An evolutionary strategy for AGI

From: micah glasser (
Date: Thu Dec 08 2005 - 11:35:32 MST

I've been struck by the idea that the best model for achieving human level
AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) should be based in biology but not
necessarily from reverse engineering the human brain. Here's what I have in

Presently there is only one known example of AGI in the universe and that
is, of course, the mind of man. As it turns out the human brain is also the
most complex thing known in the universe as well. There are many key
attributes of human intelligence that we either do not understand at all or
we understand very dimly, such as consciousness and natural language.
Supposing that certain types of functions in the human brain that we
currently do not fully understand are responsible for the ability of natural
language or consciousness, then how can we hope to build the functional
equivalents of these neurological structures without the knowledge of how it
works in human intelligence?

What I propose is that we build an artificial chain of life. We could pick
out about twenty different organisms to represent the chain of life from
bacteria all the way up to man. The advantage of this artificial chain of
life (ACL) is that in real evolution the neurological substrate of each
organism is kept and any modifications of higher level organisms are merely
built on top of the old structures.

This would have to be a massive research project. It would require that we
map out the genome of each respective organism that is representing in the
ACL. The reasoning behind this is that if we start with the most simple
organism we should be able to figure out precisely what genes code for what
structures. Then every time we move up a rung in the ladder of the ACL we
already have the artificial genetic blueprint for the underlying structure
of the artificial brain of that next organism.

So at every stage along the way we have a functional replication of the
neurological structures of the lower artificial intelligence and we have the
corresponding genome of that organism and the genome of the next higher
organism. Then it must be ascertained what new genes in that higher organism
are coding for new neurological structures. Because the genome will very
similar to the genome of the next lower organism this should be fairly easy
to figure out. Also because we would already have a functional replication
of the next lower neurological structures we would be able to use that as a
platform to functionally replicate the next higher neurological structures.

At the lower end of the ACL each step up the latter would be fairly simple,
but as we progress up the latter each stage of brain evolution becomes
exponentially more complex. For instance going from a lobster to a snake
would be easy but going from a chimp to a man is an enormous step. This
works out perfectly, however. Say we spend one year developing each stage of
artificial intelligence. Each year that goes by going from one stage to the
next gets exponentially more difficult, but each year our technology and
science gets exponentially better in correspondence. If this is an accurate
picture then we would be able to functionally replicate the human brain in
twenty years.

Another aspect of this is that it would allow for us to naturally let our
programming skills grow exponentially with our knowledge of cognitive
science. What I mean is that on the lower rungs of the ACL the programming
is rather simple and we currently have the skills to program and the right
hardware to run these programs. But as we move up the ACL we can build on
these programming skills in a fluid way. I would propose that we concentrate
on replicating the actual programming of the organism to behave like a real
one. The advantage of this would play out at the higher levels. Imagine an
AI that was based on a chimp. We could build multiple robots with the
functional replication of a chimps neurological structures and with a chimps
programming for social behavior. This would allow us to see how these AI
behave in the context of social intelligence and presumably allow us to
begin to slowly implement the kinds of structures in human brains that are
missing in chimp brains. In this way we could virtually watch the evolution
of man unfold and the end result would, at least in theory, be a very
human-like AI.

I swear upon the alter of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny
over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

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