First Singularity Salon a Success

Singularity SalonHad a generalised meeting entitled ‘Singularity Salon‘ on a few things futurist at Prudence bar in North Melbourne… A good turnout, had a round table discussion for about 5 hours and in the spirit of St Patrick made plenty of noise.
We spoke about a range of subjects including the Japan nuclear disaster, CEV (Coherent Extrapolated Volition), reflected equilibrium, what the metaphor of the Technological Singularity means (can’t see past the Event Horizon of a black hole) – a definition of what the Singularity is and what it isn’t:
– it isn’t the accelerating returns or technological development that may lead into a Singularity, it isn’t an infinite growth after a Singularity upwards ad infinitum, it isn’t referring to a black hole
– it is more like that IJ Good defined as an Intelligence Explosion, a closing of a feedback loop in which an intelligence intelligently and insightfully optimizes its own intelligence, lather rinse repeat…
We also spoke about a word made up on the spot: ‘enflourishment’, and what that word could mean. Actually found out later that the word really does exist.
Also spoke about the up and coming Humanity Plus summit in Melbourne (first one in Australasia), and the 2nd Singularity Summit AU (also in Melbourne).
Lastly we spoke on the dynamics and biases of conspiracy oriented thinking, floating ideas, some common behaviors associated with orgs like Ralien UFO cults. Also future less wrong meetings in Melbourne.

singularity salonThanks to all those who came along.
We are planning to have more Singularity Salons in the coming months.

Binh Nguyen

Binh NguyenBinh Nguyen is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University.

His focus is on evolving artificial intelligences with human like embodiments and environments. His work draws inspiration from artificial life, embodied artificial intelligence, evolutionary psychology, and human evolution. He believes that an artificial intelligence that can survive the physical and social challenges that humans face will be a step towards artificial general intelligence.

He is working on a simulation that exposes artificial intelligences to increasingly human like embodiments and environments. He is doing so by introducing the physical traits that differentiate humans from animals and that create pressures for complex social interactions. These traits include the human form, gender differences, and a slower growth rate compared to almost every other animal. In addition, he is increasing the environmental challenge by improving the level of physical realism, introducing predators, prey, and elements that reward exploring, learning, and cooperation.

He co-wrote with Dr. Andrew Skabar, “Evolutionary Intelligence, and Communication in Societies of Virtually Embodied Agents” in Artificial Life: Borrowing from Biology, 2009.

ABSTRACT – “Evolving Artificial Intelligences with Human Like Embodiments and Environments”

There are a number of breathtaking projects underway including the Blue Brain Project led by Dr. Henry Markram, the China Brain Project formerly led by Dr. Hugo De Garis, and the OpenCog Project led by Dr. Ben Goertzel. They are breathtaking in their vision and complexity.

This talk is instead about a relatively simple idea. What if instead of scanning and modelling biological neural networks with ever more detail, or building neural networks with a staggering number of neurons, or designing cognitive architectures with immense knowledge databases, we did something different? What if we instead evolve artificial intelligences by requiring them to learn to survive with increasingly human like bodies and environments?

Skilfully coping with the world requires a lifetime of experiences. It requires engaging in a form of life, interacting with the physical world and with others in the social world. Artificial intelligences are evolving behaviours that are ever more sophisticated. Behaviours include walking, hunting, evading, foraging, reproducing, cooperating, competing, using objects, and altering environments. Most interestingly, artificial intelligences are evolving natural language, one of the most powerful human abilities.

The talk will touch upon a few key ideas. Firstly, life is an incredibly persistent force given the chance, and persistence itself can compel artificial intelligences to act. Neural networks are capable of continual reconfiguration based simply on frequency of activation. Human beings are essentially the same as they were ten thousand years ago in Africa. Finally, computing power is developing at an exponential rate, allowing us to develop more and more realistic simulations.

This talk will look at evolving artificial intelligences to cope with human embodiments and environments. It will discuss the relevant techniques, technologies, challenges, and common criticisms.