As part of our work on the Innovation Lab advisory board of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, I had the pleasure of sitting down with OpenCog founder and leading AGI researcher Ben Goertzel and IONS Innovation Lab director Julia Mossbridge to discuss LOVING AIs, a project aiming to design and develop an “unconditional loving” module for AGIs. In this interview, I dive into the rabbit hole of AGI with Ben and Julia to discuss the state of the field, what it would mean to program unconditional love into AGIs, and some thorny implications for the brave new world we’re entering.
Ben Goertzel (born December 8, 1966 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings and robotics firm Hanson Robotics; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC, which is a privately held software company; Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+; Scientific Advisor of biopharma firm Genescient Corp.; Advisor to the Singularity University; Research Professor in the Fujian Key Lab for Brain-Like Intelligent Systems at Xiamen University, China; and general Chair of the Artificial General Intelligence conference series, an American author and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. He was the Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly the Singularity Institute).
Goertzel is the son of Ted Goertzel, a former professor of sociology at Rutgers University. He left high school after the tenth grade to attend Bard College at Simon's Rock, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Quantitative Studies. Goertzel went on to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics from Temple University in 1989. Before entering the software industry, he served as a university faculty in several departments of mathematics, computer science and cognitive science, including the University of Nevada, City University of New York, the University of Waikato, and the University of Western Australia. He spends most of his time at a residence in the New Territories of Hong Kong.
His research work encompasses artificial general intelligence, natural language processing, cognitive science, data mining, machine learning, computational finance, bioinformatics, virtual worlds and gaming and other areas. He has published a dozen scientific books, more than 100 technical papers, and numerous journalistic articles.
He actively promotes the OpenCog project that he co-founded, which aims to build an open source artificial general intelligence engine. He is focused on creating benevolent superhuman artificial general intelligence; and applying AI to areas like financial prediction, bioinformatics, robotics and gaming.