Thursday, March 24, 2011


Could AGI prevent future nuclear disasters?

March 24, 2011

“To prevent being taken unawares by ‘freak situations’ like what we’re seeing in Japan, we need a radically lower-cost way of evaluating the likely behaviors of our technological constructs in various situations, including those judged plausible but unlikely (like a magnitude 9 earthquake),” suggests artificial general intelligence (AGI) researcher Ben Goertzel.

“AGI has significant potential to improve the situation,” he writes. “An AI-powered ‘artificial nuclear scientist’ would have been able to take the time to simulate the behavior of Japanese nuclear reactors in the case of large earthquakes, tidal waves, etc. Such simulations would have very likely led to improved reactor designs, avoiding this recent calamity plus many other possible ones that we haven’t seen yet (but may see in the future).”

In addition, “AI could also help in palliating the results of disasters, using robots designed to function in the presence of high radiation and novel therapies based on AI modeling of biological systems and genomic data.”

Current approaches include the European IM-CLEVER (“Intrinsically Motivated Cumulative Learning Versatile Robots”) project, which aims to make a robot capable of autonomously learning various practical tasks; the OpenCog project, which he is involved in, aimed at creating human-level intelligent robots by 2023; and Juyang Weng’s developmental robotics project at Michigan State University.

In addition, “advanced intelligences with different capabilities than the human mind could quite plausibly lead to new insights, such as the development of alternative power sources without the same safety risks.”


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