June 17, 2020
The Center for the Study of Apparent Selves (CSAS) announces it has received a two year, $230,000 grant to study Buddhism and AI from Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. as part of its Diverse Intelligence initiative.
The ancient practices and philosophy of Buddhist monastics may seem to have little relation to the current headlines about the promises and perils of artificial intelligence. However, ego-less compassion, non-discursive intelligence, and other such key Buddhist concepts hold—when rigorously unpacked, translated and made applicable to real world AI concerns—the promise of addressing key AI issues, such as moral decisions, unexpected consequences, human flourishing and exploring the similarities and differences between human and machine intelligences.
We believe that the nature and complexity of these issues requires a multidisciplinary approach and as such our team represents the fields of philosophy, AI and artificial life, cognitive science, buddhist studies and applied technology. The core research team consists of Thomas Doctor, Director, Bill Duane, Strategy and Implementation Lead, Elizaveta Solomonova, Lead Research Scientist and Olaf Witkowski, Lead Research Scientist.
CSAS studies the networks of intelligence—the theories and practices of insightful cooperation. Our initial project is to develop a translational tool that will render concepts and practices in AI and Buddhism accessible and useful to each other.
We believe that along with the perils of human machine interaction, there is a promise that these interactions can be generative and lead to a wholesome and sustainable symbiosis of organic and artificial intelligences.