Interview with Ben Goertzel Founder SingularityNet, OpenCog - Benevolent And Open AI, What Kind Of Evolutionary Mind Can We Engineer?

By Dinis Guarda - May 12, 2020

Ben Goertzel is a leading world recognised artificial intelligence researcher, thinker, software engineer and serial entrepreneur. Ben is the founder and CEO of SingularityNET, the Chairman of OpenCog Foundation, the Chairman of Artificial General Intelligence Society, the Chief Scientist of Mozi Health and Vice Chairman Humanity+ and his work, writing and ideas are influencing the way we perceive AI, technology and blockchain.

Ben Goertzel Interview focus questions:

  1. An introduction from Ben - background, overview, education...
  2. The way you look at AI, AGI, open AI?
  3. Career highlights?
  4. Your companies and focus
  5. What is your main focus as a doer?
  6. Can you show an example of of open AI
  7. You have a focus on open AI and Artificial General Intelligence? Can you elaborate on this?
  8. You are a thinker, philosopher and as we look at evolution how do you see Singularity, special when it comes to the 2 visions of humanity the light side and the dark side?
  9. What are Ben Goals and focus as a thinker and a doer?
  10. With Covid-19 how can you look at this as a way to redesign our society
  11. As a science fiction reader, writer and enthusiastic what is your vision of the Future you would like to create?

Ben Goertzel takeaways of this interview

About AI development

· Deep neural networks, evolutionary learning, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) are some of the areas where researchers and scientists are moving forward right now.

· What we have now is narrow AIs, but as we push forward in AI research, we will see tremendous developments in machine ideas whereas the end game is AIs that are smarter than people.

· The primary applications of AI today are: selling, killing, spying and gambling

· Similar paths in parallel and in different sectors and vertical areas are taking place right now: for example in healthcare, telecommunications engineering, just to name a few.

· Major challenges we face as humanity when we develop and research AI is who owns the data that feeds AI and who benefits from it.

· AI has no world regulator system and more difficult to regulate.

About Narrow AI vs. Strong AI

· Narrow AI versus AGI. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) or strong AI is the hypothetical intelligence of a machine that has the capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can. But what we have now implemented on a wide scale is Weak artificial intelligence (weak AI), is artificial intelligence that implements a limited part of mind, or as narrow AI, is focused on one narrow task. Contrast with strong AI which is defined as a machine with the ability to apply intelligence to any problem, rather than just one specific problem, sometimes considered to require consciousness, sentience and mind.

· A lot of AI solutions are cooperating in multiple Evolutionary systems to create AGI

Artificial General Intelligence, OpenCog and SingularityNET

·  OpenCog is precisely about shifting the control of AGI from both major corporations, governments and special open source AI that can create a more diffuse self organised network. This means the gathering of contributors from all over the world to put ideas and code together towards realizing that vision.

OpenCog is a diverse assemblage of cognitive algorithms, each embodying their own innovations — but what makes the overall architecture powerful is its careful adherence to the principle of cognitive synergy.

The human brain consists of a host of subsystems carrying out particular tasks — some more specialized, some more general in nature — and connected together in a manner enabling them to (usually) synergetically assist rather than work against each other.

The OpenCog design aims to capture the spirit of the brain’s architecture and dynamics without imitating the details (which are largely unknown), via:

integrating together a carefully selected combination of cognitive algorithms acting on different kinds of knowledge; in a scalable, robust and flexible C++ software architecture; in a manner specifically designed:

·  to cooperate together with “cognitive synergy” for the scope of tasks characteristic of human intelligence

·  to give rise to the emergence of an effectively functioning knowledge network in the AI system’s mind, as it interacts with the world, including a self-updating hierarchical/heterarchical ontology and models of itself and others

· SingularityNet is a society of minds created by different people, tools, different AI agents which are collaborating on different problems. SingularityNET lets anyone create, share, and monetize AI services at scale. The world’s decentralized AI network has arrived.

· SingularityNET was born from a collective will to distribute the power of AI. Sophia, the world’s most expressive robot, is one of their first use cases. Today, she uses multiple AI modules to see, hear, and respond empathetically. Many of her underlying AI modules will be available open-source on SingularityNET.

· ‘Loving AI’ project is a project between OpenCog and Hansen Robotics as a way to collaborate in a way to build an AI that can feel love and meditation sessions.

Developing AI: the morality behind and singularity

· The relationship between good and evil is a mutual maximise of business return

· In biology there are 2 kinds of evolution: individual selection, group selection. We have to take into account this contradiction when researching AI.

· When we look at the dark versus light is a way of the biological selection contradictions and how we are part of our DNA tribe - this is what makes it fascinating to pass ethics and morality to AI.

· We should aim to drive benevolent AI and guide the big picture to get the best potential outcome for our species. For example, we can achieve this by applying AI to biogenetics that interact between molecular biology and sociology.

· The traditional concept of narrative is being disrupted. We are in a post post modernist narrative where people are building narratives but only partially. It is a very subtle subject and this is where AI can push things behind the scenes. Google ad sense is an example of this.

· Free will is mostly an illusion in the biological philosophical sense.

Applying AI to Covid-19

· Applying AI to Covid-19 and how to solve that with chopping clinical trials to see what works to each people and look at hypothesis, agent based modelling.

· AI can greatly help with this and future healthcare crisis, but there must be a dialect between high detail data analytics and storytelling - set up of rules to optimise life well-being and lifestyle.

· AI is the most fundamental technology that humanity created with the creation of human super minds.

About Blockchain technology

· Blockchain is a powerful technology in the sense of computing systems without requiring central systems - it has a potential to play a system in the AI evolution in the way to decentralise and manage the multiple systems in AI.

· Blockchain is the enderlining ecosystem that has the ability to decentralising it and turning it into an open system

· Blockchain is a very young technology when compared to AI. There are basic advances that can be made. It should be very vibrant in the next 5 years.

Ben Goertzel Bio

Ben Goertzel is a leading world recognised authority in artificial intelligence research, inventor and serial entrepreneur. Ben is a deep thinker and also a man of action as the founder and CEO of SingularityNET, the Chairman of OpenCog Foundation, the Chairman of Artificial General Intelligence Society, the Chief Scientist of Mozi Health and Vice Chairman Humanity+

Goertzel is the chief scientist and chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC; chairman of the OpenCog Foundation; and advisor to Singularity University. He was Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly the Singularity Institute).

Goertzel is the son of Ted Goertzel, a former professor of sociology at Rutgers University. He left high school after the tenth grade to attend Bard College at Simon's Rock, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Quantitative Studies.

In May 2007, Goertzel spoke at a Google Tech talk about his approach to creating Artificial General Intelligence. In that event, he defined intelligence as the ability to detect patterns in the world and in the agent itself, measurable in terms of emergent behavior of "achieving complex goals in complex environments". A "baby-like" artificial intelligence is initialized, then trained as an agent in a simulated or virtual world such as Second Life to produce a more powerful intelligence. Knowledge is represented in a network whose nodes and links carry probabilistic truth values as well as "attention values", with the attention values resembling the weights in a neural network. Several algorithms operate on this network, the central one being a combination of a probabilistic inference engine and a custom version of evolutionary programming.

Ben Goertzel's focus these days is the SingularityNET project, which brings AI and blockchain together to create a decentralized open market for AIs. It's a medium for the creation and emergence of AGI, a way to roll out superior AI-as-a-service to every vertical market, and a way to enable everyone in the world to contribute to and benefit from AI.

Ben's passions are numerous, including AGI, life extension biology, philosophy of mind, psi, consciousness, complex systems, improvisational music, experimental fiction, theoretical physics and metaphysics ...

For general links to various of Ben pursuits present and past, see his website http://goertzel.org

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