“Star Wars,” “Her,” and “iRobot.” What do all these movies have in common? The artificial intelligence (AI) depicted in there is crazy-sophisticated. These robots can think creatively, continue learning over time, and maybe even pass for conscious.


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SwissCognitiveReal-life artificial intelligence experts have a name for AI that can do this — it’s Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). For decades, scientists have tried all sorts of approaches to create AGI, using techniques such as reinforcement learning and machine learning. No approach has proven to be much better than any other, at least not yet.

Indeed, there’s a catch here: despite all the excitement, we have no idea how to build AGI.

At The Joint Multi-Conference on Human-Level Artificial Intelligence held last month in Prague, AI experts and thought leaders from around the world shared their goals , hopes, and progress towards human-level AI (HLAI), which is the last stop before true AGI or the same thing, depending on who you ask.

Either way, most experts think it’s coming — sooner rather than later. In a poll of conference attendees, AI research companies GoodAI and SingularityNet found that 37 percent of respondents think people will create HLAI within 10 years. Another 28 percent think it will take 20 years. Just two percent think HLAI will never exist.

Almost every expert who had an opinion hedged their bets — most responses to the question were peppered with caveats and “maybes.” There’s a lot that we don’t know about the path towards HLAI, such as questions over who will pay for it or how we’re going to combine our algorithms that can think or reason but can’t do both.

Futurism caught up with a number of AI researchers, investors, and policymakers to get their perspective on when HLAI will happen. The following responses come from panels and presentations from the conference and exclusive interviews.

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At the moment, there is absolutely no indication that we are anywhere near AGI. And no one can say with any kind of authority or conviction that this would happen within a certain time frame. Or even worse, no one can say this can even happen period. We may never have AGI, so we need to take that into account when we are discussing anything.[…]

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