RE: A fairly concrete path to the Singularity

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 11:52:24 MDT

> I don't think it makes sense, economically speaking, to imagine
> some lone researcher
> (or institute) somewhere will make the major leaps forward needed
> to get to strong
> AI. Instead, in the years leading up to that, we'll see an ever
> increasing amount
> of investment in it, in all kinds of companies and contexts.
> There are markets for
> incresingly intelligent products and services of all kinds, all
> the way up to strong
> AI.

The mistake you're making, in my view, is this.

Monetizing real AI is an activity that will spread like wildfire. No doubt
about it.

But right now, business has absolutely no interest in large-scale AI R&D.
And nor does the government, and nor does the mainstream of academia. They
are interested only in small-scale, specialized AI R&D.

I believe that my Webmind AI Engine R&D team is 1, at most 2 years away from
making the major leap forward needed to get from "pre AI" to "real AI." If
we can get the cash from somewhere to keep paying ourselves that is... so
that I can focus some of my time on building AI rather than begging for
money ;>

But even if I'm wrong and we don't do it, I feel pretty confident that it's
going to be some maverick team making the breakthrough. Because the big
institutions are NOT WORKING ON THE PROBLEM, and lots of kooky mavericks
like us are.

At the same time, I think that real AI is not a one-man problem. It's a
10-30 man problem. It requires a lot of different types of expertise, and
it requires a kind of continual objective self-criticism that's harder to
achieve in an individual than in a group.

So if it's not taken by me and my team -- because I fail to raise more $$,
or I'm assassinated by Afgan rebels, or whatever ;p -- I think the next big
leap will be taken by some similarly sized maverick group.

OTOH, the next leap after that -- where the real AI becomes significantly
self-improving through study and application of relevant CS -- this will
probably be carried out in a much better-funded, larger-scale environment,
because the real AI itself will attract funding...


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