To put it succinctly, Altman, who is portrayed in the article as the person poised to introduce artificial general intelligence (AGI) to our world, has stated that AGI “equates to an average human that you could employ as a colleague.”
This statement is being interpreted as diminishing the value of human intelligence. Detractors perceive Altman’s perspective as implying that individuals with a moderate level of skill and intelligence may be supplanted by AGI, a technology that has yet to be realized.
Distinct from generative AI, AGI represents a form of artificial intelligence that matches or surpasses human-level capabilities. It encompasses the ability to perform tasks, convey emotions, and demonstrate intelligence on par with or exceeding that of a human being.
AGI has the potential to learn and excel in a wide array of professions, encompassing roles as diverse as a doctor, therapist, artist, driver, investor, and virtually any other occupation.
Considering the considerable influence that Sam Altman wields within this domain, it comes as no surprise that people are scrutinizing his words closely. OpenAI, founded in 2015 by Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and Reid Hoffman, began as a non-profit organization.
However, after 2020, changes in the company’s structure allowed its investors to potentially reap returns of up to 100 times their initial investment.
Altman’s Consistent Use of “Median Human” Concept
According to a report from Insider, this isn’t the first instance of Altman using the term ‘median human.’ In a 2022 interview on the Lex Fridman podcast, Altman elaborated on the concept, asserting that AGI would be capable of “performing tasks that you would entrust to a remote coworker working from a computer, including acquiring the skills to function as a doctor or a highly competent programmer.”
Brent Mittelstadt, who serves as the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, expressed his concerns, stating, “Drawing comparisons between AI and the concept of average or median humans can be somewhat offensive. I find this comparison worrisome, and I also find the terminology worrisome.”
As a prominent figure at the forefront of the AI technology landscape, Altman has previously emphasized his desire for AGI to be a force for the betterment of humanity.
In a blog post, he articulated this vision, saying, “Due to the immense potential benefits of AGI, we believe that it is neither feasible nor desirable for society to indefinitely halt its development. Instead, society and AGI developers must collaborate to ensure responsible progress.”
Governments worldwide are grappling with the complex task of regulating generative AI and addressing its far-reaching implications. The question of whether we should seriously consider the prospects of AGI, even though the technology remains in its developmental stages, represents a significant leap, an assertion akin to Altman’s statement.
AGI = Jobs loss?
If the advancements imagined in the realm of science fiction were to materialize, one of the most significant repercussions would be the displacement of human jobs.
Generative AI, which currently falls short of the power of AGI, is projected to result in the loss of around 300 million jobs for humans, as indicated in a Goldman Sachs report. A more recent report from McKinsey suggests that AI could attain human-level proficiency at a quicker pace than previously anticipated.
According to McKinsey’s findings, generative AI is predicted to reach the level of median human performance by 2030, and by 2040, it will surpass the top 25 percent of human performance. Furthermore, the report posits that AI will attain the social and emotional reasoning capabilities of a typical human within the next 3-4 years.
It’s worth noting that this timeline may undergo revisions in response to any new developments in the field of AI.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s recent comments about AGI have sparked criticism, with concerns about his comparison to the “average human.” This debate underscores the potential impact of AGI on employment and human capabilities. As AGI’s development unfolds, it prompts global discussions on ethics, regulation, and the profound implications of advancing AI technologies.