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Jun 5, 2022

Is DeepMind’s Gato the world’s first AGI?

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is back in the news thanks to the recent introduction of Gato from DeepMind. As much as anything, AGI invokes images of the Skynet (of Terminator lore) that was originally designed as threat analysis software for the military, but it quickly came to see humanity as the enemy. While fictional, this should give us pause, especially as militaries around the world are pursuing AI-based weapons.

However, Gato does not appear to raise any of these concerns. The deep learning transformer model is described as a “generalist agent” and purports to perform 604 distinct and mostly mundane tasks with varying modalities, observations and action specifications. It has been referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of AI models. It is clearly much more general than other AI systems developed thus far and in that regard appears to be a step towards AGI.

Multimodal systems are not new — as evidenced by GPT-3 and others. What is arguably new is the intent. By design, GPT-3 was intended to be a large language model for text generation. That it could also produce images from captions, generate programming code and other functions were add-on benefits that emerged after the fact and often to the surprise of AI experts.

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