The idea of an Initial Coin Offering has entered the public parlance as part of the rise of cryptocurrency. Now, an ambitious artificial intelligence startup is using the funding strategy as a means of gathering the cash needed to jumpstart the development of a project: SingularityNET.

SingularityNET aims to prevent control of advanced AI from being entirely in the hands of Silicon Valley. Instead, it will use AI blockchain technology to distribute access to a wide range of AI algorithms, even enabling them to learn how to work in unison. 

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Companies and individual developers will be able to host their algorithms on the network, and anyone will be able to use SingularityNET-specific currency to utilize them, thanks to smart contracts.

Computer Brain

At first, it's expected that SingularityNET will be home to relatively simple AI algorithms, like computer vision technologies and translation services. However, there are hopes that this type of platform could allow these functionalities to become intertwined.

For example, if a user wanted to translate a document that includes images, SingularityNET could allow for the translation algorithm to request the services of the computer vision algorithm, to analyze what's in the picture and supply a caption — with no need for human input.

"We want create a system that learns on its own how to cobble together modules to carry out different functions," said project lead Ben Goertzel in an interview with Wired. "You'll see a sort of federation of AIs emerge from the spontaneous interaction among the nodes, without human guidance.”

However, these are plans for the long-term, as Goertzel doesn't expect the system to reach that kind of sophistication for some time. The project is set to launch in 2018, but the ICO will get underway in November 2017.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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