AGI Has Been Achieved Internally
Here’s the AGI question no one asks, which is also the one we’ll have to face first
“AGI has been achieved internally” has been the sentence of the week.
It was cryptic and called out as bullshit when “Jimmy Apples” tweeted it out on September 18th. It was shocking, for good or bad, when Sam Altman echoed it in a Reddit comment a week later. And it ended in a funny joke when he edited it to reveal he was just “memeing”.
The sentence was many things, but the truest of all is that it isn’t true. AGI hasn’t been achieved internally.
Or has it?
Well, we don’t really know. In part because we don’t have a consensual conceptualization for the term “AGI” (although true and important, this reason is boring). In part because Altman’s company has become so close that the name “OpenAI” is a meme itself. And in part because we don’t have the means to assess whether something is or not an AGI — Schrodinger’s cat has been replaced and we don’t know how to open the box.
Yet that sentence — one more time, for effect; “AGI has been achieved internally” — regardless of its epistemic status, is a powerful one.
At least coming out of the right mouth. If I say it, no one cares. Reasonably. That anon account, Jimmy Apples said it, and although some people gave it a >0 credibility for having previously predicted GPT-4’s release date and mentioned Gobi months before The Information reported on it, most simply didn’t believe him (?) and the word never transcended.
But if Altman says it — even if as a Reddit comment that was a clear trolling attempt on his part — the reactions don’t wait: from annoyance that the CEO of the leading AI lab would tease us with something so serious, to worry due to the possibility, even if tiny, of p(not a joke) materializing, to the ecstasy of being a first-hand witness of what would become in retrospect the most important event in human history.
Altman promptly edited his comment, probably surprised by how fast it spread all over AI Twitter (and the media), but imagine the implications if he decided to say that same sentence in a more serious venue, without any hints of retraction, like a blog post from the…