Re: Introducing myself

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Apr 01 2002 - 21:38:40 MST

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > 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.

Well, you've told me a bunch of times that you don't think I understand how
difficult AI is. Hopefully you will not be offended if I say the same in
return; I have looked upon the functional decomposition of intelligence and
I don't think you realize how huge it is. I know that you think it is a lot
larger now than you used to think when Webmind was getting started, and that
therefore you *think* you have learned how huge intelligence is, but I don't
think you've seen all of the challenge or even most of it.

This is humanity's last software project. It is one that has defeated some
very smart people for fifty years, and I haven't yet seen anything that
indicates Novamente has overcome it. This software project *is* *the*
*Singularity* and it would be foolhardy to expect it to be easy. It would
be foolhardy to expect to crack the barrier if we hit it with anything less
than full force. It is *disrespect for the job* to start out by saying,
"And let's do this on a part-time volunteer basis with F2F contact once a
month," instead of "If the programmers were all MARRIED it might still not
be enough; the least we can do is all work out of the same office." I
showed up for the Singularity. I am willing to give it my best shot. If I
am expected to do it on my own without funding, then I'm sorry, but I'm just
not that good, and that you suggest it makes me wonder if we're really
talking about the same goal. I'd love to finish up in five years, but if it
takes twenty years then I will be here twenty years from now. My
understanding has improved to the point where I now think I can see how to
create seed AI with one midsized nonprofit, instead of a Manhattan Project
or industrywide effort as I once thought, but to carry out the Singularity
as a one-man job or with a part-time volunteer crew is still unreasonable.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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