Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Who Will Build the First Artificial Mind?

Most of the work that has been done so far and is being done now in the field of artificial intelligence is focused on what is called "narrow" AI. That is, AI systems that are very good at, in fact far better than humans are, certain narrow fields. They are powerfully intelligent in terms of solving very specialized problems. According to
Specialized intelligence is simply the capability of a system to carry out some instance of Problem Solving that is considered difficult.

This includes the intelligence displayed by Narrow AI programs like Deep Blue or Google that are highly tailored to do just one sort of thing.
There is a sort of instant gratification in the development of narrow AI, because it solves difficult problems as soon as it is completed and thus has immediate value, whether in industry or academia. Nothing wrong with that. But who is working on making a mind?

Distinct from narrow AI is "general" AI, known as AGI. A general artificial intelligence would be able to understand and manipulate all kinds of patterns and problems. You could have a great conversation with an AGI. And an AGI that has access to its own code could quickly become a super-intelligent AI, with greater-than-human intelligence. Building an AGI is a much more difficult undertaking than building narrow AI. So who is working on AGI?

The Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute is, that's who. Specifically, Dr. Ben Goertzel and his team are building what they hope will become an AGI. They call it Novamente. Here is a recent 30 minute presentation by Dr. Goertzel on their project. His presentation is titled Artificial Intelligence and Human Immortality. Enjoy!

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