Seed AI is a hypothesized type of strong artificial intelligence capable of recursive self-improvement. Having improved itself it would become better at improving itself, potentially leading to an exponential increase in intelligence. No such AI currently exists, but researchers[who?] are working to make seed AI a reality[citation needed].

Modern compilers optimize for efficiency and raw speed, but this is not sufficient for the sort of open-ended recursive self-enhancement needed to create superintelligence, as a true seed AI would need to be able to do. Existing optimizers can transform code into a functionally equivalent, more efficient form, but cannot identify the intent of an algorithm and rewrite it for more effective results. The optimized version of a given compiler may compile faster, but it cannot compile better. That is, an optimized version of a compiler will never spot new optimization tricks that earlier versions failed to see or innovate new ways of improving its own program. Seed AI must be able to understand the purpose behind the various elements of its design, and design entirely new modules that will make it genuinely more intelligent and more effective in fulfilling its purpose.

Creating seed AI is the goal of several organizations. The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence is the most prominent of those explicitly working to create seed AI. Others include the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, creator of the Novamente AI engine, and Adaptive Artificial Intelligence Incorporated.

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