What is 'Strong AI'

Strong Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a form of machine intelligence that is equal to human intelligence. Key characteristics of strong AI include the ability to reason, solve puzzles, make judgments, plan, learn and communicate. It should also have consciousness, objective thoughts, self-awareness, sentience, and sapience.

Strong AI is also called True Intelligence or Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

BREAKING DOWN 'Strong AI'

Strong AI does not currently exist. Some experts think it may be developed by 2030 or 2045. Others more conservatively predict that it may be developed within the next century or that the development of Strong AI may not be possible at all.

Some theorists argue that a machine with Strong AI should be able to go through the same development process as a human, starting with a childlike mind and developing an adult mind through learning. It should be able to interact with the world and learn from it, acquiring its own common sense and language. Another argument is that we will not know when we have developed strong AI (if it can indeed be developed) because there is no consensus on what constitutes intelligence.

While Weak AI merely simulates human cognition, Strong AI would actually have human cognition. With Strong AI, a single system could theoretically handle all the same problems that a single human could. While Weak AI can replace many low- and medium-skilled workers, Strong AI might be necessary to replace certain categories of highly skilled workers.

Risks and Rewards of Strong AI

The possibility of Strong AI comes with major potential benefits and serious concerns. Some people fear that if Strong AI becomes a reality, AI may become more intelligent than humans, a phenomenon known as the singularity. The idea is that Strong AI will be so intelligent that it can alter itself and pursue its own goals without human intervention, possibly in ways that are harmful to humans (think killer robots like in the movie I, Robot). Could Strong AI be developed with constraints to prevent such outcomes? Could Strong AI be programmed with desirable moral values, and could humanity agree on what those desirable values would be? Further research into these issues could help prevent the possibility of robots that turn against us, or determine if they could even ever exist.

Another major concern is that AI will increasingly take away jobs from people, resulting in high unemployment – even for knowledge-intensive white-collar work, especially if Strong AI becomes a reality. However, just as the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed the types of jobs workers performed, an AI Revolution could result not in massive unemployment, but in a massive employment shift. Strong AI could have a significant positive impact on society by increasing productivity and wealth. Humans could perform jobs that we can’t even imagine today and won’t have a need for until we see all that AI can do for us.

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