A Seed AI (a term coined by Eliezer Yudkowsky) is an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) which improves itself by recursively rewriting its own source code without human intervention. Initially this program would likely have a minimal intelligence, but over the course of many iterations it would evolve to human-equivalent or even trans-human reasoning. The key for successful AI takeoff would lie in creating adequate starting conditions.


The notion of machine learning without human intervention has been around nearly as long as the computers themselves. In 1959, Arthur Samuel stated that "Machine learning is the field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed."1 Since that time, computers have been able to learn by a variety of methods, including neural networks and Bayesian inference.

While these approaches have enabled machines to become better at various tasks2 3, it has not enabled them to overcome the limitations of these techniques, nor has it given them the ability to understand their own programming and make improvements. Hence, they are not able to adapt to new situations without human assistance....

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