General Intelligence via Cognitive Synergy

OpenCog is a diverse assemblage of cognitive algorithms, each embodying their own innovations — but what makes the overall architecture powerful is its careful adherence to the principle of cognitive synergy.

The human brain consists of a host of subsystems carrying out particular tasks — some more specialized, some more general in nature — and connected together in a manner enabling them to (usually) synergetically assist rather than work against each other.

The OpenCog design aims to capture the spirit of the brain’s architecture and dynamics without imitating the details (which are largely unknown), via:

  • integrating together a carefully selected combination of cognitive algorithms acting on different kinds of knowledge
  • in a scalable, robust and flexible C++ software architecture
  • in a manner specifically designed:
    • to cooperate together with “cognitive synergy” for the scope of tasks characteristic of human intelligence
    • to give rise to the emergence of an effectively functioning knowledge network in the AI system’s mind, as it interacts with the world, including a self-updating hierarchical/heterarchical ontology and models of itself and others

The detailed argument as to why we think our selection of cognitive algorithms and our integration methods will have the desired effect, is sketched on the OpenCog wiki site and various previously-published conference papers, and will be presented more thoroughly and rigorously in the forthcoming book Building Better Minds.

In order to put this architecture to work, we have crafted a roadmap based on roughly mimicking the environment and development of young human children. A series of child-level learning tasks has been carefully laid out, which may be manifested via either virtual world agents or physical robots, and which lead from infant-level capabilities up to the grade school level. These tasks cover all the major cognitive capabilities displayed by young humans, and involve the integration of all major aspects of human intelligence, including perception, action, cognition, learning, memory, creativity, socialization, language, self-modeling, etc.