NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Radically intelligent software is emerging from Germany, where virtual characters are moving away from traditional algorithms with deterministic pathways, towards a realm of emotional, thinking humanoids. Due to funding now from a prominent science investor called Jeffrey Epstein, the software is closer to mimicking the human brain.
The engineer behind this software is called Joscha Bach, a cognitive scientist, specializing in artificial intelligence. Bach has been a professor, cognitive researcher and software entrepreneur at Humboldt University in Berlin. Bach's software, called MicroPsi Project 2, is not to duplicate the human mind however, but to see what artificial intelligence can reveal about human cognition.
Jeffrey Epstein has an extensive background in science philanthropy. In 2003, he founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, which studies the mathematical evolution of micro-systems and diseases. His foundation, The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, has also supported many eminent scientists including Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureate physicists Gerard 't Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek.
MicroPsi 2 creates needs and sensory driven characters that roam around a virtual tropical island. Each character has a series of 'node nets' where information is received and processed, influencing a character's choices.
Node processing is algorithmic but uniquely embodies weighted pathway choices, based on physical needs, associative memory and other features. For example, three needs are written into each character's nodes: physiological, social and cognitive (i.e., expression of competency). As these needs get depleted or filled by the environment, they influence a character's pathway choice. So if a character that is low on water, it will prioritize a pathway that leads to water.
Associative memory is another factor that drives these characters. As sequential elements are experienced, the sequence, and not just the element, becomes a part of that character's sense, which in turn influences pathway choice. Repeated sequences also increase associative memory and decay if pathways are not used.
"Virtual platforms to explore the human brain provides optimal flexibility," Jeffrey Epstein remarked. Indeed, as more variables are built into MicroPsi's characters, we might even surpass human intelligence and enter a world of unknown intelligence (UI).