If Artificial General Intelligence is possible, whoever creates it is likely to have a lot of power.

  • What might this look like in practical terms, and what might be limiters?

Good answers will include aspects such as historical precedents related to technology, and cover subjects such as potential societal and economic impacts, and limiters such as regulations and physics.

  • $\begingroup$ @nbro do you have a rationale for re-opening? (Answers would likely be primarily opinion based. I'm not opposed, since I study the mythology of AI, but my sense is community consensus would be that this is an unsuitable question.) $\endgroup$
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DukeZhou Sorry, I wanted to "save" this question. I wanted to leave just the question "How much power will the creator of the first AGI obtain?", which I think could be accepted. However, I realised that the current only answer attempts to address also the other question "Who will be the first creator of true artificial general intelligence?". So, maybe, at this point, we should leave it closed (but I can't remove my vote to re-open it), even though we have a lot of similar questions whose answers will be speculative. $\endgroup$
    – nbro
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 21:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @nbro no worries. It seems to me that the second part of the question, "how much power with the creator of the first AGI obtain" might be solid--good answers would discuss the intersection of regulations & technology, the history and potential issues with enforcement. Physics would also come into play, per your recent answer on "intelligence explosion"... $\endgroup$
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


"Artificial Intelligence" has existed for many, many years. Decades even. Go back to Arthur Samuel and his Checkers playing program (if not before). That's AI.

The thing is, as soon as computers can do something, people want to quit treating it as AI. AI is almost, by definition, something that can't really exist, because it has to be about something humans can do, that computers can't. So all progress made in the field is reclassified as "not AI" as soon as it does anything useful.

A more salient question might be "who will be the first to announce that Artificial General Intelligence" has been created. AGI will, if it ever happens, be fundamentally different in terms of being able to learn to do anything, as opposed to, say, a Checkers program which can only play Checkers, or a Go program that can only play Go, etc.

And the answer to that question is -- nobody knows. Nobody even know for sure that AGI will ever happen (though a lot of us presume that it will). Anyway, there isn't a ton of research on AGI going on, relative to the amount of research in Machine Learning / Narrow AI. But somebody working in their garage could make a huge breakthrough tomorrow for all we know. I think a lot of people assume that creating this will take Nation-State level resources, but that hasn't really been proven. So it might be some kid in a garage in Omaha tomorrow, or it might be the Chinese government in 2074. There's just no way to really know.


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