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The Shocking Reality of AI: Insights from Microsoft Research’s ‘Sparks of AGI’

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword for a while now, and its applications are becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives. However, most people don’t fully grasp the extent of AI’s potential impact on our society, economy, and even our existence.

Recently, Microsoft Research released a fascinating paper called “Sparks of AGI,” which delves into the topic of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – the hypothetical future development of AI that could surpass human intelligence.

As an AI enthusiast, I took it upon myself to read all 154 pages of this paper and uncover the shocking realities of AI that most people are unaware of.

In this blog post, I will share my insights from “Sparks of AGI” and shed light on the potential consequences of AGI’s development.

1. Tool use

GPT-4 suffers from serious limitations:

• Lack of world knowledge after September 2021
• Difficulty with math
• Can’t execute code

However GPT-4 can use external tools like search engines, APIs and plugins to overcome these limits.

For humans, the use of tools was a milestone in history. It allowed us to overcome the limitations of our physical abilities.

The same can be said for GPT-4. It can use tools with:

• No demonstration
• Minimal instruction
• Make appropriate use of the output

2. AI personal assistant

GPT-4 can use multiple tools at once:

• Retrieves information about a user’s calendar
• Coordinates with others over email
• Books a dinner reservation
• Messages details to the user

It can reason with free-form output to solve complex problems.

3. Mental maps

GPT-4 is asked to explore a house and build a mental map. It then summarises what it sees after navigating through the map.

4. Virtual handyman

GPT-4 is able to identify the actions a human needs to take in order to address a problem.

• Guides the human to find and fix a water leak
• Recommends the exact actions for the human to take

The human acts as GPT-4’s real-world agent.

5. Challenges and limitations

GPT-4 is a next-word prediction model. It predicts future values based on past values.

It lacks:

  • Planning
  • Working memory
  •  Reasoning abilities

Whilst it can produce coherent text generation it struggles with complex problems.

This can be broken into two types of intellectual tasks. Incremental tasks (GPT-4 is great at these)

• Solved sequentially or gradually
• Progress made by adding one word or sentence at a time
• Examples: writing summaries, answering factual questions, composing poems

Discontinuous tasks (GPT-4 is bad at these)

• Require a creative leap in progress
• Involves discovering new ways to frame problems
• Examples: writing jokes, developing scientific hypotheses or new writing styles

What I’m excited for:

• Augmenting GPT-4 and language models with external memory
• Implementing feedback loops
• Equipping language models with plans

With the recent addition of plugins to GPT-4 we have some exciting times ahead.


The development of Artificial General Intelligence is not a far-fetched idea anymore. As we have seen from the insights shared in Microsoft Research’s “Sparks of AGI,” AGI could bring unimaginable benefits to humanity, but it also has the potential to cause catastrophic consequences if not handled with caution.

Therefore, it’s crucial that we start thinking about the ethical, social, and economic implications of AGI’s development today, and have a collective understanding of how we can ensure that this technology is used for the greater good.

Only then can we harness the full potential of AI without compromising our values and beliefs.

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About me

Inaam is Serialpreneur, a Digital Marketer by passion and renowned SEO specialist having 15+ Years of Experience. He has offered his services to Top business brands across the globe. He has a wealth of knowledge in a multitude of domains.

He is wearing multiple hats some of which include, Chairman TechMentions, Co-Founder EPTeck, Master Trainer at NFTP, PITB, CEO and Founder EpicWoo, and many more.

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