RE: Seed AI (was: How hard a Singularity?)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Jun 25 2002 - 12:29:47 MDT

> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> >>>I didn't work on the moonshot or the Genome Project, but I
> think AI will
> >>>take substantially less money and substantially more intelligence
> >>>to solve.
> >
> > Actually I'm not sure what you mean when you say "AGI will require
> > substantially more intelligence than any prior breakthrough in science."
> I didn't say that. I said more intelligence than the moonshot or Genome
> Project, not more intelligence than Einstein or Newton.

Ah. Well here we get into interesting history-and-psychology-of-science

I don't believe that Einstein or Newton possessed more intelligence than was
put into the moonshot or the Human Genome Project....

I also don't believe that Albert Einstein was more intelligent in any
general sense than a lot of other people -- not just folks like Norbert
Wiener or Johnny von Neumann, but plenty of other top-notch scientists who
never achieved as much as Einstein, Wiener or von Neumann. I think that
great scientific achievement results from the combination of many factors,
including intelligence, creativity, persistence, and an individual
finding/happening-upon a problem area that is well-matched to their various
cognitive and personality quirks.

It seems clear that von Neumann was more intelligent than Einstein by all
conventional standards -- yet he achieved a bit less, because of other
factors besides "raw intelligence".

If comparing intelligence among different humans with roughly similar
intelligence is tough, though -- comparing individual intelligence with
collective intelligence is *really* hard!

It seems to me that some types of problems are more suitable to "lone
geniuses" (a la Einstein, Netwon) whereas others are more suitable to
"brilliant teams".

Is AGI a lone genius problem or a brilliant team problem? I think it is a
brilliant team problem, due to the complex and integrative nature of
practical intelligence. On the other hand, I think "unifying physics" is
more of a lone genius sort of problem (as it was in the times of Einstein
and Newton).... But of course these are "just intuitions" ;->

Computer science in general seems to have benefited from collective
intelligence at least as much as from "lone genius" style intelligence.
Progress in CS has been as substantial as that in physics, yet we don't have
CS heros on the order of Einstein or Newton to look up to.

-- Ben G

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