Abstract: Matt Chapman

Maximizing The Power of Open-Source for AGI

Matt Chapman
Modularity and Open Source continue to be two of the most important aspects of software that drives the Internet forward. This talk will explore the features of one particular highly modular Web Application Framework, and also the state of Mobile Application development, and how modular, open-source AGI platforms like OpenCog can learn from the successes of these frontiers.

The current mobile application ecosystem has enabled thousands of independent developers to build innovative applications on top of powerful device platforms with very little required understanding of the underlying technologies. Over roughly the same time, the Drupal Web Content Management Framework has grown from a hobby project by a Belgian student and his friends, to a “hobby project” (still governed & guided by volunteers) that powers the website for the White House and for such diverse organizations as Amnesty International, ING
Financial, and Playboy.de (the German site for the popular men’s magazine.)

How can AGI research get the same kind of prominence and sex appeal?  By embracing the power of crowd-sourcing to harness the efforts of non-experts toward rapid progress, using 3 keys:

  1. Fostering a strong sense of Community
  2. Providing a single, authoritative, open repository for sharing efforts (Imagine an AI “app store”)
  3. Embracing technologies that reduce the barrier to entry to the lowest common denominator

I will suggest that there is a wide audience of potential hobbyist AGI researchers composed of enthusiasts for activities such as LEGO MindStorm robotics, Mobile App development, and Online Virtual Worlds (MMORPGs, Second Life) who could be a valuable resource to professional AGI practitioners. Engaging this audience will soon become highly practical given the maturation of OpenCog and open-source robotics platforms like NaoQi and ROS, along with the impending release of consumer-grade humanoid robots like the Nao. The challenge will be in developing an ecosystem where newcomers can make meaningful contributions right away, and also increase their expertise toward greater responsibility over time.