Building an artificial social intelligence.


My name is Leedham Te Kani and I am a startup co-founder.

The name of the company I am a part of is Belua.

Today my definition of Belua shall be that:

Belua translates attention into prominence.

My goal is to shape the design of an artificial social intelligence.

We will call it Belua.

Belua will not talk to us like a classic science fiction robot, Belua will study the ebb and flow of attention in society.

We already benefit from the study of artificial intelligence.

We use artificial intelligence to make better computer games. We use them to suggest surprising flavour combinations. We even train them to make movie soundtracks.

Sometimes they are just a collection of strategies to entertain an audience.

Belua will act as an intermediary for our users. When they discover something that gains their attention, such as a good book, film or catchy song, Belua will translate that endorsement into a proposition.

Endorsement: I like this movie
Proposition: This is a good movie

This proposition will rise in value when others agree. Great ideas will attract value and poor ones will live in the shadows. Your voice will grow as you make further endorsements.

In what form will Belua arrive?

When Belua is born it will be clumsy and simple. It will know little. Users will come. Like early colonists, they will uncover new territory and explore, adding detail and substance. Some will take the easy path, taking positions on the most popular media or events. Others will define lists of their favorite ideas and causes. They will add tags that further define propositions. Even searches will be a form of proposition that provides information. This early period will be important in adding colour and content to our ecosystem.

Then, something important will happen.

Belua will forget discarded propositions.

Propositions chosen by our users will lose their attraction. The book will not be re-read. The song will lose its lustre. The fashion will change.

Users will no longer choose to invest their attention in a proposition.

A few great ideas will persist, supported by fans who refuse to sell. Most will move on to the next big thing.

This is how Belua remembers. The propositions which persist will be remembered. The poor ones will disappear. Some will reach great heights and then diminish, while others will hold a steady, loyal base.

I see in this pattern of memory and forgetting the framework of a social intelligence.

Why? Because most social media never forgets your likes and dislikes. When you search for an artist or song, many metrics used to judge popularity only rise and they never fall, creating a false impression of timeliness and popularity.

Forgetting will be an important part of the process. It will add to the value of the things which are remembered (learning), and will make room for the new things yet to be discovered (novelty and adaptability).

If you do not have my attention, you should not be prominent.