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The catalyst for AGI in our lives could be cultural rather than technical

  • ajitjaokar 
cute artificial intelligence robot with notebook
Cute robots will be the future face of AGI.

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the ability of an intelligent agent to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can.

Recently, AGI has been in the news with the Lambda sentient discussion

We tend to think of AGI as a technical (algorithmic / data-driven) concept

But the driver for AGI in our lives could be cultural rather than technical due to the human tendency for Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism is attributing human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.

Anthropomorphism is all around us

The catalyst for AGI in our lives could be cultural rather than technical

Religion and mythology Horus – the Egyptian falcon-headed God

Fables Aesops fables

Fairy tales Grimm brothers

Modern literature Alice in wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia

Comic books Manga

Films – Disney / Pixar

video games Sonic the hedgehog

Marketing – mascots, logos, etc

Anthropomorphism is so endemic that when anthropomorphic AGI robots come along, we will take them for granted.

Or could we?

Although there is a cultural acceptance to anthropomorphic objects, anthropomorphic  AGI differs in one critical manner: that the interaction is two-way.

In practice, that means, the context of the anthropomorphic  AGI matters

The ‘Boston dynamic’ dog-;like robot could potentially be a weapon of war or security

It’s not a pet

It may not show empathy and may not expect empathy

A carer robot, on the other hand, would be programmed to be empathetic and would also expect an empathetic response

So, while acceptance of anthropomorphic AI could be cultural. the implementation details could be very specific and technical 

Image source Wikipedia the 35,000 to 40,000-year-old Löwenmensch figurine

The Löwenmensch figurine, also called the Lion-Human of Hohlenstein-Stadel, is a prehistoric ivory sculpture discovered in Hohlenstein-Stadel, a German cave in 1939. The German name, Löwenmensch, means “lion-person” or “lion-human”.