project: what understanding must be in place be "on the runway"?

As an assessment of that question, we ask here:

When will the first (of any) Manhattan/Apollo project toward AGI be launched?

We'll define this fairly simply: the project in question will be counted if:

  1. It has a stated aim to develop broad-purpose artificial intelligence system(s); and

  2. It is constituted so as to generate a single "flagship" system or small number of related systems (rather than a diverse portfolio of more narrowly-purposed ones); and

  3. There is a research and engineering budget under the direct control of a single (executive or board) project lead with a budget exceeding the equivalent of $10B in 2020 USD.

Some fine print:

  • Question will remain open until one year after the chosen resolve date, or 2050-01-01, whichever is sooner. It is open at both ends, so as to include, for example, any potential secret joint Estonia-New Zealand AGI project.

  • The project must be a single, unified one, under one directorship, not e.g. a general R&D funding program distributed across many groups.

  • Funding will be in 2020 USD using US CPI index inflation, and PPP-adjusted.

  • Note that the budgets of the Apollo and Manhattan projects were of order USD $80B.

  • There is no condition on total funding, but the $10B must be an in annual budget and allocated to, in principle, be spent in a year.

  • Resolution time will be, as best as discernible, the date at which the budget allocation to the project is made official by whatever entity is allocating the funding.

  • In the event that Metaculus should become highly influential and trusted, it is conceivable that this question itself could lead to adverse race dynamics. The author reserves the right to hide the community prediction, make this question private, delete it, etc., at his discretion.

Make a Prediction

Prediction

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Current points depend on your prediction, the community's prediction, and the result. Your total earned points are averaged over the lifetime of the question, so predict early to get as many points as possible! See the FAQ.

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site