Maine software company working to link human thought and AI

A Maine-based software company, whose founder Dan Smith lives in Dover-Foxcroft, is looking to get off the ground and take its technology to Silicon Valley. 

Physix:Q2 (quantified quality) is looking to connect human thought and machine thought with emotion represented via the color spectrum, an idea Smith says will have a significant financial impact on Maine.

“It’s the missing link for AI to reason like a human, it’s an interface between human thought and machine thought,” Smith said. He said AI is now programmed with the zeros and ones of binary code

“What they don’t have is a language for emotion and subtlety and irony,” Smith said. “All those things that are the most human, they don’t know how to do that. What this does is this provides a map for that.”

He said a computer does not know the meaning of irony as AI cannot comprehend this concept since its language is 1s and 0s. “There’s nothing unexpected because it has to be programmed. You have to train a computer to understand when something is unexpected.”

Smith said inability to tell if someone is joking or not is an issue in society and Physix has a solution “by mapping out language to essentially two component parts of the data of the language, when, where, how and then the why. That’s the emotional part of language.”

He referred to this as “open source human,” a representation of thought using color for emotion.

Smith said free speech is governed in part by law and regulated further on a social media platform or online service such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon as these websites have platforms to rate content.

“So Physix what it does here is it takes all those systems and kind of organizes all of those into one,” he said. “It’s a standard, to take all emotional valence standardized into one thing that everybody  can agree on and that’s based on the electromagnetic spectrum — that’s the same everywhere and on every planet. Red to violet, worse to best with red is worse and violet is best and green is neutral.”

He said the easy to understand spectrum is then translated for the computer from colors to a numerical range of zero to one with red at zero and violet at one. “Just immediately you have a graphical representation of how an idea is evaluated among a number of people,” Smith said, saying test examples include just a dozen participants but this could be for thousands or even millions of responders.

“The idea is everyone’s opinion is somewhere on the spectrum, you’re either on the spectrum or you didn’t vote,” Smith said. 

He said through Physix there would be more anonymity than on Facebook with its visible likes and dislikes. He said with the developing software, “Whatever your opinion is, you’re just a point on the square. There’s no tying your name to the feedback, you get a real estimation of what people think.”  

This concept is in the first Physix product, the Q-Vote.

“It’s a way to weigh public opinion,” Smith said. “It’s an app on your phone ‘hey, what do you think about this?’ click, done.”

Smith said there are three outcomes, negative coherence, positive coherence or incoherence rather than a binary outcome of coherent or not — yes or no. He said this can show what the public thinks and wants.

With many people taking part in Zoom meetings, Smith said ideas can be brought forward on the platform and with Q-Vote meeting attendees can offer their ranking with data compiled in real time.

“It’s a way to instantly find if there is consensus or not,” he said.

Smith said in science fiction TV shows such as “Westworld” and “Foundation” data is used to identify potential problems and this could be true in the future with Physix software. “You see those problems before they turn into violence and real issues,” he said, such as following a rise in hate speech. “Find the solutions, the consensus where it’s good.”

“It’s a new way to sort data,’ Smith said, saying he has a patent pending. He said he has been working on the project for several years with about a dozen people around the world, including in Serbia, India and Spain. Physix CEO/Interim CTO Ryan Murphy recently moved to Austin, Texas from southern Maine to help get the software off the ground.

“Right now we’re still trying to find a little bit of funding,” Smith said with about $60,000 going into what has been developed so far.

“We probably need another $20,000 to finish the app,” he said. Smith said 10 percent of profits derived from Physix technology will be earmarked for charity.

Smith said later in the spring he plans to present to the AI department at the University of Maine. He said would also like to speak to Gov. Janet Mills about Physix and the potential economic benefits for Maine as well as the UN.

“It’s a universal mode of communication that can be communicated all over the world,” Smith said. He said this is what Physix is looking to bring to big tech as the principles can be used everywhere, on every computer and every cellphone to measure quality across platforms.

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