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ChatGPT, AGI, and Terminator

AI and ML | January 31, 2023 | By Roshan Siddharth Ramanee Chat GPT, AGI, & Terminator

The world was taken by a storm at the end of 2022. The buzz was all about a “chatbot”, to put it in common parlance, that can talk to humans in a near human way possible. Now when one puts it like that, it seems like any other Chatbot. But this one talks to you. Like an actual human may, in say a very formal, trained setting, but nevertheless, the conversation is appallingly quite real. This is ChatGPT. It is a new artificial intelligence-based chatbot created by San Francisco-based firm OpenAI, also co-founded by Elon Musk. Since it has been made public, the bot has been creating waves across the internet with its ability to deliver coherent responses to complex and even abstract requests. 


Meet ChatGPT

“Hello, I am ChatGPT, a language model developed by OpenAI. I am trained to respond to various questions and provide helpful answers.


I am an AI language model developed by OpenAI, trained on a diverse range of internet text to generate human-like responses to questions on a variety of topics. I can understand and generate text in many languages and respond to questions, summarize long texts, provide recommendations, and more. My responses are generated based on patterns in the data I was trained on, but I don’t have my own thoughts or emotions. I exist solely to serve and assist users.”

With the, now publicly available, AI based engines, like ChatGPT and Dall E, that deliver tangible results the possibilities are rife. But are also providing a room for caution. While there is the “technology improves productivity upside to it”, the alarm raised by many technologists, including Musk himself, is the post-apocalyptic takeover of AI and its displacement of humans. Think of Sonny from I, Robot or the Skynet and its army of robots from the Terminator series. All the buzz hints at a topic that is considered as the holy grail of artificial intelligence: an AGI, or artificial general intelligence. To put it in musks exact words “such superintelligences could be the single biggest existential crisis that we face.” 

As a language model developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is not AGI. Rather, it is a highly advanced AI system that has been trained on vast amounts of text data, allowing it to generate human-like responses to a wide range of questions. However, it is also designed to operate within well-defined limitations, and does not have the capacity for true general intelligence. It cannot and does not have consciousness, self-awareness, or the ability to experience emotions. And exists solely to assist with generating text-based responses.

But, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a type of AI that aims to build a system that can perform any intellectual task that a human can. The foundations of it involves creating machines that can reason, understand, learn, and apply knowledge in a way that is comparable, and even surpassable, to human intelligence. The eventual goal of AGI is to develop AI systems that are flexible and adaptable, capable of solving a wide range of problems and tasks, rather than just those they were specifically programmed to solve, on their own. 


AGI Use cases

AGI, currently, is very much still in the research and development phase and has not yet been fully achieved. While AI systems have made great strides in narrow tasks such as image and speech recognition, there is still much work to be done to create systems that can exhibit actual and true general intelligence. AGI remains a challenging and ambitious goal in AI research, and significant scientific, technical, and ethical challenges must be overcome before it can be realized. Currently, AI systems depend heavily on coded instructions and are largely trained on specific tasks, with no ability to transfer their knowledge and skills to new tasks in the same way that humans do, whatsoever. 

If we do reach a point where AGI comes to be realized, the potential applications of AGI are vast and diverse. But they are still largely speculative due to its current status as a research goal. 


Some of the potential applications could include:

    1. Healthcare: assistance for doctors with diagnosis and treatment plans.
    2. Finance: improved financial decision-making by providing more accurate and consistent information.
    3. Transportation: improved transportation systems with route optimization routes, traffic reduction, and safety compliance.
    4. Manufacturing: increased efficiency and productivity by automating repetitive and dangerous tasks.
    5. Education: personalize education and improve student outcomes by adapting to individual learning styles.
    6. Research: accelerated scientific discovery and improved understanding of complex systems.
    7. Gaming: create more advanced and engaging video games by generating unique and adaptive gameplay experiences.

These are just a few examples of the potential applications of AGI. As AGI research and development continues, new applications are likely to emerge and existing ones are likely to evolve. They sound very very promising and lucrative, so to speak. And at the same time, harmless. The caveat here, however, is that this is the current state of affairs. And the implications of AGI are far-reaching and potentially profound, affecting various aspects of society such as economics, politics, and ethics. 


Some of the potential implications, for now, include:

Improved decision-making: improved decision-making processes by providing more accurate and consistent information.

Advancements in science and medicine: accelerated scientific discovery and lead to new treatments and cures for diseases.

Increased efficiency: can greatly increase efficiency in many industries, leading to increased productivity and cost savings.


But on the flipside:

Job displacement: AGI has the potential to automate many jobs that are currently performed by humans, leading to widespread job loss and unemployment.

Ethical concerns: AGI also raises important ethical concerns, such as the risk of AI systems being used for malicious purposes, and the need for responsible AI development and regulation.

It is important to note that these implications are still largely speculative, and much more research and development is needed before the full extent of AGI’s impact can be understood.


AGI the Terminator? 

In a recent interview, James Cameron, the director of the infamous Terminator franchise, spoke of how he arrived at the idea of terminator. He says “I was sick, I don’t know what with some flu-like virus and had a bit of a fever and just had a dream. It was an image that I remembered when I woke up. An image of a chrome-like skeleton emerging from a fire.” Inspiration can truly come from anywhere that holds true here. And from that he built a fantastic world of man vs machine with love, emotion and tons of action. But the part where it gets eerie, and very similar to our conversation here, is Skynet. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator movie

The pivotal character of the human resistance sent to save the world, Kyle Reese describes Skynet as such “Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence“. And further elaborates that, Skynet “saw all humans as a threat; not just the ones on the other side” and “decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination”. In the future (technically around now) Skynet begins a nuclear war which destroys most of the human population, and initiated a program of genocide against survivors. And eventually uses its resources to gather a slave labor force from surviving humans.

This is a theme that has been explored in many pop culture refs beginning with Issac Asimov’s short story, the Last Question. Do we know if the bots can take over? Right now, no. The future of AGI is uncertain and highly dependent on the ongoing progress of AI research and development. But one thing is certain: it is widely believed that AGI will play a significant role in shaping the future of society and technology. 


Things can go one or some of the ways below:

    • AGI leads to significant advancements in various fields, such as healthcare, finance, and transportation, improving quality of life and solving complex problems.
    • AGI systems become widespread and automate many jobs, leading to widespread unemployment and social disruption
    • AGI systems are used for malicious purposes, leading to significant harm to individuals and society.
    • AGI development leads to a technological singularity, where machines become much more intelligent than humans and fundamentally change the nature of civilization.


Or maybe the above is a timeline of how things will go. Could we have our own skynet with an army of sentient robots like Sonny and that will evolve like HAL? The answer is scary. But for now the future of AGI will depend on many factors, including the progress of AI research, the development of responsible AI practices, and the decisions made by governments, businesses, and individuals. It is important that we approach the development of AGI with caution and engage in ongoing discussions about the ethical implications of this technology. And as HAL, the intelligent bot from Kubrick’s masterpiece from 2001 says “It can only be attributed to human error” if anything does go wrong.

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