Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
Earlier this month, DeepMind presented a new “generalist” AI model called Gato. The model can play Atari video games, caption images, chat, and stack blocks with a real robot arm, the Alphabet-owned AI lab announced. All in all, Gato can do 604 different tasks.
But while Gato is undeniably fascinating, in the week since its release some researchers have gotten a bit carried away.
One of DeepMind’s top researchers and a coauthor of the Gato paper, Nando de Freitas, couldn’t contain his excitement. “The game is over!” he tweeted, suggesting that there is now a clear path from Gato to artificial general intelligence, or AGI, a vague concept of human- or superhuman-level AI. The way to build AGI, he claimed, is mostly a question of scale: making models such as Gato bigger and better.
Unsurprisingly, de Freitas’s announcement triggered breathless press coverage that DeepMind is “on the verge” of human-level artificial intelligence. This is not the first time hype has outstripped reality. Other exciting new AI models, such as OpenAI’s text generator GPT-3 and image generator DALL-E, have generated similarly grand claims. For many in the field, this kind of feverish discourse overshadows other important research areas in AI.
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