Though I (Dennis) personally disagree with couple of basic ideas here.
1) It seems that Alexei Samsonovich pays a lot of attention to self-awareness.
For me it's not clear why self-awareness is more important than awareness about surrounding world in general.
2) Another questionable thing is about AI being autonomous.
As far as I know, there is no intelligent system which is autonomous from the society. Human's baby would never become intelligent without society.
In order to make AI system intelligent, Alexei Samsonovich would have to connect the system to society somehow. For example through the Internet.
Anyway, the following looks like great AI project.
You may want to try to take part in it.
From: Alexei V Samsonovich
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 06:02:46 -0400
Subject: GRA positions available
As a part of a research team at KIAS (GMU, Fairfax, VA), I am searching
for graduate students who are interested in working during one year,
starting immediately, on a very ambitious project supported by our
recently funded DARPA grant. The title is "An Integrated Self-Aware
Cognitive Architecture". The grant may be extended for the following
years. The objective is to create a self-aware, conscious entity in a
computer. This entity is expected to be capable of autonomous cognitive
growth, basic human-like behavior, and the key human abilities including
learning, imagery, social interactions and emotions. The agent should be
able to learn autonomously in a broad range of real-world paradigms.
During the first year, the official goal is to design the architecture,
but we are planning implementation experiments as well.
We are currently looking for several students. The available positions
must be filled as soon as possible, but no later than by the beginning
of the Spring 2006 semester. Specifically, we are looking for a student
to work on the symbolic part of the project and a student to work on the
neuromorphic part, as explained below.
A symbolic student must have a strong background in computer science,
plus a strong interest and an ambition toward creating a model of the
human mind. The task will be to design and to implement the core
architecture, while testing its conceptual framework on selected
practically interesting paradigms, and to integrate it with the
neuromorphic component. Specific background and experience in one of the
following areas is desirable: (1) cognitive architectures / intelligent
agent design; (2) computational linguistics / natural language
understanding; (3) hacking / phishing / network intrusion detection; (4)
advanced robotics / computer-human interface.
A neuromorphic candidate is expected to have a minimal background in one
of the following three fields. (1) Modern cognitive neuropsychology,
including, in particular, episodic and semantic memory, theory-of-mind,
the self and emotion studies, familiarity with functional neuroanatomy,
functional brain imaging data, cognitive-psychological models of memory
and attention. (2) Behavioral / system-level / computational
neuroscience. (3) Attractor neural network theory and computational
modeling. With a background in one of the fields, the student must be
willing to learn the other two fields, as the task will be to put them
together in a neuromorphic hybrid architecture design (that will also
include the symbolic core) and to map the result onto the human brain.
Not to mention that all candidates are expected to be interested in the
modern problem of consciousness, willing to learn new paradigms of
research, and committed to success of the team. Given the circumstances,
however, we do not expect all conditions listed above to be met. Our
minimal criterion is the excitement and the desire of an applicant to
build an artificial mind. I should add that this bold and seemingly
risky project provides a unique in the world opportunity to engage with
emergent, revolutionary activity that may change our lives.
Alexei V Samsonovich, Ph.D.
George Mason University at Fairfax VA
703-993-4385 (o), 703-447-8032 (c)
Alexei V Samsonovich web site