An epic AI Debate - and why everyone should fret over AI in 2023
By Gary Marcus  |  Jan 24, 2023
An epic AI Debate - and why everyone should fret over AI in 2023
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A time capsule of AI thought leaders participating in a video debate in 2022 serves up a bounty of food for thought that will remain of interest for years to come. AI holds plenty of promise, but major grounds for concern are its less benevolent aspects and the inescapable reality that it still falls far short.

VANCOUVER - What do living legend of linguistics Noam Chomsky, Kai-Fu Lee, perhaps the most famous artificial intelligence (AI) researcher in all of China, and Yejin Choi, the 2022 MacArthur Fellowship winner profiled earlier this week in The New York Times Magazine, and more than a dozen other scientists, economists, researchers, and elected officials all have in common?

They all worry about the near-term future of AI, and the most worrisome thing of all is that they all worry about different things.

Each spoke last month on December 23 at the AGI Debate (co-organized by Montreal.AI’s Vince Boucher and myself). No summary can capture all that was said - though Tiernan Ray’s 8,000 word account at ZDNet comes close - but here are a few of the many concerns raised.

Noam Chomsky, who led off the night, is concerned about whether the current approach to AI will ever tell the world anything about the thing that he cares about most: What makes the human mind what it is?

- I, Gary Marcus, worry about whether contemporary approaches to AI will ever provide solutions to four key aspects of thought that one ought to expect from any intelligent machine: reasoning, abstraction, compositionality, and factuality.

Konrad Kording, computational neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, worries about whether any of the current approaches to getting machines to reason about causality are adequate. (Spoiler alert:

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