Peter Voss is Founder and CEO, Adaptive Artificial Intelligence Inc. He is an entrepreneur with a background in electronics, computer systems, business, and technical software. He is also concerned with the intersection between artificial intelligence software and the human condition as conceived by cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, and ethics. Since the early 1990’s he has been researching and developing artificial general intelligence, founding Adaptive A.I. Inc. in December, 2001 with the goal of developing a commercially viable general-purpose AI engine.
Born in Germany, he moved at age 12 to South Africa. He worked in manufacturing and testing of diesel power generators, and the design and production of large static inverters. He started the company Electronic Designs in 1979 to custom build microprocessor-controlled systems for industrial applications. A year later, he started a computer systems company to provide turnkey solutions to medium sized businesses. After 13 years he took the company public in 1987, employing a staff of 400. He sold the company in 1992, and moved to the United States in 1995. He believes that integrating insights from the following areas of cognitive science are crucial for rapid progress in Artificial Intelligence:
- Philosophy/ epistemology — understanding the true nature of knowledge.
- Cognitive psychology (including developmental & psychometric) for analysis of cognition — and especially — general conceptual intelligence.
- Computer science — self-modifying systems, combining new connectionist pattern manipulation techniques with “traditional” AI engineering.
Peter’s other big passion is for exploring what he calls Optimal Living: Maximizing both the quantity & quality of life. He sees personal responsibility and optimizing knowledge acquisition as key. Specific interests include:
- Rationality, as a means for knowledge. He’s largely sympathetic to the philosophy of Objectivism, and has done quite a bit of work on developing a rational approach to (personal & social) ethics.
- Health (quality): physical, financial, cognitive, and emotional (passions, meaningful relationships, appreciation of art, etc.). Psychology: IQ & EQ.
- Longevity (quantity): general research, CRON (calorie restriction), and cryonics.
- Environment: economic, social, and political systems conducive to Optimal Living.
These interests logically lead to an interest in Futurism, in technology for improving life — overcoming limits to personal growth & improvement. The transhumanist philosophy of Extropianism best embodies this quest. Specific technologies that seem to hold most promise include AI, Nanotechnology, and various health & longevity approaches mentioned above. Peter authored Essentials of General Intelligence: The direct path to AGI, Calorie Poisoning: Civilization’s Exploding Killer Disease, True Morality – Rational Principles for Optimal Living, The Nature of Freewill, Advanced Intelligence: SI, IA, and the Global Brain, Why Machines will become Hyper-Intelligent before Humans do, SIAI’s Guidelines for building “Friendly” AI, Metaphysics — it’s simpler than you think, De-scription versus Pre-scription — and other Ethical Confusions, Longevity — Major Factors Determining Life-Span, and Extropy NOW! Watch Increased Intelligence, Improved Life, Peter Voss – Singularity Institute Interview Series, and First Annual Colloquium on the Law of Transhuman Persons: Voss & Yudkowsky.