Advisory Board

Richard Mallah

Richard Mallah is Senior Research Engineer at Cambridge Semantics.
At Cambridge Semantics he is at the forefront of bringing AI technologies such as knowledge representation, text analytics, natural language processing, and soon, more automated reasoning, to the general business population. He has had CEOs of Fortune 500s ask whether his system can provide them with wisdom, and that is on his to-do list.
As senior research engineer, architect, and development manager at CSI, Richard heads up planning and direction of the efforts in artificial intelligence and knowledge extraction, with a particular focus recently on being able to combine different NLP and AI engines and have them cooperate or build upon each other’s findings in understanding unstructured information.
Before CSI, he was a senior research engineer in machine learning and natural language processing at Zoom Information. Before that, he had his own endeavor called MarketGrip applying many kinds of AI to trading foreign exchange. He also has a dozen years of senior leadership roles in software engineering in multiple industries, particularly medical informatics and finance. During that time, he often tried to include some relevant AI component in everything he worked on. Before CSI, he’d worked on a total of 42 AI projects in academia and predominantly industry.
His undergrad concentration at Columbia University was artificial intelligence, and he also took many graduate courses there; industry pulled him in before he completed a master’s.
Richard is also extremely familiar with the eventual flip side of AI, relevant for long-term planning in the field, consciousness. He has taken numerous courses on metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of quantum mechanics, and he’s been doing independent study over the course of decades on neuroscience, neurochemistry, quantum chemistry, quantum biology, quantum consciousness, and quantum information processing.
A decade ago he established the website where he wrote well-received papers building on the ideas of quantum consciousness theorists, e.g. Dr. Henry Stapp with whom he’s since had discussions with in person. His primary topic of exploration was the “hard” problem, of explaining qualia, or the actual experience of experiencing consciousness, rather than the “easy” problem of cognitive science. He attended the Quantum Mind conference in Salzburg, Austria in 2007, on theories of the mechanism of the experience of consciousness, as well as the more spiritual or speculative Consciousness in Action conference in California of the Institute for Noetic Sciences. He continues broad and deep self-study in this field, and is working on finding specific ties between consciousness and potential quantum AI techniques.
As they have key theoretical differences, he also has lively discussions with his brother Jack on consciousness, quantum mechanics, computationalism, and the philosophical bounds of artificial intelligence.
More important than any of the above is his dedication to the preservation of humanity and Earth.
Richard is a member of several environmental groups, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Pesticide Action Network, and Food & Water Watch. He hates chemical pollution, and believes that while preventing it is necessary, we are now and in the medium-term future so entrenched in it that actually reversing it is a critical need, perhaps the most important need we as organisms have right now. He self-studied environmental remediation, and has helped plan the remediation of lead from community garden plots intended for food using phytoremediation, or specialized plant use strategies. The breadth and depth of options he proposed were commended as groundbreaking by an environmental science expert, and many of his suggestions are in use today in food sustainability initiatives.
Richard also opposes biological tainting of the environment. He studied computational biology and bioinformatics at Columbia, is well-read on genetic engineering techniques, and has broad discussions with engineers and scientists at pharma and biotech companies. As a coder who has also developed evolutionary systems through genetic programming, he has a keen understanding of the parallels between genetic engineering of wetware and software engineering. He holds that genetic engineering has great potential in theory, but that contemporary genetic engineering techniques and philosophies structurally but unnecessarily lack the broader perspective and analysis needed to make it safe. He highlights that as DNA is literally our source code, certain techniques in software engineering ought to be directly applied to this new programming language.
His interests extend to broader sustainability and human viability. He is a participant in the Great Transition Initiative network, a group of scholars and activists working together to find sustainable paths for humanity. There he finds discussions with the likes of Hazel Henderson and Steve Marglin, on finding real solutions to deep contemporary environmental, social, economic, and resource utilization issues, stimulating and uplifting, and it reminds Richard regularly that these days, we have reason to seriously plan for the preservation of our species.
Visit his Facebook page. Read his LinkedIn profile.