From: Declan McCullagh (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 10:26:49 MDT
Thanks for forwarding. If I may quibble with your quibble,
my Subject: line did not say "Friendly AI released" but
"Friendly AI guidelines released."
There's a big difference, as I'm sure you can appreciate. :)
On Thu, Apr 19, 2001 at 12:18:03PM -0400, Patrick McCuller wrote:
> The only problem I have with the story is that Friendly AI isn't exactly
> 'released'. But it is an entertaining read.
> (Forwarding allowed by restricted license; see below.)
> Patrick McCuller
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Declan McCullagh
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2001 11:29 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: FC: Group releases "Friendly AI guidelines," Webmind goes
> Intelligenesis Faces Dim Future
> By Declan McCullagh (email@example.com)
> 2:00 a.m. Apr. 19, 2001 PDT
> A pioneering New York company that once hoped to develop the first
> artificial intelligence is preparing to declare bankruptcy.
> Intelligenesis Corp., which was creating the Webmind software, has
> been evicted from its Broadway office suite and plans to file for
> Chapter 7 bankruptcy next week.
> Making HAL Your Pal
> by Declan McCullagh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
> 2:00 a.m. Apr. 19, 2001 PDT
> Eliezer Yudkowsky has devoted his young life to an undeniably unusual
> pursuit: planning for what happens when computers become far smarter
> than us.
> Yudkowsky, a 21-year-old researcher at the Singularity Institute, has
> spent the last eight months writing an essay that's half precaution,
> half thought exercise, and entirely in earnest.
> This 750 KB treatise, released Wednesday, is not as much speculative
> as predictive. If a computer becomes sufficiently smart, the argument
> goes, and if it gains the ability to harm humans through
> nanotechnology or some means we don't expect, it may decide it doesn't
> need us or want us around.
> One solution: Unconditional "friendliness," built into the AI as
> surely as our genes are coded into us.
> "I've devoted my life to this," says Yudkowsky, a self-proclaimed
> "genius" who lives in Atlanta and opted out of attending high school
> and college.
> It's not for lack of smarts. He's a skilled, if verbose, writer and an
> avid science-fiction reader who reports he scored 1410 on his SATs,
> not far below the average score for Stanford or MIT students.
> Yudkowsky's reason for shunning formal education is that he believes
> the danger of unfriendly AI to be so near -- as early as tomorrow --
> that there was no time for a traditional adolescence. "If you take the
> Singularity seriously, you tend to live out your life on a shorter
> time scale," he said.
> Mind you, that's "Singularity" in capital letters. Even so-called
> Singularitians like Yudkowsky admit that the term has no precise
> meaning, but a commonly accepted definition is a point when human
> progress, particularly technological progress, accelerates so
> dramatically that predicting what will happen next is futile.
> The term appears to have been coined by John von Neumann, the great
> mathematician and computer scientist who used it not to refer to
> superhuman intelligence, but to the everyday pace of science and
> Science-fiction author Vernor Vinge popularized the concept in the
> 1980s, capitalizing the word and writing about whether mankind would
> approach Singularity by way of machine intelligence alone or through
> augmented mental processes. Predictions vary wildly about what happens
> at the Singularity, but the consensus seems to be that life as
> humanity currently knows it will come to a sudden end.
> Vinge is the closest thing Singularitians have to a thought leader,
> spokesman and hero. He offers predictions based on measures of
> technological progress such as Moore's Law, and sees the Singularity
> as arriving between 2005 and 2030 -- though some Vinge aficionados
> hope the possibility of uploading their brains into an immortal
> computer is just around the corner.
> One of them is Yudkowsky, who credits Vinge for turning him onto the
> Singularity at age 11. "I read True Names," he said, referring to a
> Vinge novel. "I got to page 47 and found out what I was going to be
> doing for the rest of my life."
> Since then, Yudkowsky has become not just someone who predicts the
> Singularity, but a committed activist trying to speed its arrival. "My
> first allegiance is to the Singularity, not humanity," he writes in
> one essay. "I don't know what the Singularity will do with us. I don't
> know whether Singularities upgrade mortal races, or disassemble us for
> spare atoms.... If it comes down to Us or Them, I'm with Them."
> Like a character from science fiction, Yudkowsky sees his efforts as
> humanity's only hope.
> In an autobiographical essay, he writes: "I think my efforts could
> spell the difference between life and death for most of humanity, or
> even the difference between a Singularity and a lifeless, sterilized
> planet... I think that I can save the world, not just because I'm the
> one who happens to be making the effort, but because I'm the only one
> who can make the effort."
> [Clarification: Yudkowsky just emailed me to say he received a 1600 on his
> SATs when he took them again. --Declan]
> POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
> You may redistribute this message freely if it remains intact.
> To subscribe, visit http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
> This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:36 MDT