Re: Open Source Friendly AI? (was Singularity and the generalpublic)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Apr 12 2001 - 23:58:35 MDT

James Higgins wrote:
> Has there been any serious discussion about making this an open source
> project? Instead of debating how open to be, if/when to hide, etc. maybe
> you should consider the exact opposite. I believe it has many advantages.

That used to be the plan (see "The Plan to Singularity"). I switched to
closed source for several reasons:

1) You need a working product before you can benefit from open source,
saith Eric S. Raymond. IIRC he also saith that open source is not good
for basic research.
2) I happen to agree with ESR on the second count. Tightly knit
researchers required to produce the first working version, and after that,
we may not *need* open source to produce the next versions.
3) Anyone could outrace the main project just by dumping more
computational power into their AI, which didn't make me nervous back when
I thought superintelligence automatically implied supermorality, but does
make me nervous now that I'm thinking in terms of Friendliness.
4) You can always take a closed-source project open, but not vice versa.
5) Some people whose opinions I value strongly advised me to do it.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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