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- DeepMind boss Demis Hassabis believes AI as smart as humans will be here ‘within a few years.’
- Hassabis is at the forefront of the Google-owned AI labs efforts to develop AGI.
- The race to develop AGI has accelerated as Google comes under pressure from OpenAI.
AI that is as powerful as the human brain could arrive within the next few years, according to the boss of Google-owned AI lab DeepMind.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news.
Demis Hassabis, CEO and cofounder of London-based DeepMind, believes artificial general intelligence (AGI) – a theoretical concept in the field that envisions AI matching the cognitive abilities of humans – is on the horizon as AI research accelerates.
Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference, Hassabis acknowledged that “progress in the last few years has been pretty incredible.” He added: “I think we’ll have very capable, very general systems in the next few years.”
The comments come as Google, which bought DeepMind for $500 million in 2014, is attempting to fortify its business by doubling down on AI as it seeks to fend off a challenge to its core search unit from Microsoft-backed ChatGPT developer OpenAI.
Hassabis is playing a central role in Google’s mission to advance its AI capabilities, having been announced last month as the leader of a newly formed unit at Google that brings DeepMind together with Google Brain, a separate AI research arm.
Since being founded in 2010, DeepMind has made it its mission to solve the puzzle of intelligence by building machines that are capable of learning, thinking, and acting the way humans do.
However, researchers across the field have become increasingly divided on the benefits of pursuing AGI. This is particularly true given the issues around inaccuracy and misuse posed by existing large language models underlying tools like ChatGPT and Google’s rival technology Bard.
Hassabis said during the conference that he didn’t “see any reason” why AI progress would slow down, but did suggest that developing AGI technologies would need to be done “in a cautious manner using the scientific method” that involves rigorous experiments and testing.