Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Alethea AI Official Announcements
Published in
7 min readJul 26, 2018


Who will guard the guardians?

How we will enable our community to govern the evolution of SingularityNET by learning together through the SingularityNET podcast

Should We Be Afraid?

It was in the late 1990’s that Dr. Ben Goertzel, Shane Legg, Peter Voss and Cassio Pennachin exchanged emails about naming a book in which Shane and Peter were contributing writers. The term “AGI” was coined in these discussions and later popularized to widespread acclaim by Dr. Ben Goertzel. AGI is now at the cutting edge of AI research as companies and countries attempt to move past the constricted confines of narrow AI applications. Shane who worked for Ben and Cassio from ’99 to ‘01, went on to co-found Deep Mind which was acquired by Google for it’s potential to achieve AGI.

Around the same time, IBM’s Super Computer Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov, the World Chess Champion, and a news article headline read: Be Afraid!

This message, to be afraid of artificially intelligent machines, has been echoed by a great many towering personalities of our time: Stephen Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could end mankind; Elon Musk not only likened AI to “summoning the demon,” but also talked about the possibility of “creating an immortal dictator;” and Nick Bostrom declared AI to be a greater threat to humanity than climate change.

Ray Kurzweil, the famous futurist and Director of Engineering at Google predicted that by 2029 computers will have human-level intelligence. The antidote to fear has always been finding and seeking a meaning that transcends the fear and that’s where Dr. Goertzel’s vision comes in.

The Race for AI Domination

Creating an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that takes over the task of making discoveries from humanity, an intelligence that is benevolent towards sentient beings, an event termed as the “positive technological singularity,” has been the lifelong mission of Dr. Ben Goertzel, the CEO, and Founder of SingularityNET.

Whether we achieve a positive technological singularity, or our own creations decide to enslave or eliminate us, no one can deny the fact that the race for dominance in the field of artificial intelligence is well on its way.

Consider for example that over 200 Million people watched the match of Go between Lee Sedol and Google Deep Mind’s AlphaGo algorithm. The victory of AI over humans in the game of Go was not expected to happen so soon. What was even more mind-boggling perhaps, was the algorithm that came next: AlphaGo Zero. It learned how to play Go by teaching itself, and defeated the original algorithm 100 to none.

The headlines this time were no different from those 20 years ago. Tech publications wondered: Should we be afraid of Google’s Deep Mind AlphaGo AI?

While Google appears to be leading the race to dominate artificial intelligence, the matter is far from over. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the nation who leads in AI will be the ruler of the world.” China has made it a national priority to be the world leader in AI by 2030.

The race to dominate AI is very real. And there will be a winner. Either that winner could be a large centralized entity or it could be a decentralized network governed democratically by the network participants. A decentralized network that will evolve to have the goal of benevolence towards sentient beings encoded in its very DNA.

Walled Gardens vs. Open Access Networks

What advantages do decentralized networks have over their centralized counterparts? How would SingularityNET compete against the tech monopolies?

A black and white worldview that pits the centralized networks at one end and decentralized networks at another is an incorrect way to look at what SingularityNET has to offer.

Participating in an Open Access Network

SingularityNET will not require its participants to give up any valuable or sensitive information to some third party. It will serve to amplify the connectivity of its participants.

In essence any AI company can offer its services via SingularityNET, without giving up their data or any other valuable asset that they may have. If they offer their services through SingularityNET, they improve their connectivity to the network. We expand on our network’s structure in our whitepaper.

Network participants however will have to proverbially ‘check their centralized privilege’ at the door.

As the decentralized network grows in strength and network density, players who want to participate in this economy will have to democratize the powers of AI, rather than aim to be the privileged few who control the access to them.

What SingularityNET offers to the whole world is the alternative to building walled gardens. What it offers is to direct the powers of AI to benevolent purposes, rather than towards maximizing shareholder value. What it offers is for everyone to have a say in the evolution of the last invention of humanity.

Dr. Ben Goertzel’s plan to win the AI race goes back to the philosophy of letting the invisible hand of the free market distribute the resources in its own unplanned but efficient manner.

SingularityNET will allow for inter-communication between its AI agents, empowering them to form ‘federations’ that will offer services that the individual agents cannot — with the guarantee that each agent will be fairly and efficiently rewarded automatically by the network. This ability to reward individual agents for their work solves the credit of assignment problem plaguing decentralized networks. The network, to put it simply, will efficiently reward the participants without any central planner.

It is also worth noting that Dr. Goertzel’s plan to win the AI race involves more than just creating SingularityNET. Through the Decentralized Artificial Intelligence Alliance (DAIA), Dr. Goertzel plans to create an ecosystem of interconnected decentralized AI networks, within the greater ecosystem of decentralized networks.

To us, the clash between walled gardens and open access networks seems inevitable. Those entities who will not bring down their walls will risk their competitors radically increasing their connectivity by doing so.

Which brings us to the question at hand: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who will guard the guardians?

How do we ensure that the community will be able to wisely govern the evolution of SingularityNET? How do we ensure that the community is well informed? How will we collectively govern a network that will allow for the development of the single greatest technology of our time?

Educating and learning together with our community is going to be a mission critical endeavor. Make no mistake, we are in Terra Incognita.

The SingularityNET Podcast is our attempt at answering these questions. Through the episodes of this podcast, we will connect our community with the leading experts in the fields of artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, robotics, and other related technologies.

One of the ways to utilize the native token of SingularityNET (AGI) is through governance. The token holders will be able to vote on the evolution of the network. They will be able to decide, among other things, which benevolent project to incentivize, which agent deserves a higher reputation, how the network allocates its resources and what the laws of the network will be. In doing so, they will have the power to shift the end goal for AI from increasing shareholder value to more benevolent causes. A highly evolved and educated community would achieve these aims through meaningful debate, discourse and reflection.

It is a sobering fact that no one really knows how an AGI will act. But it is also a reality that the entire world is racing towards creating one. The crux of Dr. Goertzel’s plan to create a positive technological singularity is that we will have to bias the network, through which an AGI will emerge, towards benevolent aims from the very beginning.

The token holders of SingularityNET will be empowered to guide the evolution of SingularityNET. With an educational platform and monthly podcasts, we hope that this can happen.

The decisions that they will take might shape the very future of humanity.

Listen to our inaugural episode and stand a chance to win a special Token award

You can tune in to the SingularityNET Podcast or by visiting iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher. If your favorite channel is not listed, let us know, we’ll be happy to add it to our list. We’ve also launched a naming bounty for our podcast. Drop us an email or discuss the first episode here.

Join our Community

A special thanks to our contributor @MontyAGI, for his contributions to this post.

The Singularitarians as we are affectionately known welcome anyone and everyone, to join our community if they are concerned about the possibility of the powers of AI being accessible to a privileged few.

The best way forward is to come together and work practically towards creating a better future. We hope you will join us in our mission to democratize AI and to create a positive technological singularity.

SingularityNET has a passionate and talented community which you can connect with by visiting our Community Forum. Feel free to say hello and to introduce yourself here. We are proud of our developers and researchers that are actively publishing their research for the benefit of the community; you can read their research here.

For any additional information, please refer to our roadmaps and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about all of our developments.