RE: AGI funding (was Re: Some bad news)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Nov 09 2002 - 17:23:31 MST


I agree with the basic PR approach you describe, but I'm afraid you
underestimate the amount of effort required to make a PR effort like the one
you describe actually work

I have an acquaintance who's a PR agent, and he basically does what you
describe. What he has that you and I don't, however, is

1) A better understanding of how to phrase things so as to interest media
people, who get WAY more story suggestions each day than they can possibly
act on. Instead of one blurb on an idea, he'll create dozens of blurbs,
phrased specifically for different media people, based on his knowledge of
their different psychologies and interests.

2) Most importantly by far: **An outstanding network of media contacts.**
He knows a huge number of reporters and editors and producers personally.
So when he has an idea he wants to publicize, he creats spiffy little
descriptions of his idea, and sends them to his contacts. They know he's
suggested good stuff to them before, so they read his stuff, unlike most of
the things people send their way.

Without this kind of understanding and Rolodex, sending out press releases
at random is like sending unsolicited music tapes to music companies, or
unsolicited fiction manuscripts to book publishers. It's hard to be heard
among all the noise out there.

Unfortunately, this particular PR guy I know charges $20K/month minimum, and
I don't think he'll work for the Singularity or AGI for free...

Among other campaigns, this guy did the PR campaign for the Republic of
Sealand (a bunch of freaks who took over an abandoned oil platform in the
North Sea, declared it their own country, and started a data haven there).
Among other things, he got them a cover story on Wired... which brought
their data haven fuckloads of business...

-- Ben G

> > So, if anyone on this list knows any good PR agents who'd like to
> brainstorm
> > on ways to publicize the Singularity, please let me know ;)
> I believe I already suggested how one should go about increasing the
> awareness of AGI research or Singularity among potential donors.
> You locate
> the right media targets (specific magazines, newspapers, radio
> and TV shows,
> internet sites) and then basically suggest them a story they would be
> interested in. You contact them and say or write something like:
> "I have a great suggestion for a story for you about a growing field of
> research that very few people know about, concerned with building
> artificial, self-enhancing, minds that could very soon be smarter than
> humans".
> Note how short this line is (their time is precious too so you better not
> waste it), then how it refers to AGI "field" and not to the your specific
> research, since it gives your ideas more credibility and that you're not
> alone in your endeavor (as oppose to the some crazy scientist
> working alone
> in the basement). Note also how it goes right to the point and how that
> point is presented with terms that everybody could understand. But most of
> all note how it is concerned with what you have to offer to the potential
> story writer, not what you want from the writer. It's their job to find a
> good story that people would enjoy reading so assume that it your
> job to do
> their job. If you make it already attractive-- which is very important or
> even crucial--and easy for them to write it, they will be more willing to
> help you too. Who knows, you could even establish some relationship that
> will result with some more stories in the future.
> And that's the basic approach to the PR campaign, since it applies to all
> media.
> But I would prefer not to use "PR campaign" term since it implies
> some huge,
> complicated or even expensive task that would necessarily
> interfere with the
> work on AGI. This is not so scary or time consuming or that it requires
> professional PR agents. In fact this all could be done very cheaply and
> efficiently with minimal effort. The benefits, though, could be enormous.
> Slawek

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