Come with me to the future, where we realise that Artificial General Intelligence is not just an improvement on Generative AI but something different, developed on a different path.

GenAI / LLMs are brilliant. They’re amazing tools, taking the sum of human knowledge (including all the incorrect stuff many people believe) and making it very accessible. Keep using and improving GenAI, but don’t get sucked in by the hype of AGI just yet.

AGI is coming. But it is coming down a different path than we are on right now.


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The emperor has no clothes and The Wizard behind the curtain is just a man. We know these stories and they warn us that sometimes what appears to be amazing, what everybody else is saying about the hype is not actually correct.

This is ThrowForward Thursday my name is Graeme Codrington come with me as we jump into the future and discover that we were wrong about large language models. I’ve been talking about this since ChatGPT was launched in November 2022 and what I mean by that is not that LLMs and the Generative AI models that we’ve got at the moment. Not that those are not powerful tools. I think that they are remarkably amazing tools for the things that they are good at.

In other words, they have, maybe ethically or not, gathered essentially all of the generic information that an immense group of generic, well maybe second-year university students but a generic group of roughly informed people who might think a little bit too much of what they know, of what they know.

And then it asks them all to answer questions and then it is filtered through somebody who really knows how to speak a language well and in fact it’s pretty good at translating into multiple languages, not just English and that is one of the things it does well. But if you hear what I’m emphasising it’s basically taken what everybody already knows including the things that they incorrectly know, in other words, mistakes and falsehoods and bias and everything else, and it then can give that back to you in a really wonderful sounding format.

And that is brilliant. I think that is amazing, it’s more powerful than any calculator we’ve ever had, which was really a wonderful tool to help us improve our use of numbers, it’s really more powerful than most Excel spreadsheets, which has helped us to engage with lots of data sets, it’s really very very useful for existing knowledge. Maybe not existing knowledge that you had but that everybody had.

What we’re really chasing at the moment is artificial general intelligence, which is the ability to come up with new ideas to seek previously unknown connections between things. To actually, to be honest just engage with the world around us in a way that generalizes from specific experiences, there are lots of different ways that we can measure and define intelligence. But it isn’t simply about remembering information and then regurgitating it in a really nice sounding format, it’s about making sense of the world around us and I’m pretty sure that the people who study this stuff would say we also have to talk about consciousness a little bit as well if we’re going to be talking about in human intelligence properly.

And I really do believe that in the future and that’s really what we try and do here every Thursday. look at our world from the future and I think when we look back from the future, I’m pretty certain and I’m happy for people to come back and look at this video in the future and see whether I was right or not. But I’m pretty certain that we’ll discover that Generative AI and Large Language Models can improve, can get better over time, I’m not sure how much better they will get than they are now but they will get better I’m sure.

But I think that we will discover that the path that they’ve gone down is a path that has got a dead end, the dead end of their capabilities. I think we know already what they can do and they can get better at doing that but none of that is artificial general intelligence. Is that sense-making and consciousness even?

Now back here in 2024, Sam Altman has already commented last week that he doesn’t care how much money he spends. 5 billion, 50 billion a year, he doesn’t care how much money it costs, we have to find artificial general intelligence. I don’t know, he knows what he’s doing when he relates to investors and media presence and he’s probably right. If we do get artificial general intelligence, it will be one of the most game-changing things that humans have ever done at any time in human history and so it’s probably worth the effort and probably worth the cost, although of course there would be huge dangers and we can discuss those another day.

All I’m saying today is that I think when we look back from the future, we will realise that improving large language models is not the path to general intelligence. I think general intelligence is in a completely different direction. And I think if we get to artificial general intelligence, and I think we will. I think we’ll Discover it came from people not improving what we know we have in 2024 with generative AI but discovering entirely new ways, and new approaches to engaging with what it is that we call intelligence, consciousness, sense-making, and engagement with the world around us.

I think we’ve got a long way to go and I think it’s very exciting to go in that direction. But I don’t think it’s just around the corner, don’t think the hype machine will get us there, I think we need things we don’t have yet and I think that simply improving what we’ve already got will not take us there.

So, keep using Generative AI, and keep improving the use cases that you have for it in your business but don’t get sucked in by the hype of artificial general intelligence just yet and if you’re an investor be careful of where you put your money because the hype train is only just leaving the station.



Thanks, as always for joining me in the future, today was a little bit more not quite a rant but a little bit more of a comment on where we are rather than where we’re going. But as always, I appreciate you joining me in the future and I’ll see you next week where we’re going to have exciting news about a brand-new resource, I think you’re going to really enjoy. I’ll see you next week in the future

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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognised futurist, specialising in the future of work. He helps organisations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.

For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognised brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.

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