“Human level AI” is a misleading concept

I’ve used and will probably continue to use the term human level AI to refer to a level of machine intelligence that is competent enough to carry out tasks that humans carry out. In particular, capable of carrying out those tasks that we consider evidence for intelligence when done by a human. But I’ve just realised that it’s a misleading term. Here’s why.

Let’s try to make the notion of level more precise. We have the universal intelligence measure, as well as AIQ, as precise mathematical constructs for this idea. If you recall, these two constructs are based around the idea of summing the number of environments at which an agent succeeds in as an indicator of intelligence. This sum is weighted by simplicity. Agents that are competent in a higher number of environments are said to be more intelligent, and the simplicity bias favors those agents that do so by virtue of a general capacity, rather than a sum of narrow specialisations.

Anyway, the point is that beyond the simplicity bias, such a notion of level does not require  success at any given environment, but rather it is the sum that counts, not which environments take part in that sum. Hence, two agents of equal intelligence could be competent in a very different set of environments.

Therefore, a human level AI could correspond to any agent whose sum of environments is equal to that of a human. But these environments could be widely different. This means that a human level AI could easily be incompetent at tasks that humans carry out. And this is precisely the original, intuitive meaning of human level AI. Human level AI is therefore misleading, because intuitively it means one thing, but precisely means something different.

What human level AI really means is artificial human intelligence, not just the level of intelligence, but also a specification of which environments the intelligence must succeed at. It’s the usual anthropocentric bias that incorrectly discards the generality of the level specification.

Hence we should really say artificial human intelligence, although I’d understand accusations of nitpicking!

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