Olaf Witkowski, PhD

Director of Research

Olaf Witkowski is the Director of Research at Cross Labs, an AI research institute in Kyoto, where he leads fundamental research in Artificial Life and Trustworthy AI. He is also an Executive Officer at Cross Compass Ltd, a leading AI company in Tokyo. He is also a lecturer in information sciences at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo, a research scientist of the Earth-Life Science Institute of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and a regular visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

He co-founded various ventures in science and technology on three continents, including YHouse­ Inc.—a nonprofit transdisciplinary research institute in New York, focused on awareness, artificial intelligence and complex systems—and the Center for the Study of Apparent Selves—a new institute in Kathmandu studying Buddhist philosophy and AI ethics. He received his PhD in neuroevolution learning and collective intelligence under Takashi Ikegami, from the Computer Science Department of the University of Tokyo.

He is the Vice President of the International Society for Artificial Life. He is also the lead organizer of numerous meetings in AI and cognitive sciences, including Cross Roads (Tokyo/online), YHouse Consciousness Club (Manhattan), IAS Cognition Lunches (Princeton), and ALife for Social and Environmental Good (online). He co-organized the ALIFE 2018 conference ‘Beyond AI’ in Tokyo, remained involved in the next editions, and co-founded ALIFE JAPAN in 2021.

Olaf Witkowski’s research focuses on expanding human capacities through empathic and trustworthy AI, by first aiming at reaching a deep mathematical understanding of the nature of intelligence in both artificial and living systems. To do so, he combines techniques from artificial intelligence, artificial life, cognitive science, and complex systems, to design new paradigms for the next steps in machine intelligence.

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