RE: Introducing myself

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Apr 01 2002 - 20:19:14 MST


> As I understand it, the core people working on Novamente are people who
> worked together for an extended period on Webmind and hence are already
> trained to work together on the task at hand.

Quite true

> With that core group of
> full-time experienced people, it becomes possible to coordinate
> volunteers,
> although I don't know if you have any non-Webmind volunteers at this
> point(?).

None who are working yet. I have a number of new recruits, mainly from this
list, and I'll tell you in 6 months how things worked out in this regard ;)

> Would you have wanted to *start out* work on Webmind with a few
> volunteers? Do you think it would have gotten anywhere?

I *did* start out with a few volunteers, in 1997-early 1998 before achieving
funding for Webmind Inc. Those volunteers became the cofounders of Webmind

> Maybe it would,
> since Webmind had a much-less-tight architecture (I expect), but would it
> have worked for starting out on building Novamente if you hadn't already
> built Webmind?

Actually, I think the key to using a widely-distributed team is having a
VERY tight & complete design. Implementation of a complete design in a
distributed fashion is a lot easier than the process of converging from
ambiguous brainstormy ideas to definite designs.

> Starting on real AI takes programmers working together in the
> same physical
> location, full time,

I am not so sure that this is true. It MAY be true, but I can't imagine how
you can be *so definite* about such a thing, given your limited experience
base in software project management.

In my experience, F2F contact is valuable but intermittent F2F may be
adequate, coupled with frequent e-mail and/or chat contact.

My point is that we cannot wait for ideal conditions to begin implementing
Real AI's. Yes, it would be nice to have ample funding, and isolate 1000
researchers/programmers on 50 islands with 20 per island, each pursuing a
potentially different approach. But this is not what Mr. Gates has decided
to do with his spare change this week. I am committed to pursuing
team-based Singularity-focused Real AI development by whatever means are

Having said that -- of course, if having a team in the same location as you,
all focused full-time on the project, is the *only* approach that makes you
adequately comfortable to proceed ... well then, maybe this has to be the
way for you to proceed. Best of luck!

-- ben

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