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Op-Ed: Artificial General Intelligence, or how to make sure nobody has a job?

AI in general is perhaps the worst-defined tech in the last 50 years.

OpenAI is backed by Microsoft, which earlier this year said it would finance the research company with billions of dollars of financing
OpenAI is backed by Microsoft, which earlier this year said it would finance the research company with billions of dollars of financing - Copyright AFP/File Logan Cyrus
OpenAI is backed by Microsoft, which earlier this year said it would finance the research company with billions of dollars of financing - Copyright AFP/File Logan Cyrus

AI in general is perhaps the worst-defined tech in the last 50 years. That’s why it sells so well. Terrifying the market with your product turns out to be a good idea. Always stress the negatives and give the ignoramuses a chance to stress out. If the hype for these glorified chatbots is bad, the hype about AGI is already far worse.

We’re now dealing with the idea of a non-existent technology, not the LEGO set of software currently called AI. Therefore, the world must be ending, right?

The current mythology is a thing called Q*, or “Q Star”, a project from OpenAI. Even Forbes couldn’t penetrate the highly laminated public image of this project. Apparently, the star relates to a mathematical methodology, but so does a shopping list. It’s hardly definitive.

…Which delicately leads us back to that major philosophical idea, “So what?” You can call something the Turing Project, but that doesn’t make you Alan Turing, in case you were wondering.

AGI is supposed to be a “human equivalent” under the various untested markers for testing artificial intelligence.  If that means you can sell your personal problems to it and retire to a life of blase self-indulgence, fine. If not, what’s the big deal?

AGI is supposed to be the real science fiction version of AI. It can do everything faster and better than a human. It has an Off switch. …And if you’re absolutely determined to write utter drivel, it’s sinister. It already has a mythology attached to it in the guise of the Sam Altman crisis, that few hours of corporate tantrums. You can’t get much more credible than that.

Note the word “corporate”. Glued to this supposed and refreshingly unproven new tech are the corporate saints of tomorrow. The next generation of fearless self-worshipping utterly useless talking dunghills will have to be something special to get traction in the market.  

I envision a white-robed gathering of verbose imbeciles. Don’t know how that occurred to me. …And commercially you’ll probably have the chance to buy back your own properly indexed feces. No discounts.  

What’s missing is any kind of actual information about AGI. No huge surprise there. That does matter. To achieve the basic parameters of AGI, you need a lot more tech than the current egocentric chatbots use. You need incredible processing power.

Note: It does help if you can tell the difference between a perfectly ordinary scripted chatbot and something useful, too. You’ll find out more about that in the nuance-laden latter stages of your highly overpriced “life”.

You also need people who know how to use this tech, what it can do, what it can’t do, and how to fix it when it inevitably breaks down. That definitely doesn’t exist in the market yet.

What about everyone losing their jobs, you howl? Not so fast. There’s a gaping hole in this matrix. Getting this load of unjustifiable technological innuendo working even theoretically will take a while. Fixing the unavoidable applications of Murphy’s Law will take a lot longer.

You can see the scenario:

“Oh…Ah, where’s North America?”

“It was there a minute ago, or 1987 or something.”

“Was anyone using it?”

“No.”

“Well, that’s OK, then. I’ll get a bucket and spade and put it back.”

Just while the topic’s still rattling around; to meet the parameters of AGI will not be accomplished by press releases. Nor techno-fear. There are other things to deal with.

You have a vast range of anatomical choices where you can stick all this hype.

Give it a try.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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