Why we do it
Every single day that passes by, around the world people are suffering from the shackles mercilessly imposed on us by nature: slave-like working conditions, scarcity, diseases, ageing, corrupted reasoning by biases, emotion and ideology, natural disasters and much more. Nature is not to be blamed, it doesn’t care about us. We are little creatures crawling on the surface of a planet in some average solar system at the border of some average galaxy in this vast universe — a place mostly hostile to life. It is only through the clarity of human reason and intelligence, through science and ingenious engineering that humanity could begin to pull itself out of this swamp, to free itself from the slavery of nature, and to begin to be the masters of its surroundings. We would like this process to continue. It is our deepest desire to liberate humanity, to allow it to explore the galaxies, understand our place in the cosmos, so that everything beautiful and good about humanity can flourish.
But how? A key achievement of this freedom is letting machines to do the hard work. Machines however are usually not very intelligent. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the logical next step, in order to help us in areas where our minds are too limited. Only if we can make machines think and to be smarter than us, only then will we be able to ask them for help. Because we really need help in order to end suffering, finally and forever.
This is the underlying reason why we do AGI research at OCCAM. It is however humbling to see the smartest people of the planet try and fail to build an AGI over the last 60+ years. Therefore, we hope to avoid being deluded by the self-flattering thought that our team could actually build an AGI at some point. Nevertheless, we have only this one life, our few modest talents and we can’t help but give it a try to contribute at least a little bit to this daunting challenge. If you feel similarly, join us.
We, the founders of OCCAM, have been lucky enough to have some talents that — after years of hard work — allowed us to earn some money in order to finance this lab. Now it is finally possible. However, we can use any help we can get. Contact us, if you are a scientist in one of the relevant fields, if you are good at organizing people or can manage projects, or in any other way.
However, we emphasize that this is not a commercial project. Although we offer decent salaries, no profit is strived for and we do not develop “AI solutions/products” since we believe that profit aspirations in this particular challenge are harmful to our goal. The reason is not noble but quite pragmatic albeit often overlooked: shorm-term focus on commercial AI applications leads to hard-coding of the application’s properties into the code (“narrow AI”), which directly undermines the system’s generalization abilities. Without general abilities — no AGI.