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EmpathyWorks – Towards an Event-Based Simulation/ML Hybrid Platform


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Abstract: Machine learning systems have become the dominant form of AI for enterprises due in large part to years of experimentation with combinations of technical approaches. Today’s ML systems are unlike traditional software systems in that algorithms are not used to procedurally specify how systems learn to recognize or classify input. On the other hand, simulation systems have traditionally been highly procedural, which is good for understanding how a result was obtained, but ‘learning’ is not normally expected. Mike Slinn will discuss a hybrid approach under consideration based on work he started in 2008.

Bio: Companies that Mike Slinn cofounded or advised have been sold to IBM, Otsuka, Microsoft, Yahoo! and NBC Interactive. A recognized software expert in US and European courts, Mike opines on contractual and patent disputes. Mike received an Electronics Engineering degree in 1979 from Carleton University in Ottawa.

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EmpathyWorks – Towards an Event-Based Simulation/ML Hybrid Platform

  1. 1. Copyright 2007-2008 Micronautics Research, Inc. EmpathyWorks ™ Hybrid Machine Learning / Personality Simulation Platform
  2. 2. About Me (Mike Slinn) • Canadian, born in Montreal. • Electrical Eng’g degree Carleton U. 1979. • Living in Silicon Valley past 23 years. • Founder, past 7 years. • Cofounded, led and advised startups that were sold to IBM, Otsuka, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NBC Interactive and others. • Software expert for US & European court. • Desire to locate this new startup,, in Montreal.
  3. 3. What is EmpathyWorks? • EmpathyWorks™ is a long-term personal project whose time has come. • Generates and predicts behavior, including emotional states and group dynamics. Copyright 2007-2008 Micronautics Research, Inc.
  4. 4. Potential Applications • Toys • Companion robots • Artificial characters for: – Video games – Movies • Political analysis. • Consumer behavior. • Modeling society and individuals. Copyright 2007-2008 Micronautics Research, Inc.
  5. 5. EmpathyWorks is … • Rule-driven • Declarative model – Domain-specific language describes what, not how. • Flexible – Define species and individuals, behavioral characteristics, environment and relationships. • Time sensitive – Simulated personalities respond to the passage of time.
  6. 6. 3 Definitions • Persona is an individual's behavioral tendencies in a given social context. • Behavior is a persona's response to a stimulus. • Personality is the collection of behaviors for a persona. • These definitions cross-reference each other because definitions of behavior are recursive in nature.
  7. 7. Relationships • EmpathyWorks models an individual’s behavior in terms of their relationships. • Models simulate entire communities containing a variety of species, not just a single individual. • Family units and inheritance are supported. • EmpathyWorks supports a complex web of relationships. • Events cascade through communities.
  8. 8. Behavior Is Contextual • Relationships and other situational factors provide context. • Behavior is triggered and shaped by context.
  9. 9. Responses • Behavior is defined by responses to events. • Speech is not required for a response, thus it is not necessary for behavior. • Responses are predicated by life stage, world view, recent history, the relationship that delivers the event and more.
  10. 10. Emotional Display • EmpathyWorks can inform an AI application about an artificial persona's internal state. • The AI application might display the emotion, or it might act.
  11. 11. Decision Making • The AI application can query the EmpathyWorks Personality Model for recommendations as to which of several choices to make. • EmpathyWorks can initiate action when a time threshold is passed.
  12. 12. Behavioral Model • Model defined by domain-specific languages (DSL), including English, JSON, XML. • Models can be updated while running without losing state.
  13. 13. Relationships • Societal Modeling - relationships between individuals can be defined. • Predator/prey relationships. • Group dynamics.
  14. 14. Events • An artificial personality’s responses to events are inherited and evolve. • Environmental events • Species-specific responses: – Life-changing events – Mundane events – Shared events
  15. 15. Life Stages • Artificial personalities can grow from conception, to children, teenagers, adults, elders and eventually die. • Different species have unique life stages.
  16. 16. Multi-Generational Inheritance • Personality traits can be inherited from parents • Genetic variance and random variance is supported
  17. 17. Scalable • Uses event sourcing and CRDTs (monoids) for large-scale computation. • Goal: Model millions, then billions of individuals and their relationships.
  18. 18. Spinning Out New Venture • EmpathyWorks will be spun out into a new company. • We need: – Technologists to create product – Researcher relationships – Product management – Sales – Investors – Media relations, etc. • We offer – Insightful product; explains and predicts behavior. – New platform for psych PhD theses.
  19. 19. Thank You! • Do you have any questions? Michael Slinn, Founder +1-650-678-2285
  20. 20. Guiding Design Principle • Perfect algorithms, AI techniques or models do not exist. • Flexibility is key. • Design interfaces, not hard-coded solutions. • Broad and deep system integration options win RFPs. Copyright 2007-2008 Micronautics Research, Inc.
  21. 21. Coprocessor / Plug-in • Integration platform. • Existing AI/ML applications can be enhanced with artificial personality. • Applications can be big or small, physical or virtual.
  22. 22. Sample Integration (2008) Copyright 2007-2008 Micronautics Research, Inc.
  23. 23. Demo v1 Schematic (2008)