ANAHEIM, Calif., May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Cogitai, a new company aimed at developing and commercializing core artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, today announced a strategic investment from Sony Corporation.
Cogitai is focused on addressing one of the biggest problems confronting AI: namely, that no existing AI system has an understanding of the world comparable to a human's. Even small children in the first few years of life develop an understanding of the world far richer and more sophisticated than the most elaborate AI systems on earth.
To address this problem, Cogitai is committed to developing systems that learn continually from their experience.
"Our continual-learning technology will allow computer systems to build knowledge and skills simply through interacting with the world around them," said Dr. Mark Ring, CEO of Cogitai. "Simple knowledge and skills gained through early experience will allow development of more complex knowledge and skills in a powerful cycle of never-ending self-improvement. Though this ambition has always been one of the major goals of AI, it has never been considered feasible in the near term by those knowledgeable in the field, but our team believes it sees a path toward this dream."
"Our company will build upon decades of research in the fields of Reinforcement Learning and Deep Learning, harnessing recent progress, but going well beyond current technology to create systems that learn for themselves how the world works in ways reminiscent of how human children do," said Dr. Satinder Singh, Chief Scientist of Cogitai. "Our goal is for our systems to develop an understanding of the real world well beyond that of existing AI systems. Once a continual-learning system can begin to explore the world and build up knowledge on its own, it will discover, by itself, many of the same concepts and skills that we as humans have also learned. The potential for commercial application -- from games to robotics to space exploration -- is truly extraordinary."
Cogitai's founders and technical advisory board (its "Brain Trust") consist of thirteen of the most prominent names in AI, many of whom are widely regarded as pioneers in their areas of research.
Cogitai's founding team members -- Mark Ring (a pioneer in continual learning and reinforcement learning), Peter Stone (a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a leader in reinforcement learning, multiagent systems, and robotics), and Satinder Singh Baveja (a professor at the University of Michigan and a leader in reinforcement learning, intrinsic motivation, and the combination of deep learning and reinforcement learning) -- have reason to be confident. Combined, they have over 60 years' experience in Machine Learning and AI research, and all have close working relationships with their all-star technical advisory board.
"As strategic investors, we believe that continual learning is the core of future AI," said Toshimoto Mitomo, Corporate Executive in charge of Intellectual Property and Mid-to-Long Term Business Development of Sony Corporation. "We are deeply aware of how previous claims in AI have failed to pan out, but we believe that Cogitai has assembled the people and tools necessary to make rapid progress toward real, continual learning AI and to harness this technology for the betterment of society through innovative commercial applications."
"The appeal and impact of AI in society continues to grow rapidly. We predict that continual learning will be the key to future AI systems, and that our technology will form a central part of those systems," said Dr. Peter Stone, Cogitai President and COO. "Yet we are also both aware and critically concerned about the ethical implications of our technology, and are dedicated to pursuing a safety-first path toward its development and application." Still a very new company (incorporated in September 2015), Cogitai intends to work closely with leaders in the safety and ethics fields to help address the complex network of possible concerns surrounding future AI technologies.
While neither Cogitai nor Sony are publicly releasing the size of the investment, Cogitai has announced that it will now begin hiring aggressively, seeking "extraordinary applicants" who wish to work alongside leading figures in the field.
SOURCE Sony Corporation; Cogitai