Elon Musk has launched xAI, his new artificial intelligence startup. Its stated goal is to “understand the true nature of the universe.” Its 12-person team includes subject matter experts from OpenAI, Google Research, and Microsoft Research. With such remarkable qualifications, xAI is being positioned as a competitor to ChatGPT and Google Bard, as well as a front-runner in Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)—a system capable of performing activities that a human being is capable of. Ray Kurzweil, a well-known futurist, predicts that we will have AGI by 2029 and machines smarter than humans by 2045.

xAI’s initial tweet posed the query, “What are the most fundamental unanswered questions?” While current AI systems excel at activities such as itinerary planning, essay writing, and document rephrasing, they fall short when it comes to dealing with complex questions. Unanswered questions include the origin of life, the possibility of faster-than-light travel, a cure for cancer, and how to decode ancient writings like the Harappan one. To answer such issues, an AI system requires superintelligence, or intelligence far beyond that of the brightest and most gifted human minds. xAI’s goals are similar to those of the famous supercomputer in Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was tasked with finding the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?” and  humorously replied with the number 42.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could create a super-intelligent AI capable of discovering new physical laws and answering concerns like the meaning of life? Despite significant progress, executing such a feat in the foreseeable future remains exceedingly implausible, if not impossible. Current AI systems, such as ChatGPT, excel in assimilating massive volumes of data and leveraging machine learning to create query-friendly results. These systems have obviously learned a great deal. However, resolving fundamental questions demands intelligence as well.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could construct a super-intelligent AI capable of finding new physical laws and solving questions like “what is life?” Despite substantial advancements, achieving such a feat in the near future remains highly improbable, if not impossible. Currently available AI systems, such as ChatGPT, excel in assimilating vast amounts of data and leveraging machine learning to produce query-friendly results. These systems have clearly learned a lot. However, answering fundamental questions necessitates intellect.

Nonetheless, AI has specific advantages that can be useful in addressing fundamental concerns. Unlike humans, whose attention spans are shortening as a result of digital distractions, AI can focus on a topic for extended periods of time. Furthermore, AI has the potential to provide enormous processing power. While AI may not be able to solve these difficulties on its own, the most likely scenario is that AI can aid humans in specific areas, easing their efforts to address these challenges.

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