AGI is the equivalent of what many typically envision when talking about (human level or greater) “AI”. So to simply say ‘Google is funding AI’ means almost nothing. “AI” in itself means a wide range of everyday things such as the ‘computer’ player in video games going back to the beginning. But to factually say that Google is now publicly funding AGI is a far more profound statement.
Meet Novamente, and Dr. Ben Goertzel. Novamente’s mission statement is to have self modifying human level intelligence in roughly 2012. I’ve been well aware of the mad doctor and his activities (such as working for NIH and other government and military agencies (I have video of Ben stating this somewhere) for some time. I also took note of his recent “OpenCog, an open source project to accelerate progress toward safe, beneficial artificial general intelligence“. I haven’t the time to do huge writeups on everything happening in the world of AGI, although I have certainly given mention to Ben in many various writings.
For being what I consider a ‘government’ (or rather Technological Establishment) insider, I do give him props for being much more open and ‘honest’ about the AGI ordeal than many of his other contemporaries. In contrast, Ray Kurzweil tells us it’s coming but then tells us not for another 20 years give or take a few. The absurdness of Ray’s claims, assuming that AGI is possible of course, is that he basically sets the ‘date’ to be about the same time that commercially availible $1000 CPU’s match roughly human complexity in regards to transistors.
The DARPA insider that Ray is, he doesn’t like to discuss things like what if there were an AGI ‘Manhattan Project’, like Ben does. Aside from the aforementioned Novamente claims of their own AGI due-date, Ben has claimed in many videos and writings that all they need to solve the “Strong AI ‘Problem‘” to enable rapid AGI genesis is for there to be an AGI “Manhattan Project”. As I demonstrated in my recent ‘Google … God On Earth‘ article, such a project (Google + NASA + DARPA) exists. But one thing lacking from my recent ‘Google God’ analysis was outside funding by Google, but now that intel exists on my radar screen.
Google is listed as sponsor of the OpenCog project, specializing in “financial support for OpenCog programmers via Google Summer of Code“. And this isn’t Ben’s first noteworthy interaction with Google, either. Watch Ben’s ‘Google Tech Talk’, “Artificial General Intelligence: Now Is the Time“, from last October, on Google’s official Tech Talk Youtube channel.
In summary, this intel should put to rest some of the notions of Google not directly seeking AGI although their entire operation is merely ‘Narrow AI’ claims I’ve been seeing around.