Steven Pinker highlighted this study which tracks the predictions of when human level AI (artificial intelligence) will be achieved. According to the paper, the predictions cluster around predicting that it will be achieved in 15-25 years, and they have been doing so for the last 60 or so years. The paper also notes that expert predictions have fared no better than non-expert predictions, and actually cluster the same way.
None of this should be too surprising. Most AI predictions are made by experts in computing technologies, but computer experts are not human mind experts. Indeed, the level of expertise that exists for computing technology simply doesn’t exist yet for the human brain. So any predictions made comparing the two should be suspect. And the people who know the most about the brain, neuroscientists, speak in terms of a century before they’ll know as much about its working as we know about computers.
It would be wrong to take this as evidence that human level AI is impossible. The human mind exists in nature. To assert that human level AI is impossible would be to assert that something can exist in nature that human technology cannot replicate. Historically, no other prediction along these lines has been borne out, and we have no good reason to suspect the human mind will be an exception.
But, as this paper demonstrates, we have very good reasons to be skeptical of anyone who predicts that AI will be here in 20 years, or of any action they’d like us to take in relation to that prediction.
via Steven Pinker