RE: early AGI apps

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Nov 09 2002 - 10:06:30 MST

> I'm interested in any and all potential early applications for
> AGI - both to
> evaluate the performance of our a2i2 system, and for possible
> implementation.
> Any ideas?
> Peter

First, I have a general observation about early AGI applications. Then I'll
try to answer your question..

An advanced AGI will be able to observe a new application area, and figure
out how to apply itself to that area, and connect itself to other
appropriate software programs, etc.

Until we're at that stage, setting up a concrete application of a proto-AGI
software system is a *lot of work*.

There are two factors here:

1) setting up any software application is a lot of work

2) Creating an AGI-based application can actually be more work than just
setting up a narrow-AI-based software application, even not counting the
work involved in creating the AGI system itself.

The reason for 2 is as follows. AGI systems are created for autonomy and
flexibility and nondeterminism, whereas in a software application context,
one often needs different virtues instead: repeatable efficient behavior in
particular contexts. There is of course no intrinsic reason a software
system can't have both AGI virtues and software application virtues... but
in practice, early-stage AGI systems often aren't created with software
application virtues in mind. We specifically architected Novamente so that
it could support both the autonomy & flexibility & nondeterminism required
for AGI, AND also so that one could create highly constrained & efficient
Novamente-based software apps. But not all AGI's will be this way; Webmind
AI Engine, for instance, did not have this property at all, and so building
practical apps on top of it was like pulling teeth (and we wound up
primarily pulling objects out of it to use in narrow-AI apps, rather than
actually using Webmind AI Engine in practical apps).

So, my experience is, it's possible to make a simple prototype application
of an AGI system in a particular area by having a strong programmer work on
it for 6 months or so. But to actually make an AGI-based product that can
be sold or used in some domain, is a huge amount of work, even more than
building an analogous product without AGI involved.

Another bit of general wisdom, which you surely know already: The most
important thing is to pick an app area where you have a lot of domain

Now, having gotten that blather out of the way, what are good app areas for
AGI systems?

We're now working in bioinformatics. There are loads of subfields here...
we're working mostly on genomics & proteomics data analysis.

At Webmind Inc., we worked in computational finance, and information
retrieval (document categorization, document retrieval). Big uses for AGI
here.... And in the info. retrieval case, one can often outperform existing
apps without any real NLP in one's system, just treating documents as
patterned character-sequences ...

Gaming has been mentioned by Reason; I think gaming is an OK application if
one has a very fast AGI or if one has a gaming idea & biz model that
supports running game-interacting AGI's on a server farm...

System administration is a wide open market... in desperate need of smart
automation tools...

Knowledge management is a huge market. So many diverse DB's out there, with
incompatible DB schemas, waiting for a system to come along and reconcile
them ...

Robot control is another big area. Basic robot arm control issues are
handled by standard engineering methods. But no one knows how to deal with
mobile robotics yet, hardly at all.... The problem with mobile robotics is
decision making based on data integration. See Albus's work at NIST, on a
robot-controlled tank. Very interesting. this area is begging for AGI. Of
course, the military applications may be disturbing...

Data mining in general is in great need of AGI. It is hard to make a LOT of
money as a datamining company, but plenty of small companies seem to survive
in this way, often via a handful of contracts with large firms.

The biomedical area incorporates aspects of robot control automation,
datamining, and bioinformatics, knowledge management, and system
administration.... And you get to deal with a huge bureaucracy too ;)

Well, I could go on further, but there's work to do ;)

If anyone wants to explore one of these topics further, I'll be happy to do

Or, Eliezer, if you feel this thread wanders too far from SL4's intended
focus, we could move this to the AGI list.

-- Ben

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