During the recent Malta AI and Blockchain Summit, Coin Rivet had the pleasure of interviewing SingularityNET founder and CEO Dr Ben Goertzel to discuss his thoughts on artificial intelligence (AI) and the revolutionary tech SingularityNET is developing.
When he arrived for our interview, Dr Goertzel looked as though he was cherry-picked from 1969’s Woodstock festival – warm, friendly, and very approachable.
As you would expect from someone of Dr Goertzel’s calibre, every sentence he spoke was submerged in layers of intricacy, as though each sentiment and thought had been hand-crafted in meticulous detail.
The longer we spoke, the bigger the crowd surrounding us grew. With each passing moment, the crowd – and myself – grew more and more captivated.
A new form of governance owned by ‘everyone and no one’
Speaking on his revolutionary new vision for decentralised governance, the SingularityNET CEO revealed:
“When we founded SingluarityNET, our original idea was it should be a sort of digital biological organism.
“It’s fairly decentralised. I mean just as the body has no central cell – there’s a bunch of cells messaging and coordinating together, you know, in a participatory way. This is how SingularityNET was always envisioned.”
He continues to elaborate that the Dutch non-profit foundation pays people to build software and “boost” the system, much the same way as “when we were little, we were living inside our moms and being boosted by some external organism”.
“But the idea has always been ‘this should be a decentralised protocol owned by everyone and no one’. It shouldn’t be reliant on me or any one organisation,” he adds.
Having launched the beta of the SingluarityNET platform recently, Dr Goertzel notes: “Now we need to take the next step, and that has many dimensions.”
One dimension is “beefing up” the software, while another is to add a fiat-to-crypto gateway that allows people to pay with fiat as well as convert fiat into tokens on the backend.
Other areas of development include scalability improvements, getting customers into the network, and ‘Singularity Studio’, which aims to deliver enterprise products to launch corporations initially in the fintech space.
— Malta AI & Blockchain Summit (@BlockchainMT) May 23, 2019
SingularityNET recently launched the X-Lab Blockchain AI start-up accelerator, which aims to help foster projects that use SingularityNET’s AI on the backend.
“With all these different parties involved and all this growth, governance becomes especially important. So we’re appointing a sort of supervisory council of token holders,” Dr Goertzel adds.
The supervisory council of token holders and representatives will be tasked with overseeing and guiding the dynamics of the network from the point of view of token holders.
“We’re also working with our legal team and with governments like the Malta government to see in what way – if not right now, in one, two, or three years’ time even – could it be possible to have SingularityNET be a purely decentralised, autonomous organisation.
“That doesn’t mean something like the SingularityNET foundation wouldn’t exist, but it would mean the foundation doesn’t have any intrinsic distinguished role.”
We’re excited to announce the formation of the SingularityNET Supervisory Council! The Supervisory Council will not only ensure that SingularityNET upholds its founding values but will also serve to foster quality interactions between our community members and the Foundation. pic.twitter.com/IfH496qxHu
— SingularityNET (@singularity_net) May 20, 2019
‘It has a way of cutting through arbitrary decisions’
“Just like open source does, decentralised ownership and infrastructure has a way of cutting through a lot of arbitrary decisions,” comments Dr Goertzel.
He makes reference to the ongoing issue between the United States and Huawei, stating: “So, Trump says the US can’t work with Huawei. Well, you know, guess what? It’s a decentralised protocol owned by everyone and no one – so go stuff it.
“So that’s going to be really important to the growth of AI because right now, you know, the nastiness of governments and large corporations is just beginning. As AI gets smarter and smarter, as it gets toward human levels of intelligence, the stakes get higher – the tactics will get dirtier.
“Then, having the defence mechanism of an open and decentralised structure is going to be incredibly important. Now, it’s nice to have, and in five years, it’s going to be a must-have.”
We invite every startup looking to join the #AI industry to register for the SingularityNET X-Lab. We look forward to listening to your ideas and helping you achieve your goals. To learn more about the accelerator, read this article by @YahooFinance: https://t.co/W4zmLp50d2 pic.twitter.com/CPJDWYdeko
— SingularityNET (@singularity_net) May 28, 2019
In recent news, SingularityNET announced a partnership with the ever-popular Domino’s Pizza brand. Speaking on the partnership, Dr Goertzel said:
“So we’re working with Domino’s and Ping-An Technology, which is part of a huge insurance conglomerate in China. And actually we’re working with some other pretty big tech companies that we can’t disclose at the moment, but will be released in the next couple of months.
“We had to. I mean programmers like to eat pizza, and we figured this can accelerate the path to the Singularity because if programmers can eat pizzas faster, then they can program faster – then they can make the pizza delivery AI even better, and there’s a recursive self-improvement.”
Garnering the attention of major mainstream players such as Domino’s for blockchain-based AI is a huge positive for Dr Goertzel.
“I mean, this just shows how far we’ve come in terms of both scalable usability of the tech and just in terms of the mainstream perception of this technology.
“I’ve been doing AI for 30+ years and most of that time, you know, the mass of the world didn’t give a crap. Right? Whereas now, all of a sudden, the reality of AI is just starting to sink in.”
The pizza industry meets blockchain technology once again as #SingularityNET and @Dominos Malaysia and Singapore divisions announce a partnership leveraging SingularityNET’s AGI token ecosystem. Read more here: https://t.co/x5hB8EaK2N pic.twitter.com/t9jRkzc3CQ
— SingularityNET (@singularity_net) May 1, 2019
The ‘digital God mind’
With AI now commanding serious attention, one burgeoning question on everybody’s minds is what happens next?
For Dr Goertzel, he believes: “In two to three decades at most, everybody will be unemployed.
“Probably people will be mostly happy about that because working mostly sucks anyway. People will be able to do other things with their lives while the AI supplies them with the goods and services that they need.”
Continuing this mind-boggling but fascinating train of thought, he proceeds: “On the other hand, if you merge your brain with the super AI, you’ll be giving up your illusions of self and will become part of the digital God mind.
“But hey – that may be what you want, right? You know, cavemen couldn’t predict what we have now, and we can’t predict what we’re going to have after the Singularity.”