Humanity May Reach Singularity Within Just 7 Years

In the world of artificial intelligence, the idea of “singularity” looms large. This slippery concept describes the moment AI exceeds beyond human control and rapidly transforms society. The tricky thing about AI singularity (and why it borrows terminology from black hole physics) is that it’s enormously difficult to predict where it begins and nearly impossible to know what’s beyond this technological “event horizon.”

However, some AI researchers are on the hunt for signs of reaching singularity measured by AI progress approaching the skills and ability comparable to a human. One such metric, defined by Translated, a Rome-based translation company, is an AI’s ability to translate speech at the accuracy of a human. Language is one of the most difficult AI challenges, but a computer that could close that gap could theoretically show signs of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

“That’s because language is the most natural thing for humans,” Translated CEO Marco Trombetti said at a conference in Orlando, Florida, in December. “Nonetheless, the data Translated collected clearly shows that machines are not that far from closing the gap.”

The company tracked its AI’s performance from 2014 to 2022 using a metric called “Time to Edit,” or TTE, which calculates the time it takes for professional human editors to fix AI-generated translations compared to human ones. Over that 8-year period and analyzing over billion post-edits, Translated’s AI showed a slow, but undeniable improvement as it slowly closed the gap toward human-level translation quality.

On average, it takes a human translator roughly one second to edit each word of another human translator, according to Translated. In 2015, it took professional editors approximately 3.5 seconds per word to check a machine-translated (MT) suggestion today that number is just 2 seconds. If the trend continues, Translated’s AI will be as good as human-produced translation by the end of the decade (or even sooner).

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