Artificial General Intelligence Toddler Project Needs $25 million

Ben Goertzel has finished writing the last chapter of his co-authored two-volume book on how to create beneficial human-level AGI, Building Better Minds (expected 2011 publish date)

This site had an interview by Sander Olson of Ben Goertzel last year

The last chapter describes, in moderate detail, how the CogPrime cognitive architecture (implemented in the OpenCog open-source framework) would enable a robotic or virtual embodied system to appropriately respond to the instruction “Build me something surprising out of blocks.” This is in the spirit of the overall idea: Build an AGI toddler first, then teach it, study it, and use it as a platform to go further.

From an AGI toddler, I believe, one could go forward in a number of directions: toward fairly human-like AGIs, but also toward different sorts of minds formed by hybridizing the toddler with narrow-AI systems carrying out particular classes of tasks in dramatically transhuman ways.

We have a software framework that is capable of supporting the project (OpenCog), and we have a team of people capable of doing it (people working with me on OpenCog now; people working with me on other projects now; people I used to work with but who moved on to other things, but would enthusiastically come back for a well-funded AGI project). We have a rich ecosystem of others (e.g. academic and industry AI researchers, as well as neuroscientists, philosophers, technologists, etc. etc.) who are enthusiastic to provide detailed, thoughtful advice as we proceed

OpenCog has implemented maybe 40% of the CogPrime design. The OpenCog project does appear to be funded, at least minimally, for the next couple years. We’ve lined up funding for a handful of people to work full-time on a fairly AGI-ish OpenCog application for 2 years (I’ll post here about this at length once it’s definite). And there’s also the Xiamen University “Brain-Like Intelligent Systems” lab, in which some grad students are applying OpenCog to enable some intelligent robotic behaviors. And Novamente LLC is still able to fund a small amount of OpenCog work, via application projects that entail making some improvements to the OpenCog infrastructure along the way.

To move more quickly to a AGI toddler – Add a technical team of 30 people. Add Ben and his long-time partner Cassio Pennachin to coordinate the whole thing (and contribute to the technical work as needed), and a business manager to help with money and deal with the outside world. 33 people. $5 million per year (in the USA). Maybe we can do it in 3 years, maybe it would take 7-8 years to get to the AGI toddler goal — but even if it’s the latter, we’d have amazing, clearly observable dramatic progress in 3-5 years. If we relax the assumption that the work is done in the US and move to a less expensive place (say, Brazil or China where OpenCog already has some people working) we can probably cut the cost by half without a big problem. ($10-13 million total cost)

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