Is there artificial super intelligence from ASI

Nóra Radó
Artificial intelligence has arrived in all areas of life

Did you know that a smart algorithm from PlantCT protects the Pannonhalma vineyards from disease? Or that at AIMotive in Budapest around 150 engineers are continuously working on the future of self-driving cars? And that with the help of a digital health promotion program in Hungary, more than 25,000 people are already using the Fitpuli smart app to keep an eye on their sleep quality, mood, training habits, diet and stress level in order to receive personalized tips based on their data? Technologies based on artificial intelligence have also established themselves in Hungary - and will probably spread even further in the future.

The terms of artificial intelligence

Although many people still think of the term “artificial intelligence” (AI) as science fiction that will play in the distant future, certain applied AI technologies - primarily algorithms in the area of ​​narrow artificial intelligence (ANI) - can already be found everywhere, from the hippest hipster café in Budapest to the most remote little village in the country. To get the perfect selfie, smartphone cameras set the optimal exposure using an algorithm that reacts to the lighting conditions in the environment; Facebook uses data analysis strategies and smart algorithms to suggest advertisements that are considered relevant to the user in the news feed.

These are all manifestations of artificial intelligence that are already available everywhere in Hungary, although it should be noted that the lion's share of these technologies is not developed in Hungary. Of course, these have nothing to do with sci-fi robot intelligence, such as the supercomputer HAL 9000 in the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Researchers differentiate between three levels of AI evolving on the basis of machine learning: the most widespread and weak artificial intelligence that also occurs in Hungary, general artificial intelligence (AGI) that works at the level of human thinking and artificial superintelligence that exceeds human intelligence (ASI ). The last two levels can actually only be found in sci-fi narratives and the application of ANI algorithms and their development in small clusters has only just begun in Hungary.

Hungary on the international AI map

The global picture shows that despite the unstoppable technological progress and the worldwide appearing startups developing smart algorithms, AI is a race with only two horses. This observation was confirmed in 2017 by the director of the global analytics company Gartner, Anthony Mullen. He pointed out that there are really only two players to be taken seriously in the global AI development market, namely the US and China. Amy Webb, professor of futurology and strategic foresight at the University of New York, also stated at the world conference in Davos last January: The future of AI is concentrated in the hands of just nine companies - six of them American (the parent company of Google current company Alphabet, still Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft) and three Chinese (Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent). In addition to these giant companies, it is difficult for others to even get involved in any way.

The European Commission's report published in January 2018 acknowledged that the European Union was clearly left behind by the two superpowers in terms of AI development. Essential steps are now necessary in the areas of strategy conception, investment increase and regulatory issues with regard to artificial intelligence. The sobering report was followed by numerous forward-looking steps. The European Commission promised to use the Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework program to increase investment in AI by 70 percent per year. Between 2018 and 2020 these amounted to 1.5 billion euros.

In addition, the European Commission called on the member states to draft their own AI strategy by mid-2019. According to the Hungarian Artificial Intelligence Coalition (AI Coalition), which comprises more than 250 specialist organizations, this guideline shows differences in the emphasis between the various views on AI: While the USA and China are developing, Europe is more regulating. After the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been passed, the European continent now wants to clearly define the ethical framework of AI, among other things. The USA and China, on the other hand, attach less importance to this aspect.

Hungary is following the European guideline, although the country did not present its strategy until September 2020 - contrary to the recommendation of the European Commission - one year late. The strategy was worked out with the participation of the AI ​​Coalition. Although Hungary was left behind in AI development, according to Dániel Vértesy, the technical expert of the International Telecommunication Union, the AI ​​Coalition is taking numerous steps to catch up with Hungary's deficit. Based on the recently adopted AI strategy, the government wants to use AI technology to increase the country's GDP by 15 percent by 2030, expand the production of small and medium-sized enterprises by 26 percent and create a million employees for new ones that generate higher added value gain artificial intelligence supported jobs.

In Hungary, AI will transform a million jobs by 2030

If Hungary makes progress in the area of ​​innovation and does not want to wait until the transformation through digital technologies buries the country under itself, minimizing this gap is absolutely essential. According to an analysis by the consulting company McKinsey from 2018, one million jobs in Hungary will be affected by automation through smart algorithms, robots and other innovative technologies. However, the 2017 Eurobarometer study carried out in Hungary shows that 38 percent of the Hungarian population rate automation negatively, which means that society needs to be sensitized in order to achieve acceptance of new digital technologies and an awareness of their benefits .

It would not only be necessary that both society and the private sector integrate solutions based on artificial intelligence to a greater extent into their everyday lives. It is also important that Hungary, like other countries, discover for itself those key areas in which innovation can contribute to technological progress. According to the comprehensive study by the Association of the Digital Economy (IVSZ), the focus in Finland is more on healthcare and production, in Japan on robotics and in Israel on safety technology. In Hungary, technological development is most likely to have an impact in the automotive industry or in the area of ​​healthcare transformation. For example, the Zala Zone test site in Hungary would like to ensure suitable test conditions for electric and self-driving vehicles of the future. With regard to innovations in the healthcare sector, it should be mentioned that four Hungarian teams have made it into the EIT Health InnoStars incubator program, which promotes developments in the healthcare sector.

Institutional system for AI development

As part of the strategy of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the AI ​​Coalition active in the Digital Success Program, a budget of 170 billion forints is initially made available for the creation of institutional foundations and the implementation of the programs specified in the action plan. These also include training to promote understanding of AI, as well as programs to raise awareness in society. One of the goals is to set up the AI ​​National Laboratory (MILAB), which is being implemented under the coordination of the Research Institute for Information Technology and Automation (SZTAKI) and 10 research institutes are participating in its work. The main areas of research will include language processing, which is regarded as one of the leading areas in AI, biotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data protection and internet security.

The AI ​​Coalition and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology envisage the AI ​​Innovation Center (MI Innovációs Központ) as the second most important pillar of AI development in Hungary. The headquarters offers investors as well as Hungarian small and medium-sized companies a kind of test ground so that they can test existing innovations. One of the goals is to allay fears about the use of artificial intelligence. As a third pillar, the government is aiming to establish the National Data Assets Agency (NAVÜ), the purpose of which, according to the AI ​​Coalition, is that “companies and other institutions interested in the use of data get to know the national data tools and the data economy in Hungary Gear is coming. "


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Nóra Radó is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Behavioral Sciences at Semmelweis University in Budapest, studying the effects of technology on medicine. She publishes regularly in the scientific journal Qubit and is co-founder of the Contemplate project within the framework of the CEU Innovations Lab. “Artificial intelligence cannot be avoided in my work, as it is one of the most influential technologies for the future of humans. For this reason, we need to grasp the philosophical, ethical, environmental, and other social science dilemmas surrounding technology and find solutions to them as quickly as possible. "

Translation: Sandra Rétháti
Copyright: Goethe-Institut Budapest
November 2020

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