<Ben> buenas tardes
<Ben> Anyone else on here?
<jmgj1> hi ben
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<John_McC> Sorry Ben, I've been waiting for BJ to start the festivities
<Ben> No worries...
<John_McC> We have fewer people tonight since 6 pm is a little early for a immst chat.
<Ben> Yah -- he had to reschedule since I forgot the time I was previously scheduled for ;-)
<John_McC> Plus, there seems to be some sort of SIAI volunteer meeting on the SL4 channel at 7 pm.. dunno what that is about.
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<Ben> Yeah, SIAI just hired a new director... which will be great for them I guess...
<Ben> Anyway i don't mind if this chat is short ;>
<Ben> my kids are eager for me to get off the computer, I promised I'd watch Terminator 3 with them
<Ben> My 6 year old daughter is convinced it's the most likely future for humanity...
<Ben> hopefully she's wrong...
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<Ben> Anyway I guess we can start chatting about pertinent topics now eh?
<Ben> I don't know what the format is for these things...
<John_McC> I'd love that... can you talk about AGIRI or the Novamente project?
<serenade> O dpm
<Ben> and I generally despise chat due to my fondness for sentences and paragraphs...
<serenade> oops, ignore that
<Ben> Sure ... there are 2 things I could talk about:
<Ben> 1) Novamente, 2) Biomind
<Ben> They're related of course but also distinct to an extent
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<Ben> Novamente is an AI system aimed at general intelligence
<Ben> but it's also a software system usable as an "AI toolkit" for building
<Ben> narrow AI applications --
<Ben> for instance bioinformatics applications
<Ben> Biomind is a company we founded to apply Noavmente to
<John_McC> As a project, how far along in a project life cycle is it? (percentagewise)
<Ben> bioinformatics ... mostly analyzing gene exp
<Ben> About 50-60% of the Novamente design is implemented and tested
<Ben> However, this does not include GoalNodes and does not include
<Ben> procedure learning -- things that are totally critical for
<Ben> autonomous general intelligence, self-modification, etc.
<Ben> but are not necessary for our current apps in bioinformatics
<Ben> and text analysis etc.
<Ben> The Biomind Analyzer product uses only a few parts of Novamente
<John_McC> So you have functional subsystems or infrastructure done now?
<Ben> and has now been released and delivered to some customers
<Ben> Yah, we have functional subsystems, such as first-order
<Ben> probablistic inference, evolutionary learning of data patterns, etc.
<Ben> These are the stuff used in Biomind and our other apps
<Ben> Regarding human immortality, our most direct attack on that
<Ben> problem is via applying Biomind software to understand
<Ben> DNA repair and apoptosis pathways and so on...
<Ben> But of course achieving a true AGI via Novamente would indirectly
<Ben> contribute to human immortality --
<gustavo> sorry, what is apoptosis
<Ben> altho I should stress that human immortality is by no means my sole goal!!
<Ben> apoptosis is pre-programmed cell death
<Ben> your cells are programmed to kill themselves
<Ben> If a cell is too screwed up, it's best for your body for it to kill itself
<gustavo> ah, ok
<Ben> only cells in multicellular organisms have apoptosis, it seems
<Ben> It's an interesting conclusion that it may take an AGI system
<Ben> to fully understand human biology...
<Ben> the breadth of bio data out there now seems to boggle human biologists' minds...
<Ben> I'm sure there are major discoveries implicit in the data that's online right now
<Ben> in bio research papers and databases... but humans can't integrate it all..
<Ben> it's not what our minds are made for...
<Ben> So... wanna hear about Novamente or about Biomind...
<Ben> or neither ;-)
<John_McC> Both, really... It's been pretty obvious for a while that biotech is going to need serious AI to get anywhere iteresting.
<Ben> Hmmm... ok i'll start w/biomind then
<gustavo> about Biomind, what part is still played by the human mind in the discovery process? (in addition to designing the AI system)
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<Ben> Right now the role of biomind products is to aid scientists in making discoveries
<Ben> we do not have anywhere near an autonomous AI bioscientist
<Ben> the AI can make hypotheses based on analysing quantitative
<Ben> and relational and textual data ... then biologists
<Ben> look at the hypotheses and make their own assessments,
<Ben> and design wet lab experiments to confirm/deny...
<Ben> In principle though the process could be automated fairly fully--
<Ben> there are robo bio labs out there, and there's no technological reason
<Ben> why the cycle can't be closed, and the software used to generate
<Ben> hypotheses then run experiments to test them
<Ben> As of now the software isn't savvy enough to design radical new kinds
<Ben> of experiments but it could certainly order up and control routine
<Ben> robo lab work to verify its hypotheses...
<Ben> That would be more a matter of putting lab assistants out of work,
<Ben> not putting creative scientists out of work...
<Ben> For now, I'd say, Biomind AI Engine (built on Novamente)
<Ben> has a different kind of intuition than humans -- complementary...
<Ben> It's not really general intelligence, it's very clever "narrow AI"
<Ben> built out of components of a system designed for general AI
<Ben> But when you look at the complexity of pathways involved in aging
<Ben> it seems clear that human intuition isn't gonna be enough...
<Ben> The data is not quite there yet for us to fully map out these pathways
<Ben> but I guess it will come within the next 5 years
<Ben> due to the very fast pace of innovation in experimental biology
<Ben> Hey, perhaps we should try this again some other time...
<Ben> I'm starting to feel like I'm babbling to myself --
<hkhenson> that's ok
<Ben> except I usually find more original topics to babble to myself about ;-)
<hkhenson> I presume you were answering somebody's question
<Ben> Indeed I was answering someone's question, which was a general question
<Ben> "tell me about Biomind"
<Ben> But hey -- you wanted to ask me about Novamente... so this is a decent forum for that I guess
<Ben> ask away ;-)
<John_McC> Is there a plan to add the Goal nodes and procedural learning?
<hkhenson> what I fail to see is something that really gets a handle on the process of intelligence
<Ben> John: yeah of course our plan is to complete implementing the entire design,
<Ben> it's just a matter of proceeding step by step through the whole thing,
<hkhenson> I take it from what I read is that you have built something that is basicly a bunch of links
<Ben> and the parts of more use in our short-term narrow-AI projects have gotten prioritized
<Ben> Keith: our data structure consists of a weighted typed hypergraph
<Ben> But that is a data structure not a process
<hkhenson> been there, done that, xanadu
<gustavo> another basic question: what do you call textual evidence?
<Ben> Keith, a weighted typed hypergraph -- like an array of numbers --
<Ben> is a very general math structure that can be used in very many different ways
<Ben> Novamente has almost no relation to Xanadu...
<Ben> any more than two different software systems both using arrays
<Ben> are necessarily related...
<Ben> The key is in the dynamics of the hypergraph as it evolves --
<Ben> in the mechanisms for reflection and learning
<Ben> The "basic process of intelligence" as I see it is very simple:
<Ben> You have a system that recognizes patterns in its world and itself,
<Ben> and then determines actions based on these patterns
<Ben> (again using pattern recognition in observation of past actions)
<Ben> where actions are chosen to maximize system goals
<Ben> To do this given infinite computational resources is trivial,
<Ben> as Marcus Hutter showed nicely in his recent work, building on solomonoff's classic work
<Ben> To do this using limited computational resources is hard
<Ben> and requires making a lot of clever compromises
<Ben> the brain makes these compromises one way, Novamente does so another way
<hkhenson> as I put it, getting intelligent behavior out of a cockroach
<hkhenson> I think the brain does it with massive parallel computation.
<Ben> Yes, the brain clearly uses massively parallel computation
<Ben> but that is an implementation fact, not a feature of the
<Ben> "general nature of mind"
<Ben> Not all minds need use massively parallel hardware, just cuz the brain does
<hkhenson> well, in theory, you could impiment a mind on an apple II
<hkhenson> it would just run mighty slow
<Ben> And you'd need a big pile of floppy disks...
<Ben> Yes, there is no rigorous math telling us how much hardware we need
<Ben> to make a Novamente as smart as a dog, chimp, human, whatever...
<hkhenson> might be worse than a year's stack of DVDs for the LAPD badge camera output
<Ben> On this point we are going based on our intuition based on playing with the system as it is now,
<hkhenson> 1600 foot high stack.
<Ben> and based on what we know of cog sci
<gustavo> is that a proved fact or a theoretical assumption? that there are no limitations for building a mind intrinsic to the hardware you are using
<hkhenson> partly afk for a bit
<Ben> Well, if you buy the Church-Turing thesis then as keith said it is possible to build a mind on any hardware
<gustavo> in other ways, that the mind is a digital computer, and that the dichotomy hardware / software applies to the mind
<Ben> I don't believe that "mind is a digital computer"
<Ben> I believe a mind is a system of interrelated patterns
<Ben> and that digital computers are capable of generating systems of interrelated patterns of arbitrary complexity
<jmgj1> a mind is a analog system.
<Ben> In my view minds are neither digital nor analog --
<Ben> minds are systems of patterns ...
<Ben> But these issues of philosophy are quite subtle...
<Ben> My view isn't quite the same as standard computationalism...
<Ben> I don't agree with Dennett and Eric Baum that experience doesn't exist, for one thing...
<jmgj1> a mind is the final comupution of all computationalism.
<gustavo> what about consciousness, intentionality, emotions, etc?
<gustavo> self awareness
<Ben> I wrote an essay on this topic recently, check out
<gustavo> great, do you have an URL?
<Ben> www.goertzel.org/dynapsyc/, it's called "patterns of awareness"
<Ben> I do believe selfawareness exists and isn't fully computational in nature
<Ben> but it's not biological in nature either
<Ben> and it may associate with computer programs as well as with brains or neutrino plasms or whatever
<Ben> (By selfawareness in the above, I really mean "qualia", "raw awareness")
<Ben> As for emotion, I think it's a particular kind of experience
<Ben> that comes out of having our rational minds largely yanked around
<Ben> by our reptilian and mammalian brains...
<Ben> AGI's may not experience emotions like we do, due to having
<Ben> greater control over all parts of their software & hardware...
<Ben> Just as mystics and gurus, as they gain more & more control over their minds,
<Ben> experience less of what we call "emotion"
<gustavo> we can delete the program then?
<Ben> I'm not making a value judgment about emotions...
<BJKlein> yikes.. sorry i'm late.. thanks for starting Ben.
<Ben> just pointing out that they're not necessarily an intrinsic part of mind
<Ben> and not necessarily desirable
<gustavo> right, that 's what I meant by my question. thanks
<Ben> Hey BJ ... I gotta go at 7 due to a date with my daughter..
<BJKlein> k.. no problem
<Ben> Personally, gustavo, I enjoy my emotions a lot
<BJKlein> just a quick question for ya.
<Ben> But I might sacrifice them to gain superior mentality in other ways
<BJKlein> do you subscribe to the idea that death = oblivion?
<Ben> BJ, I think it's very very likely that my individual memories, emotions
<Ben> and cognitive biases will not survive the death of my body
<Ben> Of course, I don't have certain knowledge about this
<BJKlein> thus, the continuance via brain uploading is the only option for you?
<Ben> I think that the core of my awareness -- the "I am " at my center --
<Ben> lives outside of time and space anyway, and "survives" my body's
<Ben> death in a sense...
<Ben> but that's either a weak or strong form of immortality depending upon your attitude and mood!!
* BJKlein tilts head
<Ben> Anyway I definitely have an interest in causing my memories and cognitive biases and feelings
<Ben> continue to exist indefinitely....
<BJKlein> thus you have metaphysical belief in the "I am"
<Ben> Yep, I guess I do... though "Belief" seems a wrong word, I guess it'll do...
<BJKlein> right.. that's cool..
<BJKlein> very interesting actually..
<Ben> My ex-wife was a Zen Buddhist...
<BJKlein> do you subscribe to any religion..
<Ben> I appreciated a lot about that tradition,
<BJKlein> ahh.. ok.. yeah
<jmgj1> the Ben can you copy all the atoms of my brain.
<Ben> but I'm pretty rabidly anti-religious when it comes down to it
<BJKlein> right.. agree
<Ben> can I copy all the atoms of your brain? Not at the moment, no!
<Ben> Sorry if someone told you I had super powers..
<Ben> it's a common misconception ;-D
<John_McC> So Ben, do you see any path for creation of an AI that can imitate an existing human brain?
<Ben> Imitate a human brain: sure it'll be possible eventually
<Ben> My own Novamente work is oriented differently,
<John_McC> What about collecting the data, and building it later?
<Ben> toward making a fundamentally nonhuman AGI system
<Ben> but my Biomind work may well help out with molecular neuroscience
<Ben> and thus help work toward this goal
<Ben> As for collecting the data in the human brain,
<Ben> there's no good way to do that now
<Ben> but I'm sure the tech will come
<Ben> Eugen leitl has written some good stuff on this,
<Ben> but I don't recall the URL
<hkhenson> are you up on william calvin?
<BJKlein> Ben, not trying to rehash to much.. but your feeling about the "I am".. does this preclude any major focus on protecting your existance (cryonics, etc)
<Ben> Yeah, I know the guy and have read his books
<Ben> BJ: I'm an Alcor member
<BJKlein> same here
<hkhenson> ben, out of curiosity, what or who influenced you to become an alcor member?
<BJKlein> any luck with family members in this route (cryonics)?
<Ben> I guess Peter Voss pushed me over the edge into signing up
<Ben> but I had been meaning to cryonically preserve myself since early youth
<hkhenson> with me it was eric drexler
<Ben> when I found out it was possible
<Ben> About family: my kids badly want to be cryo-preserved but
<Ben> my ex-wife won't allow me to sign them up. I will when they turn
<hkhenson> chance are good they will make it to 18
<Ben> My new partner is in the process of signing up though...
<BJKlein> Ben, we should reschedule another chat sometime soon.... many good questions for you...but don't want to keep you from your daughter
<Ben> See, my ex-wife believed in reincarnation! not compatible with Alcor...
<Ben> I can chat a few more minutes BJ... she seems to be distracted playing Harvest Moon
<MichaelA> Can you tell us a little bit about your new partner? bwuahaha
<Ben> Sorry that's classified information
<BJKlein> thanks for adding me to your Orkut friends list, Ben.
* BJKlein is an Orkut addict now
<Ben> She's a Novamente programmer and a mean bluegrass bagpipe player though...
<hkhenson> and a redhead?
<gustavo> you still running for president ben?
<Ben> Well not in this upcoming election
<Ben> I need to get Novamente to the stage of being a powerful AGI first
<Ben> The only way an obvious freak like me could get elected President
<BJKlein> what's the financial hurdle for pres candidate (if any)?
<Ben> would be to become as famous as Einstein first ;-)
<Ben> It's not the financial hurdles that worry me -- it's the conservatism
<Ben> of the US public, that would preclude someone as odd as I am (from their perspective)
<Ben> from getting any votes
<BJKlein> heh.. yeah.. no kidding. i suspect creating an AI president would be easier
<jmgj1> this is for ben
<jmgj1> Stem Cells: From Blank to Brain
<jmgj1> By Kristen Philipkoski | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1
<jmgj1> 10:35 AM Nov. 30, 2001 PT
<jmgj1> Two teams of researchers have turned human embryonic stem cells into brain
<jmgj1> cells, a significant scientific step that could lead to the treatment of nervous
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<Ben> yeah, that's very cool!
<Ben> stem cell research is definitely important
<Ben> Biomind is not working on that sort of data now but could well do in future
<gustavo> Ben, a basic question left from before
<BJKlein> Ben, you hang out with John Smart much?
<gustavo> what do you call "textual evidence"?
<Ben> BJ, I know John Smart pretty well and we trade emails back and forth regularly
<Ben> I don't hang out with him in person since I live in DC and he lives in california...
<BJKlein> ah k
<Ben> gustavo: "textual evidence' in what context?? what are you talking about?
<gustavo> you were talking at the beginning that biomind used 3 types of evidence
<Ben> ah, I mean information contained in bio research papers, eg. papers
<BJKlein> Ben, as the first ImmInst Book submission is past.. I hope you consider submitting something for us for the next book...
<Ben> referenced o nmedline etc.
<Ben> BJ, maybe I'll submit something for the next book, sure
<Ben> Lately my "writing time" has been devoted to completing the
<Ben> series of 3 books I'm writing about Novamente, plus some
<Ben> bioinformatics research papers...
<Ben> Anyway i wasn't sure I had anything original to say about
<gustavo> about textual evidence: can the AI system be fed on journal papers? how do you feed textual evidence into an AI system?
<BJKlein> right.. understand
<Ben> Because we have a natural langauge processing capability
<Ben> Which works imperfectly right now...
<Ben> Two modes: information extraction (fast, but misses a lot)
<Ben> Interactive -- requires a human to correct its mistakes... goes slowly but doens't make errors
<gustavo> Hello, computer, let me help you reading this
<Ben> anyway.. guess I gotta go...
<BJKlein> thanks Ben! have fun.
<gustavo> thanks! it was great
<Ben> ok, i guess we'll do this again sometime.. have a good night everyone...
<jmgj1> bye ben