Interestingly, he has a slightly different interpretation to his counterparts as to when the Singularity will come about. Prolific inventor and visionary Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity is Near, believes:
By 2045 (the Singularity), machine intelligence will exceed all human biological intelligence a billion fold.
Most AI experts believe it is 20-40 years away. Says Ben:
Common wisdom holds that powerful artificial general intelligence (AGI) is decades to centuries off. Even techno-futurist Ray Kurzweil projects a date of 2029 for human-level AI via human brain emulation. My contention, however, is that powerful and beneficial AGI could come much sooner - if sufficient attention and resources are devoted to the right approaches.
Of course, it is difficult to place any kind o reliable estimate on the course of development of this kind of technology, given the R&D that remains to be done, and the uncertainties regarding funding and other practical exigencies. But radical success within less than a decade does not seem an outrageously unlikely possibility, in the view of one AGI researcher and entrepreneur.
In fact, the title of his presentation was "Nine Years to a Positive Singularity - If We Really, Really Try." Why nine? As he humorously explained, the title of his presentation last year, of course, was "Ten Years to a Positive Singularity, If We Really, Really Try."
The Novamente project, which he leads as CSO (chief science officer) and CEO, has a long term goal of "creating artificial general intelligence approaching then exceeding the human level". The Incremental Path, then, will:
roll out a series on increasingly intelligent embodied virtual agents in 2D and 3D virtual worlds.
Ben believes that users of virtual worlds today are AI's teachers. And, he believes firmly in harnessing the wisdom of crowds. Three plugs for Ben and co.: