NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeffrey Epstein, the science philanthropist who established the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, has funded revolutionary software in Hong Kong, with game characters that are one step closer to behaving like human beings. The software has advanced the field of artificial intelligence towards a better working model of the human brain.
Today, virtual game characters are mostly the product of linear algorithms, with automatic reactions to pathway directions: (if A+D, then C). Even virtual chess, with thousands of algorithmic possibilities, remains purely deterministic: it does not have any goals, nor does it aim for check mate, but simply responds to a series of steps that lead to that direction.
The radically new 'thinking' software that Jeffrey Epstein has funded was created by OpenCog, an open source foundation in Hong Kong that develops programming software for the AI community to share. In efforts to map the human mind, OpenCog also programed three game characters, that push past traditional gaming algorithms.
Embedded into each character is a database called AtomSpace, where hundreds of 'atoms' exist as knowledge concepts such as objects (chair, table), actions (sitting, running) and feelings (anger, joy, fear). Every time an algorithm leads a character to an atom, the associative link gets stronger, influencing the characters' pathway choices. In this sense, a character becomes driven by associative memory. Links can also decay if not used by algorithms, weakening a character's memory.
Another feature is the use of "cognitive synergy", where several algorithms occur simultaneously. The theory behind this synergy is that humans have multiple thought processes going on at the same time and prioritize ones over others in order to function.
OpenPsi, another program built into these novel characters, incorporates basic needs such as food and pain avoidance. As these needs get filled or depleted based on time and interaction with atoms, it effects the pathways that a character takes. For example, if the need for water is high, a character will prioritize a water atom in its pathway choice.
"The disparity between these models and our experience of the mind is an invaluable guide," Jeffrey Epstein remarked, whose foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, financed the project along with the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Over the last decade, Jeffrey Epstein has become one of the largest backers of innovative science around the world. His roster of eminent scientists includes, Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureate physicists Gerard 't Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek. In 2003, Epstein founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, which studies the mathematical evolution of micro-biology and has led to key discoveries into the treatment of cancer, HIV and other infectious diseases.