2023 may well be the year we look back on as a time of significant change with regards to the exponential growth of artificial intelligence. AI platforms and tools are starting to have a major impact on our daily lives and virtually every conceivable industry is starting to sit up and take notice.
While the doom mongers might be concerned that these superintelligent machines pose a genuine threat to humanity, and concern grows about our future here on planet earth, many experts point to the enormous potential and benefits such sophisticated technology could have on the world.
Just recently, the co-founder of Google DeepMind, Mustafa Suleyman said that he believes within the next five years, everybody is going to have their own AI-powered personal assistant as the technology becomes cheaper and more widespread.
While on the other hand, ‘Godfather of AI’ Geoffrey Hinton quit his job at Google because he’s concerned at the rate of improvement in AI development and what this means for society as a whole.
One thing is for certain, the world we live in is going to change drastically in the coming years. Thankfully, I’m able to call upon one of the smartest human beings I know and someone who is not only at the forefront of this shift, but who also cares deeply about the ethical, political and social ramifications of AI development, and is focussed on the goal of creating benevolent AI systems.
Dr Ben Goertzel is a cross-disciplinary scientist, futurist, author and entrepreneur, who has spent the best part of his working life focused on creating benevolent superhuman artificial general intelligence (AGI).
In fact, Ben has been credited with popularising the term AGI in our mainstream thinking and has published a dozen scientific books, 150 technical papers, and numerous journal articles, making him one of the world’s foremost experts in this rapidly expanding field.
In 2017, Ben founded SingularityNet with the goal of creating a decentralised, democratic, inclusive and beneficial AGI which has become the world’s leading decentralised AI marketplace.
At SingularityNET, Ben’s goal is to create an AGI that is not dependent on any central entity, is accessible to anyone, and not restricted to the narrow goals of a single corporation or even a single country.
The platform is an open and decentralised network of AI services on a blockchain where developers publish their services to the network, and can be used by anyone with an internet connection.
SingularityNet’s latest project is Zarqa, a supercharged, intelligent, neural-symbolic, large language model on a massive scale that promises to not only take on OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but go much, much further.
Such advanced neural-symbolic AI techniques will revolutionise and disrupt every industry, taking a giant step towards AGI.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that to make decentralised AGI really work. We have to launch something that’s way smarter than ChatGPT and launch that on a decentralised infrastructure.”
In a broader sense, Ben does of course concede that there are risks in building machines that are capable of learning anything and everything, including how to reprogram itself to become an order of magnitude more intelligent than any human.
“I think the implications of superintelligence are huge and hard to foresee. It’s like asking nomads living in early human tribes what civilisation is going to be like. They could foresee a few aspects of it, but to some extent, you just have to discover when you get there.”
Moreover, Ben highlights a more pressing concern is the risk that selfish people and big business will use AI to exert their own greed and control over other people. It’s a fascinating conundrum, and there is so much to consider, something that Ben has spent more time than most thinking about.
Ben truly believes that our focus should be on building AI systems that make the world a more compassionate, more just, and more sustainable place right now and moving forward into the future.
I really enjoy sitting down for these chats with Ben, there’s so much to learn, and if you’re interested in the technology that is shaping our future world or looking for an investment opportunity, then make sure to tune in. The economic potential of AI is huge and over the next decade is expected to generate multiple trillions of dollars.
“I’m optimistic about the potential for beneficial AGI, and decentralised is important because centralisation of control tends to bring with it some narrow motivational system separate from the ethics of what’s best for everyone.”