Accelerating Future » World Future Society 20 Forecasts for 2010-2025.

Michael A is mildly skeptical about World Future Society claim we’ll have “human-level AI” by 2025.

This caused me to think about whether I believed it myself. I think the answer depends on how you define it. I think AI is going to be really big over the 20s — maybe like the internet in the 90s. But what will this mean for the real world, as opposed to inside the AI labs?

Is an AI the equivalent of a 2-year old, “human equivalent”?  If I had an AI right now that was the equivalent of a 2 year old, I’d have one in 2025 that was the equivalent of a 16-year-old.  That would be “human equivalent” in most people’s book.

I’m fairly certain that we’ll have AI that’s capable of a wide range of human tasks by 2025 — housemaids, butlers, chauffeurs, police and security guards, lots of desk and sales jobs, etc.  What remains to be seen is whether it will be equivalent to the 2-year-old in that essential aspect that it will learn, grow, and gain in wisdom as it ages.

Many humans, on the other hand, don’t learn or grow all that much once they get to adulthood.  A world of robots that were programmed to be competent at their jobs, but not to learn much, wouldn’t be enormously different from our current one.

So it depends on your definition.  If you’re OK with calling a robot human equivalent if it can, say, do everything a janitor is supposed to, it’s likely by 2025; if it has to be able to create art and literature and do science and wheel and deal in the political and economic world and be a productive entrepreneur, you may have to wait a little bit longer.