In my continued investigation into Hanson Robotics and it’s validity into whether it’s AI is in fact as developed as they claim, or is it just fancy robotics hiding the fact that their AI isn’t up to much. We have been paying a lot of attention recently on Ben Goertzel, the head of AI at Hanson Robotics and someone that has a chequred history of chasing the money, for perhaps monies sake, with the promise of AI at the end of the financial rainbow.
We continue our look into Ben Goertzel after I discovered something interesting just the other day. Let’s take a shorter, but still interesting look into the man behind the AI at Hanson Robotics, which oddly is starting to appear more like an odd game of where’s wally, or more to the point, what’s Ben up to now?
Ben Goertzel the head of AI at Hanson Robotics, the home of Sophia the rather stiff and awkward, but strangely very human sounding robot ….. hmmmmm … is a bit of a funding butterfly. Running after the dollar where ever it maybe. Now, I’ve probably been fairly criticized for being perhaps a little unfair on Ben’s advancements in AI and what we are shown. However, I can only go on what I’ve seen in the documentary ‘The Machine of Human Dreams’ where they follow and document his ‘advancements’ in AI and his travails at development and securing funding. What I’ve seen, what I’ve read by experts in the field and what the heads of AI at leading social media have said about him and his developments, are not kind, not kind indeed. Truthful, honest, on the money, you bet ya.
As we know, Ben is at home with Hanson Robotics, but what is also interesting is that Ben, is also working on another project. In fact David Hanson is there and oddly or perhaps not, so is a few people from Ben’s past, that were involved in some laughingly poorly managed and developed projects – OpenCog anyone! This new project, which Hanson Robotics and Ben for that matter, are kinda sneaking under the raidar, is called SingularityNet.io which happens to be the website too, if you want to check it out. Now let’s not forget that Ben chases money, I don’t blame him, honest I don’t. He has an ‘idea’ of AI and if he can convince people to give him money to develop that, then fair play to him. Perhaps his promises leave a lot to be desired to get that funding, whether you believe that’s morally right or wrong, I shall leave that up to you.
So what is SingularityNet…. it’s an ICO. What’s an ICO Stu? An ICO, and I happen to have a good understanding of this field as I’m involved in an ICO project myself – called DigMusiK. That’s by the by. An ICO, is an initial coin offering, a means of raising funding for a business idea, built on the blockchain, with some form of digital token (a coin) as a transactional base. People buy the coin / token in what is known as an initial coin offering, usually at a discount, with a view of that coin/token going up in value, based on the business model, development, or more likely as we have seen, speculation on ICO’s in general. The SEC in the US are looking very closely in to ICO’s, as they claim, rightly or wrongly, that they are all mostly securities. Given that you can’t publicly sell securities in the US, and it’s illegal. Most ICO’s look to secure funding from outside the US. Yet, Singularity is a US venture, where everyone working on it is in the US. So it’s hard to argue that they are not selling a security or benefitting from the sale of one and bringing the money to the US, again something the SEC is looking into heavily.
The thing to understand with ICO’s, is that many of them are built on an odd promise of some idea, that may or may not work, but not really based on much. They are sometimes related more as a means of finding a way of getting a token developed and having an ICO, rather than the token serving a purpose behind a platform. The amounts raised in ICO’s can be staggering. some selling hundreds of millions of dollars and because people are buying a token, they are not buying any share in the company. It’s the perfect tool for raising funds for an idea, and if the idea is a good one, then they usually do well. Even the bad ones seem to do well.
Technically, ICO’s are hard to manage, develop and launch. They consists of white papers, blue papers, special websites, pre sales, public sales, and a whole host of technical stuff related to blockchain development, even if you are running on an existing blockchain such as the Ethereum ERC20 blockchain, it’s still very intense.
SingularityNet looks good, sounds good, some transactional AI model mumbo jumbo. There’s a stupidly complex and overly wordy 54 page white paper, which is actually more of a blue paper – which is the technical paper. There are people involved as you would expect, many from Ben’s past. David Hanson is there, why not, there is the potential for more millions. But the idea seems confusing and flawed. It seems they are trying to transactionalise AI, by developing a decentralised market place for AI. Is it really necessary. My beef with their ICO is this, which can easily be answered with this question. Is there a problem that needs to be addressed and can this service application solve it and does it need to have a token? The answer is quite simply no. It could quite easily exist without it and in fact does. It seems they are trying to create a problem where there is none and then address it with an ‘application’ on the blockchain to address a problem that isn’t there so they can tokenise it. So why are they tokenising something like this? For the ICO of course, to get more money! Possibly a lot of Money. To have an ICO, you must have an exceptional reason for that service, application to have a token, it has to be the heart of why that application is needed an exists. For example, the DigMusiK application I’m involved in, requires a token as a means of exchange and rights and collaboration management tied to each song created with the help of the DigMusiK education platform. One feeds the other and protects the content and those involved through learning their craft through the platform. It addresses a problem, encourages development and protects everyone involved.
Singularity therefore appears to be shoe horning tokenisiation into their broader view of AI development, so they can have an ICO to raise money. Raising money is what Ben Goertzel likes to do and one of the companies that he claims to be involved with on SingluarityNet, is opencog, opencog blew a few years ago 10 million Hong Kong dollars, before the chinese govt pulled the plug on them and booted them out.
So where does this leave Hanson Robotics? Well David Hanson name is on the SinglurityNET website and I’m sure with any ICO from that, he will get his share. I don’t blame him. If I had been bank rolling Ben Goertzel, I would want any opportunity to have that investment returned and then some. Certainly don’t blame David Hanson for doing just that. But where does it leave Sophia and the AI at Hanson Robotics. Will Ben Goertzel run with the money from the singularityNET ICO and do his own thing, leaving Hanson behind? I can’t see him continuing there, he’s really, so it appears, only there because David Hanson is bank rolling him as part of the Hanson Robotics project. If I were David Hanson, I’d be worried.
What do you think will happen? Have you seen the SingularityNET.io website and the white paper, do you think there is a good reason for an ICO? Are you experienced in ICO’s? Do you think I’m full of crap and should shut the hell up! ….. Either way, let me know, if you like this video give me a thumbs up, consider subscribing and I shall see you next time.