Artificial Intelligence - Who Is Hugo de Garis?


Hugo de Garis (1947–) is an expert in genetic algorithms, artificial intelligence, and topological quantum computing.

He is the creator of the concept of evolvable hardware, which uses evolutionary algorithms to produce customized electronics that can alter structural design and performance dynamically and autonomously in response to their surroundings.

De Garis is most known for his 2005 book The Artilect Battle, in which he describes what he thinks will be an unavoidable twenty-first-century worldwide war between mankind and ultraintelligent robots.

In the 1980s, De Garis got fascinated in genetic algorithms, neural networks, and the idea of artificial brains.

In artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms include the use of software to model and apply Darwinian evolutionary ideas to search and optimization issues.

The "fittest" candidate simulations of axons, dendrites, signals, and synapses in artificial neural networks were evolved using evolutionary algorithms developed by de Garis.

De Garis developed artificial neural systems that resembled those seen in organic brains.

In the 1990s, his work with a new type of programmable computer chips spawned the subject of computer science known as evolvable hardware.

The use of programmable circuits allowed neural networks to grow and evolve at high rates.

De Garis also started playing around with cellular automata, which are mathematical models of complex systems that emerge generatively from basic units and rules.

The coding of around 11,000 fundamental rules was required in an early version of his modeling of cellular automata that acted like brain networks.

About 60,000 such rules were encoded in a subsequent version.

De Garis called his neural networks-on-a-chip a Cellular Automata Machine in the 2000s.

De Garis started to hypothesize that the period of "Brain Building on the Cheap" had come as the price of chips dropped (de Garis 2005, 45).

He started referring to himself as the "Father of Artificial Intelligence." He claims that in the future decades, whole artificial brains with billions of neurons will be built utilizing information acquired from molecular scale robot probes of human brain tissues and the advent of new path breaking brain imaging tools.

Topological quantum computing is another enabling technology that de Garis thinks will accelerate the creation of artificial brains.

He claims that once the physical boundaries of standard silicon chip manufacturing are approached, quantum mechanical phenomena must be harnessed.

Inventions in reversible heatless computing will also be significant in dissipating the harmful temperature effects of tightly packed circuits.

De Garis also supports the development of artificial embryology, often known as "embryofacture," which involves the use of evolutionary engineering and self-assembly methods to mimic the development of fully aware beings from single fertilized eggs.

According to De Garis, because to fast breakthroughs in artificial intelligence technology, a conflict over our last innovation will be unavoidable before the end of the twenty-first century.

He thinks the battle will finish with a catastrophic human extinction catastrophe he refers to as "gigadeath." De Garis speculates in his book The Artilect War that continued Moore's Law doubling of transistors packed on computer chips, accompanied by the development of new technologies such as femtotechnology (the achievement of femtometer-scale struc turing of matter), quantum computing, and neuroengineering, will almost certainly lead to gigadeath.

De Garis felt compelled to create The Artilect War as a cautionary tale and as a self-admitted architect of the impending calamity.

The Cosmists and the Terrans are two antagonistic worldwide political parties that De Garis uses to frame his discussion of an impending Artilect War.

The Cosmists will be apprehensive of the immense power of future superintelligent machines, but they will regard their labor in creating them with such veneration that they will experience a near-messianic enthusiasm in inventing and unleashing them into the world.

Regardless of the hazards to mankind, the Cosmists will strongly encourage the development and nurturing of ever-more sophisticated and powerful artificial minds.

The Terrans, on the other hand, will fight against the creation of artificial minds once they realize they represent a danger to human civilization.

They will feel compelled to fight these artificial intelligences because they constitute an existential danger to humanity.

De Garis dismisses a Cyborgian compromise in which humans and their technological creations blend.

He thinks that robots will grow so powerful and intelligent that only a small percentage of humanity would survive the confrontation.

China and the United States, geopolitical adversaries, will be forced to exploit these technology to develop more complex and autonomous economies, defense systems, and military robots.

Artificial intelligence's dominance in the world will be welcomed by the Cosmists, who will come to see them as near-gods deserving of worship.

The Terrans, on the other hand, will fight the transfer of global economic, social, and military dominance to our machine overlords.

They will see the new situation as a terrible tragedy that has befallen humanity.

His case for a future battle over superintelligent robots has sparked a lot of discussion and controversy among scientific and engineering specialists, as well as a lot of criticism in popular science journals.

In his 2005 book, de Garis implicates himself as a cause of the approaching conflict and as a hidden Cosmist, prompting some opponents to question his intentions.

De Garis has answered that he feels compelled to issue a warning now because he thinks there will be enough time for the public to understand the full magnitude of the danger and react when they begin to discover substantial intelligence hidden in household equipment.

If De Garis' warning is taken seriously, he presents a variety of eventualities.

First, he suggests that the Terrans may be able to defeat Cosmist thinking before a superintelligence takes control, though this is unlikely.

De Garis suggests a second scenario in which artilects quit the earth as irrelevant, leaving human civilisation more or less intact.

In a third possibility, the Cosmists grow so terrified of their own innovations that they abandon them.

Again, de Garis believes this is improbable.

In a fourth possibility, he imagines that all Terrans would transform into Cyborgs.

In a fifth scenario, the Terrans will aggressively seek down and murder the Cosmists, maybe even in outer space.

The Cosmists will leave Earth, construct artilects, and ultimately vanish from the solar system to conquer the cosmos in a sixth scenario.

In a seventh possibility, the Cosmists will flee to space and construct artilects that will fight each other until none remain.

In the eighth scenario, the artilects will go to space and be destroyed by an alien super-artilect.

De Garis has been criticized of believing that The Terminator's nightmarish vision would become a reality, rather than contemplating that superintelligent computers may just as well bring world peace.

De Garis answered that there is no way to ensure that artificial brains operate ethically (humanely).

He also claims that it is difficult to foretell whether or not a superintelligence would be able to bypass an implanted death switch or reprogram itself to disobey orders aimed at instilling human respect.

Hugo de Garis was born in 1947 in Sydney, Australia.

In 1970, he graduated from Melbourne University with a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

He joined the global electronics corporation Philips as a software and hardware architect after teaching undergraduate mathematics at Cambridge University for four years.

He worked at locations in the Netherlands and Belgium.

In 1992, De Garis received a doctorate in Artificial Life and Artificial Intelligence from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.

"Genetic Programming: GenNets, Artificial Nervous Systems, Artificial Embryos," was the title of his thesis.

De Garis directed the Center for Data Analysis and Stochastic Processes at the Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life Research Unit at Brussels as a graduate student, where he explored evolutionary engineering, which uses genetic algorithms to develop complex systems.

He also worked as a senior research associate at George Mason University's Artificial Intelligence Center in Northern Virginia, where he worked with machine learning pioneer Ryszard Michalski.

De Garis did a postdoctoral fellowship at Tsukuba's Electrotechnical Lab.

He directed the Brain Builder Group at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan, for the following eight years, while they attempted a moon-shot quest to develop a billion-neuron artificial brain.

De Garis returned to Brussels, Belgium, in 2000 to oversee Star Lab's Brain Builder Group, which was working on a rival artificial brain project.

When the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, De Garis' lab went bankrupt while working on a life-size robot cat.

De Garis then moved on to Utah State University as an Associate Professor of Computer Science, where he stayed until 2006.

De Garis was the first to teach advanced research courses on "brain building" and "quantum computing" at Utah State.

He joined Wuhan University's International School of Software in China as Professor of Computer Science and Mathematical Physics in 2006, where he also served as the leader of the Artificial Intelligence group.

De Garis kept working on artificial brains, but he also started looking into topological quantum computing.

De Garis joined the advisory board of Novamente, a commercial business that aims to develop artificial general intelligence, in the same year.

Two years later, Chinese authorities gave his Wuhan University Brain Builder Group a significant funding to begin building an artificial brain.

The China-Brain Project was the name given to the initiative.

De Garis relocated to Xiamen University in China in 2008, where he ran the Artificial Brain Lab in the School of Information Science and Technology's Artificial Intelligence Institute until his retirement in 2010.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Superintelligence; Technological Singularity; The Terminator.

Further Reading:

de Garis, Hugo. 1989. “What If AI Succeeds? The Rise of the Twenty-First Century Artilect.” AI Magazine 10, no. 2 (Summer): 17–22.

de Garis, Hugo. 1990. “Genetic Programming: Modular Evolution for Darwin Machines.” In Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, 194–97. Washington, DC: Lawrence Erlbaum.

de Garis, Hugo. 2005. The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines. ETC Publications.

de Garis, Hugo. 2007. “Artificial Brains.” In Artificial General Intelligence: Cognitive Technologies, edited by Ben Goertzel and Cassio Pennachin, 159–74. Berlin: Springer.

Geraci, Robert M. 2008. “Apocalyptic AI: Religion and the Promise of Artificial Intelligence.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76, no. 1 (March): 138–66.

Spears, William M., Kenneth A. De Jong, Thomas Bäck, David B. Fogel, and Hugo de Garis. 1993. “An Overview of Evolutionary Computation.” In Machine Learning: ECML-93, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence), vol. 667, 442–59. Berlin: Springer.

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