RE: Convincing wealthy benefactors to back real AI research

From: John Smart (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 21:29:55 MDT

For a complex
> combination of
> reasons, most businessfolks are not of the cast of mind to recognize the
> importance of something like the Singularity. "Narrowness" was
> perhaps not
> the right way to put it ... "pragmatism" is a little better but not quite
> right either. Some of you will know what I mean and am not quite
> adequately
> saying...

Hello Ben,

Sorry we didn't have time to really talk at the Foresight Gathering. Perhaps
next year. I've really enjoyed your presentatation and recent emails, and
think your mostly correct about the above comment, with one caveat.

In my observation, the increasing speed of technological change is causing
an ever shortening human planning and attention span. This emergent
phenomenon is itself being widely recognized, and causing a bifurcation,
pushing business people into two camps.

There are those that recognize we are less and less able to make credible
long term plans and try to understand and respond to this in their own way
(Brand, Moore, etc.). These "business futurists" are ripe to understand the
singularity. Then there are others who remain entrained within the vortex,
and feel they can't really afford much time to think about these things. But
even this latter camp acknowledges, ever more each day, that the new
planning environment is disturbing to say the least. And these individuals
are also looking for emergent trends to make sense of what's happening.

So I think we'll see continual inroads of these ideas in coming years,
whether or not the systems theory behind them is worked out. I hope to play
a small part in that latter activity.


John Smart
Understanding Accelerating Change

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