Google DeepMind CEO claims we’re ‘just a few years away’ from human-like AI

Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind
Demis Hassabis, the CEO of Google DeepMind. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The advancements in artificial intelligence aren’t going to stop with ChatGPT and Google Bard getting better at answering your questions. Researchers are currently working to achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI) which, in layman’s terms, means a machine that’s as intellectually capable as a human.

According to Demis Hassabis, the CEO of Google DeepMind, AGI “could be just a few years, maybe within a decade away.”

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival this week, Mr Hassabis explained the speed of AI research will increase as organizations, including ChatGPT creator OpenAI, push towards artificial general intelligence.

“I think we’ll have very capable, very general systems in the next few years,” Mr. Hassabis said.

The industry hasn’t yet settled on a general definition of artificial general intelligence. But, at first, it could revolve around making the answers from a chatbot indistinguishable from human response. In effect, ChatGPT would need to pass the Turing test.

Showing human-level initiative, a greater awareness of context and, crucially, the ability to learn, achieving an AGI-level ChatGPT or Google Bard could have huge implications. Rather than just becoming a workflow tool for improving a job application or coding a new game, it could become a surrogate consciousness for assisting with things like therapy or medical research.

When could we see AGI?

The prediction from Mr. Hassabis may even be a bit on the conservative side. Last month, Siqi Chen, the CEO of AI video company Runway, hinted the next version of ChatGPT, based on GPT-5, could be tipping into AGI territory.

We don’t know the launch date of this next version of the chatbot, but sources including Mr. Chen speculate it’ll be trained this year and could launch in early 2024.

What could it do?

AI robot hand touching human hand

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

While the AI industry may be able to reach AGI in the very near future, what we do with the technology when it gets here is yet to be determined.

In one recent example, Yohei Nakajima from Venture Capital firm Untapped tweeted what could happen if an AGI was instructed to start and grow a business. The first task was to decide what the first task would be.

Accordingly, the AI demonstrated learning by refining its search parameters when crawling the internet before setting itself tasks (such as creating a business plan and developing marketing) to complete.

What we can say with absolute certainty is that adjusting to a world with AGI present will take some getting used to.

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Jeff Parsons
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