Artificial Intelligence (AI) could reach an IQ of 1500 within the next decade, former chief business officer for Google X, Mo Gawdat, predicts.

After walking out to music generated by AI composing software AIVA, Gawdat spoke at length about his forecasts for the future of AI growth and the potential for AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki. 

An IQ of 1500 would constitute AGI. Research company GlobalData defines AGI as an AI system with intelligence equal to humans that has the sentience to solve problems and plan for the future. As of now, it remains a purely theoretical idea. 

Describing AI as the “biggest disruption” facing businesses and wider society, Gawdat provided an optimistic view of reaching AGI.

Explaining his optimism, Gawdat likened the development of AI to strategy in ball games.  

“You run to where the ball will be,” explained Gawdat, “not where it currently is.” 

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By GlobalData

AI should expect choppy but spiking growth over the next few years according to Gawdat, attributing this unpredictability to the nature of the machine learning process. 

Because of this, Gawdat stated he felt it was likely that AI would be a “Netscape” moment for technology that changed the way people and businesses use the internet. 

Speaking on the possible impact of AGI on business, Gawdat said the smartest person in the room will soon be a machine rather than a human. He claimed this would eventually impact the role of humans in invention and brainstorming. 

Gawdat also warned against existential fear of AGI, stating that there is nothing “inherently wrong with intelligence” and instead explained how he believed it is more practical to fear how AI is used.

Rather than considering AGI a challenge, Gawdat asked businesses to view the current dilemma as a challenge of human morals when using AI. 

Whilst AGI could mean the redistribution of wealth and power, Gawdat stated that it was important to take measures to ensure AGI generated content would not mean the end of truth. Soon, in his opinion, the majority of online content read by internet users will be AI generated. 

Reflecting on Gawdat’s speech, senior analyst at GlobalData Beatriz Valle provided some counterpoints to Gawdat’s proposed timeline for AGI.

“I don’t disagree with the gist of his thesis,” began Valle, “that the capabilities brought about by deep learning are staggering… However, I see many people fall into two camps of opinion as a reaction to AI.

“Some believe generative AI is all hype and no substance, while others claim it has the potential to bring about catastrophic consequences… I guess a middle ground would be a better place to have a debate.”

Valle stated that the fear and uncertainty surrounding potential AGI has been around for some time, most notably in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel of the same name.

However, Valle notes that even in this example, it was conflicting human input that led the story’s AI to malfunction which is in line with Gawdat’s belief that human morals, not intelligence, should be the focus of any anxiety.

Still, Valle remained sceptical of Gawdat’s certainty that AGI could be attained within his lifetime.

“He mentions 2037 as a cutoff date when this will happen,” concluded Valle, “It would be interesting to know why he chose this specific year.”

Concluding his speech, Gawdat encouraged his audience to petition their governments for collaboration on AI policy and emphasised the necessity to review their business’ intent when using AI.