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Karl Friston joins VERSES as Chief Scientist to Lead New Era in Artificial Intelligence

Renowned theoretical neuroscientist and leading authority on brain imaging to lead VERSES research and application of Active Inference

VERSES Technologies, a cognitive computing company specializing in the next generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, announced that Dr. Karl Friston, Professor of Neuroscience at University College London, Scientific Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, and one of the world’s leading and most cited scientists in the study of the brain and mind (i.e., Computational Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence), has joined the Company as its Chief Scientist to direct and oversee the Company’s advanced AI research and development.

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Friston’s world-leading expertise in the development and application of Active Inference, which approaches the design of intelligent systems using design principles from nature (i.e., the physics and neurobiology of information processing), will be central to the R&D of the class of next-generation AI systems being developed at VERSES. The first output of his tenure as Chief Scientist of VERSES AI Research Lab, which is directed by Dr. Maxwell Ramstead, will be a White Paper that will propose a novel approach to addressing the current limitations of AI and offer a multi-stage roadmap toward enabling the “holy grail” of AI known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

“It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that we welcome Karl Friston to VERSES as our Chief Scientist,” said Gabriel René, Founder, and CEO of VERSES. “Dr. Friston’s breakthrough work in neuroscience and biologically-inspired AI, known as Active Inference, aligns beautifully with our vision and mission to enable a “smarter world” where AI powers the applications of the 21st century. As the originator of this principle, it is only fitting that Karl has a significant role in VERSES AI research and development all the way through their applied uses in product commercialization.”

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Friston who was ranked #1 most influential neuroscientist in the world by Semantic Scholar in 2016 has had an illustrious and decorated scientific career. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006 and The Royal Society of Biology in 2012, received the Weldon Memorial Prize and Medal in 2013 for his remarkable contributions to mathematical biology and was elected as a member of EMBO in 2014 and the Academia Europaea in 2015. He was the 2016 recipient of the Charles Branch Award for unparalleled breakthroughs in Brain Research and the Glass Brain Award from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. He holds Honorary doctorates from the universities of York, Zurich, Liège, and Radboud University. “I am delighted and honored to join VERSES. I have seldom met such a friendly, focused, committed, and right-minded group of colleagues. On a personal note, my appointment as Chief Scientist is exactly the kind of dénouement of my academic career I had hoped for – a dénouement that marks the beginning of a new and exciting journey of discovery and enabling,” said Karl Friston.

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“I am genuinely delighted to be working alongside Karl Friston at VERSES,” said Maxwell Ramstead, Director of Research at VERSES. “This is an opportunity to introduce Active Inference to a broader audience and highlight the significant role that we believe it will have in the development of the next generation of Artificial Intelligence systems. The application of Active Inference to Artificial Intelligence marks a shift in the development of intelligent synthetic systems, drawing inspiration and design principles from the way that the brain, nervous system, and body act and react. We believe that it will bring about a paradigm shift in AI.”

VERSES will publish its research paper to in early December and plans to host a Webinar to explore the applications and implications of Active Inference on the future of Artificial Intelligence

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