What is Weak vs. Strong vs. Super AI?

Weak vs. Strong vs. Super AI is conceptual way of categorizing different Artificial Intelligence systems.


What it is: Artificial intelligence researchers argue that AI could fall into three categories: weak, strong, and super. Weak AI is any technological system using techniques that appear intelligent, such as machine learning. Strong AI is essentially the human mind replicated with computers. Super AI is a system that’s intellectually superior to humans.

What it does: Currently, Weak AI is becoming ubiquitous. It is applied in everything from video games, to marketing, to translation software, to investment banking. Meanwhile, Strong AI is further off, although experts disagree on whether its inception will take years or decades. Super AI is more remote still. Some skeptics argue that Strong and/or Super AI will never be invented.

Why it matters: While there is a lot of popular discourse around AI, the term loses its meaning when it can refer to everything from Siri to a true superintelligence. Having clear categories for different types of AI makes it possible to have more intelligent, informed conversations about any given AI technology. Specifically, it helps sort through the endless hype that currently floats around anything digital labeled “intelligent.”

What to do about it: At present, unless you helm the research division of a large enterprise, Strong and Super AI are conversation pieces, not action items. However, Weak AI tools are everywhere, and, chances are, if you’re not automating or enhancing any of your processes with machine learning, you could be, and your competition probably is.

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