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Dr. Ben Goertzel after giving a talk at the 2009 Humanity+ Summit in Irvine California
December 8, 1966 |
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ben Goertzel (born December 8, 1966) is the founder and CEO of SingularityNET, a blockchain-based AI marketplace. Goertzel is also the 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.
Ben Goertzel is married for the third time, has three children and many pets. In his spare time he enjoys things like avant-garde fiction, music, philosophy, mathematics, exploring the outdoors. He is panpsychist and agnostic.
In 1966, he was born to Carol and Ted Goertzel, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His parents are both American, and his heritage is mainly Eastern European Jewish. Goertzel has a dual US/Brazilian citizenship.
In 1985, he graduated from Simon's Rock College with a degree in Quantitative Studies. He then moved to New York City and attended graduate school in applied mathematics at NYU's Courant Institute. During his spare time, he began to do serious research in cognitive science and AI.
In 1987, he moved to Philadelphia, attended graduate school at Temple University, and got married. In 1989, he received his PhD in mathematics and moved to Las Vegas to work as a mathematics professor at UNLV.
In 1995, he moved to Perth, Western Australia, where he had a research fellowship in Cognitive Science at the University of Western Australia.
In 1996 Goertzel, together with Francis Heylighen, founded the Global Brain Group to study the global brain emerging from an increasingly intelligent Internet, and in 2011 he joined the scientific board of the newly founded Global Brain Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
In 1997, Goertzel left academia to start a software company and relocated to New York City to launch Intelligenesis Corp. (later known as Webmind Inc.), a company with the mission of creating a truly intelligent AI system and making money by productizing its components.
In 2001, Goertzel moved to New Mexico for a research professorship in the Computer Science department of UNM and founded Novamente LLC and Biomind LLC. In 2002, he relocated to the Washington DC metro area.
In 2008, he founded OpenCog, which was an open-source AGI software project. In an August 2008 audio interview, Goertzel stated that he is a founding member of the transhumanist Order of Cosmic Engineers and that he has signed up with Alcor to have his body frozen after his death, and that he expects to live essentially indefinitely barring some catastrophic accident.
In 2009, he became a Visiting Faculty member in the Artificial Brain Lab in Xiamen University in China, and began a project there using OpenCog to control a humanoid robot.
In 2010, he began a collaborative project with Hong Kong Polytechnic University aimed at applying OpenCog to control intelligent game characters.
In 2011, he co-founded Aidyia Holdings, a startup company focused on HK stock prediction. He also worked for Genescient, a company that applied bioinformatics and other tools to exploit the genomes of long-lived flies to create therapeutics to combat age-associated disease. He also worked for Igenesis, a consulting/R&D firm based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, that is involved in AI and other advanced software development.
In 2017, Goertzel joined forces with Dr. David Hanson and Cassio Pennachin to launch SingularityNET, the world's first AI marketplace powered by blockchain technologies. In an interview with Wired, Goertzel said that with SingularityNET, AI agents and humanoid robots could reach human levels of intelligence within eight years.
In May 2007, Goertzel spoke at a Google Tech talk about his approach to creating Artificial General Intelligence. He defines intelligence as the ability to detect patterns in the world and in the agent itself, measurable in terms of emergent behavior of "achieving complex goals in complex environments." He tries to create a "baby-like" artificial intelligence first, and then raise and train this agent in a simulated or virtual world such as Second Life to produce a more powerful intelligence. Knowledge is represented in a network whose nodes and links carry probabilistic truth values as well as "attention values", with the attention values resembling the weights in a neural network. Several algorithms operate on this network, the central one being a combination of a probabilistic inference engine and a custom version of evolutionary programming. He claimed that this combination is able to avoid the combinatorial explosions that both these algorithms suffer from when exposed to large problems.
2009: Goertzel and Hugo DeGaris starred in a 45-minute documentary called Singularity or Bust.
2014: Goertzel appeared on the American science documentary television series, Through the Wormhole (episode 1, season 5).