Re: Singularity and the general public

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2001 - 18:09:15 MDT

This subject was discussed internally back when we formed SIAI. We decided
on a plan of action that so far has remained pretty coherent: due to
potential public backlash, only seek publicity up until the time we become
fully funded. Actually we have kept things quieter than that would imply
since a) we haven't needed too much funding yet b) we wanted to target
certain individuals privately for financial backing. This continues... but
with the impending release of FAI, and our desire to move more towards
actual coding, things are changing a bit and we will seek a bit more
publicity if we can get it. But again once we get enough funding expect that
to dry up. We decided when we formed that we were not going to be any
kind of Singularity evangelist.. there are organizations like ExI and
people like Kurzweil who are doing that task.

Actually all this chatting on public mailing lists may not be the best
thing. I expect as time goes on we may feel the need to retreat even
farther. This list might become restricted membership, or we might kind
of disown it and leave it to be a higher level Extropians list. We'll see.
It's really up to Eliezer of course, but I think he agrees with this?

The only two real reasons I can see for publicity (past getting funds) are:

1. Chat with other smart people to see if there are any holes in our work.
   Right now this list helps with that, but as we get more staff this list
   will likely become less relevant to this concern. In latter stages of
   research most likely none of our internal work will be available publicly.

2. Spread the word to other AI developers about Friendly AI, and help them
   integrate it into their designs. Since the AI "community" is relatively
   small we think that once we become a bit more established no more real
   publicity will be required since pretty much everyone should have heard
   of us.

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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