NGI - A Breakthrough Greater than AGI
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is considered to be the holy grail of A.I. research. In a nutshell, it involves an A.I. system that performs well in every aspect of cognition, such as understanding images, comprehending sounds, figuring out patterns in numeric data, understanding natural language, etc. while at the same time being able to perform more complex tasks related to these areas, much like a specialized A.I. (narrow A.I.) does. In essence, it is an A.I. that resembles the intelligent machines in many sci-fi films, though its breadth of capabilities is greater than that portrayed in those movies. An AGI, for example, would be able to paint a picture, compose a song, write a poem, and even give you feedback on your dance routine, all while being able to figure out if a given transaction is fraudulent or not as competently as a specialist in this field. So, its abilities can be creative too, much like a human being. In other words, an AGI is like a well-rounded human, but has a silicon brain instead.
Although AGI is a fascinating topic and an intriguing area of scientific research, it is good to think about it from various other perspectives. Enter Natural General Intelligence (NGI), which is possibly the next step of our evolution, with or without AGI to help in that. NGI is the human equivalent of AGI but with a twist. NGI is not linked to AGI since there is nothing stopping us from developing it ourselves. In fact, many individuals have managed that in the past. People like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, and Goete, were among those multi-faceted individuals who were intelligent in a general sense, not just in the art form that they are known for.
Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was great in scientific research (e.g. medicine), painting, and of course the design of unique apparati that were applicable in warfare and beyond (e.g. bridges). Also, the technique of perspective in painting was his, while he had some theories about how flight could be accomplished practically. What’s more, he was great at negotiating contracts, liaising with the powerful people of his time, and adept at adapting to the ever-changing circumstances of his era. If you find yourself in Florence (or Rome), you can pay a visit to a museum dedicated to this great Renaissance Man, though the focus of such a place is on the machines he designed.
Of course, someone could argue that individuals like Leonardo were very special and exceptionally talented, but the fact that many of them managed to do what they did without a wealth of resources (with the exception of Francis Bacon, perhaps, who was a nobleman), goes on to show that perhaps this approach to the sciences and the arts is not all that exclusive. Malcolm Gladwell talked about the 10000 hour rule, which although not scientific, it is an interesting rule-of-thumb showing that anyone can master something given enough practice, particularly conscious practice. Perhaps it would take someone more than 10000 hours of deliberate effort to become someone great in Cryptography, while others might get the hang of it in just 100 hours or so, but these variances are normal and expected to some extent.
Bottom line, the idea of a natural general intelligence, in whatever form it is expressed, is something that has been feasible in the past and perhaps in the future too. After all, now we have access to educational resources that were unfathomable a few decades ago. Also, it’s easier to find tutors, mentors, teachers, etc. to facilitate one’s education in various aspects of human culture. And who knows, maybe with AGI becoming a tangible thing in the foreseeable future, the internal advent of NGI will be more feasible than it was before. The question that naturally arises is how would you use an AGI to improve your own intelligence, should you have access to this technology in the future?
If you are interested in A.I. feel free to contact me, either via beBee or my blog. As for AGI, I've recently published a novel on the topic, which I invite you to check out. Cheers!