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Microsoft Research Sees AGI Holy Grail in GPT4

· 2 min read
Ray Myers

Earlier this week, Microsoft Research published the paper "Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence: Early experiments with GPT-4".

This is no small claim. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), is something of a holy grail in Computer Science. Traditionally, all successful AIs have been specialized for a particular problem, such as the Deep Blue chess engine or Google Translate. While they may outperform us within their specialization, the versatility of human intelligence puts us in another league. A breakthrough to AGI would be world-changing.

Considering the source for a moment, Microsoft Research has some top talent and I wouldn’t question the skills or motivation of any of their researchers. However we also can’t ignore the enormous strategic interest Microsoft has in OpenAI’s technology (e.g. Bing search and GitHub Copilot). Even with the best intentions, a review and publication bias is undoubtedly at play here.

I’ve had a chance to work with GPT 4 a bit, it is a substantial improvement over GPT 3.5, which powered the initial release of ChatGPT. Where many prompts produced plausible-sounding gibberish, results are now more consistently lucid and useful.

As the paper demonstrates, GPT is also capable of interacting with other tools. It’s bad at Math? No problem, it can invoke a calculator during its task. It can run a Google search and take the results into account.

So with augmented LLMs, are we finally on a path that will lead to AGI? A fair portion of the software community is on "yellow alert" for that possibility. It’s also well worth listening to AI-skeptics like Grady Booch. The true value will only be realized once the hype cycle dies down.

As for me, I’ll put it this way. The Turing Test is dead and buried. LLMs are "good enough" at such a broad range of tasks that we will need to redraw our concept of AGI around their weaknesses.

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