Stephen Thaler, of Imagination Engines, Inc., in St. Charles, MO, is a pioneer in the area of artificial intelligence and the inventor of the Creativity Machine Paradigm. This system consists of an artificial neural network that is perturbed by noise so as to seed the generation of new ideas and strategies. Another neural network acts as a critic selecting good from bad results and steering the perturbed network in the most promising directions. According to Tina Hesman the Creativity Machine was used to design a wealth of commercially available products. She also reports that the device has been mainly used by the US military to design new weapons. Dennis Bushnell, NASA's leading visionary has called the Creativity Machine "AI's Best Bet" at creating human to trans-human intelligence in machines.
In addition to inventing new products and services, the Creativity Machine has invented whole new neural network paradigms, including the self-training artificial neural network object (STANNO) that allows the Creativity Machine to bootstrap from knowing nothing whatsoever, to progressively higher levels of intelligence. The STANNO also allows artificial neural networks to autonomously interconnect themselves into brain-like structures that are capable of both cognition and consciousness. As a result of this newfound capability, neural nets can knit themselves into the most robust and capable machine vision systems ever created.
Recently Wired News and discussed this technology in controlling battlefield robots. Such robots are capable of starting from a state of "cybernetic roadkill" and bootstrapping their skills, first learning complex locomotive skills, and later polishing Machiavellian battlefield skills. AI experts have pointed out that the only other precedence for this robotic breakthrough has been genetic programming wherein simple locomotive strategies have evolved offline over lengthy periods of days and weeks. In contrast the Creativity Machine Paradigm allows robots and control systems to cleverly adapt in seconds to minutes.
The Creativity Machine has been featured in a new film directed by Ken Gumbs, creator of "Building Gods." Within this provocative film, called "In Its Image", Thaler proposes that the Creativity Machine may serve as not only a vehicle for human immortality, but a model for cosmic consciousness. One very exciting aspect of this film is that its background music has been composed by the very master technology this film is about.
In 2005, a highly eminent and world-renowned professor of artificial intelligence at a major west coast university paid Dr. Thaler the highest compliment when he effectively concurred that the Creativity Machine paradigm was in fact the very core of animal cognition, and that false memory (i.e., confabulation) generation within the brain’s cortex was the fountainhead of what we call “ideas” (see, for instance Thaler 1995, 1996a, 1996b, 1997, 1998, 1999a, 1999b). For this academician, who for now will remain nameless, these insights formed the basis of mankind’s most profound discovery. The trouble was, this academic neither originated this theory, nor did he reduce it to practice. For example, check these now 'ancient' references out:
Thaler, S. L. (1995). Death of a gedanken creature, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 13(3), Spring 1995.
Thaler, S. L. (1996a) Creativity via network cavitation – an architecture, implementation, and results, Adaptive Distributive Parallel Computing Symposium, Dayton, Ohio, 8-9 August, 1996.
Thaler, S.L. (1996b). The death dream and near-death darwinism, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 15(1), Fall 1996.
Thaler, S. L. (1997). "The Fragmentation of the Universe and the Devolution of Consciousness," U.S. Library of Congress, Registration No. TXU00775586, 1997.
Thaler, S. L. (1998). Predicting ultra-hard binary compounds via cascaded auto- and hetero-associative neural newtorks, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 279(1998), 47-59.
Thaler, S. L. (1999a). No mystery intended. Neural Networks, Volume 12, Issue 1, January 1999, Pages 193-194.
Thaler, S. L. (1999b), AFRL-ML-WP-TR-1999-4033, Integrated Substrate and Thin Film Design Methods, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7750
In essence, Thaler is father of confabulation theory and holds the key patents in this area. Over the last decade, he has harnessed such confabulations to generate new products and services for international corporations, generate whole encyclopedias of potential new materials, invent new weapons for the US military, devise ingenius robots for both the US Air Force and NASA, and compose whole musical albums.
- Thaler's biography from Imagination Engines
- Stephen Thaler's Computer Creativity Machine Simulates the Human Brain from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Experimental AI Powers Robot Army from WIRED
- Interview with Dr. Stephen Thaler
- A Fully Autonomous Robot Builds Its Own Brain and Learns from Scratch from PR Web
- In Its Image