One decade of universal artificial intelligence

In Pei Wang & Ben Goertzel (eds.), Theoretical Foundations of Artificial General Intelligence. Springer. pp. 67--88 (2012)
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Abstract
The first decade of this century has seen the nascency of the first mathematical theory of general artificial intelligence. This theory of Universal Artificial Intelligence (UAI) has made significant contributions to many theoretical, philosophical, and practical AI questions. In a series of papers culminating in book (Hutter, 2005), an exciting sound and complete mathematical model for a super intelligent agent (AIXI) has been developed and rigorously analyzed. While nowadays most AI researchers avoid discussing intelligence, the award-winning PhD thesis (Legg, 2008) provided the philosophical embedding and investigated the UAI-based universal measure of rational intelligence, which is formal, objective and non-anthropocentric. Recently, effective approximations of AIXI have been derived and experimentally investigated in JAIR paper (Veness et al. 2011). This practical breakthrough has resulted in some impressive applications, finally muting earlier critique that UAI is only a theory. For the first time, without providing any domain knowledge, the same agent is able to self-adapt to a diverse range of interactive environments. For instance, AIXI is able to learn from scratch to play TicTacToe, Pacman, Kuhn Poker, and other games by trial and error, without even providing the rules of the games. These achievements give new hope that the grand goal of Artificial General Intelligence is not elusive. This article provides an informal overview of UAI in context. It attempts to gently introduce a very theoretical, formal, and mathematical subject, and discusses philosophical and technical ingredients, traits of intelligence, some social questions, and the past and future of UAI.
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