AI will be better than human workers at all tasks in 45 years, says Oxford University report

AI will outperform humans in many activities in the very near future: EPA
AI will outperform humans in many activities in the very near future: EPA

Experts believe artificial intelligence will be better than humans at all tasks within 45 years, according to a new report.

However, some think that could happen much sooner.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Yale University have revealed the results of a study surveying “a larger and more representative sample of AI experts than any study to date”, and they will concern people working in a wide range of industries.

Their aim was to find out how long it would be before machines became better than humans at all tasks, with the researchers using the definition: “‘High-level machine intelligence’ (HLMI) is achieved when unaided machines can accomplish every task better and more cheaply than human workers.”

According to their findings, AI will outperform humans in many activities in the near future, including translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026), driving a truck (by 2027), working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049), and working as a surgeon (by 2053).

“Researchers believe there is a 50% chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks in 45 years and of automating all human jobs in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans,” reads the report.

“Asian respondents expect HLMI in 30 years, whereas North Americans expect it in 74 years.”

10 per cent of the experts believe HLMI will arrive within nine years.

The results of the study echo comments made by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.

“The real risk with AI isn't malice but competence,” said Professor Hawking.

“A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren't aligned with ours, we're in trouble.”

Mr Musk, meanwhile, has suggested that people could merge with machines in the future, in order to remain relevant.

Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and Google’s director of engineering, has gone even further and predicted that the so-called ‘singularity’ – the moment when artificial intelligence exceeds man's intellectual capacity and creates a runaway effect, which many believe will lead to the demise of the human race – is little over a decade away.

“Forty-eight percent of respondents think that research on minimizing the risks of AI should be prioritized by society more than the status quo,” the AI report adds.

The full text is available here.