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The AI era,[1][2][3][4][5] also known as the AI revolution,[6][7][8][9] is the anticipated period of global transition of the human economy and society towards a post "artificial general intelligence" world enabled by the integration of AI technology.[10][11][3] Many have suggested that this period started around the early 2020s,[12][13][14][15] with the release of generative AI models, including large language models such as ChatGPT.[16][17][18]

This enabled software programs that were capable of replacing or augmenting humans in various domains that traditionally required human reasoning and cognition, such as writing, translation, and computer programming.[19][20]

The AI era is expected to mark a major turning point in human history, comparable to the developments of the Industrial Revolution,[21][22][23][6] technologies which have impacted virtually every industry and facet of life.

Some anticipate a move towards post-scarcity economics and post-labor society enabled through automation of jobs and tasks, [24][25][1] while some others fear potential existential risks, dystopia, mass surveillance enabled by artificial intelligence.[26][27][28]


The AI revolution is primarily driven by the convergence of technological advancements, the existence of large datasets, and the availability of advanced and affordable computing power. These factors play a critical role in enabling the development of large AI models, which have significantly advanced the field of artificial intelligence.[7][9]

Advances in algorithmic techniques

Main article: AI boom

See also: Progress in artificial intelligence

The AI era was catalyzed by key technological developments, including breakthroughs in machine learning algorithms, notably deep learning, which enable computers to analyze and learn from large datasets with unprecedented efficiency. Key advancements included:

Large datasets

The availability of large datasets has been a crucial factor in the AI revolution. These datasets, often sourced from the Internet, provide the vast amount of information needed to train and refine AI models through unsupervised learning. The diversity and size of these datasets have enabled the development of more accurate and robust AI systems capable of handling complex tasks and making better predictions.[9]

The Internet was largely responsible for this exponential growth in data, creating a primary source of diverse and extensive data, including accessible public databases and user-generated content from social media, online forums, news, and other digital platforms such as Wikipedia.[8]

Advanced and affordable computing power

The growth of AI has been propelled by significant advancements in computing technology, particularly in the areas of GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) and TPUs (Tensor Processing Units). These specialized processors are capable of handling the complex calculations required for AI algorithms, especially in deep learning.[9]

Chronological sequence of the AI era

Name of period[31] Time span Defining events[32] Etymology of name
Prenoëtic from the dawn of hominid intelligence to the time of the AI boom Intelligence confined exclusively to biological species Greek: προ (pró) = afore + νόησις (nóësis) = intellect
Protonoëtic from ca. 2020 AD to AGI invention Artificial narrow intelligence abundant and utilised in ever-increasing areas Greek: πρῶτος (prótos) = first + νόησις (nóësis) = intellect
Mesonoëtic from AGI creation to the evolution of superintelligence Most human endeavour reliant on (or subsumed to) Artificial General Intelligence Greek: μέσος (mésos) = middle + νόησις (nóësis) = intellect
Kainonoëtic from the emergence of superintelligence to the far future Humans no longer the dominant species. Possible singularity or existential risk Greek: καινός (kainós) = new + νόησις (nóësis) = intellect

Periods of AI era

In order to facilitate discussion and simplify analytical approaches, a nomenclature has been proposed for the division of the AI era into separate periods.[31]

Societal effects

Artificial intelligence has had a significant impact on humanity,[20][33][25] including discussions on redefining what it means to be a human during an era in which artificial intelligence surpasses expert-human level abilities in a wide and general variety of skills, potentially leading to a future where humans may no longer need or be able to work.[34][35][36]

In a 2023 report from ResumeBuilder, more than one-third (37%) of business leaders claimed AI replaced workers in 2023.[37] In 2023, Asana, a project management and collaboration software company, found in a survey that 29% of employees say their work tasks are replaceable with AI.[37] AI systems have already started to replace entire job categories where AIs exhibit super-human abilities such as translation and writing.

According to a study by OpenAI, a leading company in the development of artificial general intelligence and the developer of ChatGPT, 15 occupations (such as mathematicians, tax preparers, writers & authors, Web and digital interface designers) are fully exposed due to developments in GPT-powered software, whereas the GPT-4 model itself labeled 86 occupations as fully exposed.[20]

There have been significant numbers of proponents of a move towards a universal basic income in order to cope with a potential wide-scale loss of jobs as AI becomes more advanced and capable.[38][39][40][41] With the release of applications like Devin AI, there have been growing concerns within the tech industry about job loss. Kyle Shevlin, founder and software engineer at software development agency Athagist, expressed frustration on X about the industry "trying to aggressively replace one of the few remaining jobs that provides a legit middle-class income."[42]

A report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company warned that 1.3 million Australian workers might need to transition out of their current jobs into new professions by 2030, equating to about 9% of the nation's total workforce.[43]

Potential existential risk

Main article: Existential risk from artificial general intelligence

There has been concern about the potential extinction of humans due to unaligned AI models.[26][27][28] Some examples of concerns include the potential abilities of AI models to create novel pathogens with high infectiousness and mortality that could lead to the collapse of human society.[44]

Physicist Stephen Hawking, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk have expressed concerns about the possibility that AI could develop to the point that humans could not control it and that this could spell the end of the human race.[45][46] Elon Musk, founder of XAI, has asserted that AI surpassing human intelligence could materialize as soon as 2025.

However, some experts, such as Yann LeCun (head of Meta AI), have criticized this idea and are skeptical of the idea that AI superintelligence is coming anytime soon.[47]

Future developments

A number of frontier AI companies, including OpenAI, Anthropic, Meta AI and Google DeepMind, have stated their primary missions are to develop artificial general intelligence, which is either a type of artificial intelligence that can out-compete humans at most economically valuable tasks or a type capable of recursive self-improvement, enabling it to learn or program new capabilities that it did not originally have.[48]

OpenAI is working on learning how to develop a superintelligence smarter than the humans creating it, a concept referred to as superalignment.[49]

See also


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