Twenkid Research is a Todor Arnaudov’s work-in-progress project for a start-up Research-and-Development company. The company is supposed to have many research directions, with the major and ultimate one: self-improving Artificial General Intelligence (AGI/SIGI) at human level and above. Todor is a versatile polymath working for breakthroughs in many directions in order to fund his most advanced research. He is searching for research, business, filmmaking, media and artistic partners in order to work together and to incorporate.
- Author and Lecturer of two of the first (the second and the third, after the Xiamen’s Summer School in 2009) and arguably the most exhaustive, interdisciplinary and AGI-sh University courses in AGI. The courses were taught in Plovdiv University, Bulgaria in 2010 and 2011 (click for course programmes).
- His first major foundational publication on AGI and transhumanism dates back to late 2001(article in Bulgarian) in his e-zine “Sacred Computer”, while he was 17 years old and the term “AGI” was not coined yet. The real thinking machines fascinated him and made him start reflecting on how it could be done at the age of 7. Completed his major milestone philosophical/speculative works (some translations can be found there) on general intelligence, digital physics, meta-physics, meta-evolutionary/cybernetic-evolutionary trends and cognitive hierarchies for generalization and prediction, human behavior drives and decision making, reinforcement learning, rationality, semantics, creativity etc. while still a teenager, up to early 2004. Author of a symbolic philosophical SF short novel where sensitive issues on thinking machines and humans were discussed, while at the age of 18 (“Истината” – “The Truth”). A few months before writing the novel participated in an extensive epistolary head-to-head debate (in Bulgarian) on his emerging philosophy and research about questions in transhumanism, determinism and free-will, cognitive origins of religion, emotions, meta-physics and abstract trends in evolution, thinking machines and general intelligence etc. with a ~43 years old professional philosopher defending seemingly opposite schools of thought. As a teenager also wrote another abstract and multi-genre (SF, cyber-punk, steam-punk, fantasy, satire, comedy, drama, philosophical) experimental novel called “Ada”.
- Winner of prizes for ideas in AGI, given by the independent researcher Boris Kazachenko.
- Had a short carreer (~20 months) as a VLSI ASIC verification engineer in a fabless semiconductor start-up – although he had just finished a software-oriented formal BS in Computer Science (best in the alumni). The choice was not without a reason, though – Todor had long-lasting interests in electronic engineering and computer design at hardware level, and his high-school diploma is from Plovdiv’s Technical School in Electronics. Regarding that job, he was doing his MS in Software Engineering (“Софтуерни технологии”) in parallel, and was among the first employees of the company, which allowed him to see from the inside the “lift-off” of an R&D start-up – from 10 novice engineers and no customers to ~40 engineers and many running projects and customers.
- As an undergraduate was an intern in one of the Top 5 UK research groups in Computational Linguistics (NLP), where for an insanely short time of 3 months researched and developed a context-sensitive dictionary prototype “Smarty“, that participated in two conferences.
- Author of an original Bulgarian microformant text-to-speech synthesizer while in his first year in University (R&D the speech part in ~5 weeks), worked for a while as a research fellow straight from the first year in University. At the time did also foundational R&D on bottom-up pattern discovery in raw audio data (AGI stuff).
Will continue on technical stuff later, in order to mention the following:
- Has experience in television and media, has strong presentation, performing and communication skills. Has participated in science communication shows and had a talk about AGI in front of general public.
- Was an expert author and a journalist (articles and interviews) in Bulgarian popular-science magazine between late 2009 and early 2011, covering topics such as supercomputers, machine translation, creative hackers, astronomy, computer history (Ada Byron) etc.
- Author (screenwriter) of an educational TV show about Photography, produced by Bulgarian National Television (BNT) in 2009.
- Had several appearances on BNT as a participant between 2008 and 2011 – from a funny spot in prime time in 2008 to a flashy participation in the “FameLab” competition, a talk-show with Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales, a science TV show promo clip aired in prime time and the pilot issue of the show dedicated to AI and AGI, with Todor as a delegate of the AGI camp.
- Independent filmmaker of many talents. Sometimes he has quite radical views on “auteur cinema”. If a complete team can’t be casted or the available staff is not committed, or funds can’t be raised, he would not give up easily if he wants the project done… He would rather do the job of a whole team himself. For example:
- In his punk rock musical “Love’s No Friend of Mine, or Give it to me!”, which includes music performed by himself and by a Bulgarian punk band “Kontrol”, he participated as:
- producer & director
- director of photography and camera operator
- actor in two roles – both the protagonist and the antagonist
- music composer (a jam session/improvisation) and arranger
- performer of cover pieces and improvisations – the best with the electric guitar, but also a little bit of keyboard and bass
- video and audio editing and post-processing/visual effects compositing guy
- architect and developer of the editing and post-production software (yep)
- Has been a comedian and a satirist in all kinds of media – literature (short and long genres), comics, radio play, sketch, short film, feature film (projects).
- A few fine-art photographies of his:
- Has talents and skills in other arts as well, such as drawing, dance and junggling, but let’s switch back to the technical and some linguistics items:
- Has won a second prize in the annual Plovdiv University creative writing contest, never mind he was studying Computer Science and was supposed to write code only.
- As a teenager developed the so called “Younashki dialect” – a lexical and semantic extension of Bulgarian, which allowed him to write poetry and prose about machines, which sounded native and emotional. Founder of the intellectual circle “Society for Protection/Enhancement of Bulgarian Language”. Did some research in the field of Sociolinguistics, his publications were not in official formal journals, but his inventions were cited by two of the leading Bulgarian sociolinguists.
- Has interests also in Developmental Psychology, Child Language, Language Acquisition, Neuro/psycholinguistics etc., and the Origin and Evolution of languages. Anti-nativists – such as Anti- Chomsky and Pinker’s inarticulate and inadequate “language instinct” and “universal grammar” claims, which are lacking lower level evidences. Todor sees language as a naturally emerging product of the general purpose generalization mechanisms in brain and the sufficiency and appropriateness of the actuators available to express and perceive the signals needed to transmit and receive generalized messages. His most concise definition of natural language is a hierarchical redirection/abstraction/generalization/compression of sequences of multi-modal sensory inputs and motor outputs, and records and predictions for both.
- Has a passion in polyglotism and interests in comparative linguistics and enjoys acting in different languages and with different accents. His best proficiency and most practice is in Bulgarian and English, then French and Italian. To a lesser extent understands or/and has studied many other languages and keeps expanding and improving.
- In 10-th grade for a few weeks developed a working one-directional heterogeneous communication system, in order to transfer the data from his Apple][ floppy disks to the PC, using sound modulation-demodulation.
- Loved computer graphics since a kid, has experimented and discovered and coded on its own basic 2D- and 3D-graphics algorithms, e.g. texture mapping, rotation and several kinds of 3D perspective projections, playing with his Pravetz-8M (Apple][e clone).
- Has worked as a software developer in a company for transition effects for video editors, while a University student.
- Starting from 2010, from time to time when he has time he works on his own audio-video editing and post-processing software: Twenkid FX Studio, which for now he uses privately for his own independent movies.
- Tosh and Twenkid are two of his nicknames.
- In general – has experience, knowledge, interests, skills or talents in a vast area of fields ranging from all kinds of visual, audio, sequential, performing, literature etc. arts (combined in cinema) to soft sciences such as linguistics, sociolinguistics, philosophy, developmental psychology, child language and journalism; to hard sciences such as different fields of Computer Science (e.g. NLP/CL, Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, DSP, …) – both hardware and software, theory and practice, in academia and industry; mathematics, physics and electronics; and biological and cognitive-psychological sciences such as (Computational) Neuroscience and Evolutionary and Comparative Neuroscience and all kinds of Psychology-Behavioral-Cognitive-Neuroscience-Mathematical-Computational hybrids which give clues about intelligence and provide material for searching for correlates between AGI theories and reality. The soft-, hard- and artistic directions meet in the yet another interdisciplinary field of Computational Creativity.
Finally, the combination of all of the above converges to the ultimate interdisciplinary hybrid – Artificial General Intelligence (and Self Improving General Intelligence (SIGI) in particular) – a science about the general principles that drive all sciences and all arts. Todor was one of the first of the new wave bold thinkers who opposed to the mainstream view on “Artificial Intelligence” (narrow AI), and he was arguably the youngest one – 17 by then.
Regarding AGI as a goal, Todor himself is an example of what general intelligence is supposed to be: a capability to cover, understand and cope with as general and diverse domains as possible with one-single integral system – a universal mind.
Contact Todor Arnaudov at: twenkid – at – gmail – dot – com
Contact Todor Arnaudov at: tosh – dot – bg – at – gmail – dot – com
Sample Research Directions of the Future R&D Company
- Artificial General Intelligence
- Intelligent and Adaptive Audio-Video Editing, Compositing, Visual Effects (VFX), Sound Effects, Music Composers and Synthesizers
- Cognitive Computing, Cognitive Science
- Computational Creativity
- Natural Language Processing, Understanding, Generation (NLP, NLG, NLU). Machine Translation, Computer Aided Translation and Translation Memories. Sociolinguistics.
- Intelligent Research Accelerators/Research Assistants (personal assistants)
- Text Mining, Data Mining, Information Extraction, Information Retrieval
- Developmental Psychology, Language Acquisition, Child Language
- Image Processing and Computer Vision
- Sound Processing, Speech Synthesis, Speech Recognition
- Evolving Systems
- Metaphysical models of Mind and Universe
- Intelligent and emotional agents
- Emulators and predictors of perceptions
- Modeling human behavior and virtual world simulators
- Human-Computer Interaction, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Seamless Digitization and Multimedia Integration
- Distributed Computing, High Performance Computing and Novel Computational Architectures for Artificial General Intelligence