Will artificial intelligence ever surpass human intelligence? The experts answer

Even long before the foundations of artificial intelligence existed, humanity has "fantasized" about the idea of a society of robots taking control of the world; clearly at our expense. For this reason, every time AI is in the news somewhere in the world, the comments assuring that "they will soon come for us" are not long in coming, also adding that "they will take away our jobs and our freedom".
However, although they are speculations full of fear of the future, they hide a very real question: when will artificial intelligence surpass us in our day-to-day tasks? The answer to this question is already being studied by experts in the field. In fact, the first great advances in artificial intelligence will come in this same decade.
But first, artificial intelligence has to start understanding, not just doing. According to what François Chollet, a software engineer specializing in AI and machine learning at Google, told EL PAÍS, "For something to happen like in the movie Terminator is pure science fiction, it's not even good science fiction. There is a great disconnect between what the great public perceives as AI, due to popular culture, movies, and media misconceptions, and what AI really is"; and add:
They tell us stories about an AI aware of its own existence, with its own goals and feelings. But in practice, this is centuries away from our current capabilities. We have no idea how we could even begin to develop something like that. And it's not just that, the main thing is that no one is trying
François Chollet, software engineer specializing in AI and machine learning at Google

The limitations of artificial intelligence

Until now, the AI has a big restriction. Despite being great tools for the human being, and being brilliant solutions in their specialized areas, they have very limited capabilities. According to the aforementioned medium, "A child in his earliest childhood is capable of learning to put the triangle in the hole of the toy triangle, he can recognize the sounds of animals and begin to apply what he learned in one scenario in other different ones" .
However, machines do not have the ability to relate things and entities without prior training. For this reason, by not having adaptive learning to different environments, an AI is not capable of transferring what it has learned to other activities and tasks for which it has not been trained. Of course, it is a field in which progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go before it can reach human learning.


A big change is coming

In its report published in 2017, the MIT Technology Review website already told us about the changes that are predicted for artificial intelligence in the medium term.
In this document, they tell us that artificial intelligence will be able to surpass the human being in simpler activities within this same decade. Katja Grace, a researcher at the Future Institute of Humanity at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, brought together a group of fellow experts in the field to unravel the matter.
The surveys carried out by Grace and her team yielded surprising results. The sample collected by the researchers is based on a number of 1,634 experts who presented papers concerning Neural Information Learning in December 2015; and those who participated in the International Conference on Machine Learning in the middle of the same year. In this way, Grace has managed to collect a good number of samples for her survey results.
Chart demonstrating the time when AI will overtake humanity in various activities and professions.
Of these 1,634 experts, only 352 responded. The results were quite interesting, with the average claiming that artificial intelligence will outperform humans in various activities in the next 10 years (based on the date of the study, 2017). Among these tasks we have the translation of languages (2024); high school essay writing (2026) and truck driving (2027).
Other more complicated tasks will take longer to arrive. Among them, we have the writing of a best-selling book, which the results estimated for 2049. Likewise, we have the performance of surgeries, which the study reports that we will have to wait until at least 2053.

How much longer to cross the final barrier

The experts already have the answer, or at least they think they do. During the meeting at Oxford University organized by Katja Grace and her colleagues, the final verdict has been announced. Just as they already predicted that in the coming years artificial intelligence would outperform human beings in various tasks during the current decade; it seems that there is still at least half a century to go before it surpasses us in all other respects.
In the survey results, the world's leading researchers in the field of AI confirmed that this change could happen in about forty-five years. As of this moment, the AI would have already reached a stage of development more advanced than that of any human being on the planet.

Not all that glitters is gold

However, there is a "but"… These same experts were the ones who predicted that AI would not be able to beat a human at the game of Go until the year 2027. However, to everyone's surprise, this came much sooner. In 2015 the first human being was defeated in Go by an artificial intelligence from Google. For this reason, the predictions of the experts cannot always be taken to heart.
Likewise, forty years was the date given by scientists to achieve cold fusion for the first time. However, this field that started more than half a century ago is still a lot of sketches and nothing physical.
And what does the above have to do with the evolution of AI? Human beings are inclined to estimate great advances every forty years. This number coincides with the total length of working life of most of the population. For this reason, estimates usually show that the change will occur after the end of the working life of those who currently work.

One last vote of confidence

However, the average prediction by each of the experts shows approximately 45 years for AI to surpass us all. In this way, in the queue of scientists we will find some estimates more accurate than others. For this, Grace prepared in advance, and analyzed the results of each participant according to their region of origin, experience and age.
The results were quite surprising. While American researchers predict that AI will overtake us in a distant 74 years; those belonging to the Asian continent do not believe that we have to wait that long. According to the results of the latter, in just 30 years the machines will be able to take the big step.
So far, there is no clear answer. But if there is one thing that all the participants seem to agree on, it is that the revolution will come before the end of this century.

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