Conversations on strong AI – Part I

From: Rod (Me)
To: Quantum Lady
Subject: AGI

Yes I agree that there are many challenges ahead on the path to AGI. Right now, we should focus on acquiring a better understanding of how the brain works from an algorithmic perspective and try to derive a hypothesis of general intelligence from it. After all, the brain is the only implementation of a general intelligence “platform” currently known to us.

Our brains represent nothing but one design out of a multitude of possible general intelligence implementations. However, I believe that the search-space for viable AGI architectures is just too large to be traversed by anything other than a super-civilization. Think about the staggering amount of computation mindlessly performed by evolution over millions of years to come up with the design we carry in between our ears.

I think it must be clear to you by now that I sit on the bio-inspired AGI camp and I definitely share your newfound fascination with the brain. Just recently, I started to tell people I am a hobbyist neuroscientist.

Reactions are interesting, sometimes hilarious.

I see whole-brain emulation as the worst-case scenario or “plan B”. If everything else fails, we will achieve AGI once we become able to emulate a whole brain down to an arbitrary level of precision yet to be determined.

That begs the question – what would be the best-case scenario?

Ultimately, I believe there is a simple algorithm for general intelligence yet to be discovered: a small set of rules that give rise to ever growing complexity and intelligence after many generative iterations.

It is unquestionable that this elusive algorithm is engraved not only on the neuronal topology of the brain but also in the rules that govern how topology changes over time. That is why any simulation of the brain must take into consideration plasticity and generative topology to be useful.

I also believe that only a very small subset of the human brain is actually responsible for general intelligence. In the best-case scenario, we will be able to identify the bare minimum amount of brain tissue necessary for general intelligence and derive powerful algorithmic insights from it. I am not talking about generating connectomes or maps but about understanding how to replicate what the brain does, not the minutia of how it does it.

Because truth be told: I don’t want an artificial brain, I want to automate work. I want to copy-and-paste scientists.

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