How can an AGI be smarter than all of humanity?

An artificial general intelligence (AGI) could be smarter than all of humanity in a few different ways.

  • Computers can operate faster than the human brain. An AI which has the same cognitive abilities as humans could accomplish in minutes something that might take humans days.

  • An AGI could be of an arbitrarily large scale, while human minds are limited by biology. , making it much smarter than any person. Even within the range of human intelligence, a qualitative advantage in intelligence is not necessarily outweighed by a greater quantity of people. For example, chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov defeated a team of thousands of players, including other grandmasters, in “Kasparov versus the World”. If an AI were significantly beyond the level of an individual human, it could also be beyond the joint efforts of humanity.

  • AI systems are more mutable than human brains, and can use more effective algorithms. AIs could be built with better algorithms than the ones humans are able to use

  • An AGI could make copies of itself and coordinate with them. Unlike humans, who take decades to reproduce and raise children, an AI could make as many copies of itself as it wanted, limited only by available hardware. These copies would be able to coordinate much more effectively than humans due to ease of communication and the fact that they would be designed specifically to cooperate with the original.

Even if the AGI isn’t smarter than all of humanity combined, it might still be able to overpower humanity. Humanity is not unified, and an AI could turn people against each other, as well as paying or otherwise influencing people to work for it. Getting large-scale collaboration amongst humanity is currently an unsolved challenge, which will not necessarily be resolved by the time we get AGI.