When it comes to talking about the potential impacts of artificial general intelligence (AGI)—the idea that computer systems will eventually become capable of learning any task a human could—there’s no denying that its rise is seen as inevitable in Silicon Valley. Although that brings a sense of excitement to many in the tech industry, it’s also true that AGI has the potential to bring about changes that observers say could be orders of magnitude greater than anything the world has yet seen. However, the big question is, are we ready for this change?
When thinking about if we are ready for this level of change, it’s important to consider the current state of our technological infrastructure. Even if AGI research brings society great advancements—like smart cars, autonomous robots and augmented reality—it’s very likely that these would require new computing systems, energy sources and communication systems to be developed before the technology could be widely used. Since most of these systems are still in their infancy, the infrastructure may be unable to handle the stress of such a rapid technological advancement.
The ethical implications of this technology also need to be addressed. As autonomous systems become smarter and more widely used, their presence raises major questions about how these systems should be designed and programmed to act, and how to ensure fairness and equity. If not handled properly, AGI could potentially lead to widespread unemployment and a drastic change to our social and economic structures.
No matter what the outcome is, one thing is clear: AGI is coming, and it’s up to us to make sure we are ready for it. This means forming a global effort to better understand the implications of this technology, from the technological infrastructure all the way up to its ethical and social implications. It’s a task that will take a tremendous amount of effort, but it’s absolutely essential to prepare for the massive changes that AGI will bring.