Kevin Alexanderman is an author, inventor and businessman. He has been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, as managing director of agriculture and technology companies, and has degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering (Cornell University) and computer science (UGA), and studied philosophy of the social sciences (London School of Economics).
He began a life-long interest in artificial intelligence (AI) at 14 years old, while doing independent study at a local university in a gifted-child program, reading on machine learning, cybernetics and Bertrand Russel and Alfred N. Whitehead’s book Principia Mathematica.
He began professional programming at 15 for his family’s financial software company, and at 21 he defined his first AI system, which he called Think. Over the next five years he tried to figure out how he could finance its development, finishing degrees in computer science and mechanical/aerospace engineering, working in his family’s firm, and at graduate school where his thesis was AI applications in engineering design.
At Cornell University he concluded that without a science of knowledge, or epistemology, there would never be successful artificial intelligence applications, just as without the sciences of physics, there would be no technology for the industrial, computing and telecommunications revolutions.
He knew it would require many years to develop first the science, then the technology. Rather than return to industry, expending energy on competitive challenges, he chose instead to set up a small farm. At night you can do little on a farm—mostly, you are just waiting for the plants to grow, and driving a tractor at five mph leaves lots of time for daylight thinking.
He spent six years on a farm he acquired with the help of a friend’s investment, at the edge of a jungle in Central America, so that he could focus on epistemology while growing fruits and vegetables for supermarkets, hotels and restaurants, to make a living.
Using 10 books on general subjects he brought with him to understand the nature of knowledge (“each book has about 30 sentences per page, on around 300 pages, or about 9,000 sentences or concepts per book, and 90,000 is a good enough sample size to found a science”) he discovered an underlying order at the basis of conceptual knowledge that could serve as a foundation for a science of knowledge.
He recognized that sentences are the “pea plants” of epistemology, combining an agricultural and historical sciences analogy (remembering Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics). He also introduced actual pea plants in the warm country where his farm was located, and it was a crop enjoyed by many of his clients.
When he concluded his study and formulation, he leased his farm and spent three years doing a full historic and philosophic comparison of his work with the history of Western philosophy, first at Oxford in the United Kingdom, as an independent student, then as a graduate student in philosophy at the London School of Economics. He also spent one of those years at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, studying independently their excellent neurosciences library and interviewing professors, in order to derive, establish and confirm the neural foundation of his views on perception and conceptual representation in electrochemical neural cell networks.
Finally, more than 15 years after defining his system “Think”, he returned to the task of developing AI software with what he considered a new science of epistemology as his tool.
He founded a software company that developed and delivered AI applications for companies like P&G, Baxter Healthcare and Litton Aerospace. One of his firm’s products, called KnowAll, was a Finalist for Best of Show at Comdex, at the time the leading tech show in the US. This was a confirmation of the new science by demonstrating its validity (of new theories of deduction, lexicology and grammar) in applications in commercial software.
Mr. Alexanderman has been an innovative leader on three continents, and has lived in seven countries. As a sixth-generation entrepreneur, he has grown up around people with an entrepreneurial intellect (strong concept forming skills) and through his association and study explicated the motivational principles at the foundation of the successful attainment of objectives in his new book OutThinking.
He has been both an investor and investee, a former ship-owner, and has one international football cap, having played in a World Cup qualifying match. With his background he is uniquely positioned to write about the implications of the new science of epistemology to human lives, as well as to the field of artificial intelligence.