Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, September 14, 2007

Birthplace of Strong AI: Virtual Worlds?

Where will strong AI make its first appearance? Where will it be born? There is some speculation that virtual worlds may prove to be the birthplace and nursery of super-intelligence.

What are the alternatives? Some researchers believe that an artificial intelligence must interact with other intelligences to become intelligent itself. This stands to reason when we consider the development of our own intelligence, which grows through interactions with other humans as we mature.

Another, related school of thought holds that a body is also necessary, some manifestation of the intelligence that can interact with others.

We have all seen the rudimentary efforts of researchers to combine these elements in the lab in the form of cute robots that interact with people in order to learn, but these may be simply too limited in scope.

What's left then is a virtual environment where an intelligent machine can have any kind of body and interact with human and other artificial intelligences at will.

BBC News in this article proposes this scenario, highlighting the work of one particular company, Novamente.
Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.

Novamente said it eventually aimed to create more sophisticated avatars such as talking parrots and even babies.
It may not be very long before you are socializing with an artificial person in Second Life. So keep you eyes peeled and your ears to the ground, and as always, stay tuned.

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herself said...

Cool article, thanks.