Paper: There Is No Artificial General Intelligence

Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith argue there is no such thing as artificial general intelligence.

The goal of creating Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) — or in other words of creating Turing machines (modern computers) that can behave in a way that mimics human intelligence — has occupied AI researchers ever since the idea of AI was first proposed. One common theme in these discussions is the thesis that the ability of a machine to conduct convincing dialogues with human beings can serve as at least a sufficient criterion of AGI. We argue that this very ability should be accepted also as a necessary condition of AGI, and we provide a description of the nature of human dialogue in particular and of human language in general against this background. We then argue that it is for mathematical reasons impossible to program a machine in such a way that it could master human dialogue behaviour in its full generality. This is (1) because there are no traditional explicitly designed mathematical models that could be used as a starting point for creating such programs; and (2) because even the sorts of automated models generated by using machine learning, which have been used successfully in areas such as machine translation, cannot be extended to cope with human dialogue. If this is so, then we can conclude that a Turing machine also cannot possess AGI, because it fails to fulfil a necessary condition thereof. At the same time, however, we acknowledge the potential of Turing machines to master dialogue behaviour in highly restricted contexts, where what is called “narrow” AI can still be of considerable utility.


Z-Man Games has a nice looking Arimaa set. As the Z-Man website summarizes the game,

Arimaa is a game where stronger animals like elephants and camels try to push and pull the weaker ones from the opposing team into traps while one of the rabbits tries to sneak across the board and harmlessly reach the other side. The first player to get a rabbit to the other side wins.

But Arimaa is more than just that. It is a mini-revolt against our computer overlords.

Created after the 1996/1997 chess contests between Deep Blue and Gary Kasporov, Arimaa was explictly designed as a board game that computers would have difficulty beating,

In an attempt to show that computers are not even close to matching the kind of real intelligence used by humans in playing strategy games, we have created a new game called Arimaa. Here is a simple game that can be played using the same board and pieces provided in a standard Chess set. However the rules of the game are a bit different and suddenly the computers are left way behind. For humans the rules of Arimaa are very easy to understand and more intuitive than Chess, but to a computer the game is a thousand times more complex. To the best of our knowledge Arimaa is the first game that was designed intentionally to be difficult for computers to play.

The Arimaa Wikipedia entry has a good summary of the challenges faced by computer programs trying to beat humans at Arimaa, and there is an Arimaa wikibook with lots more information about the game, including strategies, etc.

DARPA Solicitation for Study of Human Intelligence

Can’t remember where I ran across this, but this DARPA Federal Business Opportunity Solicitation for a research program centered  on “physical intelligence” is awesome simply for its ambition,

In anticipation of a potential program on the topic of Physical intelligence (PI), DARPA is hosting two Proposers’ Day Workshops that will provide critical information on the program vision, the milestones, and opportunities associated with the development of interdisciplinary teams to respond to an anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The Physical Intelligence program aspires to understand intelligence as a physical phenomenon and to make the first demonstration of the principle in electronic and chemical systems. A central tenet is that intelligence spontaneously evolves as a consequence of thermodynamics in open systems. The program plan is organized around three interrelated task areas: (1) creating a theory (a mathematical formalism) and validating it in natural and engineered systems; (2) building the first human-engineered systems that display physical intelligence in the form of abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems; and (3) developing analytical tools to support the design and understanding of physically intelligent systems. If successful, the program would launch a revolution of understanding across many fields of human endeavor, demonstrate the first intelligence engineered from first principles, create new classes of electronic, computational, and chemical systems, and create tools to engineer intelligent systems that match the problem/environment in which they will exist. Concepts relevant to the objectives of the Physical Intelligence program can be found in numerous disciplines and areas of research including statistical physics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, dissipative systems, group theory, collective behavior, complexity theory, consciousness theory, non-linear dynamical systems, complex adaptive systems, systems analysis, multi-scale modeling, control systems, information theory, computation theory, topology, electronics, evolutionary computation, cellular automata, artificial life, origin of life, microbiology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary chemistry, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, brain modeling, organizational behavior, operations research and others.

Sounds like an excerpt from a Charles Stross novel (hmm..maybe I got the link from AntiPope).