Steps Toward Super Intelligence I, How We Got Here

Rodney Brooks:

Once again, with footnotes.

God created man in his1 own image.2

Man3 created AI in his3 own image.

At least that is how it started out. But figuring out what our selves are, as machines, is a really difficult task.

We may be stuck in some weird Gödel-like incompleteness world–perhaps we are creatures below some threshold of intelligence which stops us from ever understanding or building an artificial intelligence at our level. I think most people would agree that that is true of all non-humans on planet Earth–we would be extraordinarily surprised to see a robot dolphin emerge from the ocean, one that had been completely designed and constructed by living dolphins. Like dolphins, and gorillas, and bonobos, we humans may be below the threshold as I discussed under “Hubris and Humility”.

Or, perhaps, as I tend to believe, it is just really hard, and will take a hundred years, or more, of concerted effort to get there. We still make new discoveries in chemistry, and people have tried to understand that, and turn it from a science into engineering, for thousands of years. Human level intelligence may be just as, or even more, challenging.

In my most recent blog post on the origins of Artificial Intelligence, I talked about how all the founders of AI, and most researchers since have really been motivated by producing human level intelligence. Recently a few different and small groups have tried to differentiate themselves by claiming that they alone (each of the different groups…) are interested in producing human level intelligence, and beyond, and have each adopted the name Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) to distinguish themselves from mainstream AI research. But mostly they talk about how great it is going to be, and how terrible it is going to be, and very often both messages at the same time coming out of just one mouth, once AGI is achieved. And really none of these groups have any idea how to get there. They are too much in love with the tingly feelings thinking about it to waste time actually doing it.