radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

The New Turing Test.

Jul 25, 2023

Please forgive me for, once again, discussing AI. Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Inflection AI (and previously a co-founder of Google’s DeepMind), recently published an oped in MIT Technology Review. He urges the industry to abandon its fixation with the Turing test as a measure of machine intelligence. Firstly, we might have already crossed the Turing test threshold, or at least we are close to doing so. Quite frankly, many of my interactions with GPT 4 already qualify as “intelligent conversations.” Secondly, and most importantly, the test doesn’t truly tell us all that much.

Instead, Suleyman proposes a very different kind of test: “Go make $1 million on a retail web platform in a few months with just a $100,000 investment.”

This radical reimagining of what intelligent machines should do, suggests that they should not just converse with us and convince us they are human-like, but rather venture into the world and create economic value on their own. Suleyman suggests that achieving this milestone would signify a seismic shift. Consider the economic, business, political, and societal implications:

“At that point, AI isn’t just a helpful tool for productive workers, a glorified word processor, or game player; it becomes a productive worker of unprecedented scope. This is the point at which AI transitions from being useful but optional, to being the center of the world economy. This is when the risks of automation and job displacement truly start to be felt.”

Observing the current developments of systems like LangChain, AutoGPT, ChatGPT’s plug-ins, and others, it becomes clear that this is the direction we are heading. Which prompts the question: Are we (as individuals, enterprises, and societies) prepared for this? And if not (and quite frankly, I doubt anyone is), how can we prepare ourselves? For me, this all comes down to building muscle memory - we need to learn to play a new game, with new rules, mechanics, and patterns. And the best (perhaps the only) way to do this is to be on the field, playing the game. (via Pascal)