A report, based on a survey of 350 artificial intelligence researchers, predicts that by 2060 there is a 50 percent chance that machines will outperform humans in all tasks. It is a bold statement, and beneath this there is the expectation that for a number of tasks machines will be winning over against humans. Here it is predicted:
By 2024 machines will be better at translating languages;
By 2026 a machine will be able to write a better high-school standard essay than a student;
By 2027 machines will be able to drive trucks (as autonomous vehicles);
By 2031 machines will serve customer needs in retail outlets;
By 2053 most surgery will be performed by robots.
Whether these dates come to pass the key message is that society is set to change big time. This follows on from the report recently on Digital Journal about artificial intelligence, where Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo artificial intelligence platform beat the world number one human Go player in a best-of-three contest.
The most dramatic prediction, New Scientist reports, is that all human jobs will be automated within the next 120 years. This is quite probable. Already machines can lip-read better than humans (Google’s DeepMind again) and police forces are deploying computers to analyze evidence.
The survey is based on a poll of University of Oxford and Yale University researchers. These technologists have collaborated on the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems and the International Conference on Machine Learning, both big events in studying the future of artificial intelligence. With the time scales, researchers from Asia were even more optimistic about the pace of change, with some predicting the dominance of artificial intelligence by 2047 rather than the average of 2060 (from the collected results of the researchers).
Further findings from the survey are shown in the following video:
Are there dangers with this trajectory? One thing the researchers highlight is that there is only a 5 per cent chance on computers acting in ways that threaten human extinction. The report is titled “When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts”, and it is hosted by Cornell University.