When discussing artificial intelligence, we often distinguish between "narrow artificial intelligence" and "artificial general intelligence".

Why does the word "artificial" almost always come after "narrow" but before "general"? I know that there are specific rules for adjective order in English, but since "narrow" and "general" are in the same semantic category, I would have assumed that they would have the same precedence in this hierarchy.

Is the reason simply that "general artificial intelligence" would have the abbreviation "GAI" that might be pronounced like the word "gay"? Or is it to avoid confusion with generative artificial intelligence? (I believe that that term became widespread after "artificial general intelligence" did, but I'm not sure.)

  • 3
    They're not "specific rules". They're tendencies. And in this context, "general intelligence" has a clear meaning that doesn't have to be artificial, but for most purposes, "narrow" here is only meaningful as a category of "artificial intelligence". And no-one would care if an acronym turned out to be capable of being pronounced "gay", but that's not an issue anyway. Jul 13, 2023 at 3:08
  • (My guess is Generative Artificial Intelligence probably won't be around as a buzzword for long enough for GAI to gain any traction. :) Jul 13, 2023 at 3:16
  • These things are named by whoever (1) needs a term and (2) writes an influential paper or book on the subject. They are named by computer scientists or similar researchers not linguists. If you want to specifically understand the history and meanings of the terms you're better off asking in an AI forum. (Of course there are reasons why one term may be better than another, but often "bad" or misleading terms are used in computer science.)
    – Stuart F
    Jul 13, 2023 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


"General artificial intelligence" would mean something different from "artificial general intelligence."

"General intelligence" is a specific term (see Wikipedia) used to describe levels of intelligence in humans. "Artificial general intelligence" is thus an artificial version of that kind of intelligence.

"General artificial intelligence" would mean, not an artificial version of general intelligence, but a generalized version of artificial intelligence, a much vaguer concept.

  • What is the difference in meaning, if any, between "artificial narrow intelligence” and "narrow artificial intelligence"? The intelligence in both cases is not human. First of all I guess that any intelligence that is defined narrow, be it human or machine, must mean its input and output are severely limited. Classifying knowledge as "general" means common and familiar, so... something described as artificial general knowledge or general artificial knowledge would always refer to something that is non-human, wouldn't it?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 13, 2023 at 4:38
  • Would it make such a difference if "knowledge" was substituted by "intelligence"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 13, 2023 at 4:40
  • @Mari-LouA Interesting, but that is not the question.
    – Greybeard
    Jul 13, 2023 at 10:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.