The rise of artificial general intelligence – now seen as inevitable in Silicon Valley – will bring change that is “orders of magnitude” greater than anything the world has yet seen, observers say. But are we ready?

AGI – defined as artificial intelligence with human cognitive abilities, as opposed to more narrow artificial intelligence, such as the headline-grabbing ChatGPT – could free people from menial tasks and usher in a new era of creativity.

But such a historic paradigm shift could also threaten jobs and raise insurmountable social issues, experts warn.

Previous technological advances from electricity to the internet ignited powerful social change, says Siqi Chen, chief executive of San Francisco start-up Runway.

“But what we’re looking at now is intelligence itself … This is the first time we’re able to create intelligence itself and increase its amount in the universe,” he told AFP.

Change, as a result, will be “orders of magnitude greater than every other technological change we’ve ever had in history”.