Letter from the CEO
We propose a paradigm shift in the current approach to AGI.
Let me introduce you to our vision (why), company (who), product (what), and technology (how).
Our vision is a smarter world where people and technology work in greater harmony to generate shared prosperity.
Our mission is to elevate human potential through intelligent tools that radically improve our mutual understanding.
We want to offer a new foundation for building intelligent systems. Instead of an “artificial” path to intelligence we propose a “natural” path. One grounded in physics and in our deepest understanding of biological intelligence–first principles guided by the wisdom and genius of Nature.
This natural path embraces humans, technology and Nature as integral parts of an ecosystem of intelligence. It enables new kinds of intelligent agents that can reason, learn, plan and act and operate under the same fundamental laws of nature that we do. Like us, they use internal world models to make sense of their environment and adapt to it. Standardizing these models enables agents to communicate and collaborate, in effect forming healthy distributed networks of shared intelligence.
The path that follows Nature’s blueprint for intelligence reminds us that we are not products of technology but extensions of nature. It offers a way to align technology with our fundamental humanity–our ethics, values and laws. We are only at the beginning of this path, but we believe it will lead us to smarter, safer and more sustainable general intelligence systems.
VERSES is a cognitive computing company specializing in biologically inspired distributed intelligence patterned after natural systems and neuroscience. Our Research and Development team, led by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Karl Friston, includes some of the world’s leading experts in diverse disciplines, such as computational neuroscience, computer science and machine learning, engineering, social science and philosophy. Dr. Friston has been recognized as the world's top neuroscientist and by Wired Magazine as “The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold The Key to True AI.”
Last year, we laid out the path and thesis underpinning this vision in our landmark research paper “Designing Ecosystems of Intelligence From First Principles.” Read the executive summary here and learn about our progress and partnerships here.
We are developing Genius, a framework that enables automated generation of general intelligent agents. With predictive and adaptive abilities, these agents can autonomously learn and act in the world. Perhaps most crucially, their activities are explainable and governable. Genius Agents can be deployed in the cloud or on edge devices and robotic systems, enabling them to operate in digital and physical environments. Furthermore, Genius Agents are designed to share knowledge and seek to nurture an ecosystem of balance, stability, and harmony.
Applying the “genius” of Nature lets us develop a new kind of software that is efficient, self-learning, and adaptable in real-time, all while being transparent and accountable.
In November 2023, our international research team of computational neuroscientists and engineers made an historic breakthrough in the development of AGI. Our alternative approach to machine intelligence, pioneered by Dr. Friston, is called Active Inference. Active Inference encompasses a range of techniques and tools that facilitate the design and deployment of intelligent agents. These agents autonomously and efficiently seek out and learn from relevant data, leading to a decision-making and action-selection process that is both auditable and human-explainable.
After successfully decoding the underlying mechanisms of intelligence as it functions in the brain and biological systems, we developed a pioneering intelligent framework in software based on these mechanisms. Using the same probabilistic algorithms observed in the brain, we’ve demonstrated the ability to design agents that reason, plan, learn, and adapt without training. We believe this biological approach, following nature’s blueprint for intelligence, is the critical breakthrough needed for the realization of General (AGI) and Superintelligent (ASI) Agents.
We are building our technology on a new generation of socio-technical standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). These standards, based on extensive AI Governance research, facilitate AI interoperability, explainability and governance by design rather than as an afterthought. Our Future Of Global AI Governance report offers a first-of-its-kind perspective on global artificial intelligence governance which combines the legal expertise of the world’s largest law firm, Dentons, with our expertise in next-gen intelligent systems, and guidance on socio-technical standards from the Spatial Web Foundation.
Recent breakthroughs at VERSES have led to promising evidence of matching and surpassing the performance of state-of-the-art approaches based on deep learning while using orders of magnitude less data and compute.
With AGI emerging as potentially the most consequential technology in human history, it is imperative to direct the world's attention to this alternative approach. We aim to drive awareness of a path to developing intelligent systems that we believe can be smarter, safer and more sustainable. We believe the dialogue regarding AGI's definition, direction and destination should be public. Given recent opinions shared by OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, regarding the lack of confidence in the viability of LLMs to achieve AGI or ASI, we believe our approach offers a compelling solution.
Our invitation to collaborate stems from OpenAI’s charter, issued in its pursuit of non-competitive AGI development, which states,
If a value-aligned, safety-conscious project comes close to building AGI before we do, we commit to stop competing with and start assisting this project.
Through the open letter, VERSES invites OpenAI to explore our novel approach and collaborate.
The end goal is not AGI. The end goal is what we can achieve as a civilization with AGI. The natural path invites us to realign our relationship with technology, Nature and each other. It calls on us to come together to imagine a Smarter World and then build it.
Will you assist?
VERSES Research Labs