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Artificial General Intelligence May Be Here By 2024

Will Hertling science fiction AGI artificial intelligence deep learning progressive neural networks DNCs DeepMind Singularity 2024

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#1
Yuli Ban

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William Hertling predicted that we'd see human-level AI by 2024 at soonest and 2050 at latest, all by plotting out computer hardware development. His other hard-predictions included the rise of Napster, YouTube, and solid state drives— in their correct years.
 
Here's the article in question, and it's from June 2012:
 

 

How To Predict The Future

Pretty much everyone would like a sure-fire way to predict the future. Maybe you’re thinking about startups to invest in, or making decisions about where to place resources in your company. Maybe you just care about what things will be like in 10, 20, or 30 years.
There are many techniques to think logically about the future, to inspire idea creation, and to predict when future inventions will occur.
I’d like to share one technique that I’ve used successfully. It’s proven accurate on many occasions. And it’s the same technique that I’ve used, as a writer, to create realistic technothrillers set in the near future. I’m going to start by going back to 1994.
Predicting Streaming Video and the Birth of the Spreadsheet
There seem to be two schools of thought on how to predict the future of information technology: looking at software or looking at hardware. I believe that looking at hardware curves is always simpler and more accurate.
This is the story of a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping for almost twenty years.
In the mid-1990s, a good friend of mine, Gene Kim (founder of Tripwire and author of When IT Fails: A Business Novel) and I were in graduate school together in the Computer Science program at the University of Arizona. A big technical challenge we studied was piping streaming video over networks. It was difficult because we had limited bandwidth to send the bits through, and limited processing power to compress and decompress the video. We needed improvements in video compression and in TCP/IP – the underlying protocol that essentially runs the Internet.
The funny thing was that no matter how many incremental improvements we made (there were dozens of people working on different angles of this), streaming video always seemed to be just around the corner. I heard “Next year will be the year for video” or similar refrains many times over the course of several years. Yet it never happened.
Around this time I started a spreadsheet, seeding it with all of the computers I’d owned over the years. I included their processing power, the size of their hard drives, the amount of RAM they had, and their modem speed. I calculated the average annual increase of each of these attributes, and then plotted these forward in time.
I looked at the future predictions for “modem speed” (as I called it back then, today we’d called it internet connection speed or bandwidth). By this time, I was tired of hearing that streaming video was just around the corner, and I decided to forget about trying to predict advancements in software compression, and just look at the hardware trend. The hardware trend showed that internet connection speeds were increasing, and by 2005, the speed of the connection would be sufficient that we could reasonably stream video in real time without resorting to heroic amounts of video compression or miracles in internet protocols. Gene Kim laughed at my prediction.
Nine years later, in February 2005, YouTube arrived. Streaming video had finally made it.
The same spreadsheet also predicted we’d see a music downloading service in 1999 or 2000. Napster arrived in June, 1999.
The data has held surprisingly accurate over the long term. Using just two data points, the modem I had in 1986 and the modem I had in 1998, the spreadsheet predicts that I’d have a 25 megabit/second connection in 2012. As I currently have a 30 megabit/second connection, this is a very accurate 15 year prediction.
Why It Works Part One: Linear vs. Non-Linear
Without really understanding the concept, it turns out that what I was doing was using linear trends (advancements that proceed smoothly over time), to predict the timing of non-linear events (technology disruptions) by calculating when the underlying hardware would enable a breakthrough. This is what I mean by “forget about trying to predict advancements in software and just look at the hardware trend”.
It’s still necessary to imagine the future development (although the trends can help inspire ideas). What this technique does is let you map an idea to the underlying requirements to figure out when it will happen.
For example, it answers questions like these:
- When will the last magnetic platter hard drive be manufactured? 2016. I plotted the growth in capacity of magnetic platter hard drives and flash drives back in 2006 or so, and saw that flash would overtake magnetic media in 2016.
- When will a general purpose computer be small enough to be implanted inside your brain? 2030. Based on the continual shrinking of computers, by 2030 an entire computer will be the size of a pencil eraser, which would be easy to implant.
- When will a general purpose computer be able to simulate human level intelligence? Between 2024 and 2050, depending on which estimate of the complexity of human intelligence is selected, and the number of computers used to simulate it.
Wait, a second: Human level artificial intelligence by 2024? Gene Kim would laugh at this. Isn’t AI a really challenging field? Haven’t people been predicting artificial intelligence would be just around the corner for forty years?


What shocked me was that SSD prediction, that flash drives would overtake magnetic storage by 2016. That one was so right on the money, I actually had to roll back my chair and take a moment. It's been one of the year's biggest comp-sci stories— "SSDs Catch Up To And Overtake HDDs". In price, they're on par. In storage capability, flash has far superseded magnetic storage, with the largest SSD currently coming in at around 60 TB, which is six times the size of the largest available HDD.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
Erowind

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Yet, I'm still sitting here on my "measly" 2TB HDD.



#3
Ready Steady Yeti

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I disagree. I believe that AGI is either impossible or won't be here for another 200 years (at the VERY least), and probably more like a thousand or more!



#4
Yuli Ban

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^ By what metric? 

 

Or do you say that because you don't want it to be here this soon?


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
sasuke2490

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I disagree. I believe that AGI is either impossible or won't be here for another 200 years (at the VERY least), and probably more like a thousand or more!

If the world is materialist and there is no soul or things that can't be measured by technology we will be able to at least emulate a brain at a highly detailed level in this century, much less a few decades.


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#6
Ready Steady Yeti

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I disagree. I believe that AGI is either impossible or won't be here for another 200 years (at the VERY least), and probably more like a thousand or more!

If the world is materialist and there is no soul or things that can't be measured by technology we will be able to at least emulate a brain at a highly detailed level in this century, much less a few decades.

And many experienced people, such as Gordon Moore, disagree with this entire concept. How am I to believe that AGI is even possible when there is no direct, solid proof? And no, I really don't want AGI to ever exist, but I also don't think it's at all possible.

 

We know almost nothing about the brain. How do you think that by 2024 we can COMPLETELY emulate something that in 2016 we BARELY understand? That's ridiculous. That's like saying that there exists a human that can run by FOOT from California to New York in 3 seconds.



#7
Jakob

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We don't know how we think--let alone what thinking even is--and you expect me to believe that we can replicate it in 8 years?



#8
superexistence

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Planes fly in the air and do it nothing like birds we don't have to scan the human brain to be able to create something that can do the same job.

Even Ben Goertzal who is working on this stuff believes its feasible to get AGI within a decade.



#9
Jakob

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Planes fly in the air and do it nothing like birds we don't have to scan the human brain to be able to create something that can do the same job.

Even Ben Goertzal who is working on this stuff believes its feasible to get AGI within a decade.

The Wright Brothers had to figure out how flying worked before they could make a flying machine. Similarly, we will have to figure out how thinking works before we can make a thinking machine. And nobody has any clue at all how thinking works. We've only even started to gain the ability to ask the right questions in the past couple of decades.



#10
Alice Tepes

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I disagree. I believe that AGI is either impossible or won't be here for another 200 years (at the VERY least), and probably more like a thousand or more!

If the world is materialist and there is no soul or things that can't be measured by technology we will be able to at least emulate a brain at a highly detailed level in this century, much less a few decades.

And many experienced people, such as Gordon Moore, disagree with this entire concept. How am I to believe that AGI is even possible when there is no direct, solid proof? And no, I really don't want AGI to ever exist, but I also don't think it's at all possible.

 

We know almost nothing about the brain. How do you think that by 2024 we can COMPLETELY emulate something that in 2016 we BARELY understand? That's ridiculous. That's like saying that there exists a human that can run by FOOT from California to New York in 3 seconds.

 

most people would said that about going to the moon in the year 1900, some still do. the fact is, is that you can simulate things you don't understand the entirety of, as long as you have a basic understanding of how the smaller units act and the outside influences. also the proof that it is possible is inside your head, because anything that nature can produce can be reproduced by man as long as the laws of the universe remain the same.  

ps. are you a troll?


aspiring gynoid macrointelligence


#11
TranscendingGod

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Planes fly in the air and do it nothing like birds we don't have to scan the human brain to be able to create something that can do the same job.
Even Ben Goertzal who is working on this stuff believes its feasible to get AGI within a decade.

The Wright Brothers had to figure out how flying worked before they could make a flying machine. Similarly, we will have to figure out how thinking works before we can make a thinking machine. And nobody has any clue at all how thinking works. We've only even started to gain the ability to ask the right questions in the past couple of decades.

http://m.thenational...ne-really-knows
The Wright brothers did not "understand" flight (we still don't) just like we don't "understand" the brain. You don't fully have to understand a system in order to work or utilize it.
The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth.

#12
Ready Steady Yeti

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That doesnt matter in the least bit. How can we emulate something that we almost completely don't understand. It's questionable as to whether we as a society will ever really even understand the brain to an even nearly complete extent. It's questionable whether AI could replicate that EVEN AFTER we understand the brain to that capacity (like I said, give it a few centuries).

Why don't people regard me as anything other than a "troll" here? What I'm telling you is logical. AGI in 8 years is illogical for many reasons. Heck, I wouldnt be surprised if some guy 8 years AGO was bragging that we'd have AGI by today.

No, Yuli, I wasn't referring to you bragging. I was referring to the guy you were referencing, Hertling.

#13
Ready Steady Yeti

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By 2024 I estimated we'll have the next i____ and the next few Nintendo consoles. It'll pretty much just be like today, just with a couple new technological advances. It won't be anything special. Just like how 2008 is not much different from 2016except with the advancement of smart phones.

#14
TranscendingGod

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What do you mean that does not matter in the least bit? Neural nets are basically the epitome of such an approach in the AI field. While we don't understand the algorithms (as of yet) that make the brain learn we can emulate that process of learning through the building of connections and reinforcements. Thus the AIs can obtain capabilities like the ability to understand natural language, play go, as well as a myriad other tasks. So we already emulate things we do not fully understand. Secondly the claim that we will not understand the brain for centuries is a wild claim as the spatial resolution of brain scanning techniques is increasing exponentially. We are seeing the brain in more and more detail as every year passes and understanding more and more of its intricacies. We can see thoughts being formed in real-time. To claim "oh the brain is simply too complex" is simply an argument from incredulity as the brain is a decidedly finite organ, like the liver, and one we are gaining more insight into at an exponential rate. Reverse engineering the brain would not take centuries and btw reverse engineering the brain is not the only way to attain AGI.

Nobody takes you seriously because you base the confidence in your self proclaimed "logical" arguments on your own ignorance. AI is already here. For example 50 years ago someone might say "How can we emulate something we don't understand" when speaking about natural language processing. How can we make machines understand human language and interact with us through human language and you say it is going to happen in a few decades?! No way the brain is far too complex and we don't understand how the brain processes language so we cannot emulate natural language processing.

Arguments from complexity are often based on ignorance and especially when they claim that a finite system will take centuries to be unravelled.
The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth.

#15
Ready Steady Yeti

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The problem is you guys are overestimating the future, and calling me out as "ignorant" for NOT overestimating the future. See what's wrong with this picture?



#16
Jakob

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By 2024 I estimated we'll have the next i____ and the next few Nintendo consoles. It'll pretty much just be like today, just with a couple new technological advances. It won't be anything special. Just like how 2008 is not much different from 2016except with the advancement of smart phones.

A lot of technologies that didn't exist in 2008 were invented in 2008-16 and are poised to go mainstream in 2016-24. Examples include consumer 3D printers, commercial drones, virtual reality, semi-autonomous cars, and possibly quantum computers.



#17
Ready Steady Yeti

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Virtual reality IN VIDEO GAMES, 3-D printers I know nothing about, commercial drones seem plausible, semi-autonomous cars will happen but will be horrible because machines are prone to mistakes, thus killing people when that happens, and I know almost nothing about quantum computers.

 

Okay so these things seem somewhat plausible. But fully understanding the BRAIN? in EIGHT YEARS? That's totally and completely unlikely, and if it happens I'll be damned.



#18
TranscendingGod

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You see what I mean by ignorance? I mean I hate to say it because I am quite ignorant myself Yeti but you said that "will be horrible because machines are prone to mistakes, thus killing people when that happens" in reference to semi-autonomous vehicles when the reality is that they are already several times safer than vehicles solely operated by humans and you just have to look at Tesla's autopilot to verity this. Full autonomy of which Tesla has already provides the hardware for in their new cars will be even safer. Yes accidents still happen and will keep happening but the probability of said accidents drops dramatically with these autonomous vehicles.
The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth.

#19
Ready Steady Yeti

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The amount of times my GPS's failed drastically the past 5 years I and my family have used them leads me to believe that semi-automated cars will screw up just as much.

 

Anyway, off the subject of the cars, I think most people on this site are overestimating the future to massive extents. Be patient. It isn't ignorant when I say that overestimating the future is a bad thing. Sure, we'll have a few technological improvements, but note I said a FEW. But people won't change too much. 2024 will be just like 2016 is just like 2008 is just like 2000. If I went back to the year 2000, I would be able to understand them perfectly well when they spoke, and they will be able to understand me just as well when I speak. 2024 will be like this with people from 2016. Don't expect much.

 

Oh and the "singularity is *not* near".



#20
Jakob

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I try to take you seriously, but then you go and spout nonsense like this.

 

Virtual reality IN VIDEO GAMES

No, in real life. I take it you've never seen someone with an Occulus Rift on their head. These devices are not fictional.

 

 

3-D printers I know nothing about...and I know almost nothing about quantum computers.

Just because you don't know about something doesn't mean it's not happening.

 

 

semi-autonomous cars will happen but will be horrible because machines are prone to mistakes, thus killing people when that happens,

I'm itching to break out the memes. Yes, machines are prone to mistakes. You know who else is prone to mistakes? Humans, that's who. 32,675 fatal car accidents happen in the US annually. Self-driving cars could cut that figure by 90%. That means 29,000 lives saved. Every year. Enough to fill my hometown twice.

 

 

Okay so these things seem somewhat plausible. But fully understanding the BRAIN? in EIGHT YEARS? That's totally and completely unlikely, and if it happens I'll be damned.

I never said that. Quite the opposite in fact. 50 years is more likely than 8, by far.

 

 

Anyway, off the subject of the cars, I think most people on this site are overestimating the future to massive extents. Be patient. It isn't ignorant when I say that overestimating the future is a bad thing. Sure, we'll have a few technological improvements, but note I said a FEW. But people won't change too much. 2024 will be just like 2016 is just like 2008 is just like 2000.

Yes, society won't start to significantly change relative to today until the 2030s. Society today is already different from 2000 society. Technical changes occur much faster than social changes and a lot of the past 20 years have been spent developing the technologies that will be major game changers during the next 20.

 

 

If I went back to the year 2000, I would be able to understand them perfectly well when they spoke, and they will be able to understand me just as well when I speak. 2024 will be like this with people from 2016. Don't expect much.

Linguistic drift is a terrible measure of societal change. The English from Victorian England is perfectly understandable to us, for instance.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Will Hertling, science fiction, AGI, artificial intelligence, deep learning, progressive neural networks, DNCs, DeepMind, Singularity, 2024

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