A world of computers with one mind

By ADT Staff

Toshiba and MIT’s Media Lab plan to launch the “GlobalMind” project, a large-scale knowledge database designed to promote advancements in the field of AI technology. Toshiba hopes to bring to computers an understanding of situations and feelings as experienced by their human users so that they can recognize, understand and respond to information in a real-life environment as people do.

GlobalMind will be an extension of the OpenMind database project, which the MIT Media lab initiated in 2000; to date, it has gathered about 800,000 facts through the contributions of some 20,000 people. The aim is to teach computers these facts, more like common sense, and provide them with the same understanding that humans experience daily.

"The GlobalMind project allows us to build on our relationship with Professor Minsky and the Media Lab to promote human-centric technology, one of our key R&D activities," said Dr. Mutsuhiro Arinobu, corporate VP and director of the Corporate Research & Development Center at Toshiba. "With GlobalMind, we hope to move significantly closer to realizing computers that understand the meaning of information and real-life situations, and to apply that to communication with people. This is one of the most crucial issues in AI."

GlobalMind is an important step in bringing the research and information of OpenMind to different languages and cultures. This is significant because, while some cultural phenomena are universal (eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty) other behaviors experience a great deal of variety, at least in expression, across different cultures. GlobalMind will extend OpenMind to more languages, including Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, French and Spanish, with the goal of gathering common-sense facts and information from as many cultures and languages as possible.

GlobalMind data is publicly available and freely downloadable through the project's Web site.