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

From: Declan McCullagh (
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 11:40:17 MDT

On Fri, Apr 13, 2001 at 02:17:31AM -0400, Brian Atkins wrote:
> I don't see how this would help. By releasing our code and ideas we actually
> encourage/help along splinter groups. If we keep the code and ideas more
> private then they have to come and chat with us if they don't want to try
> to reinvent the wheel.

You could release it under a license that strongly discourages, if not
outright disallows, splinter groups.

> Actually I've seen that Linux has more bugs reported on Bugtraq than any
> other operating system. Is this because it is buggier, or because more
> stuff gets found? Perhaps someday Mozilla will become better than Internet

Probably the latter.

> Explorer in terms of stability, but for now the closed source approach
> using highly skilled programmers has worked better.

It depends on the metric you use to define "better." Right now, there's
an easier way to get paid for closed-source projects, so it provides
an incentive for programmers to take that path.

I don't mean to say you should be pursing one path or another -- I
haven't thought this through enough -- but I believe your arguments
against open source are insufficient.

> Or allow Saddam Hussein to get his evil AI up and running that much faster.
> To be realistic, real AI is an extremely powerful technology, and our view
> is to not hand it over to people we don't know and trust.

What, do you think that corporate spies or government ones won't
be able to acquire your code on way or another? If it's that powerful,
someone will resort to physical violence to get it. Are your principles
so strong that you would refuse to give up the source if a family member
were kidnapped and held for ransom?

If it's that powerful, people will want it. And I daresay they'll get it.


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