Whether general AI is possible at all, and if so, how soon we'll get there, is a topic of ongoing debate in the tech community.

The artificial intelligence deals tracker page highlights all the major industries AI is transforming, from healthcare and entertainment to cybersecurity and HR tech. However, the AI algorithms used today — called “narrow AI” — are trained for very specific tasks, like engaging customers, healthcare imaging & diagnostics, or cybersecurity applications.

Artificial General Intelligence or General AI is the concept of an AI system with human-level intelligence and cognitive abilities that can perform a broad range of tasks and apply that knowledge to solve unfamiliar problems without being trained specifically on those tasks. Whether general AI is possible at all, and if so, how soon we’ll get there, is a topic of ongoing debate in the tech community.

“Some people have asked what would prevent a hypothetical super-intelligent autonomous benevolent A.I. to ‘reprogram’ itself and remove its built-in safeguards against getting rid of humans. Most of these people are not themselves A.I. researchers, or even computer scientists.” –  Yann LeCun, Director of research at Facebook

Facebook’s Yann LeCun, researcher Yoshua Bengio (known for his work on deep learning), quantum physicist David Deutsch, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, among others, have reflected the general sentiment that we’re yet to fully understand the human brain and cognition — let alone translate it into algorithms — and are still a far way from machines that are even as intelligent as rats. On the other hand, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking, among others in the tech and scientific community, have sounded off the warning bells on the potential for superintelligent machines that could pose a threat to society.

The State of Artificial Intelligence
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We used the CB Insights database to track the funding and patent activities of the small band of startups that are working on artificial general intelligence.

Vicarious Systems

Total funding: $68M

Select investors: Samsung Ventures, Wipro Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures, Marc Benioff, Data Collective, Elon Musk, Felicis Ventures, Formation 8, Good Ventures, Jeff Bezos, Khosla Ventures, Mark Zuckerberg, Open Field Capital, Sam Altman

Vicarious patents

Kindred AI

Total funding: $15M

Select investors: 11.2 Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Bold Capital Partners, Data Collective, Eclipse Ventures, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, Innovation Endeavors

kindred patents


Total funding: $23.6M

Select investors: Ed Colligan, SkyMoon Ventures

numenta patents

Apart from the startups mentioned above, Switzerland-based Nnaisense raised seed funding in Q1’17 to work on general AI. Nnaisense has not applied for any US patents.

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