There’s $5 million in prize money to build Facebook’s vision for artificial general intelligence

The GoodAI team in Prague.
The GoodAI team in Prague.
Image: GoodAI
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

A few weeks ago, a splinter group within Facebook’s AI research lab wrote a short treatise on how—theoretically—researchers could start to develop artificial general intelligence. AGI, which only exists in the minds of science fiction writers for now, is the notion of a machine that could learn, reason, and apply knowledge to different situations, as humans do, at the scale of software.

Technologists are split in their assessment of the technology—some believe it could create unparalleled prosperity, others that it would bring about the expedient destruction of humanity. Facebook’s paper didn’t mention these outcomes, however, treating the pursuit purely as a research goal.

Now it seems those authors have found a home for their framework by collaborating with GoodAI, a startup dedicated to AGI development. GoodAI today announced a competition for teams to jump through its benchmarks for AGI development, with plans to award $5 million in prize money over the next few years. The competition roadmap comes from the Facebook AI research faction, and is being executed under watch of paper co-authors Tomas Mikolov and Marco Baroni.

GoodAI says the competition is only in a “warm-up” phase for now: Researchers must prove their AIs can gradually “learn to learn,” which means adding new skills to their repertoire without needing explicit instruction. All progress will be measured through the Facebook team’s test platform, which now exists on GitHub. If the teams don’t meet the contest’s standards within six months, the competition will start over, potentially with modified rules, GoodAI CEO/CTO Marek Rosa writes.

The AIs won’t be judged by their ability to complete certain tasks, but on their ability to tackle problems they’ve never seen before. Instead of, for example, successfully recognizing images in the yearly ImageNet competition, an image-recognition AI would be judged on its ability to understand audio or text.

Facebook isn’t the only supporting actor—although GoodAI is based in Prague, the challenge’s advisory board has representation from NYU and Nvidia, and Microsoft is donating some free use of their Azure cloud platform.

GoodAI’s competition starts today.