Four Views of SingularityNET
Like any complex system, SingularityNET can be viewed from multiple perspectives, each one shedding different insights and suiting different audiences. In this post I will quickly consider SingularityNET from the customer, AI technology, business-structure and futurist views.
Firstly, from a customer view, SingularityNET is simply: an easier, broader and more powerful way tor a business to obtain AI services. It is not a consumer service, though it will be used at the back end of multiple consumer services, created by businesses whose software and hardware uses SingularityNET at the back end. SingularityNET will provide businesses with AI services that are superior to those of competing platforms, in terms of the breadth of applications addressed, the quality and cost of results delivered; and, last but not least, the ethical nature of the societal, aesthetic and environmental impact of the organization’s activities.
SingularityNET is currently in an alpha stage of development, with initial launch of an early version of the system planned for 2018. Out of the box it will be applicable to any vertical market, but in the early stages the functionality will be richer in certain niches than in others. The areas of initial strength will be text analytics, biomedical analytics and financial services. The strength of the platform in additional areas will be increased progressively.
Second, from an AI technology point of view, SingularityNET is a heterogeneous and multi-paradigm framework. The AI services delivered by the SingularityNET will include processes based on every known type of AI, including evolutionary learning, probabilistic reasoning, neural nets (deep and shallow), statistical pattern recognition, graph analysis, and many others. A given service provided to a given customer may rely on the back end, on multiple AI processes using different types of AI algorithms. This heterogeneity differentiates SingularityNET from alternate AI services that are more narrowly restricted to particular AI paradigms such as deep neural networks, expert systems or genetic algorithms.
This heterogeneity positions SingularityNET particularly well to serve as a breeding ground for the transition from the “narrow AIs” characterizing the AI business world today, to more powerful “Artificial General Intelligence” (AGI) — AI that is able to learn and generalize beyond the specific contexts, situations and tasks for which it was programmed or trained. Many prominent AI thinkers now agree with the SingularityNET founders that the transition from narrow AI to AGI will be the next major leap in the evolution of artificial intelligence science and technology.
Third, SingularityNET is also innovative from a business structure perspective. Once its initial development phase is completed, it will be a Decentralized Self-Organizing Cooperative — a new type of socioeconomic structure, different from familiar structures like for-profit-organizations, charities, school, clubs and so forth. Specifically it will be a Decentralized Self-Organizing Cooperative with a purpose of providing businesses with superior Artificial Intelligence services, and ongoingly increasing its own intelligence so that it can do so. A DSoC differs from a typical corporation above all in its decentralized and open aspect: anyone can contribute AI code they have developed to the SingularityNET, and the pricing model is intended to support the widest variety of applications possible. Furthermore the governance of a DSoC is fundamentally democratic, so that once the SingularityNET has been launched in its mature phase, it is the developers and users of the network’s AI services who will make the key decisions regarding the network’s coordination and direction.
And fourth, from a broader perspective, SingularityNET is hoped to have an impact beyond that of an ordinary business, or even that of an ordinary unusually-structured socieconomic entity. AI will play a critical role in the next stage of growth of intelligence and life on Earth and in the nearby region of space — a stage that Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil and others have referred to as a “Technological Singularity.” By providing a decentralized, open platform for people and AIs to work together on the creation of more powerful, more generally intelligent and more ethical AI services, SingularityNET is intended to increase the odds that the coming radical societal and technological transitions have a positive outcome.
All these perspective on SingularityNET are valuable and important. The SingularityNET whitepaper focuses on the organizational-structure and technology perspectives; those interested in the technology perspective are also encouraged to look at the ongoingly developing code in the SingularityNET GitHub repository. Future documentation under development will focus more on SingularityNET from a customer perspective — which will be the most critical perspective as we move toward commercial deployment of the system.