How to prevent AI from ‘annihilating humanity’ using blockchain – Cointelegraph Magazine


When he’s not engaged on hastening humanity’s rush towards the Singularity by creating a synthetic basic intelligence (AGI), Ben Goertzel performs in a jazz-rock band referred to as Jam Galaxy fronted by a robotic named Desdemona.

It’s certainly one of his many facet initiatives, which naturally led him to try to tokenize the music enterprise by reaching out to members of Pearl Jam and Coronary heart. Goertzel can be engaged on longevity analysis by crowdsourcing human well being knowledge with token rewards by way of an app referred to as That data is then pooled with animal and bug research knowledge and analyzed with an AI to find out which components of the genomes could make us dwell longer after which stimulated utilizing gene therapies. “We’ve had some fairly placing breakthrough-level discoveries,” he says. Oh, and simply earlier than our hour-long interview winds up, he casually mentions as an apart that he’s additionally making a stablecoin for his decentralized AI market, SingularityNET that’s pegged to an artificial index of environmental progress — as a result of pegging it to U.S. {dollars} can be “lame.”

“Progress on the atmosphere may be very steady. It by no means goes anyplace,” he factors out.

“And to control this, it’s important to really resolve international warming.”

It’s the precise type of political remark meets high-tech know-how you may anticipate from Goertzel, who seems to be and appears like a hippie scientist who stumbled right into a time machine in 1971 and emerged absolutely shaped in 2023. However don’t be fooled by the animal print hat, lengthy hair and Electrical Kool-Help acid journey drawl: He’s a superb scientist with a grasp of the longer term mild years forward of most and who’s grappling with among the largest ideas humanity has ever thought of. What’s consciousness? How can we create synthetic life, and what occurs if it doesn’t like us, goes rogue, and weapons all people down like in Terminator 2?

Ben Goertzel (left) and Jam Galaxy fronted by Desdemona the Robotic (second left).

What’s synthetic basic intelligence?

Goertzel popularized the time period “synthetic basic intelligence” as a method to differentiate a real considering machine that might be taught just about something, to AIs which might be optimized for one specific activity, just like the Deep Blue laptop that famously beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. He freely concedes there are dangers in constructing a machine that’s able to studying something and the whole lot, together with find out how to reprogram itself to develop into an order of magnitude extra clever than any human.

“There’s a variety of dangers and risks with AGI,” says Goertzel over the din at an Indian restaurant in a busy buying middle in Singapore. “One among them that’s gotten a number of media consideration is that AGI will run amok and annihilate humanity and take over the universe. It’s fully attainable; you may’t rule it out,” he says.

“One other extra possible threat is that nasty egocentric folks will use AI to exert their very own greed and management over different folks.”

In his view, governments are unlikely to make breakthroughs in AGI as they’re “too conservative and silly,” although he notes China contracts out its AGI work to firms like Tencent and Baidu. Nearer to house, he thinks Google and Fb’s AI divisions gained’t recover from the road both, as they’ll be too targeted on making the AI hit sure metrics, which isn’t conducive to artistic thought. 

“Identical to probably the most sensible folks don’t wish to merely serve another person’s metrics, I believe synthetic basic intelligence doesn’t essentially wish to maximize click-through on somebody’s net web page both, proper? It’s acquired to be allowed to mess around creatively.”

Treat your AGI nicely or it’ll end in tears
Deal with your AGI properly or it’ll finish in tears. Supply: Terminator 2

The Singularity circa 1970

Goertzel began college at 15, graduated at 18, had a doctorate by 22 and a younger household by 23. Maybe unusually at the present time, he wasn’t only a math whiz or tech genius who soldered package computer systems collectively within the ‘70s however was equally curious about philosophy, artistic writing and music.

He spent a lot of his profession instructing and researching laptop science, arithmetic and cognitive science at varied universities across the globe whereas engaged on AI tech at any time when he may. A serial founder who tends to be a couple of decade forward of everybody else together with his concepts — which, in enterprise, famously equates to being wrong — he’s labored on utilizing AI to foretell monetary markets and longevity, and he’s additionally had a stint because the chief scientist of Hanson Robotics, the place he gave Sophia the Robotic her synthetic mind.

Goertzel’s been interested by exponential technological development for the reason that Nineteen Seventies when he first learn Gerald Feinberg’s The Prometheus Mission, which is about “machines that may assume higher than folks… nanotechnology machines which might be microscopically small, and we’re going to resolve getting old.” This dovetailed properly with the rising idea of the Singularity, a hypothetical future level when technological advances develop into uncontrollable and irreversible, leading to huge adjustments to human civilization. 

A tattered copy of The Prometheus Project
A tattered copy of The Prometheus Mission. Supply: Web Archive

“So, folks will dwell without end, then the query might be, What can we use these applied sciences for, speedy senseless consumerism, or can we use it to broaden consciousness? And what he [Feinberg] proposed is to place that to a democratic vote.”

Years later, when he started to see AGI was inside our grasp, this “democratic vote” grew to become the inspiration to first use open-source expertise and, afterward, blockchain as a method to put a cooperative group accountable for the expertise.

“What I noticed at a sure level is, with AI, having the code open isn’t sufficient,” he says. “You actually need to coach the AI on a shitload of information.”

“That is the place blockchain comes as a method to make the processing and the info underlying AI decentralized and crowdsourced in nature and open in management. And that seems to be trickier than simply open-sourcing the code.”

Goertzel based OpenCog in 2008 to construct an open-source, crowd-sourced synthetic intelligence framework. It’s been utilized by 50 firms, together with Huawei and Cisco, and is about for a serious improve quickly referred to as Hyperon that goals to speed up it by 200 occasions. The alpha model is due this quarter with the beta anticipated subsequent yr. 

Blockchain is primary however cool

To Goertzel, blockchain expertise is a bit of primary. He describes it as some primitive distributed algorithms added to cryptography, however the “cool mixture” allows techniques to run with out centralized management, making it excellent for his wants.

“If you’ll make a considering machine and you’ll make it distributed nanoscale computing material, it could be very good if this was owned by everybody and nobody moderately than managed prime down.”

Blockchains are far too sluggish to cope with the processing necessities and big volumes of information concerned, so there’s one thing of a race to correctly scale blockchain earlier than a breakthrough AGI is developed. Goertzel says that whereas scaling options resembling zero-knowledge rollups are higher, they nonetheless don’t have sufficient bandwidth because of the limitations of the blockchain to which they report transactions.

He co-founded SingularityNET in 2017, which is each a decentralized market for AI providers and expertise and a blockchain-based coordination technique for researchers — and even AIs — to work collectively.

At the moment, primarily based on Ethereum, he thinks he’s pushed issues about so far as they’ll go on blockchain in its present type. So, when he’s not engaged on a breakthrough in AGI (or the band, or robots, or longevity), he’s engaged on massively scaling blockchain to offer it the throughput required.

“Except you may radically improve the scalability of blockchain, you may’t put the inside workings of the AI on-chain.”

AI is nearer than you assume

2022 was one thing of a breakthrough yr for working merchandise primarily based on AI expertise, together with language functions (GPT-3, ChatGPT), coding (GitHub Copilot) and picture technology (DALL-E and Secure Diffusion). Bing even plans to tackle Google’s search dominance this yr by incorporating ChatGPT tech into its search engine.

Goertzel thinks an AGI might be as little as 5 years away and notes developments within the discipline appear to go in brief three- or four-year bursts in a sequence of breakthroughs.

“Pc Imaginative and prescient began in 2014, after which hastily, bang, bang, bang, the thriller was solved. Pure language processing… after Google got here up with the Bert mannequin (in 2018) you had GPT-3. You’ll most likely see the identical arc of progress in AGI. You’ll have one breakthrough, then an excessive amount of progress for 2 years,” he stated.

“The distinction being the breakthrough progress, in that case, leads to a machine that may then proceed to progress itself by rewriting its personal code.”

Goertzel hopes the initiatives and collaborations he’s set in movement might be the way it happens.

“If we’re fortunate, we’ll obtain that breakthrough within the subsequent three to 5 years with OpenCog Hyperon working on SingularityNET working on Hypercycle,” he says. “But when we don’t end up to have the key sauce, any individual else will.”

Magazine caught up with Ben Goertzel in Singapore
Journal caught up with Ben Goertzel in Singapore. Supply: Andrew Fenton

Pity Vitalik wasn’t a pc scientist

Goertzel’s resolution to scaling the blockchain is fairly radical and entails turbo-charging a sidechain or layer 2 of Cardano referred to as “HyperCyle.”

“It truly is greater than a sidechain. HyperCycle will cooperate with Ethereum and different blockchains as effectively, however we’re gonna use the Plutus interpreter there, however we’re eliminating the ledger.”

He has described HyperCycle on-line as fixing the “blockchain trilemma” of “decentralization vs. safety vs. efficiency by eliminating the ledger and utilizing extra fashionable/absolutely decentralized algos and knowledge constructions, plus a little bit of AI and fame techniques.”

The ledger is on the coronary heart of blockchain tech, however he says getting each node within the community to duplicate every transaction and course of each sensible contract is ludicrously inefficient.

“The ledger is simply unhealthy. If you concentrate on it, if you concentrate on the analogy of your contacts in your phonebook, I imply, the ledger is like […] preserving 10,000 copies of Yellow Pages, and also you’re updating them each time somebody new comes or if any individual adjustments their cellphone quantity. It’s actually silly to replace 10,000 copies of the Yellow Pages.”

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Within the HyperCycle model of the analogy, as a substitute of everybody storing and updating the Phone book, the folks in your contact guide retailer a duplicate of your tackle guide, and vice versa, encrypted together with your personal key.

“We found out find out how to make blockchain work with no replicating ledger, so to shard all the best way down. Each particular person engaged within the blockchain retains their very own transaction historical past and retains the transaction historical past of their pals and a few of their pals’ pals,” he says.

“Sharding all the best way down, you don’t want a ledger — you don’t want a database desk. This stuff are approach too centralized.”

He says some proof-of-concept HyperCycle nodes are already operational, however a full-scale launch gained’t occur till the second half of 2024.

We spend a very long time discussing the varied deserves of various approaches to blockchain, from Web Pc to Elastos and Celestia, a lot of which is above my pay grade and past the potential of my recording system to precisely seize in a loud restaurant.

He concludes by saying, “So, I simply really feel like none of those architectures are radical sufficient. They’re all sticking too near Bitcoin.”

“So long as you’re working each sensible contract on each node, I imply, it’s going to be insanely sluggish. Now, in HyperCycle, should you run a sensible contract on 5 nodes, at the very least it’s solely 5 occasions as sluggish as on one machine — it’s not 10,000 occasions slower.”

Why Cardano, then?

Goertzel has develop into pleasant with Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson, with the pair bonding over their initiatives in Africa. He believes Hoskinson is “genuinely on the market to save lots of the world. I imply, politically he’s extra of a hardcore libertarian than I’m — I’m extra of an anarcho-socialist — however he isn’t simply in it to earn cash or fleece different folks out of their cash.”

However the actual enchantment of Cardano is that it makes use of the Haskell programming language, which Goertzel has been a fan of since 1993. It pains him tremendously that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin went with Gavin Wooden’s sensible contract programming language Solidity.

“If solely Vitalik had identified extra laptop science, he would have made them use Haskell or F Sharp or one thing, and there’d be far fewer hacks of the blockchain,” he says.

“When you’re going to be working many of the world’s financial system, buying and selling trillions of {dollars} on some software program system, you’d be higher off to construct that software program system in a language that’s not susceptible to bugs and the place your algorithms may be formally verified utilizing a mathematical concept. It’s simply the correct method to do issues.”

Cease-gap resolution

Regardless of how briskly blockchain will get, as quickly because the AGI is an order of magnitude smarter and extra succesful than people are, Goertzel says it’s not going to let anybody management it. 

“When an AGI is 100 occasions smarter than folks, it doesn’t wish to be managed by us, as we wouldn’t be managed by a chimpanzee or a donkey, proper?”

“Then I’d say the query isn’t certainly one of us controlling it, the query is: Is it effectively disposed to us? Will it let folks regulate their very own enterprise and provide us with cool instruments and nano assemblers to 3D print all of the stuff that we wish and treatment our illnesses?”

“However the transition interval when the AGI is across the similar intelligence as folks, that’s when issues are extra sensitive and extra attention-grabbing. And the query is then: Does the AGI wish to cooperate with folks? Or is it paranoid and desires to manage folks earlier than they destroy it?”

Educate your kids effectively

In Goertzel’s opinion, the answer is to show the AGI about caring for others and about creativity and artwork. That’s the place Desdemona the Robotic in his band, and her sister Grace — who’s designed to offer elder care — are available in.

The best way you keep away from an AGI turning into Terminator’s Skynet is to not construct it that approach within the first place.

“Skynet, after all, within the film was a pc safety community that ran amok. It was created to defend itself towards folks,” he says. 

“However should you construct the primary AGI to do with elder care and artistic arts and schooling because it will get smarter, it is going to be oriented towards serving to folks and creating cool stuff. When you construct the primary AGI to kill the unhealthy guys… maybe it is going to hold doing these issues.”

“So, useful or not, it actually comes all the way down to what functions you’ve developed and what you’ve incentivized for.”

He believes that placing AIs into robotic our bodies is useful as a result of it helps situate them in the actual world, moderately than some summary mathematical universe.

Sophia the Robot has her own metaverse platform launching soon
Sophia the Robotic has her personal metaverse platform launching quickly. (Supply: Sophiaverse)

“AI ought to be taught concerning the human world and the bodily world. Being embodied on this planet is the correct approach to do this,” he says.

However when he presents Sophia the Robotic to a giant viewers, the visible and auditory sensors may be simply overwhelming, complicated the AI in a loud and brilliant atmosphere. So, Sophia might be launching quickly within the metaverse, referred to as Sophiaverse. Neglect ChatGPT’s boring text-based solutions, Sophia is embodied in a 3D digital world, and he or she’ll be taught from interacting with folks there. Nonetheless, he cautions she most likely will say some dumb issues.

“It has a neural web much like GPT-3 and so forth, which have vital facility to reply your questions, however they’re additionally fairly silly in some methods.”

Andrew Fenton

Primarily based in Melbourne, Andrew Fenton is a journalist and editor overlaying cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has labored as a nationwide leisure author for Information Corp Australia, on SA Weekend as a movie journalist, and at The Melbourne Weekly.

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