Is True AI Possible?

Written by Adam Morris

Updated August 6, 2023
Woman face to face with AI robot

For many years, people have been talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Whether it’s in science fiction films or in real-world situations, AI has fascinated us and made us question what is achievable. But is true AI, the kind that can think and reason like a human, actually possible?

In recent years, there have been significant advancements made by AI researchers in machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. These developments have led to amazing applications in healthcare, finance, and other industries. Some experts hold the belief that achieving true AI is not yet possible and may even be impossible.

This article will discuss the idea of true AI, including its definition, the difficulties in achieving it, the current advancements, and the future obstacles to overcome. So, is true AI possible? Let’s find out.

The Evolution of AI

When it comes to processing big data and making critical decisions, there’s no denying that computers are often times better suited than humans. This is because they are equipped with model- and algorithm-based machine learning which enables them to rapidly analyze vast amounts of data without being restricted by time or fatigue.

Ai robot side view

This technology not only speeds up decision-making processes but also assists humans in creating more accurate models as they rely less on human perception and reason alone.

By pushing the boundaries of machine learning further, we can not only optimise operations but also uncover unique discoveries which could lead to accelerating amazing technologies like those currently seen in self-driving cars and digital health products today.

The State Of Artificial Intelligence Today

Artificial intelligence has made remarkable progress thanks to deep learning algorithms. Now, AI systems can accurately identify people and objects in digital images and even observe subtle patterns associated with those images.

For instance, a Stanford University study demonstrated how a deep neural network can identify a person’s sexual orientation simply by analyzing their facial features. AI systems have the potential to interpret digital data like humans do.

Likewise, natural language processing (NLP) enables AI technologies to understand speech or text delivery in natural language and respond accordingly.

Currently, artificial intelligence has achieved remarkable advancements in terms of interpreting data and identifying patterns with great precision and sophistication. This technology allows for more precise decision-making with the help of machine learning.

Male hands holding phone using Chat GPT

As research in robotics and autonomous vehicles progresses alongside these developments, there is potential for exciting practical applications beyond the laboratory setting.

What is artificial general intelligence?

AGI refers to a more advanced type of AI that can understand and learn intellectual tasks at a level comparable to humans. While current artificial intelligence technology produces excellent results in specialized areas such as playing chess and solving captchas, true AGI would be able to perform all intellectual tasks just as well as or better than humans.

Developing fully-functional AGI still requires a lot more research and effort despite significant advancements in AI and machine learning. Unlike existing AI systems which are designed for specific tasks, AGI would be able to reason similarly on a more general level; it could carry out complex analysis and solve problems in whatever domain it was presented with.

Machines must learn from their environment to obtain cognitive abilities that are similar to humans, including creativity, problem solving, object detection, visual understanding, decision making skills, and judgement. At present these capacities are strictly limited but when they do become available they will usher in an era where robots can share our lives alongside us.

Strong AI

Theoretical artificial intelligence known as “strong AI” aims to create machines that can imitate human behavior and consciousness. The machines being referred to are different from the current machine learning and AI capabilities as they would possess independent learning, planning, and decision-making abilities.

Ai robot with female characteristics standing in park surrounded by people walking

Though there are many individuals in the field researching AGI or strong AI, unfortunately there is still only a theoretical concept as opposed to a tangible reality.

What Makes Intelligent Systems

Intelligence is considered a multifaceted concept, as it can refer to both a human gifted with problem-solving skills, and the ability of machines to make deductions and analyze data. Among humans, intelligence often refers to cognitive ability or IQ, making use of tests designed to measure problem-solving capacities.

Computers have been attempting to replicate this form of intelligence since their invention, with some machines having passed basic IQ tests on a par with that of a four-year-old. Conversational AI and facial recognition software require emotions to be accurately deciphered, which machines cannot do since they cannot be programmed to feel emotions.

Facial; recognition software time in on job

This is what is considered emotional intelligence and will pose a much bigger challenge for artificial general intelligence (AGI) than that of processing logical data. Essential TED Talks on Artificial Intelligence abound online though – educating humans on the capabilities of AGI while also stressing its limits when compared to real human emotions.

Overall it is far from clear what it exactly means for something to be intelligent in an age where the definition keeps changing as technology advances – two concepts remain true: existing efforts has yielded success in certain areas but we still have much more to learn about capturing human you know how in man made devices.

Turing Test

The Turing Test has intrigued computer scientists for more than 70 years, making it a captivating subject to explore. Developed by Alan Turing in 1950 in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, the test evaluates whether a machine can behave as well as humans do or be indistinguishable from them.

This process entails an interrogator who attempts to discern human output from a machine-generated output through a series of questions. If the person asking questions is unable to differentiate between the two parties (machine or human), then the machine has succeeded in passing the test and can be deemed intelligent.

If their prediction accuracy is below 70% after 5 minutes of questioning, it will be considered a failure to meet the criteria. Despite there being no predefined criteria that can fully decide if something passes or fails this evaluation, it still serves as an important milestone on how far machines have come in terms of mimicking humans.

Whether discussing simple conversations or more complicated activities, The Turing Test has been used by computer scientists all over the world to determine how close machines can come to truly emulating human intelligence. Despite its controversial nature, it still remains one of the most commonly adopted tests for judging machine intelligence.

Understanding artificial self-awareness

Artificial consciousness explores the ethical considerations of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). While we strive to create “thinking” machines that resemble human consciousness and behavior, this raises questions on how these technologies might be treated if they ever achieve full consciousness.

Child sitting on top of clouds surrounded by books

Scientifically, consciousness can only come from biological input that is interpreted and reacted to by a biological creature. The question is whether machines that are not biological can achieve something similar.

In order to really discuss artificial consciousness and gain insight into this field of study, we must look at the defining features of human consciousness, such as memory recall and dreaming about our future.

For example, if a machine “remembers” a certain event or predicts what something may turn out like it would certainly challenge the definition of traditional conscious behavior already being applied by humans.

This is known as cognitive computing where machines are able to store data but also analyze it for deeper meaning. Incorporating cognitive computing into AI allows us to move beyond small task behaviors and carefully inject general concepts like emotion and reasoning into machines thereby bringing us closer to mimicking human behavior.

Can AI ever achieve superintelligence?

For years, people have discussed the possibility of AI achieving general intelligence. Although progress is made every day towards this goal, achieving true autonomous artificial general intelligence (AGI) may still be far beyond our reach.

Currently, our limited understanding of the human brain makes it challenging to develop machines or computers that can imitate its complex functions. The Church-Turing thesis, which postulates that all problems can be solved algorithmically given an infinite amount of time and memory, provides hope that AGI can eventually be achieved; however, the required resources may still lie beyond our capabilities.

Deep learning is seen as one potential means for closer eventually progressing towards such goals: algorithms are created to imitate the extensive computational abilities possessed by the human brain and therefore greater problem-solving capacities could ultimately arise from these disciplines.

Ai robot with realistic female face

However, if AI ever attains a level of general intelligence comparable to humans, there will be philosophical concerns about ethical standards and safety measures that it must follow. Whilst we appear to be certainly working towards this end goal at present, potential pitfalls may yet await mankind along this journey before true AGI can become reality.

How far are we from true artificial intelligence?

The field of computer science and artificial intelligence is rapidly advancing with daily breakthroughs in machine learning algorithms and capabilities. Today, technology can perform many tasks that were once exclusive to humans. But how far are we off from having a true “artificial general intelligence” (AGI)—the kind of robot or computer system that can think like a human?

In theory, a computer program capable of exhibiting general intelligence is entirely possible—it’s just not highly practical with the technology we currently have available to us. To create such a system, one needs incredibly powerful processors to be able to simulate the complicated processes involved in human thought.

Male and female engineers working on project using transparent screen

However, thanks to emerging quantum computing technology, it might be possible to achieve such levels of power now more than ever—allowing us to reach closer to realizing AGI than ever before.

So while we might be pretty far off from creating AI as advanced as depicted in science fiction movies, it could still become reality sometime soon with advances coming from quantum computing technology leading our way.

Preparing the Future of AI

AGI is a term recognized for machines that are able to demonstrate human-level thought, problem solving and learning capabilities.

In 2018, AI expert Stuart Russell made a joke about his “formal agreement” with journalists that they wouldn’t include any Terminator robots in their articles; this was an obvious reference to Hollywood’s typically apocalyptic views on AGI. Though it is well publicized, it appears that the chances of realizing AGI anytime soon or even at all are slim as Russell commented on the technological breakthroughs still required before anything close to intelligent machine cognition.

Even then the technology comes into existence, there may be more challenges along the way because defining intelligence poses its own tricky set of challenges and requires new standards against which to measure machine accomplishments.

Though we must remain realistic in our predictions and timelines of success, an element of hope can persist – as can our creativity when preparing for the future possibilities of AI.

Is AGI an existential threat to Humanity?

AI technology has advanced to the point where experts and thought-leaders are seriously entertaining the possibility that AGI could be a potential threat to humanity.

Human hand reaching out Ai hand on black background

The late Stephen Hawking famously speculated that if machines are able to develop and design better AI than human programmers, the result could be disastrous for humans. Elon Musk echoed these concerns and warns of “summoning the demon” if AI is allowed to become too powerful.

Though no one knows for certain what implications increased intelligence in AI will have on us, Gyongyosi cautions against underestimating what these technologies may soon achieve. He believes within five or ten years, machines could learn and evolve on their own, making it difficult to predict whether they will one day decide to eradicate human beings from existence.

Although AGI does carry some risk, most scientists agree that research into this technology should continue despite possible negative consequences.

Adam is a crypto expert & AI enthusiast who has been researching and writing on the topics since 2017.

He’s spoken on numerous podcasts and has been featured in many prominent media publications such as Forbes, CNN & CNBC.