These words are being written by Ben Goertzel in late July 2008, as he launches the "OpenCogPrime wikibook" -- a Wiki-fied version of a what originated as a full-length "paper book" manuscript (it was around 250 pages as a Word document) describing a design for a powerful artificial general intelligence, aka a "thinking machine."
The AGI design described in this wikibook, called OpenCogPrime (OCP), is a variant of the Novamente Cognition Engine design that has been refined and developed within Novamente LLC during the period 2001-2008 (and is still the subject of ongoing work).
The reasons for making a wikibook rather than a paper book are probably pretty obvious. The key aspects of the OCP design are not expected to change anytime soon, but the details are ever-evolving ... and this seems likely to continue to be the case for a long time (including after the system implemented according to the design starts evolving itself!!). Because of this, a dynamic wiki, rather than a static paper book, seems the most appropriate medium.
The OpenCogPrime design is proposed here together with the hypothesis that, if it is fully fleshed-out, implemented, tested, tuned and taught, it will lead to a software system with intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond.
Make no mistake: there is still some research and experimentation to be done in fleshing out the details of OCP AGI design. Some aspects have been implemented in software, others have been fleshed out in detail mathematically and software-design-wise, and others have not yet been explored as thoroughly yet. There is still work to be done. But all aspects of the design have been thought through very carefully over a period of years, and most importantly, the holistic nature of the design has been carefully worked out so that the various components may appropriately interact to give rise to the necessary emergent structures and dynamics of intelligence.
Ideally this wikibook should be read in conjunction with two paper books that were written concurrently,
- The Hidden Pattern (Publications#HiddenPattern) ... containing the philosophy of mind underlying the OpenCogPrime design
- Probabilistic Logic Networks (Publications#PLN), giving the mathematical and conceptual foundations underlying the PLN component of OpenCogPrime
The paper book manuscript that formed the raw material for this wiki, itself had a fairly long prehistory, which is worthy of a brief note for those few readers who may have read these previous versions:
In the beginning (2001-2003) there was a big, monster manuscript known informally as "The Novamente Book."
Then, in 2004, this was split into three books:
- The Hidden Pattern: A Patternist Philosophy of Mind (BrownWalker, 2006)
- Probabilistic Logic Networks: A Comprehensive Framework for Uncertain Inference (Springer, 2008)
- A book describing the overall "thinking machine" design underlying the Novamente Cognition Engine
The latter book was never finalized or published, and eventually evolved into a wikibook on the Novamente LLC internal wiki site, portions of which were morphed into the OpenCogPrime wikibook you are now reading.
A Note on Authorship
The initial version of this wikibook was mostly written by Ben Goertzel, with some help from Cassio Pennachin, Moshe Looks and others. It is hoped that the Wiki version will become more of a group effort, as it is edited over time in accordance with the progress of the project.
The Reader Beware
Though this manuscript has undergone numerous revisions, it is still a draft rather than a finished book. Errors may exist, and several sections are known to be somewhat awkward in exposition due to their origins as cut-and-pastes from multiple prior documents. Smoothing out of these things will be undertaken before the book is judged complete.
Also, the formal notation used for various examples in the book is known to be minorly inconsistent throughout the book. This will be regularized in a subsequent revision.
See OpenCogPrime:Edits Needed for more details on known issues with the wikibook, mainly formatting-related stuff.
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