• Distilling Synergistic Value between Buddhism and AI

    The ancient practices and philosophy of Buddhist monastics may seem to have little relation to the current headlines about the promises and perils of artificial intelligence. However, ego-less compassion, non-discursive intelligence, and other such key Buddhist concepts hold—when rigorously unpacked, translated and made applicable to real world AI concerns—the promise of addressing key AI issues, such as moral decisions, unexpected consequences, human flourishing and exploring the similarities and differences between human and machine intelligences.

    For the Buddhist, the questions raised by developments in AI are challenging, for they go to the heart of Buddhist teaching and yet require a comprehensive response that goes well beyond reference to sacred scripture. So, Buddhists may want to ask themselves “What, more specifically, do I mean by suggesting that all minds are self-less, and that knowing this fuels both intelligence and genuine care?” What are the concrete implications in the real and emerging worlds that we live in, and share with AI, now?

    We believe that the nature and complexity of these issues requires a multidisciplinary approach and as such our team represents the fields of philosophy, AI and artificial life, cognitive science, buddhist studies and applied technology.

    At CSAS we study networks of intelligence—the theories and practices of insightful cooperation. Our initial project is to develop a translational tool that will render concepts and practices in AI and Buddhism accessible and useful to each other.

    We believe that along with the perils of human machine interaction, there is a promise that these interactions can be generative and lead to a wholesome and sustainable symbiosis of organic and artificial intelligences.

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  • Research Team

    Cross Functional Badasses

    Thomas Doctor


    Associate Professor, Rangjung Yeshe Institute; Associate Translator, 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha


    Bill Duane

    Strategy and Implementation Lead

    Former Google Engineering Executive and Superintendent of Well-Being. Principal at Bill Duane and Associates.


    Elizaveta Solomonova

    Cognitive Science Lead

    Postdoctoral Fellow Neurophilosophy Lab, Culture, Mind and Brain Research Group, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

    Olaf Witkowski

    AI Research Lead

    AI and Artificial Life Scientist

    Director at Cross Labs; Executive Officer at Cross Compass AI; Lecturer at the University of Tokyo


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    The Center for the Study of Apparent Selves is hosted by Kathmandu University's Centre for Buddhist Studies at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute


    The Center for the Study of Apparent Selves is funded by a generous grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation Diverse Intelligences Project.

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