Re[2]: AGI funding (was Re: Some bad news)

From: Cliff Stabbert (
Date: Fri Nov 08 2002 - 17:36:36 MST

Friday, November 8, 2002, 10:18:05 AM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

BG> Why did "chaos theory" achieve the status it has, in the popular mind?


At least in my case and that of others I know, having a basic
understanding of the math involved, and then being able to explore the
Mandelbrot set interactively, is what truly impressed me. (Well,
articles and color plates drew me in initially, but did not have as
large an impact).

There's also the intuitive "understanding" in the popular mind, but
that might be better described as intuitive "acceptance". There's
more of an actual understanding in the popular Geek mind, say the
Slashdot and above crowd.

As far as popularizing the Singularity meme, I agree that it may be
too early, zeitgeist-wise. Nanotech is at this stage more easily
visualized, and has seen quite a bit of popularization -- Neal
Stephenson's The Diamond Age has had quite an impact there, IMO
(although I don't think it's accurate as a prediction of nanotech's
effects; not that it's intended to be).

I think a better case can be made for AGI at this point than for the
Singularity. A(G)I's effects can be described in far more concrete and
accessible ways -- the "Because Artificial Stupidity Costs Lives" PR
campaign I alluded to in my last post is only half tongue-in-cheek.

I'm not sure how that translates into donations. Perhaps a tie-in
with security efforts of some sort -- web/virus security, airline
security -- could produce (pressure for) government funding, but then
you're quickly into military/industrial applications.

Of course, AI does suffer from the legacy problem -- the numerous
overhyped promises that never panned out. To some extent, computers
in general have been tainted with a similar brush (paperless office,
Net bubble, an endless array of Microsoft IntelliX/AutoX/SmartX
technologies). Any popularization would have to show some, perhaps
small, thing that works impressively right now.

I think the Novamente approach -- more narrowly focused commercial
efforts -- are a very good approach to funding currently. I do have
a long-simmering but vague-in-details idea for some AI tech that
Novamente at its current stage may or may not be suited to, which
if implemented as a software package could be quite popular.


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