Baidu CEO Predicts Smarter-Than-Humans AI in Ten Years

Image – @ AI Innovation Times

Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, one of China’s major technology companies, has expressed skepticism about the rapid development of artificial general intelligence (or artificial intelligence that is “smarter than humans”), countering more optimistic forecasts from prominent industry figures like Elon Musk and Sam Altman. During a talk at the VivaTech conference in Paris, Li suggested that AGI, which is defined as AI that matches or exceeds human intelligence, is more than a decade away from realization.

“AGI is still quite a few years away. Today, a lot of people talk about AGI, they’re saying … it’s probably two years away, it’s probably, you know, five years away. I think [it] is more than 10 years away,” Li stated.

He elaborated on the challenges of achieving this level of intelligence, noting, “By definition, AGI is that a computer or AI can be as smart as a human right? Or sometimes … smarter. But we would want an AI to be as smart as [a] human. And today’s most powerful models are far from that. And how do you achieve that level of intelligence? We don’t know.” Li also voiced concerns about the pace of AI development, which he believes is not progressing swiftly enough despite significant advances in recent years. “Everyone’s shocked how fast the technology evolved over the past couple of years. But to me it’s still not fast enough. It’s too slow,” he remarked.

The discussion also touched on the differences in AI development strategies between China and the West. Li pointed out that while Western companies are focused on “coming up with the most powerful, most cutting edge foundation model,” Chinese firms, including Baidu, are more focused on the applications of these technologies.

Despite the heavy investment in AI by major Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent, Li highlighted the absence of a transformative “killer app” for AI, comparable to popular mobile applications like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, which boast daily active users in the hundreds of millions to billions. “What’s the right form for AI native apps? What kind of … AI native apps will be able to reach the 100 million user mark?” Li questioned, underscoring the ongoing search for broadly impactful AI applications.