OpenAI bets big computing is the answer to artificial general intelligence.

OpenAI’s goal is to develop artificial general intelligence safely, with the emphasis on safe as much as it is on AGI. It is a worthy goal. Moreover, its efforts have recently been turbocharged by a $1 billion investment from Microsoft. The contentious part of the programme is the bet that ever more muscular computing power will enable deep learning systems to achieve AGI. Many in the AI world believe that deep learning systems are not enough. In other words, intelligence built on such systems is too narrow in scope. True, the development of deep learning was a breakthrough a few years ago. But, so the argument goes, there need to be other complementary breakthroughs in the systemisation or digitisation of intelligence. AGI will not just derive from ever more powerful pattern recognisers. That’s why there are still plenty of things that humans can do that so far AI cannot.

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