• “The singularity,” the moment where AI is no longer under human control, is less than a decade away—according to one AI expert.
  • More resources than ever are being poured into the pursuit of artificial general intelligence and speeding the growth of AI.
  • Development of AI is also coming from a variety of sectors, pushing the technology forward faster than ever before.

There’s at least one expert who believes that “the singularity”—the moment when artificial intelligence surpasses the control of humans—could be just a few years away. That’s a lot shorter than current predictions regarding the timeline of AI dominance, especially considering that AI dominance is not exactly guaranteed in the first place.

Ben Goertzel, CEO of SingularityNET—who holds a Ph.D. from Temple University and has worked as a leader of Humanity+ and the Artificial General Intelligence Society—toldDecrypt that he believes artificial general intelligence (AGI) is three to eight years away. AGI is the term for AI that can truly perform tasks just as well has humans, and it’s a prerequisite for the singularity soon following.

Whether you believe him or not, there’s no sign of the AI push slowing down any time soon. Large language models from the likes of Meta and OpenAI, along with the AGI focus of Elon Musk’s xAI, are all pushing hard towards growing AI.

“These systems have greatly increased the enthusiasm of the world for AGI,” Goertzel told Decrypt, “so you’ll have more resources, both money and just human energy—more smart young people want to plunge into work and working on AGI.”

When the concept of AI started first emerged—as early as the 1950s—Goertzel says that its development was driven by the United States military and seen primarily as a potential national defense tool. Recently, however, progress in the field has been propelled by a variety of drivers with a variety of motives. “Now the ‘why’ is making money for companies,” he says, “but also interestingly, for artists or musicians, it gives you cool tools to play with.”

Getting to the singularity, though, will require a significant leap from the current point of AI development. While today’s AI typically focuses on specific tasks, the push towards AGI is intended to give the technology a more human-like understanding of the world and open up its abilities. As AI continues to broaden its understanding, it steadily moves closer to AGI—which some say is just one step away from the singularity.