RE: How hard a Singularity?

From: James Higgins (
Date: Wed Jun 26 2002 - 21:33:39 MDT

At 08:49 PM 6/26/2002 -0500, Stephen Reed wrote:
>On Wed, 26 Jun 2002, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > Government is not going to solve this problem. And I say this as someone
> > with fairly democratic-socialist tendencies, not as a typical extropian
> > libertarian. If government tries to manage the Singularity, it's just
> going
> > to drive real Singularity development work underground or overseas. The
> > problem has to be solved by maturity and responsibility on the part of the
> > people doing the development, I feel. This is scary, but to me, it's less
> > scary than thinking about the government handling something of such
> > importance.... While it's true that gov't is generally good at halting
> > action from occurring, by bogging it down in endless bureaucracy, gov't's
> > have also been responsible for a hell of a lot of fanatically unwise
> > actions -- governmental involvement is far from a prescription for wisdom!!
>I suppose I am in the tiny minority who favor heavy government involvement.
>Rather than try to persuade most of you why this is should be the case,
>let me simply describe how I think events will unfold.
>Currently I manage Cycorp's participation in a Darpa project and I
>trust this process - and believe it will work for ensuring Friendly AI.

Um, small problem here. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research (something)
Association, is part of the Defense Department. Or, more bluntly, the
Military. What are the ultimate goals behind the research projects DARPA
sponsors? To create technology useable by the military.

If such an agency were to attempt the Singularity (or just transhuman AI)
it would certainly try to constrain and control the result. And it may not
exactly want "Friendliness". After all, if the Defense Department needs to
attack another country using information warfare, wouldn't you want your
pet AI to be involved? Woulnd't work out very well if the AI always
answered that the things it was asked to do were not friendly and, thus, it
could not cooperate.

Not to mention the fact that if a Singularity were to be attempted by ANY
government nation there would be so much special interest represented that
it could never be done safely. Most likely, it could never be done.

Don't get me wrong, I like DARPA and I thank them very much for the
Internet. But I just don't think AI or the Singularity is something I want
them involved in.

James Higgins

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