File:Ben Goertzel 2007.jpg

Ben Goertzel (born December 8, 1966 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), is an American author and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. He currently leads Novamente LLC, a privately held software company that attempts to develop a form of strong AI they call "Artificial General Intelligence". He is also the CEO of Biomind LLC, a company that markets a software product for the AI-supported analysis of biological microarray data; and he is Director of Research of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Goertzel is the son of Ted Goertzel, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University.[1] He obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics from Temple University in 1989, then taught mathematics, computer science and psychology at various universities, including the University of Nevada, City University of New York, the University of Waikato, and the University of Western Australia.

From 1997 until 2001 he headed Webmind Inc. (also known as Intelligenesis Corp.), a company that he had founded and that attempted to use artificial intelligence for the analysis of financial markets. This work was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal[2] and The New York Times[3], explaining the approach as machine learning combined with natural language processing applied to textual information gathered from the internet, in order to predict business risk or to aid in making buying decisions.

He explained his approach to creating Artificial General Intelligence in a Google Tech talk in May 2007.[4] He defines intelligence as the ability to detect patterns in the world and in the agent itself. He tries to create a "baby-like" artificial intelligence first, and then raise and train this agent in a simulated or virtual world such as Second Life[5] to produce a more powerful intelligence.[6] Knowledge is represented in a network whose nodes and links carry probabilistic truth values as well as "attention values", with the attention values resembling the weights in a neural network. Several algorithms operate on this network, the central one being a combination of a probabilistic inference engine and a custom version of evolutionary programming.[7] He claims that this combination is able to avoid the combinatorial explosions that both these algorithms suffer from when exposed to large problems.

In an August 2008 audio interview,[8] Goertzel stated that he is a founding member of the transhumanist Order of Cosmic Engineers and that he has signed up with Alcor to have his body frozen after his death, and that he expects to live essentially indefinitely barring some catastrophic accident. He also promoted the Singularity Institute's OpenCog project which aims to build an open source general artificial intelligence engine.


Goertzel has written numerous research papers and journalistic articles. His books include:

  • The Structure of Intelligence: A New Mathematical Model of Mind (Springer, 1993)
  • The Evolving Mind (Gordon and Breach, 1993)
  • Chaotic Logic: Language, Thought and Reality From the Perspective of Complex Systems Science (Plenum Press, 1994)
  • Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics (Basic Books, 1995). Written with his father Ted Goertzel.
  • From Complexity to Creativity (Plenum Press, 1997)
  • Creating Internet Intelligence (Plenum Press, 2001).
  • Mind in Time (Hampden Press, 2003) co-edited by Allan Combs and Mark Germine.
  • Artificial General Intelligence: Cognitive Technologies (Springer, 2005), co-edited with Cassio Pennachin, describes the mathematics underpinning the Novamente AI Engine.
  • The Hidden Pattern: A Patternist Philosophy of Mind (Brown Walker Press, 2006)
  • The Path to Posthumanity (Academica, 2006) co-authored with Stephan Vladimir Bugaj
  • Advances in Artificial General Intelligence (IOS Press, 2007) co-edited with Pei Wang


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