AI risk should not be conflated with AGI risk, though both are dangerous
By Gary Marcus  |  May 10, 2023
AI risk should not be conflated with AGI risk, though both are dangerous
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Superintelligence may or may not be imminent, but great cause for concern exists either way, and one should first understand the differences between AI risk and AGI risk, explains AI expert Prof Gary Marcus, co-host of the podcast Humans versus Machines.


Is artificial intelligence (AI) going to kill everyone? I do not know, and neither does anyone else. However, Geoff Hinton, the ‘godfather of AI,’ has started to worry, and so have I. I had heard about Hinton’s concerns through the grapevine not long ago, and he acknowledged them publicly soon after.

Amplifying his concerns, I decided to pose a thought experiment:

Soon, hundreds of people chimed in, even Elon Musk:

Rarely are Hinton, Musk, and I even in partial agreement. Musk and I also both signed a letter of concern from the Future of Life Institute (FLI) not long ago. It was theoretically embargoed but is still easy enough to find.

Groundless fears

I have been getting pushback1 and queries ever since I posted the Hinton tweet. Some thought I had misinterpreted his tweet (given my independent sourcing, I am quite sure I did not), while others complained that I was focusing on the wrong set of risks (either too much on the short term, or too much on the long term).

One distinguished colleague of mine even wrote to me asking, “won’t this [FLI] letter create unjustified fears of imminent AGI [artificial general intelligence], superintelligence, etc.?” Some people were so surprised by my amplifying Hinton’s concerns that a whole Twitter thread popped up s

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